Wobbly Cart Farm Fall CSA week 3

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11-3-15

Large shares: delicata squash, leeks, kale, turnips, carrots, radicchio, purple potatoes, garlic, thyme

Small shares: delicata squash, leeks, kale, radicchio, red fingerling potatoes, broccoli or extra red fingerling potatoes, garlic, thyme

Dear CSA members,

The final weekend of October finally brought us some serious fall weather here in our river valley. The storm brought close to 5 inches of rain over three days and wind gusts up to 30 mph! Our beautiful Chehalis River went from low-looking, to almost bank-full within 24 hours. She is now a muddy beast rolling and foaming along at great speed with logs and debris along for the ride as well.

This time of year we will begin to keep an eye on the hydrograph projections to watch what the river will be doing in regards to flooding, so we can plan ahead if and when crops and equipment need to be moved to higher ground. This is simply a fact of life in a river flood plain. While inconvenient at times, I do appreciate the powerful force of our river and the need to keep a respectful and watchful eye on her. Otherwise, we may find ourselves in grief over lost equipment and crops that could have been saved. In return, the flood waters will bring us a fresh supply of nutrients and topsoil when they do come. The river is what built the soil we farm on after all!

Our fields didn’t flood this time, but we certainly are getting used to being back in muddy conditions (something we havent had a whole lot of this season). Heavy wet rain gear and mud laden boots weigh us down, boxes are slippery, and trucks must be parked strategically so as not to get stuck when heavily loaded with produce. Not to mention the fact that washing the bunches is extra difficult when there is so much mud stuck to them.

November brings with it stormy weather, but also a nice reduction in work load. We are officially down to just two market days per week (Saturday and Sunday at the Olympia Farmers market). Additionally, after this week, there will be just one remaining CSA delivery! Setting the clocks back this last Sunday gives us an extra hour of sleep, and as it is dark so early, we are forced to come in for the day by 6pm. More dark hours means more rest, and more rest means happier farmers. We will also have more time to plan for next season and catch up on paper work. Whoo hoo!

Delicata squash: is the queen of the winter squash in my opinion. They are a nice size, easy to cut and clean, have a thin, edible skin and excellent flavor. Delicata is excellent roasted, caramelized, made into soups or baked into a pie! Most people think they are even sweeter and creamier than butternut squash. This squash will also keep for a several weeks in a cool dry place or just out on the countertop to be admired.

Purple potatoes: these beautiful tubers originate from heirloom varieties that have been cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes mountains of South America. Purple potatoes are beautiful in color and very high in an anti-oxidant called anthocyanin that is a known cancer fighting substance. Their flavor is slightly mealy and dry compared to a yellow finn or a fingerling but they are nonetheless excellent roasted, fried or used in soups and stews.

Radicchio: this hardy winter green is in the chicory family, it has a bitter taste that mellows with the onset of cold weather and also when you grill or roast it. Raddichio is an excellent addition to salads particularly when paired with cheese, fruits and toasted nuts.

Leeks: Leeks are a member of the allium family of onions, garlic, scallions etc. They are milder, sweeter, and more delicate in flavor than onions are are often used in soups and broths. To clean, cut the leek in half vertically, and fan out the sheaves under running water to get out any dirt that may be hiding there. The white part is the desirable portion, as the green leaves tend to be tougher and stronger flavored. You can store leeks in the crisper of the refrigerator for several weeks if they are left untrimmed.

Thyme: is an herb from a low growing woody perennial plant. This aromatic herb can be used for cooking, medicine, and aromatic purposes and stands up very well to our robust fall and winter vegetables. The leaves are excellent fresh added to your dishes near the end of cooking to preserve the delicate flavor. Also, you could easily dry your thyme for later use by spreading the sprigs out in a warm dry location for a few days, then stripping the dry leaves off into a storage container.

Enjoy and have a great week,

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

Grilled Chicory: heat grill to high heat. Slice your chicory vertically, and discard any bruised leaves. Brush the greens with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with good sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Turn grill down to med-low. Place the greens on the grill and cook turning every 1 to 2 minutes until the leaves turn a rich crusty brown on both sides. 5 to 10 minutes. Cut the greens into 4 to 6 servings and serve warm or at room temperature with additional vinaigrette.

Radicchio salad with goat cheese and hazelnuts: In a large bowl whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar and season with salt and pepper. Tear up about 1 pound radicchio into bite sized pieces, add 1/3 cup blanched and toasted hazelnuts (almond and walnuts would work too) chopped. Serve salad topped with 1-cup goat cheese.

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.

Fall Potato Salad: Toss 2 lbs cubed potatoes with salt and olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Combine with various fall vegetables of your choice; onion, shallot, garlic, carrots, roasted winter squash,celariac or parsnips for example. Toss with fresh tomato wedges, basil, thyme or other herbs of your choice. Dress with ¼ cup olive oil whipped with 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.

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).

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 delicata squash with brown sugar and butter: Preheat oven to 400. Cut 1 delicata squash in half and scoop out seeds. 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.

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