Large shares: Acorn squash, celariac, leeks, Charentais melon, Jonagold or King apples, yellow finn potatoes, kale, carrots, rosemary, sweet pepper
Small shares: Acorn squash, leeks, Charentais melon, Jonagold or King apples, yellow finn potatoes, carrots, rosemary
Dear CSA members,
What a gorgeous fall day to be wrapping up our Summer 2016 CSA! We had our first frost of the season last night and certainly had to work to keep our hands warm at the barn as we began work a 630 a.m. The sun is out now and things have warmed up nicely with beautiful blue skies and fall colors all around our valley.
The frost will put an end to all our remaining summer crops such as cucumbers,peppers and summer squash that have still been hanging on. Only the heartiest plants will continue on from here to carry us through the winter months! All our winter squash is safely in storage, and the potatoes should be finsished within the next day or so. We still have an abundance of brassicas, escarole and raddichio, leeks, sunchokes, beets, carrots and other root crops out in the fields. The cold weather actually causes them to get sweeter! As plants produce sugars through photosynthesis, most are combined and stored in the plant as starches and other large polymers. But in response to cold temperatures, some plants break down some of their energy stores into “free” sugars, such as glucose and fructose, and stash them in their cells to guard against frost damage. Sugar dissolved in a cell makes it less susceptible to freezing in the same way that salting roads reduces ice. Lucky us!
We have a very nice box to wrap up our season with many of my favorite fall fruits and vegetables.
Charentais Melon: A true French cantaloupe that originated in the Poitou-Charentes region circa 1920. Considered by many to be the most divine and flavorful melon in the world. Smooth round melons mature to a creamy gray with faint ribs. Sweet, juicy, orange flesh with a heavenly fragrance. Store dry on the countertop until ready to eat. They don’t hold for long and so asap is best. These are heirlooms that have been bred for flavor and not convienient packability for grocery stores.
Jonagold or King apples: The Jonagold apples come from the orchard on my propery that provides us with tons of fruit each year. Jonagold is a large apple that is aromatic with honey-like flavor notes and tangy-sweet thanks to moderate acidity. They do not store long and should be used asap. Great for fresh eating, salads and desserts. King apples come from a large heirloom tree on the land that we rent. The variety originated in New Jersey in the late 1700’s. King is also a large red and yellow apple with excellent sweet, crisp flavor. They are great for fresh eating and desserts.
Acorn squash: this winter squash is a very familiar one to most of us. Acorn squash has a sweet, nutty flavor and is excellent baked, sautéed, or steamed. Acorn squash is also delicious made into soups. The seeds can be cleaned and roasted and make a tasty and nutritious snack. This squash will keep for quite some time in a cool dry place – in fact flavor will improve over time!
Leeks: this long and lovely member of the Allium family (onions, garlic and the like) is one of our star winter performers. They will stay alive through most winters here as long as the temperature dosen’t go below 10 degrees or so. They are much prized by chefs for their mild and tender flavor. To use them, first slice the whole thing vertically. Then fan out the many layers under running water to remove any trapped sediments. Slice off the tougher deep green tops, and use the white and light green parts in your recipes. Leeks will also keep for many weeks in your fridge crisper drawer. By peeling away outer layers, you can remove any discolored parts if you do decide to keep them for an extended time.
Celariac: the large and unusual knobby root with celery-like tops is celeriac. When the root is scrubbed and peeled, inside is a firm ivory flesh. The celeriac roots is very low in starch and is a nice alternative to potatoes and other starchier root vegetables. It tastes like a subtle blend of celery and parsley. You can use it in soups, grated into salads, roasted in a pan of other root vegetables, or even French fried instead of potatoes. Stores well in the refrigerator with the tops removed.
Charentais Melon Salad: In a small bowl combine 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine. Halve and seed a large Charentais melon, then slice into 1 inch thick wedges. Arrange the melon slices over 6 salad plates. Top melon slices with a slice of Prosciutto di San Daniele, scatter basil leaves on top and dress with the balsamic vinaigrette and freshly ground black pepper. From thecooksatelier.com
Leek and Potato Gratin: Preheat oven to 375. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil 3 lbs red potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick, for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Saute 10 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (washed thoroughly), and 4 chopped garlic cloves until leeks are tender about 7 minutes. Set aside. In a buttered 9 x 13 inch baking dish, arrange half of reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1 cup cream and ½ cup milk over the top and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Top with reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour another cup of heavy cream and ½ cup milk and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Bake until potatoes are tender, top of gratin is golden brown, and most of the cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with parsely. Serves 12. From November 2011 issue of Country Living magazine).
Celariac and Apple Slaw: Trim, peel, and cut into 1 inch matchsticks, 1 12oz Celery root. Cut 1 large Johnagold apple into matchsticks (2 cups). Combine together with 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh cider, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp dijon mustard, and 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
Celeriac Mash: Peel and dice 3 ½ cups of celeriac. Cook celeriac in a large saucepan of boiling slated water for 15 minutes. Add 1 12 oz potato that has been peeled, and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks, and boil until celeriac and potato are very tender, about 15 minutes longer. Drain. Return to same saucepan; stir over medium-high heat until any excess liquid in pan evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup heavy cream and 2 Tbsp butter; mash until mixture is almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Frizzled Leeks: Cut 2 leeks (white and very light green parts only) into 2 inch lengths and then cut lengthwise into very fine shreds. Rinse the shreds thoroughly, using your fingers to separate the pieces and remove any grit hiding there. Drain thoroughly and blot dry with a clean towel. While the leeks dry, heat 2 to 4 cups canola oil in a deep pan. The pan should hold about 1 ½ inches deep of the oil. When the oil surface is shivering, add a few leek shreds and fry for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the leeks to a paper towel lined platter to drain and cool. The oil should be hot enough to crisp the leeks golden brown in about 10 to 15 seconds, adjust temperature as needed. Fry the leeks in small batches until all are golden and crisp. Lightly season them with salt and use for snacking or to top salads and creamy soups. They will keep in an airtight container for 3 days at room temp.
Baked acorn squash with brown sugar and butter: Preheat oven to 400. Cut 1 acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp. Mix together 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp softened butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub the inside of the squash with this mixture. Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet and bake the squash for about 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a fork.
Apple Pie: For the crust: place 1 cup all purpose flour in a large bowl. Grate in ½ cup frozen unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt. Gradually drizzle in up to 1/3 cup ice water, and mix gently just until the dough comes together to form a ball. To much mixing will make the crust tough. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator. Heat oven to 425 degrees. For the filling: peel, core and slice into thin slices enough apples to make 6 cups. Gently stir into the sliced apples, 1/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, a dash of salt. Divide your pastry in half and roll out one half. Place in a 9 inch pie pan. Turn the filling into the pie pan. Either dot with additional butter and over with the other half of the pastry, or prepare this topping by mixing ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup cold butter, and 1 cup flour. Cover the pie with this crumble. Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in the crust, 40 to 50 minutes. You may need to cover the pie with foil to prevent excessive browning during baking.
Potato Leek Soup: Melt 3 tbsp butter in a soup pot over low heat. Add and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned about 20 minutes 2 large leeks, chopped. Stir in 1 1/4 lbs peeled and thinnly sliced yellow finn potatoes. Add 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer until the potatoes are soft about 30 minutes. Puree until smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme to taste.