Large shares: Butternut squash, parsnips, rutabagas, broccoli, red potatoes, cipollini onions, shallots, rapini, Italian parsley, garlic
Small shares: Butternut squash, parsnips, red potatoes, shallots, rapini, Italian parsley, garlic, sweet pepper
Dear CSA members,
Last night I hope you all got to view the full Supermoon/Hunters moon as it rose. It was truly incredible and we experienced a really beautiful mist throughout our valley that with the clear skies above made for a gorgeous display. The old-time gardeners say, “With the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales. ” many believe this causes plants to take in more water and nutrients and can benefit leaf growth and fruiting in above ground parts of plants. The opposite is supposedly true during a waning moon, that plant energy would be descending down into the roots and back into the earth. I.E. with the “waning of the moon the earth inhales”. It’s all very facinating stuff to think about, and if you think of the strong gravitional forces at work, you can see how plant and animal life is likely effected just as our seas are. It is certainly a hunters’ moon as deer hunters in their orange vests seem to be everywhere I look this week!
Our fields, including our newest plowed ground are now mostly covered in nice stands of vetch and rye cover crops. What remains to harvest is still out there too, any where that is not cover cropped. We did begin garlic planting and got some done before the latest round of rainfall. I have to say it was a good feeling to be planting again after so many weeks break, our first planting for the 2016 season, which is kind of satisfying.
Other activities have included pouring a concrete foundation for our soon to be built squash storage facility and attending a very fun dinner for the South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust promoting their efforts to conserve farmland in Thurston County.
On that note, I will leave you to enjoy your vegetables for this week. Amazingly, we still have sweet peppers this week, as well as a nice selection of hardy greens, root vegetables, and sweet winter squash. Here are also some notes about vegetables that you may not be familiar with.
Rutabaga: this cross between a cabbage and turnip is one of the many edible manifestations of the brassica family. Rutabagas have been eaten for centuries by humans and are excellent roasted and mashed. They are very high in nutrients and fiber and low in calories.
Parsnips: parsnips are a root vegetable member of the carrot and parsley family that has been eaten in Europe for centuries. These sweet white roots are excellent served mashed, baked, boiled, roasted, made into fries, and cooked into soups and stews. You can store them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for quite some time to come if desired. We plant parsnips very early in the spring in order to have them ready for harvest when the cold weather sets in as they sweeten up with the cold and frosty weather.
Butternut squash: this large yellow bell shaped squash has a sweet and slightly nutty flavor. When ripe the flesh is deep orange in color. Butternut squash is best eaten roasted, grilled, or mashed to make soups, or desserts like pies and muffins. To roast: cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (reserve them to roast in the oven with salt or soy sauce if desired) place cut side down on a oiled baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until softened. Once cooked the flesh can be used in a variety of ways or just eaten as is with butter and brown sugar!
Rapini is essentially the Italian equivalent to turnip greens. Used extensively in Italian and Chinese cooking, it is not as popular in the United States but is gaining popularity. The stems are generally uniform in size (hence cook evenly) and need not be peeled. Clean it as you would other greens, removing the bottom portion of the stems which appear tough (sometimes the stems are tougher than other times depending on the age of the rapini). They stems can be removed up to where the leaves begin, and sautéed before adding the leaves to the pan. This vegetable is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium. To maintain crispness, refrigerate, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or wrap for up to 3 days.
Shallots: a member of the allium family (garlic, onions etc) shallots are much prized for their mild and complex flavor. They can be used in the same manner as onions
Cipollini onions: Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee, this is a smaller, flat, pale onion. The flesh is a slight yellowish color and the skins are thin and papery. The color of the skin ranges from pale yellow to the light brown color of Spanish onions. These are sweeter onions, having more residual sugar than garden-variety white or yellow onions, but not as much as shallots.
The advantage to cipollinis is that they are small and flat and the shape lends them well to roasting. This combined with their sweetness makes for a lovely addition to recipes where you might want to use whole caramelized onions.
If you are interested in purchasing bulk quantities of onions, garlic, potatoes, beets, winter squash and more you may place orders on our webstore and we can deliver the produce with you next CSA share. Please indicate in the comments area of check out what drop site you would like the produce delivered to. Thank you! http://wobblycart.smallfarmcentral.com/store/wobbly-cart-farm
That’s all for this week,
Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart
Maple-Braised Butternut Squash with Fresh Thyme: Melt 6 tbsp butter in a heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add 1 3 to 3 1/2 lb butternut squash, halved lengthwise, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes, sauté 1 minute. Add 1 ¼ cups low-salt chicken broth, 1/3 cup pure maple syrup. 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer, to cook squash until almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a large bowl. Boil liquid in skillet until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Return squash to skillet. Cook until tender, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with more pepper, if desired. (From Bon appétit.)
Butternut Squash Cheesecake with Chocolate crust and Salted Caramel: Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. Whirl 9oz of chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Whirl in ½ cup melted unsalted butter just until incorporated. Pour crumbs intp a 9-inch springform pan and press over bottom and about 1inch up the sides of the pan. Bake 7 min, then let cool on a rack. Reduce heat to 300. Make filling: In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 3 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temp, ¾ cup sugar, and ½ cup light brown sugar, and 1 tbsp flour until smooth. Beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time. Add in 1 cup of cooked, pureed, butternut squash, ¼ cup each heavy cream, sour cream, and maple syrup, the zest of 2 medium oranges, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Beat until just blended. Wrap the bottom of your pan with foil, pressing it up the outside. Set the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour filling into the crust. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up the side of the sringform pan. Bake until the cheesecake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cheesecake cool on a rack 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 5 hours. Whisk 6 tbsp store-bought caramel topping with 1/8 tsp table salt in a bowl and spoon over the cheesecake. Arrange ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans around the rim and sprinkle flaked sea salt over pecans for garnish. (adapted from a recipe in the November 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine.)
Rutabaga and Carrot Soup: In a large saucepan, sauté 1 medium onion in 1 tbsp butter for 5 minutes. Add 3 small carrots and 1 small rutabaga peeled and chopped. Add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground ginger, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock and cook covered, on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and tender. Puree the soup with 2 cups orange juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream and a dollop of cranberry sauce.