Archive for category 2012-2013 Winter Share Newsletters

Winter Share — February 12 (Cold-Oil French Fries, Maple Glazed Carrots)

The bad news is that last night I got a call from Tim, the wholesale manager at Pete’s Greens, letting me know that they couldn’t provide the greens I had ordered due to quality issues (the greenhouses got too cold). The good news is that I was able to get ahold of Dick Wilcox, the owner of Amber Ridge Maple in Underhill, and he was able to provide a lot of maple syrup on VERY short notice. So instead of greens, everyone will get a pint of medium amber or fancy Vermont maple syrup. This makes the retail value of the share go up a lot, but we had wanted to add something extra to the share this week as a thank-you, so it works out. Still have your frozen blueberries? Now’s the time to make blueberry pancakes! The syrup also makes an awesome glaze for parsnips and carrots.

This Week’s Produce

1 pint maple syrup (Amber Ridge Maple) ($11)

3 lb. bag Macintosh apples (Sunrise Orchard) ($4.5)

1+ lbs. parsnips (Jericho Settler’s Farm) ($2.5)

2 lbs. carrots (Jericho Settler’s Farm) ($3.5)

1 jar our own blueberry jam ($5)

2.5 lbs. Canadian onions ($3)

5 lbs. our own white potatoes ($3.5)

1.5 lbs. our own beets ($3) (or skip the beets and get 4 extra lbs. potatoes)

Total retail value: $37.5

End of Year Survey

This is the last winter CSA pick-up of the year. Please feel free to e-mail me your thoughts and ideas for making the CSA better! The one comment I have heard a lot already is about greens – I wish we could have given out more! Hopefully next year we can find a more reliable producer, or figure out a way to give out our own for more of the season.

Potatoes

We’re giving out 5 lbs. of large white potatoes this week. If you don’t want beets, you can also take an extra 3 or 4 lbs. of potatoes.

If you have a paper bag, I’ve found that the potatoes are less likely to turn green in paper, even if kept in a dark cupboard or pantry. You don’t want to eat potatoes that look green (they’re mildly toxic), but if you find that the potatoes sprout a little, don’t worry about it; just break off the sprouts. I’ve found that this is a good job for small kids who want to help with dinner preparations.

White potatoes are a waxy potato, which means that they’re not the best for mashed potatoes, but they’re good for soups, stews, and potato salad. I’ve also found that they’re nice roasted and they make good French-fries, especially if you use the cold-oil method. The cold oil method is easier than the tradition method, and also healthier (the potatoes actually absorb less oil). Cook’s Illustrated recommends Yukon Gold potatoes, but I’ve found that whites work well too.

Cold Oil French Fries

(Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

2 ½ lbs. potatoes, washed, dried, and cut into ¼ inch “fries”

6 cups oil (vegetable or canola works, but peanut is best)

Salt

Combine potatoes and oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Cook over high heat until oil has reached a rolling boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, without stirring, until potatoes are limp but exteriors are beginning to firm, about 12-15 minutes.

Using tongs, stir potatoes, gently scraping up any that stick, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and crisp, 5-10 minutes longer.

Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Maple Syrup

We’re giving out Fancy and Medium amber syrup this week. While the darker syrups (like dark amber and grade B) are better for baking (they add a stronger maple flavor), I’ve found that most sugar makers I know like the fancy or medium the best. I buy fancy, because I like it on pancakes and plain yogurt, and I use it in cooking because it’s what I have. I’ve come to really like the subtle maple flavor it adds to soups and glazes. It’s sweet and maple-y without being overpowering.

Here’s my go-to recipe for very easy maple-glazed carrots. A mix of white and gold carrots would be nice here, or even carrots and parsnips.

Maple Glazed Carrots

(From Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”)

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • Salt and freshly ground black      pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley      leaves for garnish, optional

Trim the tops and bottoms from the carrots and peel them if the outsides are tough. Then cut them into coins or sticks about ¼ inch thick. Put them in a large pot with the butter, maple syrup, ½ cup water, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; set over high heat and bring to a boil.

Stir once, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily and cover the pan. Cook, undisturbed, until the carrots are just beginning to get tender and have absorbed almost all of the liquid, 10 to 15 minutes. They’re ready when you can spear them with a fork but still meet some resistance.

Remove the lid and keep cooking until the remaining liquid thickens into a glaze and coats the carrots, then remove from the heat. Taste, adjust the seasoning with salt or pepper, and serve hot or warm, garnished with the parsley if you like.

Jam

If you didn’t try the little jam-filled cookie recipe last time we gave out jam and want to this time, here it is: https://paulmazzascsa.com/?s=jam+thumbprint

Blueberry jam is also great mixed into plain yogurt, or added to a blueberry sauce made with frozen berries (and very little sugar, since the jam has plenty!) If you’re feeling ambitious, it’s also great on toast made from home-made bread!

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Winter Share — January 29 – February 11 (Stir-Fried Pork with Napa Cabbage)

Onions and beets are back this week, and we’re giving out the very last of our carrots! I’m sad to see them go, but it will also be nice not to have to clean and sort them anymore. . .

Pete’s Greens didn’t have any kale or chard or lettuce available this week, but they did have lots of baby napa cabbage, so we’re offering that. Napa cabbage is milder and more tender than regular cabbage, and is great stir-fried. The baby heads are sweet and crunchy and really tasty. If you don’t use it for the wonderful stir-fry recipe below, it’s also great chopped and tossed with shredded carrots and a simple vinaigrette and maybe a little fresh dill or mint.

This Week’s Produce

Approx. 2 baby napa cabbages (Pete’s Greens) ($5)

Our own frozen blueberries ($4)

2+ lbs. parsnip and carrot mix (parsnips from Jericho Settler’s Farm) ($5)

5 lbs. russet potatoes ($3.5)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($3.5)

2 lbs. beets ($5)

2.5 lbs. Canadian onions ($3)

Total retail value: $29

Last Pick-up

Tuesday, February 12 is the last pick-up day for the winter CSA. We have home-made blueberry jam to give out, and we’re planning on giving everyone a 5 lb. bag of Sunrise Orchard Macintosh apples. Everyone also will get 8 lbs. of potatoes and some onions. We’ll try to get something green from Pete’s, as well as some carrots and either celeriac or parsnips from Jericho Settler’s Farm. If you want to send me a quick e-mail letting me know which of these veggies you prefer, that would be great. Just put “celeriac” or “parsnips” in the subject line and I’ll go with whatever more people want. You can also share your feelings about one more week of beets; if enough people need a break I will probably make them optional for week 8.

Blueberries

Like frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries are excellent in smoothies. They make a great sauce, and you can toss them into muffin or cake batter. My favorite way to use them, though, is to add them to pancake batter. There is really nothing better than hot blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup on a cold January morning. Frozen berries are prefect for pancakes; you can just mix them (still frozen) into the batter or sprinkle them on top of the uncooked pancakes in the pan. Because the berries were frozen individually, you should be able to break them up pretty easily once you open the bag and break the vacuum seal.

Here’s a link to a summer CSA newsletter with a blueberry pancake recipe: https://paulmazzascsa.com/?s=blueberry+pancakes

eet Potatoes

This could be the last week for the sweet potatoes; it depends how they did in the cold, and how many we have to compost. If you’re like me, you’ve probably been eating a lot of roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and sweet potato soup. Here are some recipes for new ideas like fritters, pilaf, and sweet potato casserole:

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_sweet_potato_recipes

apa Cabbage

The baby napa is from Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury. It was harvested right after Thanksgiving and kept in cold storage. Here’s a recipe for a napa stir-fry with pork from epicurious.com:

(This would also be great with thinly sliced or even grated carrots)

Stir-Fried Pork with Napa Cabbage

 

  • 1 (1-lb) pork tenderloin
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 lb. Napa cabbage, quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces (10 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

Accompaniment: rice

Trim off and discard any silver skin from pork (do not trim fat). Cut pork across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then toss with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl.

Stir together vinegar, salt, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, and remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl.

Stir together water and remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch in a cup.

Rinse cabbage in a large colander. Tap colander lightly, then transfer cabbage to a large bowl with water still clinging to leaves.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then add pork in 1 layer as quickly as possible. Cook, undisturbed, until pork begins to brown, about 3 minutes, then turn over and cook, undisturbed, until browned but still pink in center, about 1 minute more. Transfer pork and any juices to a plate. Do not clean skillet.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then stir-fry garlic and ginger 30 seconds. Add half of cabbage and stir-fry over high heat until cabbage is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining cabbage (skillet will be very full), along with any water in bowl, and soy sauce mixture, then cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until all of cabbage is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add pork, along with any juices accumulated on plate, and bring to a boil. Stir cornstarch mixture, then pour into skillet and boil, stirring, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Season with salt, then serve sprinkled with cilantro.

 

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January 15 – January 29 (Celeriac and Apple Salad, Sweet Potato and Chipoltle Soup)

We’re giving out a few new items this week, and skipping a few that we’ve given out a lot (like beets and onions). I’m especially excited about the celeriac from Jericho Settler’s Farm; celeriac is ugly, but it tastes like sweet celery hearts and parsley. We’re also giving out sweet Carmen peppers that we froze this fall.

Everyone who wants one can also get a jumbo hubbard squash again this week. Hubbard squash it wonderful roasted, mashed, and in soups (you can use it just as you would butternut). If you want to pass, though, due to the size of the squash, just let me know when you pick up and I’ll have something there to give you instead.

This Week’s Produce:

3 lb. bag Sunrise Orchard empire apples ($4.50)

1+ lb. celeriac from Jericho Settler’s Farm ($3)

1 large blue hubbard squash ($7)

1 12 oz. bag of frozen, chopped sweet carmen peppers ($3)

5 lbs. red potatoes ($3.50)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($4)

2 lbs. carrots ($3)

Total retail value: $27.50

I’m really sorry that we were not able to get greens for the share this week! Pete’s Greens hasn’t been able to sell us any for the past few weeks. I’m thinking that next year we should look into growing our own!

Celeriac

Celeriac (also called celery root) is a root vegetable that’s related to celery and parsley. It’s sweet and flavorful and very good peeled and mashed (like a mashed potato – you and even cook it and mash it with potatoes). It can also be eaten raw, although it’s a little bit tough and chewy. For this reason most Celeriac salad recipes call for you to cut the root into thin matchstick-sized pieces, or to use a vegetable peeler to get nice thin strips. This can be a bit time consuming, but it’s worth it; celeriac salad is sweet and crunchy and full of summer-y flavor.

Here’s a recipe for a celeriac and apple salad from the blog “The Well Seasoned Cook”:

Celeriac and Apple Salad with Walnut Shallot Vinaigrette

1 celeriac, the size of a large fist, about 5 ounces
1 large or 2 medium apples
Bowl of water with 1/4 cup white vinegar added

Slice off gnarled and leafy ends of celeriac and discard. Peel celeriac, then cut into matchsticks. Add to water to prevent browning. Peel and core apple, then cut into dice, adding it to the water with the celeriac. Set aside.

Walnut Shallot Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons walnut oil
2-3 tablespoons apple cider, red wine or white vinegar (start with 2 tablespoons)
¼ cup apple juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (start with 1/2 teaspoon)
A few cranks of black pepper

In a medium bowl whisk all ingredients together. Adjust vinegar, celery salt and/or pepper if necessary to your preferences.

Assembly

Drain and blot dry the apple and celeriac. Divide into two bowls. Whisk vinaigrette one more time, then drizzle over each salad. Serve immediately. Serves 2.

Hubbard Squash

If you’re a butternut squash soup fan, you’re in luck; hubbard makes a great creamy squash soup. The color is not as bright orange, but other than that, the taste is similar. You can even peel and cube your squash raw, as you would with butternut, if you want. I’ve found that it’s easier to roast your squash pieces (or halves, if you’re brave enough to try to use a knife on your squash!) in the oven, and then to scoop out the cooked flesh and add it to your soup. You can then just freeze the rest of the cooked squash in zip-lock bags and use it later. Remember: the squash can take 2 hours or more to cook. It also works well to cover it with foil for most of the cooking, if you can manage it! You probably want to take the foil off for the last half an hour or so.

Potatoes

I wanted to give out red potatoes this week since these are the best potatoes for stews and potato salad. A nice creamy potato salad in mid-winter can be a fun change of pace. Here’s a link to a potato salad recipe from the summer CSA:

https://paulmazzascsa.com/?s=potato+salad

Sweet Potatoes

As I mentioned in the Sunday e-mail, if you’ve lost any sweet potatoes over the past few weeks, please feel free to take extra to make up for it!

A CSA member sent me a link to this delicious Sweet Potato soup from marthastewart.com. I linked to it on facebook, but figured I would share it here too. After 6 weeks of sweet potatoes, I figure folks might enjoy a tasty new way to use them!

Sweet Potato and Chipotle Soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (2 pounds total), peeled and cut
  • 1/2 to 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
  • 7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Toasted flour tortilla wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until beginning to brown around edges, about 7 minutes. Add cumin and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sweet potatoes, chile, and broth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a rapid simmer, partially cover, and cook until sweet potatoes can be mashed easily with a spoon, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Let soup cool slightly. Working in
    batches, transfer soup to a blender
    and puree until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Return pureed soup to pot over low heat and season with salt and pepper. Top soup with sour cream and serve with tortilla wedges, if desired.

 

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Winter Share for January 2 – January 14 (Strawberry Sauce, Roasted Parsnips, Grated Beet Salad)

I hope everyone had a good holiday! We’re giving out frozen strawberries this week, along with some sweet parsnips from Jericho Settler’s farm. We ordered parsnip seeds this winter for next spring, so hopefully next winter we will be able to give out our own!

I was unable to get any greens for the share this week, but I should be able to get some for the next pick-up. For this week we still have our own cabbage (I’ve been blown away by how well it’s kept!) and turnips if you want to pass on the cabbage.

This Week’s Produce

1 quart bag our own frozen strawberries ($5)

1.75 – 2 lbs. parsnips (from Jericho Settler’s Farm) ($4.50)

5 lbs. russet (baking) potatoes ($3.50)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($4)

3 lbs. onions (from Canada) ($3.5)

2 lbs. beets ($4)

2 lbs. carrots ($3)

2 lbs. turnips or 1 head cabbage ($2)

Total retail value: $29.50

Strawberries

The strawberries were picked and frozen this past June. They were frozen individually and then bagged and vacuum sealed, so they can be broken up pretty easily. You can toss 5 or 6 frozen berries in a blender with a ripe banana and some plain yogurt for a healthy smoothie, or with some vanilla ice cream and milk for an awesome strawberry milkshake!

You can also let your berries thaw and then cut them up and use them for baking or pancakes, or even turn them into jam or preserves. They’ll be mushy when they thaw, so they’re not great to eat plain, but they’re just as good as fresh for baking, jam, smoothies, etc.

Strawberry Sauce

My favorite way to use strawberries is to make a simple strawberry sauce with sugar, frozen or thawed berries, and a little water to keep things from burning in the beginning. You can also add some fresh or bottled lemon juice. You just cook everything over medium heat until you get a sauce. I mash up the berries with the back of a wooden spoon as they’re cooking. If you happen to have frozen rhubarb in the freezer you want to add that, too!

This sauce will last at least a week in the fridge, and is great on yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes. . . you can even spoon it warm over pound cake or biscuits for a winter-time version of strawberry shortcake.

Parsnips

I’m really excited that we have parsnips this week from our neighbors at Jericho Settler’s Farm. Like most other root veggies, parsnips are fantastic roasted, since roasting really brings out their sweetness. I would recommend tossing equal-sized chunks of parsnip, carrot, and turnip, and onion on a couple of baking trays with some olive oil (toss everything together to coat the veggies) and salt and pepper. You then want to roast at 425 degrees or so until the veggies are soft and starting to brown.

Want some more parsnip recipes and ideas? Check out this slideshow with recipes from the Eating Well website: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/easy_recipes_for_parsnips#leaderboardad

Beets

Beets are one of the healthiest foods out there (they’re loaded with antioxidants), and they’re also delicious! Despite this, there are a lot of beet-haters around (I happen to be married to one). I found this recipe on the New York Times’ health and wellness blog Well. It’s a recipe that even professed beet-haters will enjoy. Although it takes a bit of effort to peel and grate the beets, this salad is worth it; it’s sweet and full of flavor, especially after a day or two. You can also add a few peeled and grated carrots to the mix. To see the some other recipes that they recommend for converting the beet-wary, go to: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/beet-recipes-even-a-beet-hater-can-love/

Grated Raw Beet Salad

1/2 pound beets

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon minced chives, mint or parsley (or a combination)

Salt to taste

Leaves of 1 romaine heart

1. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The grated beets can be dressed and kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. They become more tender but don’t lose their texture, and the mixture becomes even sweeter as the beet juices mingle with the citrus. Toss again before serving.

Russet Potatoes

Russets are great for baking, and for mashed potatoes. They also make fantastic twice-baked potatoes. You can see my twice-baked potato recipe from a previous newsletter here: https://paulmazzascsa.com/?s=twice+baked+potatoes.

Although it’s not in the recipe, I would recommend putting your potatoes through a food mill or ricer for the best results; the electric mixer is fast, but makes for gummier potatoes. A hand masher also works well, but the results might be a bit lumpy.

I’m going to try to bring both medium and large potatoes, so folks can choose the sizes they’d like. The large potatoes are great, and make wonderful baked or twice-baked potatoes, but about half of them will have a little bit of discoloration in the center. You can simply cut this harmless “heart rot” out before or after you cook the potato. It’s not actually rot, and won’t do you any harm if you eat it; it just looks a little odd!

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Winter Share Newsletter for December 18 – January 1 (Pasta with Baby Chard and Shrimp, Root Vegetable and Cabbage Soup with Kielbasa)

We’re giving out lots of potatoes and apples this week, along with some really delicious baby chard from Pete’s Greens. You have a choice between cabbage and beets, since I know we’ve given both of these out a lot! The share also includes carrots, sweet potatoes, and onions again.

As you know, we’re attempting to store our root vegetables in a cooler that has been turned off for the winter. The temperature stays around 50 degrees, and, since we stored most of the produce dirty, we haven’t had much loss. The only issue we’ve had is with the carrots, which aren’t holding up that well and which are very time consuming to clean and sort. Despite this we think we’ll be able to give them out for most of the rest of the CSA, although we may have to buy some for last week. If you have had any issues with the carrots not lasting long in your fridge, please let me know when you pick up and I’ll replace whatever you have lost.

This Week’s Produce:

1 bag sweet baby chard (Pete’s Greens) ($5)

1/2 peck (about 5 lbs.) Macintosh apples (Sunrise Orchard, Cornwall) ($7)

3 lbs. Canadian onions ($3.5)

8 lbs. white chef (very large) potatoes ($5)

3 lbs. sweet potatoes ($4)

3 lbs. carrots ($4)

1.5 lbs. beets OR 1 head cabbage ($2-$3)

Total retail value: $30.5 – $31.5

Apples

Because Douglas Orchard is done selling apples for the year, we got our apples this week from Sunrise Orchard in Cornwall. Sunrise is a large orchard, and they share a special atmosphere controlled storage facility with Champlain Orchard that keeps their apples fresh-tasting and crisp though the winter and spring. This allows them to sell high quality apples for much of the year. Their apples are great, but they are also much more expensive than the ones we normally get, especially this year since prices are higher due to the rough year many growers had. This is why I valued them at $7, not the usual $4. I felt bad about this valuation until I realized that at Hannaford this winter a 5 lb. bag of Vermont apples is $1.79/lb. — about $9!

Apple Recipes and Ideas

Macintosh are the best apple for homemade applesauce. I also believe they are the best baking apple; although they don’t hold their shape as some other apples, their fantastic flavor more than compensates.

Here are some ideas for using your apples:

Applesauce

https://paulmazzascsa.com/?s=applesauce

Apple Bread pudding (great make-ahead holiday breakfast)

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Apple-Bread-Pudding-5802

Skillet Apple Pie (easy and has a complex caramel flavor you don’t get in a regular apple pie! I would use macs and maybe a few granny smiths in this recipe) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/b.-smith/b-smiths-skillet-apple-pie-recipe/index.html

Baby Chard

Like the apples, the local baby chard cost much more than we expected. We felt that it was worth it, though, to have something green and fresh in the share! Baby chard is sweeter and milder than regular chard, and can be substituted for spinach in most recipes. Try it wilted and tossed with pasta, as in this recipe (from the Olivia’s Organic Website).

Pasta with Baby Chard and Shrimp

1 lb. pasta (ziti or cavatelli)

1 lb. large shrimp – peeled and deveined

with tail left on

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion – diced

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 tomatoes – seeded and chopped

1 bag baby chard, larger leaves chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup Parmesan cheese – freshly grated

Cook pasta as directed on package label; cook until al dente.

While pasta cooks, season shrimp with salt and pepper; set aside.

Add olive oil to large sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat.

Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.

Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add chopped tomatoes and baby swiss chard, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring, Add shrimp to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until pink on both sides.

Stir in broth, bring to barely a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add cooked pasta, toss and remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and serve.

Root Vegetable and Cabbage Soup with Kielbasa

If you have any cabbage or rutabaga left in your fridge and you have no idea what to do with it, try this recipe. It is simple and delicious; I’ve probably made it 5 times already this winter! You could also make a vegetarian version by omitting the kielbasa and using vegetable stock instead of water.

2 tablespoons oil or butter

1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped

1 large or 2 medium rutabagas, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (optional)

1 large or 2 medium red or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

About 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 package Kielbasa (I use turkey), cut into 1-inch pieces.

Water

2 bay leaves

½ head cabbage, core removed, cut into ½ inch strips.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Saute onions in oil or butter over medium heat until soft (about 10 minutes) Add kielbasa, carrots, potatoes, and rutabaga (if using). Cook, stirring often, for 2 or 3 minutes. Add bay leaves and enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cabbage and continue to cook until all of the vegetables are tender, about 10 or 15 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaves.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie

I found this recipe for a fluffier, tangy-er version of classic sweet potato pie on the great Smitten Kitchen blog: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/11/sweet-potato-buttermilk-pie/

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Winter Share Newsletter for December 4 – December 17 (Strawberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies, Borscht)

As I mentioned in the Sunday e-mail, the share this week would make some great soups and stews. You could try carrot-ginger, butternut squash and leek, potato and leek, sweet and sour  cabbage, or even curried sweet potato soup. Here’s a link to a recipe for beef stew with  Guinness that looks fantastic – you could sub cubed rutabaga for the parsnips and chopped onion for the pearl onions. There are pictures and step-by-step instructions, too, which is helpful if you’ve never made a crock-pot stew!

http://www.irishamericanmom.com/2011/11/04/irish-guinness-beef-stew-crockpot-recipe/

This Week’s Produce:

1 pint jam made with our own strawberries (great for holiday cookies!) ($5)

2 leeks (may be more if we have enough) ($2)

1 butternut squash (hopefully! We haven’t checked them in a few weeks, so they may have gone by. If we don’t have butternut we will sub something else) ($3)

2 lbs rutabagas ($2)

2 lbs carrots ($3)

4 lbs potatoes ($3.5)

3 lbs sweet potatoes ($3)

1 head cabbage ($2)

1.8 lbs beets ($4)

3 lbs onions ($3.5)

Total retail value: $31

Jam

The strawberry jam was made with our own berries by Patty Shortsleeves. Patty used to work at the farm every weekday morning, but now she just helps out one or two evenings a week and makes our delicious jam.

I love any sort of holiday cookie with jam, but I don’t have the patience for complicated sandwich cookies. The recipe below makes a cookie that’s just as good as the fanciest little linzer torte, but much easier. It’s also pretty kid-friendly; my 2-year old had a blast rolling each ball of dough in the sugar.

Strawberry Jam Tots

(Adapted from Joy of Cooking)

½ cup sugar, plus more for rolling

½ cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flower

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Strawberry jam

Pre-heat oven to 370. Grease 2 cookie sheets. Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the vanilla, eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in sugar and then place about 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 5 minutes. Depress the center of each cookie with a thimble or your thumb. Continue baking until very lightly brown, about 8 minutes. Let stand briefly. When cool, fill the center of each cookie with strawberry jam (you’ll only need about half a teaspoon or so).

 

If you want to see what the cookies should look like while baking and when done, take a look at this blog post:

http://rabbitfoodrocks.blogspot.com/2012/12/jamtop-cookies-jam-thumbprint-cookies.html

Note: Joy of Cooking claims that this will make 42 cookies, but I usually get about 2 dozen. It’s an easy recipe to double, though!

Beets

I hope no one out there is getting tired of beets, because everyone’s getting more of them this week!

There are a million different ways to make borscht: it can be smooth or chucky, hot or cold, meat-free or full of beef or sausage. Different central and eastern European cuisines call for different vegetables, so some versions have cabbage, some tomatoes, some potatoes and carrots, etc. In the US it usually just means some sort of beet soup, often pureed and served cold and garnished with sour cream and fresh dill.

Below is a recipe for that kind of Borcht, which is pinkish and creamy and wonderful. I’ve also included a link to a recipe for a more traditional hot Russian Borscht, which looks fantastic, although very time-consuming!

Borscht

From The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

7 cups water

2 lbs beets, scrubbed

1 onion, peeled and halved

¼ cup white vinegar

¼ cup sugar

Salt

¾ cup heavy cream

¾ cup sour cream

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (for serving)

Place water, beets, onion, vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer until beets are tender, about 45 minutes for medium beets.

Transfer the beets to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large container. Remove beet skins (they will peel off easily). Chop half of the beets into large chunks and process with 1 cup of the broth in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir into the broth. Grate the remaining beets over the large holes of a box grater and stir into broth. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 ½ hours. Whisk the heavy cream and sour cream into the soup. Serve, garnishing the individual bowls with the dill.

Classic Russian Borscht: 

http://girlsguidetobutter.com/2011/10/classic-russian-borscht/

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Winter Share Newsletter for November 20 – December 3 (Simple Cranberry Sauce, Kale Salad with Cranberries and Walnuts, Fluffy Mashed Potatoes)

I’m especially excited about our share this week, since you could make pretty much all of your Thanksgiving side-dishes and desserts with local produce! I plan on having squash pie, apple crisp, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, kale salad with cranberries and walnuts, spiced squash, roasted Brussels sprouts, and home-made cranberry sauce. You could also have maple glazed carrots, cranberry bread, buttered turnips, roasted or pickled beets. . . the list goes on and on. I’m hoping there will be enough produce so that everyone has some left over for meals in the weeks after the big day, too.

This Week’s Produce

1 bag VT cranberries (VT Cranberry Company in Fletcher) ($5)

3 lbs empire apples (Douglas Orchards in Shoreham) ($4)

3 lbs onions (Quebec) ($3.5)

5 lbs russet potatoes ($3.5)

3 lbs sweet potatoes ($4)

1 green cabbage or 1 bunch kale (your choice) ($2)

3 lbs carrots ($4)

1 dumpling or delicata squash (there may not be a choice) ($2)

2 lbs turnips ($2)

1.5 lbs beets ($3)

1 stalk brussels sprouts (hopefully!) ($3)

1 bunch parsley or 1 bunch thyme (your choice) ($1.5)

Total retail value: $37.5

Cranberries

We got the cranberries from VT Cranberry Company in Fletcher (about 30 miles north of Essex.) We were thrilled to find that cranberries can be grown in Vermont, and that we could buy the 100 lbs we needed without any trouble a few days before Thanksgiving. If you’ve never made home-made cranberry sauce before, you really should. It really is almost as easy as opening up a can, and it tastes 100 percent better.

Simple Cranberry Sauce

1 lb fresh cranberries

1 1/3 cup sugar (Can be all white or half brown half white)

1 1/3 cup orange juice

Put sugar and juice into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until cranberries start to pop, 10 to 15 minutes.

I like my cranberry sauce plain, but feel free to dress yours up with cinnamon, orange zest, walnuts, or candied ginger.

Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

This salad would make a great Thanksgiving side dish. The bitterness of the kale and the brightness of the lemon and cranberries makes for a delicious salad, and it’s nice to have something green and healthy on a plate that’s loaded up with rich, buttery food!

1 bunch kale, center rib removed, cut into thin strips

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or from a bottle is OK here)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup chopped walnuts

1/3 cup crumbled gorganzola cheese (optional)

In a large bowl mix the kale, oil, lemon, salt, and pepper until kale is coated. Massage the dressing into the kale for a few minutes. Toss with walnuts and cranberries and cheese if using. Serve at room temperature if possible.

Note: If you want to make the salad ahead of time, it’s fine to refrigerate it for a day or two. You want to add the nuts, fruit, and cheese at the last minute though.

Best Mashed Potatoes

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen Radio. Their recipes aren’t always the quickest or simplest, but they’re always delicious!

This recipe works best with either a metal colander that sits easily in a Dutch oven or a large pasta pot with a steamer insert. To prevent excess evaporation, it is important for the lid to fit as snugly as possible over the colander or steamer. A steamer basket will work, but you will have to transfer the hot potatoes out of the basket to rinse them off halfway through cooking. For the lightest, fluffiest texture, use a ricer. A food mill is the next best alternative. Russets and white potatoes will work in this recipe, but avoid red-skinned potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes (4 to 6 medium), peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks, rinsed well, and drained
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • Table salt
  • 2/3 cup whole milk , warm
  • Ground black pepper

Instructions

1. Place metal colander or steamer insert in large pot or Dutch oven. Add enough water for it to barely reach bottom of colander. Turn heat to high and bring water to boil. Add potatoes, cover, and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook potatoes 10 minutes. Transfer colander to sink and rinse potatoes under cold water until no longer hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Return colander and potatoes to pot, cover, and continue to cook until potatoes are soft and tip of paring knife inserted into potato meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Pour off water from Dutch oven.

2. Set ricer or food mill over now-empty pot. Working in batches, transfer potatoes to hopper of ricer or food mill and process, removing any potatoes stuck to bottom. Using rubber spatula, stir in melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt until incorporated. Stir in warm milk until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately.

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