Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 6 -- Sweet Potatoes

Roots Farm CSA Week 6: November 8 & 11

This Week:
-Lettuce!: Ermosa Green Butterheads & Red Cross Red Butterheads
-Kale: Red Russian, Winterbor (Curly Green)
-Peppers: Red, Yellow, Purple, & Green Bells, Carmen, Lipstick
-Sweet Potatoes: Beauregard, Georgia Jet (GIANTS)

On the Farm . . .
We’re beginning the process of breaking down old summer crops. This week, we’re clearing out bean trellises, old cukes, and summer squash. We’re also still planting. Onion plants should be arriving sometime in the next couple of weeks--over 2000 of them! Then we’ll be transplanting sweet onions for the Spring. In the meantime, we’ve got salad mix, arugula, maybe radishes, maybe some mixed greens, perhaps some more cilantro and dill to plant in the hoop house for winter production. It’s nice to feel things slowing down a bit. The shadows are long now, days ending early. We’re moving into the shortest days of the year. Time to turn inwards, reflect, rest, and rejuvenate. Spring will come again, but for now we welcome Winter at our doorstep.

In Your Basket
Broccoli! Yay! The second round of broccoli is finally here. I’ve been watching the 2 rows in our lower garden for weeks now, wondering when they would be ready. They’re the same transplants as the broccoli that you got a few weeks ago, and transplanted at the same time. The garden location was different, though, and our lower garden is bordered by trees on the West side, so it’s getting shade now by 1or 2pm. Less sunshine for the plants. There are also some old tomato plants on the East side of those rows, so the sunshine has really been limited. Hard to believe that those factors would make that broccoli more than 2 weeks behind its fellow transplants in the full sun, but that is indeed the case. Enjoy these later season treats!

Also, GIANT sweet potatoes. Even though we dug our taters earlier than ever, we still produced a large percentage of really large roots. So we’re sending them your way. Don’t be intimidated by these gentle giants--they’re sweet and delicious. I recommend making soups, stews, souffles, pies, and fries with these big guys. They’re our featured veggie of the week, so check below for recipe suggestions.

Lettuce! The flow of butterhead lettuce continues. It’s come to my attention that you may be encountering insects tucked in the leaves of your lettuce. Aphids! Yes, they’ve infiltrated the ranks of lettuce and have set up camp in the rows. Never fear! A good steady stream of water from your sink faucet as you wash the leaves will send them down the drain. And if you happen to mistakenly eat a few, just consider them supplemental free protein--they won’t hurt you.

Sweet Potatoes!
Thought to have originated in Central or South America, sweet potatoes have been cultivated for a long, long time--some say over 5,000 years! Rich in complex carbohydrates, vitamins A, C, and B6, sweet potatoes have long been a dietary staple in the Southeastern US. Sweet potatoes and greens have fed many a folk through hard times, and in the last hundred years or so have fallen out of favor with the upper class because of their association with poor folks and as a survival food. Thankfully, the sweet tater is making a comeback. Now even the fancy restaurants have been know to offer sweet potato fries as a specialty item. And so we offer them to you. Enjoy! Storage: keep your sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place. In optimum conditions, they should keep for 1-2 months. Usage: fried, baked, sauteed, stewed, in pies, muffins, breads, and sauces. The possibilities are endless. Have fun!

Indonesian Sweet Potato & Kale 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 sweet potatoes
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 sweet potatoes and gently simmer, uncovered, for about 40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are 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.

Spicy African Kale and Yams
1 large bunch kale, 4 cups chopped, pressed firm
4 cups yams or sweet potatoes, rinsed well, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
2 cups cabbage, sliced
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp salt, or to taste
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp serrano chile, seeded and diced
Hot Sauce, to taste

Rinse and drain kale well. Steam kale and yams. Kale should still be colorful and yams should still have some firmness. While kale and yams are steaming, place oil in a large sauté pan and heat on medium high. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add small amounts of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Place in a large mixing bowl with remaining ingredients, add kale, and mix well. Add yams and gently mix well. From

Sweet Potatoes, Apples, and Braising Greens
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus 3 tablespoons melted
1 Tbsp fine sea salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and cut into quarters
6 cups loosely packed braising greens (kale, chard, collards), stems removed, torn into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 400°F. On foil-lined baking sheet, toss potato slices with 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bake until cooked through and slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Keep warm. In heavy medium skillet over moderate heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add apples and sauté until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep warm. In heavy large pot over moderate heat, combine remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons water. Add greens and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Lower heat to moderately low and add sweet potatoes and apples. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in parsley, remaining 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Makes 10 servings. Serve hot. From

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
2 pounds sweet potatoes
1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
1-2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1-2 Tbsp spice or spice combination of your choice: chipotle powder, smoked paprika, Chinese five-spice, pumpkin pie spice, garam masala, Cajun seasoning, etc.

Preheat oven to 450°F. (For more crispiness, preheat your oven to 500°F.) Peel the sweet potatoes (optional) and cut off the ends. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then, if they are very long, in half crosswise. Cut each piece into wedges. Alternately, you can slice the peeled sweet potato into disks either with a mandoline or a sharp knife. Try to cut them evenly so they all cook at about the same rate. Put the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Use your hands to mix well, so all pieces are coated with oil and spices. Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet; the oil they are coated with should keep them from sticking to the pan. If you are trying to cut fat, reduce the oil to 2 Tbsp and use a non-stick coating on the baking sheet. Bake for a total of 25 to 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn over all of the sweet potato pieces. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are well browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings as a side dish. From The baking times are approximate; it depends on how thick you cut the wedges or rounds of sweet potatoes. For best browning results bake only one sheet at a time. Why the sugar? To help with the caramelization and to intensify the sweetness of the fries, but you can easily leave it out if you want. I recommend making a creamy dipping sauce for these tasty treats.

Sweet Potato Pie
1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 tsp ginger
1/3 tsp allspice
1/3 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 1 pie. I’m not sure where I got this recipe from. My grandmother used to like to make a sweet potato “pie” in a casserole dish with no crust. She also liked to add raisins and shredded coconut. I think pecans might be a nice addition, too.

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