Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Monday, August 16, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 17

Roots Farm CSA
Week 17: August 17 & 20

This Week:

-Butternut Squash! (Roots Farm & Backyard Harvest)
-Tomatoes: Arkansas Traveller, Cherokee Purple, Pink Beauty, & green tomaotes
-Peppers: Carmen, Lipstick, Islander, Cayenne, Jalapeno
-Eggplant: Nadia, Hansel, Gretel, Fairytale, Pingtung Long
-Basil: Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple
-Beans: Red Noodle
-Okra: Clemson Spineless, Red Burgundy
-Garlic: Inchelium Red, California Early
-Flowers: Assorted Sunflowers, Zinnias

In the Field . . .
Well, I hear from other farmers that this is the hottest summer we’ve had in 20 years, and the worst August we’ve seen yet. I’d have to say I agree. Several weeks of 100+ degree weather in July plus not much rain has taken its toll, and the fields are looking pretty lean produce-wise. I feel like we’re limping through to the finish line this year with the summer CSA. Usually we’re swimming in tomatoes and beating off eggplant with a stick. Now, we’re savoring every last bite and forgoing any canning hopes. With that in mind, we’re turning to our farming friends in the community to help us supplement our baskets for the last few weeks here. So this week, some of your butternuts were grown by Boo & Becky of Backyard Harvest. Of the 240 feet of plants we planted, we only harvested about 40 squash total. Thankfully, they had much better luck than us this year, so we’re turning to them for help. So yeah. Hang on with us--we’re doing the best we can.

Awesome Workday!
Thanks to all the folks who came out Saturday and braved the rain with us to work their magic on our fields. About a dozen people came out and we revolutionized the scene around here--we pulled out old cucumber plantings, old melons, old tomatoes, old squash, old bean trellises, old kale; we weeded asparagus; we transplanted 140 feet of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage; and we fixed the plastic on our little hoop house and put it back up where it was supposed to be. It was amazing. Four full days of work accomplished in 4 hours. Wow! And weather-wise, the overcast day and rainy weather was a welcome change from the heat, and I think most of us enjoyed our dampness being produced by the sky instead of ourselves. Brunch was fantastic and featured homemade biscuits, local egg & veggie frittatas, red mule grits, strawberry sauce, watermelon, and snickerdoodles. Yum! For those of you who missed the fun, our next weekend workday is coming up September 11, probably from 8am-noon again. We’ll keep you posted, but go ahead and mark your calendars. Thanks again!

Are a wonderful thing. They’ll keep for several months in a dry, cool location (50-55 degrees), and for at least one month just out on your counter. They’re called winter squash for this reason--because they keep into winter and are one of few “fresh” veggies you can count on for the cold months. We grow them in the summer, but the tough skins they develop allow them to stay available for us much longer than summer squashes. Personally, I love them. Deep orange on the inside, sweet and delicious, they’re excellent roasted, steamed, baked, in stews and soups, in baked desserts, salads, and sautees. I’ve got several recipes for you, including one of our all-time favorites here on the farm. Check it out . . .


Indonesian Squash & Spinach Soup
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 small dried chiles
15 almonds (opt. blanched)
1 large onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp salt
2 cups veggie stock or water
14-oz can of coconut milk (not sweetened)
4 cups peeled & cubed butternut or acorn squash
6 small handfuls fresh spinach or chard or kale, coarsely chopped (or chiffonaded)
fresh lime or lemon juice

Grind the coriander, cumin, turmeric, chiles, and nuts in a small spice grinder, with a mortar and pestle, or with about 1/2 cup water in a blender. (I like to grind the spices and just chop the dry nuts with a knife so I get little bits of almond to crunch in my stew.) In a soup pot, briefly saute the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the ginger and salt and continue to saute until the onions are translucent. Add the stock and the ground spice mixture to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and the squash and gently simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the squash is tender. Stir in the chopped spinach/chard/kale and allow it to just wilt. Remove the pot from the heat, squeeze in lemon juice or lime juice to taste, and serve at once. Makes 6 servings. From Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. This is one of our all-time favorite recipes here at Roots! Works great with sweet potatoes as well when winter squash is in short supply. Enjoy!

Autumn Gold Squash Soup
1 medium to large butternut squash (~2 cups cooked pulp)
1 large onion, chopped (~3 cups)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 medium carrot, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
1 cup apple juice
1 cup orange juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bake or boil the squash. To bake, halve the squash and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down on an oiled baking sheet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about one hour. Scoop our the pulp and discard the skin. To boil, peel the squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds. Cut into chunks and place them in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Meanwhile, saute the chopped onion in the oil with the nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, and bay leaves until the onion is translucent. Add the diced carrot and celery and the water (if you boiled the squash, use the reserved liquid). Cover and simmer until the carrots are tender. Remove the bay leaves. In a blender or food processor, puree the cooked squash, the onion-carrot mixture, and the juices in batches. Gently reheat the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6-8 servings. From the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Onions and Sage
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced onion
2 thyme sprigs
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp dried
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1/4 cup grated Gruyere or Fontina cheese
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp heated whole milk
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil or butter a 1-quart baking dish. Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, and sage and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Spread in the baking dish, return the skillet to medium heat, and add the remaining oil. Toss the squash in the flour, letting excess fall away. Add it to the pan and cook until it begins to brown in places on both sides, about 7 minutes. Add the parsley, season with salt and plenty of pepper, and cook for 1 minute more. Layer the squash over the onions, cover with the cheese, then add the milk. Cover and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover, add the bread crumbs, and bake until the top is browned and the liquid absorbed, about 25 minutes more. Makes 2 servings. From Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Easy Winter Squash Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups cooked and mashed winter squash (butternut, pumpkin, acorn squash, etc)
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with butter and dust with flour. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and oil and beat until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the winter squash. Add the flour mixture and beat until just thoroughly blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely on a rack before frosting. To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. If the frosting is too thin, add additional sugar. Frost and serve. Makes 12-15 servings. From Serving Up the Harvest.

If you’d like more winter squash/butternut recipes, click here.

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