CSA Week 15

In your share week 15:

Yellow Finn Potatoes
Red Cabbage
Cauliflower or Broccoli
Yacon
Parsley or Cilantro
Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes
Onion (Some shares only)

Full shares only:

Pepper
Zucchini

So we don’t usually specialize in monster vegetables, but today is the day! We’ve been watching these red cabbages size up in the field for several months now, and they’re finally ready. The largest we weighed clocked in at 6.5 pounds, and I don’t think any of them were much under 3. We tried to set aside smaller ones for half shares but small is relative today. Fortunately, these fresh delicious cabbages are great keepers, and will store in your fridge for several weeks if you don’t use them right away. These are good braised, shredded for cole slaw, fermented into sauerkraut, or any other way you like to use fresh cabbage.

Also huge today are many of the cauliflowers; again, we tried to set aside the smaller ones for half shares but only had so much luck! We didn’t quite have enough ready for everyone, so if you miss it this week you got broccoli instead and will get one next week. Next week’s look just as beautiful, so nothing to worry about.

If you are a returning CSA member, you may remember yacon.  But if you are a new member, this may be a whole new vegetable for you. 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.  I strongly recommend eating it raw: it is sweet, crunchy, 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, it’s especially good with a squeeze of lime juice. Think of yacon more like a carrot than a potato; it should be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge.  It will dry out and soften if left on the counter for long.

The skin is edible; it’s earthy and somewhat bitter.  I like the balance with the sweet interior, but you can peel it if you prefer.  Yacon browns soon after cutting, you can toss it with a bit of lime or lemon juice to keep it white.  It can also be cooked, but I honestly haven’t found a way to cook it that’s much good, and it’s so delicious raw that I gave up trying.  Some people like to juice it (we recommend peeling it first).

Here is a link to a more in depth article about yacon in Mother Earth News.  One thing worth noting is that yacon’s sweetness is from inulin, which makes it extremely low in calories and a better choice for diabetics.

Our winter squash are almost ready, we sampled the first one last night and it tasted pretty good. They were late to set fruit so are taking their time ripening, but most varieties have colored up and are looking pretty tasty. Rain is in the forecast for the end of the week, so Danielle and I plan to harvest whatever is ready on Wednesday to start curing in the greenhouse and hopefully go into your shares starting next week.

The farm is slowly marching toward winter. The last salad rotation will go into the greenhouse this week for harvest from Thanksgiving through early spring. Most of the cover crop is up and running, and I plan to sow the last few sections today. Cover crop will protect our field from erosion over the winter, prevent nutrient leaching, provide habitat for beneficials, and supply organic matter and nitrogen to next year’s crops. This year’s cover crop consists of oats, vetch, peas, and fava beans.


Spicy Cauliflower Soup

This is another Alice Waters recipe from The Art of Simple Food.  She says that some may want to cut back on the spices a little. 

Heat ¼ c olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot.  Add and cook, stirring often, over medium heat:

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peetled and diced

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed

1 tsp chile powder

¼ tsp turmeric

14 tsp dried chile flakes

salt and pepper

When very soft but not browned, add:

6 cilantro sprigs, coarsely chopped

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and coarsely chopped (about 6 cups)

3 cups chicken broth

3 cups water

Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 30 minutes.  Stir vigorously with a spoon or whisk to coarsely puree the soup.  Add broth or water if the soup is too thick.  Serve, garnishing with yogurt, chopped cilantro or mint, and a squeeze of lime.


Braised Red Cabbage with Caraway Seeds

From The Farm to Table Cookbook by Ivy Manning.  She says: This is the ultimate cold weather comfort food.  Add peeled apple wedges to the pan to sweeten the dish, if you like.  This recipe can easily be halved.  You can make the recipe vegetarian by replacing the bacon with 4 tsp of vegetable oil.

2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 2 ½ pound head red cabbage (12 cups sliced)

2 tsp caraway seeds

¼ c red wine vinegar

¼ c chicken stock or water

1 heaping Tbsp brown sugar

Salt and pepper

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.  Saute the bacon until the fat renders and the bacon beings to crisp.  Add the onion and cook until it becomes translucent, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, carefully halve the cabbage.  Cut each half into 2 pieces and cut away the tough white core in the center of each piece.  Thinly slice the cabbage.

Increase the heat to medium high and add a few handfuls of cabbage to the pan; stir with tongs and cover.  Cook until the cabbage is slightly wilted, about 2 minutes.  Continue adding cabbage and wilting until all the cabbage fits in the pan.

Add remaining ingredients.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is tender, about 30 minutes.  The cabbage can be kept warm over low heat for up to 1 hour before serving.

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