CSA Box # 17 10-12-10
In this weeks’ box:
Carrots Flat leaf parsley Green Cabbage
Potatoes Bell peppers Arugula
Corn Cipollini Onion Radish
Heirloom Tomatoes Sunchokes Beets
Whew! The second to last box of the regular season CSA and I can barely fit the list on the page! Seems like the crops came on with a vengeance in the late season this year. Monday night gave us our first light frost of the season, which spells the end of the tomatoes, cucumbers and summer squash, but will sweeten up our fall crops nicely! Joe and the crew have completed cover-cropping the bare areas of the fields and all the squash, beans, potatoes and onions are tucked nicely undercover out of frosts and rains.
It’s feeling like the end of the main season around here with only one box to go, though there are plenty of delicious veggies still to be had if you care to join the fall CSA. Think about four more weeks of crops like winter squash, pie pumpkins, leeks, cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, beets, greens of many kinds, herbs, celeriac, fennel…. Yum! The last fall box ends up right around Thanksgiving, which gives you plenty of fresh local veggies for your holiday meals. Definitely cuts back on shopping trips during a very busy time. What could be better?
There are a few new items in your boxes this week that I would like to write about. The first is the knobby tuber looking things. They are known as Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes. They come from a plant from the sunflower family known as Helianthus tuberosus a native plant to eastern North America that has been cultivated for centuries and was first introduced to Europe around 1617. The tubers have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor and are known to be very high in fiber, iron, potassium, and thiamine. In addition they have particular value for people with diabetes or other blood sugar problems has the carbohydrate in them takes the form of inulin rather than sucrose or starches that are found in most tubers, like potatoes. Sunchokes are delicious when boiled, peeled, sliced and tossed in a pan with butter, wine, and herbs such as chives or rosemary. They are also great steamed and baked or made into creamy soups. They can also be used raw like water chesnuts or eaten like radishes.(see recipe page for more ideas.) The tubers are completely frost hardy and can be dug throughout the fall and winter so you may see these in your box again if you join the fall CSA.
Another new addition to the boxes is the famous Cipollini onion. These round, flat, golden colored onions originate in Italian cuisine and are intense flavored but not as pungent as large storage onions. They are delicious roasted whole, caramelized, or used in kabobs and become very sweet when cooked (again see the recipe page).
That’s going to wrap it up for now. Remember, next week is your final pick up for the regular season CSA! Please remember to return your waxed box to the drop sites or bring your own next week so you needn’t take it home. Also, for those of you who haven’t completed your payment plan now is the time! Please send checks to 13136-A 201st Ave SW, Rochester, WA 98579. Or if you have questions about your balance due please call or email us. 360 -273-7597 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much!
Asha, Joseph and the Crew
Recipe Page #17 10-12-10
Wash and peel 11/2 lbs of sunchokes. Steam them or drop into a saucepan of boiling water. To prevent discoloration add 1 tsp mild vinegar or dry white wine. Cook, covered, until just tender, Test with fork after 15 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 to 3 Tbsp butter and add 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 2 drops hot pepper sauce. Pour over the sunchokes and serve.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub and peel 2 lbs of sunchokes. Cut them into ¼ inch slices. Butter a 2 qt. baking dish. Lay down a layer of sliced sunchokes in the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add another layer and continue, this time sprinkle with salt, pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and some parmesan cheese. Keep layering and sprinkling until you use all the sunchokes. Add nutmeg only every other layer. On top add 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese and more salt, pepper and nutmeg if desired. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Then uncover and bake for 20 minutes more, until brown and bubbly. Serves 4 to 6.
Baking for a long time at low heat concentrates their flavor into a rich tomato sauce to toss with pasta or use on pizza. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper 4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes, cut into ¾ inch slices. Combine: 1 tsp confectioners sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper and drizzle over tomatoes. Then drizzle with olive oil and chopped basil, thyme or other herb of your choice. Bake for 2 hours and let cool to room temperature.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes:
Put 2 lbs of unpeeled diced potatoes and 6 cloves of garlic in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and add 1 tsp salt. Boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and then mash with a potato masher. Add a splash of cream, and a few tbsp of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fresh Corn Polenta:
Boil 7 cups of water or stock in a heavy saucepan. Add 1 tbsp of salt and whisk in 2 cups of polenta. Continue to whisk until the polenta begins to thicken about 1 to 3 minutes. Turn heat to med-low and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently with a spoon. If polenta becomes too thick to stir, add hot water, a bit at a time until the polenta is soft, but has shape. After 20 minutes stir in the kernels cut from 4 ears of corn. Continue to cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in 4 tbsp of unsalted butter, ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, and 4 tbsp chopped chives or basil. Salt to taste.
Fresh Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Sweet Onion and Tomato salad with Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Cut 1 head lettuce into ½ inch strips then wash and dry. Take the kernels off of 2 ears raw sweet corn. Cut 1 cucumber in half, scrape out the seeds and dice it into ½ moon shaped pieces. Finely chop ½ a sweet onion and 1 tomato. Top the lettuce with all of the above. For the dressing: In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp stone ground mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake well. Dress the salad and toss. Top with ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese, 2 tbsp chopped chives, and 4 tbsp chopped basil. This would be great with bacon or chicken added!
Oven Roasted Cipollini Onions:
This recipe is simple and easy, no quantities are needed. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cippolini onions (with the outer layer removed) whole, with olive oil, good sea salt, cracked pepper, and fresh thyme. Place them in a oven proof dish and roast for 35 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until carmelized and tender.