Wobbly Cart Farm Fall CSA week #1

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10-20-15

“Value is not made of money, but a tender balance of expectation and longing.

– Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Large shares: Kabocha squash, Great Batavian escarole, Vitamin green, Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes, red onions, beets, carrots, sweet pepper, cauliflower, garlic, fresh sage

Small shares: Kabocha squash, beets, carrots, cauliflower, red onion, Great Batavian escarole, fresh sage

Dear CSA members,

Hello and welcome to week 1 of our Fall CSA! The crew and I convened at the barn about 1 hour later than normal to pack shares today, which was a welcome break from 18 weeks of 7 a.m. start times. We have less members for the fall share, and things slow down a bit, so we can afford to start a bit later. Not only that, but our low tech barn does not have the lighting infrastructure we need to safely work in the dark!

Joe has been logging many hours disking in spend crops around the farm, preparing them for cover cropping. We spread seeds of winter hardy beneficial plants like rye and vetch over the fields and allow it to grow all winter, blanketing the soil, and holding it in place during the long wet season ahead. In the spring, we are able to till these crops in, while they add organic matter and nutrients to enrich our soil. Joe has also been prepping our garlic field for next years’ crop. We will be prearing and planting the cloves this week!

We have very nice box this week. These crops are a great representation of some of the hearty fall crops that we are so lucky to be able to grow in our mild climate. The cauliflower finally came through for us and it is so beautiful. Also, the carrots are extra sweet and crunchy this time of year with cool temperatures and abundant rain water. As a whole, I feel like most of our root crops, brassicas and greens are at their best during the fall CSA share.

Some of the things you may be less familiar with are:

Escarole: these hardy and bitter greens are one of our fall and winter stars. Escarole is much like lettuce in texture but adds a very nice bitterness that pairs well with sweet flavors of fruit and balsamic vinegar. You can also grill or braise them and then dress with a vinaigrette. I have also heard that soaking the greens in water for a few hours will reduce some of the bitterness if so desired.

Kabocha Squash: A deep green skin , squat shaped squash with an intense yellow-orange color on the inside. The meat is sweeter than a butternut squash and fairly dry, good for making sauces and soups with. Before eating make sure the stem is very corky and dry which shows maturity. The squash itself will keep for many weeks if kept on the counter and dry.

Sage: A common culinary herb used often poultry and meat seasoning. It is good fresh, dried, and even as a tea. You can dry this bundle for later use simply by separating it and hanging in a dry place for a week or so.

Vitamin Green: White stalks and very glossy green leaves. Mild-flavored for salad, steamed, or stir-fry. Easy to grow, unfazed by heat, very cold-hardy. Good choice for winter and early spring salads. Eat stalks, leaves, and flowers!

Enjoy your box and have a great week,

Asha, Joe and crew at Wobbly Cart

Roasted Kabocha squash with pancetta and sage: Preheat oven to 400 degress. Halve and seed 1 4 lb kabocha squash. Roast squash cut side down, in an oiled roasting pan in the middle of the oven until tender, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle scrape flesh from the skin. heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a small deep sauce pan until it registers 365 on a deep -fat thermometer. Fry 20 whole fresh sage leaves in 3 batches until crisp, 3 to 5 seconds. transfer leaves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cool 1/4 lb sliced pancetta that has been coarsely chopped in a heavy 4 quart pot over moderate heat, stirring until browned. Transfer pancetta with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to pancetta fat remaining in pot, then cook 1 large chopped onion, until softened. Stir in 2 minced cloves of garlic and 1 1/2 tbsp of chopped fresh sage and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add squash, 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, 3 1/2 cups water and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled wiht pancetta and fried sage leaves.

Wilted Escarole salad: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss 1/2 loaf of country style bread, crust removed, torn into 1 ” peices ( about 5 cups) with 3 tbsp olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. sqeezing bread so it absorbs oil evenly; season with salt and pepper. spread out bread peices in a even layer and bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp on the outside but still chewey in the center, 10-15 minutes. let croutons cool. Meanwhile , heat 4 tbsp oliveoil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves, and cook stirring often, until golden, about 2 min. add 1 -2 anchovy fillets and using a spoon smash them into to oi.. add 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes and remove skillet from heat. Add 2 tbsp white wine viegar, scraping up any bits, and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving toss 1 large head escarole, outer leaves removed, inner leaves torn into large peices with croutons, and warm vinaigrette in a large bowl until escarole is slightly wilted. Season with salt, pepper and more vinegar if desired.

Escarole and bean soup: heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add 2 chpped cloves garlic and saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add 1lb chopped escarole and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Add 4 cups chicken broth, 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, and 1 1-ounce peice of Parmesan cheese. Cover and simmer until the beans are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into 6 bowls. Drizzle each with 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil and serve with crusty bread.

Roasted Cauliflower: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Break 1 2 lb head of cauliflower into bite sized peices. Toss the cauliflower with 1/4 cup olive oil, 5 chopped cloves of garlic, and 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2 tsp kosher salt and 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves and toss again. Roast until golden and tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

SWEET AND SPICY ROASTED KABOCHA SQUASH 

1/2 small to medium sized kabocha squash

3 Tbs light brown, natural cane, plus a bit more for sprinkling

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper or hot chili powder, more or less to taste

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs soy sauce

Oil for drizzling – pumpkin seed oil is preferred, or use toasted sesame oil, argan oil, or walnut oil

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F. Line a baking sheet or two with silicon baking liner or parchment paper. De-seed and cut the squash into slices about 1/2 cm or 1/4 inch thick. (Use a sturdy knife for cutting squash or pumpkin, on a stable surface, and be careful!) Combine all the dry ingredients. Toss the squash slices in this until coated thoroughly. Add the soy sauce and toss well again. Spread the slices in a singler layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle over them with the oil, and optionally sprinkle more sugar on them. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn over, drizzle with more oil and sprinkle more sugar, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Honey roasted carrots: preheat oven to 425. Twist the tops of 16 carrots, leaving a 2 inch nub; wash and scrub the roots. Place the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tsps olive oil. Roll the carrots back and forth to coat before placing them in the oven. Melt 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp honey together in a small saucepan and keep warm. Shake the carrots occasionally as they roast. Remove from the oven when they are browned in spots and a sharp knife easily pierces them ( 15 to 20 minutes). Drizzle with honey butter over the carrots, roll them around to coat and place them back in the oven. Shake the baking sheet frequently and remove the carrots when their skin begins to caramelize and a knife easily slides through them, about 5 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Quick Pickled Beets: Combine 4 medium beets, scrubbed, trimmed, halved, and cut into ¼ inch slices. 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced. ¾ cup apple juice or water, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, and a pinch of sea salt in a pressure cooker. Lock the lid into place and over high heat bring to high pressure. Lower the heat just enough to maintain high pressure and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat by running cold water over the cooker in your sink. Remove the lid, tilting it away from you to allow any excess steam to escape. To serve, lift the beets out of the liquid with a slotted spoon. Serve warm or chilled. (from Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen by Lorna Sass).

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