Thanksgiving Shares

In your share:

Winter Luxury Pumpkin
Winter Squash
Yacon
Potatoes
Carrots
Shallot
Eggplant or Green pepper
Brussels Sprouts or Salad
Fresh Herbs
Kale

 

Happy Thanksgiving!  We’ve finally made it to the end of the season and your farmers are ready for a break.  We have a beautiful, bountiful share for you today, with some goodies for your Thanksgiving table and beyond.

 

Storage: The squash and pumpkin will keep at room temperature on the counter for at least a couple of weeks.  The pumpkins and butternut squash should probably be used pretty soon, if you have a delicata or golden acorn they are fine for a few months.  Potatoes can be kept at room temp or colder, but be sure they’re not exposed to light.  Everything else should be kept in a bag in the fridge.  Carrots and yacon will keep for months in the refrigerator.  If you don’t plan to use up the herbs in the next week or so, the easiest way to store them is to dry them.  I just leave them out by my wood stove and they dry out pretty well within a few days.

 

Using your share:

Yacon (pronounced yah-CONE) is a member of the sunflower family from the Andes.  This is the tuberous vegetable that looks like a sweet potato, oblong with dark skin.  We like to eat it raw, and it is sweet, tender, mild flavored, and juicy.  Think of jicama, asian pear, or even a cucumber.  We most often slice it up and eat it plain as a refreshing snack or side dish.  I like the flavor of the skin (it’s earthy and somewhat bitter), but you may prefer it peeled.

 

Your heirloom winter luxury pumpkin makes the most fantastic pumpkin puree and pie: flavorful, sweet, and velvety.  I’ve used the puree to make pies, soups, risotto, and more.  They are also delicious to roast and eat with butter or other toppings, although I think their texture is better pureed.  You also have another type of winter squash, either butternut (tan), delicata (oblong and striped), carnival (mulitcolored striped) or acorn (golden).  These can all be roasted, added to hashes or stir fries, turned into sweet breads or pies, or used for soup.  For pumpkins or winter squash, cut them in half, put them in a pan with a bit of water, and roast at 375 until a fork goes through it easily.  To make puree, scoop out the seeds, peel off the skin, and use an immersion blender, food processor, blender, or potato masher.

 

Our potatoes and carrots are both extra yummy.  You either have yellow finn or fingerling potatoes, which are both buttery, all purpose potatoes good for roasting, mashing, or whatever you like.  This year we’ve had the most beautiful and abundant fall carrots, so you get lots!  Our carrots are great raw or cooked, and I never worry about peeling them.

 

The shallots are fresh out of the field, so they probably look different than what you’re used to.  They haven’t dried down to have a papery skin and still have some of their greens on them.  I like to use the tops along with the shallots, or they make a great addition to turkey stock.  Since they have been sitting in the rain, it’s a bit gooey where the bulb meets the greens.  I usually just peel this back and use the good parts, but if you don’t want to deal with it you can just cut off the tops at the bulb.  Shallots are extra savory but can be used much the same way as onion: they are great in stuffings, soups, and all kinds of dishes.

 

We’ve included the last few eggplant or some green peppers in your share as we clean out the greenhouse.  The green peppers are thin walled bell peppers, not spicy even though they look a bit like chilis.  The eggplant are the long, thin, Japanese type, which are similar to the more familiar Italian type.  I use them skin and all, especially with these since they are pretty small.  I like it roasted or grilled and eaten on top of or beside just about anything, but it’s also lovely in stir fries and curries or turned into baba ganouj. To prepare them, cut off the stem end and either slice them into slabs or chunks.  Eggplant absorb quite a bit of oil in cooking, so some people like to salt them and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes to cut down on that.

 

For Thanksgiving we’ve included a little bag of herbs, containing fresh thyme, sage, and bay.  These are all great with turkeys, soups, and stuffings.  For all three, you want to use the leaves and leave the woody stems (the tips of the thyme and sage should be succulent and tender enough to eat).  Bay is typically added to your aromatic vegetables (onions, carrots, celery) at the beginning of cooking, then removed just before eating.  It has a lovely, piney flavor.  Just one leaf is enough for most dishes, and the rest of the leaves will keep dried and sealed for a year.

 

Finally, we have delicious greens.  The kale is mostly red Russian, my favorite variety.  It’s sweet and tender, especially so since we got a hard freeze on Saturday night.  It is wonderful cooked or raw, and I usually eat the stems along with the leaves.  You also have either salad mix or Brussels sprouts.  Our salad mix is very fresh and should keep well for a week.  It’s a mix of baby lettuce, nutty greens like mizuna and bok choy, and a bit of spicy mustard and arugula.  If you think you hate brussels sprouts, it might be because you’ve never had fresh ones cooked well or it might be genetic (some people have a gene that makes them taste like aspirin).  Ours are super fresh and nutty and delicious any way you make them.  I often roast them, either whole, halved, or shredded, and more recently I’ve gotten into sauteing them with leeks or shallots.  They’re also good raw, steamed, or braised.

 

Thanks for a great season and have a great holiday!


Grandma Ivah’s Pumpkin Pie

This recipe comes from the Seed Savers Exchange blog.  They describe our Winter Luxury pumpkins as “Pumpkin Pie’s Dreams Come True”.  

To make the pumpkin puree:
Roast the pumpkin whole or in half in a 350 oven, with a few holes cut in it as steam vents.  It is ready when it slumps and a fork pokes through easily.  Let it cool enough to handle, then scoop out the seed and guts and peel the skin away from the flesh.  Mash the flash or run it through a food processor to make a smooth puree.

To make the crust (enough for 2 pies):  
Using your fingers or a pastry blender, mix together 12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter and 2 c all purpose flour until mixture is crumbly.  Chunks should be no bigger than a pea.  Gradually add up to 1/2 c ice water and gather dough until it just forms a cohesive ball.  You may not use all the water!  Divide into two balls, flatten slightly into disks, and chill for at least 2 hours.

To make the pie:

1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 – 1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ – 1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ – ½ teaspoon ground cloves
3 eggs
1 ½ cup milk (preferably whole)
2/3 cup (about 6 ounces) evaporated milk

 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare pie plate with a single pie crust.

Mix pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, and spices.  In a separate bowl combine eggs, milk, and evaporated milk.

Blend milk mixture into pumpkin mixture (texture will be very thin).

Pour into pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes or until the center of the pie has begun to set.  The pie will continue to set as it cools to room temperature.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is very easy and is my favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts. If you’ve never liked Brussels sprouts before, I suggest trying this while they are still very fresh and see if you change your mind. Serves 4.

 

Preheat the oven to 400.   Spread 1 lb Brussels sprouts in a baking dish so that they are one layer deep. Leave small ones whole and halve or quarter larger ones so all the pieces are a relatively uniform size. Stir together with:

3 Tbsp olive oil

            2 tsp balsamic vinegar

            Salt and pepper

            A sprig of rosemary

Roast, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender and the outsides have begun to caramelize, 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size. Remove the rosemary sprig and serve.


Wintergreen Farm Kale Salad

Kale is excellent raw, especially if nights have been frosty. The frost changes the chemistry of the leaf and makes it extra sweet. When I worked at Wintergreen Farm, this salad was a favorite among the crew. The dressing is strongly flavored, with raw garlic and lemon. If you don’t like raw garlic, you can try roasting it first, reduce the amount, or omit it altogether. Serves 3 to 6.

 

To make the dressing, mix together:

3 Tbsp olive oil

            Juice of 1 lemon

            2 cloves garlic, chopped finely or crushed

            salt and pepper

Remove the stems and rip into bite size pieces:

            1 bunch kale

Toss in a bowl with dressing and:

1 avocado, sliced

            ¼ c feta cheese, crumbled

CSA Week 20: Final Share!

***This is your final share.  Please return any bags you have remaining, and bring this bag back to your drop site within one week.  Thank you for being a member of the Corvus Landing CSA! ***

In your share week 20:

Potatoes
Carrots
Butternut Squash
Cabbage or Kohlrabi
Kale
Cilantro
Tomatoes (Some sites only)

Full shares only:

Yacon

This is it, our final share for the season.  It’s been a good fall for growing things, but just this week we’re seeing a decline in several crops.  So that’s a good time to wrap up the CSA.  We will still be open Tuesdays 9 to 2 at the farm stand until November 21.  And we have great Thanksgiving shares planned for those of you who have signed up!  Those shares are still available here if you want to get in on the goodness: we will close sign up on Friday, November 17 (or earlier if we fill up).

The only new item today is a butternut squash.  Butternuts are lots of people’s favorites, but they are typically a longer season squash and more difficult to grow here than acorns or delicatas.  We’ve found a couple of good early varieties, but even so they are a little under ripe this year.  They will be a little less sweet than other butternuts you may have had, but they do have a wonderful nutty flavor and creamy texture.  I cook butternut squash like other squash, though I find the skin a little tough and don’t usually eat it.  I either cook them in halves and peel off the skin when they are cool, or I peel them with a knife or peeler, cube them up, and roast them like potatoes.  Butternut squash will store well at room temperature for several weeks.

Our yacon crop is lighter than last year’s, so only full shares get it today.  You can read more about yacon in last week’s share notes if you missed them, but here’s a reminder of the basics: eat them raw and store them in a bag in the fridge!

We have tomatoes for many of you today, and also our last field cilantro (our greenhouse rotation may or may not be ready in time for Thanksgiving).  It’s nice to still have these summery flavors, and to try using them in different ways with all the fall veggies.  I love using squash to make a creamy sauce for pasta or risotto, and adding a couple of tomatoes does a lot to boost the flavor and thin out the squash a bit.

I’m sure most of you aren’t keeping track, but I like to let you know that this year’s share was a great value.  Full shares saved nearly 15% on the retail value of the produce, and half shares saved about 10%.  And that was even with our late start and wet, wet spring!  We tried to make it up to you by including extra basil and tomatoes and adding an extra week at the end, and the numbers worked out to be a great deal for you.

When we are out there harvesting a little of everything every day, it’s easy to forget the scale of what we do.  So I like to look at our aggregate numbers at the end of the season, and I thought you might enjoy sharing a few of those.  This year’s CSA got:

  • 414 pounds of green beans
  • Over 700 pounds of tomatoes
  • Over 300 pounds of salad mix
  • 430 pounds of winter squash
  • 350 pounds of zucchini
  • Over 1000 pounds of carrots
  • 646 bunches plus 40 pounds of basil
  • And so much more!

As a CSA member, you share the bounty and share the risk.  These numbers reflect the crops that were abundant and successful this year, while we unfortunately had fewer beets and onions and so did you.  I’m sure you found yourself occasionally overwhelmed by basil or green beans (believe me that I shared your feelings), but hopefully it inspired you to come up with new ways to eat them, or to share them with friends and family, or to find a good way to preserve what you didn’t use.  This is what eating seasonally is all about!

 

And speaking of risk, please know that the CSA was essential to us this spring.  Without your early season payments, this rainy spring would have been devastating for the farm.  Several of our early crops failed entirely and we had to back out of several markets since we had nothing to harvest.  The vast majority of our expenses occur up front, and it takes months before we can make that money back and save enough to get through to the next spring.  Losing our early harvests would have been much more stressful without the financial support and investment of our CSA members.  So I want to thank you for your commitment to us and for supporting local agriculture!

 

2018 CSA signup will begin probably in early February.  I hope you will come back for another season.  Buen salud!


Butternut-and-Boursin Shells

Herby, garlicky, creamy Boursin cheese amps up the flavor in this meatless pasta.  Did you know that Nestucca Bay Creamery now has a storefront in Cloverdale, open Fridays and Saturdays?  Try one of their fresh, local cheeses in this recipe!  Source: Martha Stewart Living, December 2016

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using the large holes of a box grater, shred squash until you have 5 cups; cut remaining squash into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss squash cubes with 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer and roast until tender and browned, about 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups pasta water. Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and shredded squash; cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized in spots, 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender with reserved pasta water and half of cheese; blend until smooth.
  3. Return blended sauce to skillet; stir in pasta and roasted squash. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with arugula, hazelnuts, small dollops of remaining cheese, and a drizzle of oil.

Colcannon

From The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash. This dish, in its many variations, is traditionally eaten in Scotland and Ireland at Halloween. It is like a hearty, kale and leek filled mashed potato dish. To save butter and time, you can choose to omit the browned onions at the end. Serves 4 to 6.

 

Roughly chop

            1 ½ lb potatoes

into evenly sized pieces. Put in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and mash the potatoes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp butter in a frying pan and gently stew until tender

            1 c finely chopped leeks

Add:

            1 lb kale, stems removed and finely chopped

Saute over high heat, stirring to evaporate excess moisture. Turn the heat to low, add 2 Tbsp butter, and slowly cook the leeks and kale 5 to 10 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Whip this mixture into the potatoes, along with ½ to ¾ cup milk or half and half.

In a small frying pan, heat 4 Tbsp butter and brown:

            ½ c finely chopped onions

Mound the potatoes on a dish and make a depression in the center. Pour the browned onions and butter into the well until they spill over the side.