ATHENS HILLS WINTER CSA:
Wow, well I guess winter is really here! It has been nice and chilly at the farm over the past week, and it is times (and temperatures) like these that tend to make harvesting a little more of a challenge than usual. Nothing we can’t handle with a good plan and some dedication and patience though. You might be surprised to hear that all of the vegetables seem to be doing great despite the nip in the air. In fact, this week’s offerings look and taste fantastic. We hope you enjoy!
I’ve included two fun and different recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks. Farmer John, and Angelic Organics, have one of the country’s largest CSA programs, and are located here in the Midwest (near Rockford, IL, to be specific). These larger farms provide great models to learn from and to help us fine tune the program we want to have at Green Edge. Perhaps one day we’ll even have our own cookbook! While we’re waiting we’ll just work our hardest to make your experience everything you imagined and more. To help us do this we would love to have recipes, suggestions for veggie storage, comments, questions and other suggestions if you’ve got them. So speak up and share what you’ve learned in your kitchen this season—we’re all interested! Thanks for your support and enjoy your week.
Salad Mix (a mix of several lettuce varieties picked for their delicious taste and color combinations)
Micro Mix (a mix of sunflower, buckwheat, radish, cabbage and kogani (pac choi)).
Mushrooms (pickers' choice of our farm-grown shiitake, oyster or trumpet mushrooms.)
1 bunch of Pac Choi (a member of the cabbage family that has been cultivated in China for centuries; it is like having two vegetables in one with delicious juicy stems that can be used like celery, and lovely green leafy heads that can be cooked and eaten like our other fabulous greens.)
1.5 lbs. Carrots (ahh, the greatness of these orange beauties pervades all of our culinary traditions, so I will use this space to recommend storing them in the fridge, unwashed in a plastic bag to keep them fresh and tasty.)
4lbs. Butternut Squash (most folks are familiar with this bell-shaped winter squash, but in case you haven’t tried it in a while, it is a delicious slightly sweet orange squash that is great to stuff, make into soup, mash or cube; cut in half, bake for 1hr at 350F, cool and get creative with this wonderful veggie.)
2 heads Garlic (store this perennial from the Lily family in a cool, dry place; many of you are already familiar with its myriad of uses and attributes so I will say no more about this gem.)
Recipe: Pac Choi Salad with Fruit (Serves 4 to 6)
½ C. slivered, blanched almonds
1 C. mild-flavored vegetable oil
½ C. honey
½ C. white vinegar
4 oz. soft silken tofu
2 Tbs. poppy seeds
1 ½ tsp. dry mustard
1 ¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika (optional)
2 Tbs. minced onion
1 pac choi, trimmed, stems cut diagonally into thin slices, leaves sliced into thin strips
1 large sweet apple, peeled, cored diced
1 C. red or purple seedless grapes, halved
salt & pepper to taste
Toast the almonds in a heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet over high heat until they begin to brown slightly. Transfer the nuts to a bowl to cool.
Put the oil, honey, vinegar, tofu, poppy seeds, dry mustard, salt, and paprika in a food processor or a blender. Process or blend the ingredients until smooth. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the onion. Cover the dressing and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve the salad.
Toss the choi, apple, grapes in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the ingredients; toss until everything is thoroughly combined. Cover the bowl and set it aside at room temperature for 15 minutes to let the flavors develop.
When you are ready to serve, stir in the toasted almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Recipe: Creamy Carrot and Rice Casserole (Serves 4 to 6)
Butter for greasing the baking dish
2 ½ C. vegetable or chicken stock
½ lb. carrots, roughly chopped
½ C. heavy cream
½ C. milk
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¾ C. uncooked short-grain white rice
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly coat a 6-cup baking dish with butter.
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium pot. Add the carrots and reduce the heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, until very tender (10-12 minutes).
Drain the carrots, reserving the stock. Let the carrots cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked carrots to a blender or a food processor. Add the cream; process to a smooth puree. Heat the milk in a small pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until bubbles form at the edge, but do not boil.
Melt the butter in a medium pot over low heat. Stir in the flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and then the stock. Add the carrot puree, nutmeg, and cayenne to taste. Turn the heat up to high and bring the mixture to a boil; add the rice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.
Transfer the ingredients to the prepared baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!
(Both recipes courtesy of Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables, 2006)