In your share:
Winter Luxury Pumpkin
Eggplant or Green pepper
Brussels Sprouts or Salad
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
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