Archive for December, 2014

Newsletter for October 28 (Hubbard Squash Tea Bread)

It’s the last week of the CSA, and we’re offering another all-options share! If you plan to take lots of produce to store for the next month or so, we have plenty of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash. The potatoes and sweet potatoes should last for a month at least; just keep them in a dark place that’s 50 – 70 degrees. The winter squash — especially the bora-bora — should last even longer, and will get sweeter as time goes on. If you’re storing winter squash you can just leave it out on your counter or keep it anywhere that’s around room temperature. As long as your garage never gets below freezing, a garage is fine as well, and works well for larger squash like hubbards. You don’t have to worry about the bora-bora squash, but you want to keep an eye on the other varieties. Use squash quickly if you notice a soft spot (just cut it out); squash can go from mostly good to all bad VERY quickly.

Thanksgiving Share and Next Year’s CSA

I will have the sign-up for the Thanksgiving share and for next year’s CSA out this week again for folks who missed last week. If you’re unsure about joining next year you can just add your name to the list to receive the sign-up info next spring, and you can decide then if you’d like to re-join. I will e-mail everyone in early November with the Thanksgiving share info again, so if you’re not sure if you’d like to sign up you can just wait and then sign up via e-mail if you decide to get a share. I don’t need to know the final number of Thanksgiving shares until around the 10th of November.

Cauliflower

We have tons of cauliflower this week, and I’m so happy that we are able to give it out as part of the share! I love steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce, but cauliflower is also delicious roasted and in creamy soups. Cauliflower puree also makes for a great (and healthy) mashed potato substitute.

Hubbard Squash

Hubbard squash is sweet and bright orange inside. It’s a great substitute for pumpkin in pies, muffins, and breads (I like it more than pumpkin; it’s less stringy). As I mentioned in the Sunday night e-mail, you can also eat the seeds as you would pumpkin seeds. Before you get out an ax or handsaw to cut open your hubbard squash, I’d advise you to check out this very short youtube video. It sounds funny, but dropping the squash on a cement floor is BY FAR the safest and easiest way to get your squash into pieces. You want to cook all of your squash as soon as you open it, but you can puree or mash most of it and freeze it in zip-lock bags for future dishes if you’d like!

Hubbard Squash Tea Bread

(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup hubbard squash puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl until combined.
  3. Beat squash puree, sugar, honey and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in egg and egg white. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined. Scrape into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake the bread until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes more. Serve warm.

This Week’s Produce

Fresh sage (optional)

Choose 5 options:

1 head cauliflower

3 lbs sweet potatoes

1.3 lbs broccoli

3 lbs potatoes (will have a few different varieties)

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs bell peppers

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

1 ambercup squash

1 bora bora squash

1 giant blue hubbard (counts as 2 options)

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

Possible: apples, other varieties of winter squash

Small Share

Fresh sage (optional)

Choose 7 options:

1 head cauliflower

3 lbs sweet potatoes

1.3 lbs broccoli

3 lbs potatoes (will have a few different varieties)

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs bell peppers

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

1 ambercup squash

1 bora bora squash

1 giant blue hubbard (counts as 2 options)

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

Possible: apples, other varieties of winter squash

Large Share

2 bunches fresh sage (optional)

Choose 10 options:

1 head cauliflower

3 lbs sweet potatoes

1.3 lbs broccoli

3 lbs potatoes (will have a few different varieties)

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs bell peppers

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

1 ambercup squash

1 bora bora squash

1 giant blue hubbard (counts as 2 options)

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

Possible: apples, other varieties of winter squash

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Newsletter for October 21 (Broccoli and Peppers Stir-Fry with Tofu and Cashews)

Lots of broccoli and apples and squash this week! You could make a squash and apple soup, an apple crisp, or a stir-fry with broccoli, peppers, and carrots (see recipe below). It would also be a good week to try a kale salad full of nuts and dried cherries or cranberries.

I will have the sign-up sheet for the Thanksgiving Share out this week, as well as the sign-up info for next year (I’m going to have CSA members self-address envelopes if you’d like the sign-up form via snail mail in the spring and just write down your name if you’d like the info via e-mail.) If you’re not sure if you’d like to join you can just sign up to get the info; you are welcome to change your mind in the spring.

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Red Hen’s Crossett Hill Batard. CSA members will also get $1.50 off VT cheese while supplies last. I will set aside some cheese and make sure it makes it to Colchester this week as well!

Pumpkins

One of the options this week will be a $3 voucher for pumpkins. There isn’t a limit on this option, so you are welcome to take 2 or 3. This voucher gets you $3 off any jack-o-lantern pumpkin. The pumpkins are $0.49/lb, so they range from 5 to 15 dollars or so. A mid-sized one is usually about $7 or $8. We have a wide variety to sizes and colors to choose from in Essex, and I will bring along 10 or so to Colchester. If you are sure you want a pumpkin and pick up in Colchester please send me an email; if I get a lot of e-mail I’ll know to bring along more pumpkins.

Sweet Dumpling and Butternut Squash

If you love delicata squash, you will love sweet dumplings. The two squash are pretty much the same in terms of taste and texture (they even have the same thin, edible skin). The only difference is that sweet dumplings look like tiny white and green acorn squash while delicatas are more oblong. Besides cutting the squash in half and roasting it (which is very good), you can also cut the sweet dumpling into thin half-moons (leaving the skin on) and steam, saute, or roast the pieces. Sweet dumpling squash also store well.

Buttercup squash makes great mashed squash. It also makes a delicious squash and apple soup; just be prepared for a soup that’s more yellow than orange! If you decide to store your buttercup squash, just keep an eye on it; buttercup squash isn’t the best storage squash, and when it starts to go it goes FAST.

Broccoli and Pepper Stir-Fry with Tofu and Cashews

(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

I like to add chopped roasted cashews to stir-fries, but you’re certainly welcome to skip this step.  You can also alter the veggies — just keep the total around 6 cups and remember to cut hard veggies like carrots smaller than more quick-cooking ones like broccoli or zucchini. This dish goes well with brown rice or rice noodles.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (see Note) or rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ⅓ cup chopped roasted cashews (optional)
  1. Combine broth, sherry (or rice wine), soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sugar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  1. Cut tofu into 3/4-inch cubes and pat dry, then sprinkle with salt. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the tofu; toss gently to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu; cook, undisturbed, until browned, about 3 minutes. Gently turn and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  1. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli, peppers, and water; cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir the reserved broth mixture and add to the pan. Cook until the sauce has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan; toss to combine with the broccoli and sauce. Top with chopped cashews if desired.

Single Share

Optional: 1 bunch herbs (probably thyme and/or cilantro)

Choose 5 options:

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 lbs cortland apples

1 bunch kale

1 bunch loose leaf lettuce

1.3 lbs carrots

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1.3 lbs peppers

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 buttercup squash

4 decorative gourds

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

(There might be surprise options too!)

Small Share

Optional: 1 bunch herbs (probably thyme and/or cilantro)

Choose 7 options:

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 lbs cortland apples

1 bunch kale

1 bunch loose leaf lettuce

1.3 lbs carrots

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1.3 lbs peppers

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 buttercup squash

4 decorative gourds

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

(There might be surprise options too!)

Large Share

Optional: 2 bunches herbs (probably thyme and/or cilantro)

Choose 10 options:

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 lbs cortland apples

1 bunch kale

1 bunch loose leaf lettuce

1.3 lbs carrots

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1.3 lbs peppers

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 buttercup squash

4 decorative gourds

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

(There might be surprise options too!)

 

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Newsletter for October 14 (Stuffed Sweet Bell Peppers)

Although some veggies are coming to an end (corn, cucumbers), we still haven’t gotten a hard frost in most of our fields, which means we still have plenty “summer” veggies like zucchini (which we were surprised to discover survived what we had considered to be a hard frost in September), lettuce, peppers, and eggplant. We also have new fields of kale and cabbage coming in, so we will be offering these as well. We will have some type of winter squash every day, as well as some type of apple; these will change from day to day, but feel free to ask at pick-up if you would like more info about the the varieties we have available when you pick up. I will also do my best to include info and basic cooking instructions next to the signs at pick-up!

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Waitsfield Common, and cheese is now $1.50 off for CSA members at pick-up! We aren’t planning on buying any more for the season, but we still have plenty of varieties. We especially have lots of pepper-crusted chevre, which is my favorite of the VT Creamery chevres. It isn’t pretty, but it’s incredibly peppery and good, especially with Red Hen bread.

Kale

If you haven’t yet given kale a try, or if you have but you weren’t impressed, this is the time of year to go for it. Kale is sweetest in the fall, since the cold weather brings out the sugars in the leaves. Two great beginner kale recipes are kale and sausage soup and kale chips. These are both recipes that even the kale-skeptical often really like. Besides being incredibly healthy and one of the easiest thing on the planet to grow, kale really can be delicious, too!

Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes are creamy little gourmet potatoes. They are long and thin (hence the name), and they are fantastic either roasted or boiled. You don’t need to peel them; just make sure they are clean and cut into equal-sized pieces. To roast just toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary (if desired). Then cook on a baking sheet at 425 degrees until soft. Make sure to move the potatoes around a few times while cooking so they don’t burn.

PYO

As I mentioned in the Sunday e-mail, PYO apples are done for the season, but there are still plenty of PYO raspberries, and there will be until we get a hard frost. The picking is better in Essex, but there is still picking at both locations. If you have a PYO apple voucher that you didn’t use, or a berry voucher that you don’t plan to use, just bring them in to me at pick-up and you can use the voucher for extra CSA produce.

Stuffed Peppers

I like the following recipe because it’s pretty basic and therefore easy to alter to suit your own tastes. You could sub sausage or ground turkey for the beef and pork, and cooked brown rice or quinoa for the cooked white rice. You could also add cheese or mushrooms to the stuffing or mess around with the spices (I really love allspice in stuffed peppers). Whatever you do, it will probably still be tasty!

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Emeril Lagasse’s Recipe from The Food Network)

6 green bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked long or medium-grain white rice
8 ounces tomato sauce
Water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell peppers and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, pork, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Single Share

Choose 5 options:
3 zucchini
2 lbs apples (type to be determined)
1 quart fingerling potatoes
1.5 lbs peppers
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1.25 lbs carrots
1 large or 2 small winter squash (will probably be 2-3 different kinds)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1 large or 2 small cabbages
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale

Small Share

Choose 7 options:

3 zucchini
2 lbs apples (type to be determined)
1 quart fingerling potatoes
1.5 lbs peppers
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1.25 lbs carrots
1 large or 2 small winter squash (will probably be 2-3 different kinds)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1 large or 2 small cabbages
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale

Large Share

Choose 10 options:

3 zucchini
2 lbs apples (type to be determined)
1 quart fingerling potatoes
1.5 lbs peppers
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1.25 lbs carrots
1 large or 2 small winter squash (will probably be 2-3 different kinds)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1 large or 2 small cabbages
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale

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