In Your Box - This week's box is overflowing! The bounty is amazing and will all too soon lessen. With that in mind and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to share much with you this week. We hope we aren't overwhelming you and want to remind you the next few boxes will hold few items.
Salad Turnips - Slice up for a salad or fresh vegetable tray. Greens can be eaten fresh on a sandwich, in a salad or braised. Watermelon Radishes - Brighten up a fresh vegetable tray by slicing into watermelon wedges. Tomatoes - Use soon or watch closely as these are ripening quickly Ovation Greens - Mix of Red Mustard, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Kale, and Arugula. Bigger leaf size makes this a great candidate for braising (Could add spinach with this mix). See recipe in this newsletter. Spinach - Remember the stems are tasty too! Fennel
Brussels Sprouts - see Vegetable Spotlight and Recipe in this newsletter. Carrots Potatoes - blue variety from Fazenda Boa Terra, another organic vegetable farm Sunshine Kabocha Squash - Closely related to the buttercup squashes, kabochas offer a savory depth of flavor, dry texture and edible flesh. Store at 60 - 65 degrees F. Onions, Yellow & Red
Vegetable Spotlight on Brussels Sprouts
Fresh and well prepared, this vegetable with its mildly pungent, mustard-like aroma and flavor is quite tasty and may soon become one of your favorites! As their name suggests, Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in Brussels. Like broccoli, its ancestor grew wild in the low countries of Europe. The Belgians first selected the sprout for its enlarged auxiliary buds, resembling miniature cabbages.
Nutritionally speaking, Brussels sprouts contain high amounts of vegetable protein and carbohydrates. Along with some of the other cabbage family vegetables, they are thought to be a digestive stimulant.
Preparing:To remove the sprouts from the stem, snap them sideways as if you were flipping a switch, and they'll come right off. This leaves a bit of stub on the bottom of the sprout. When ready to use, simply cut off the stub and release the outer layer of leaves, which sometimes look a bit scruffy.
Storing: Remove sprouts from the stem and keep unwashed in a loosely closed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for a week or more. Beware as their odor will increase the longer they are stored. For longer term storage,sprouts keep on the stem in the refrigerator or root cellar. Brussels sprouts may be frozen. Blanch sprouts for 3-5 minutes, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, let dry, and pack into airtight containers, such as zip-loc freezer bags.
Cooking:When cooking, the outer layers will tenderize more quickly than the hard little inner core. Cutting an X in the hard bottom of the sprout will ensure that the leaves and core cook at the same rate.
They are perfect just steamed 5-8 minutes and buttered. Be careful not to overcook. They are best when tender but not mushy. When done, plunge them into cold water to preserve their bright green color, then reheat them in a skillet with a little butter.
Marinate cooked sprouts overnight in your favorite dressing for use in salads.
Toss into hearty soups and stews.
Try a puree of Brussels sprout soup with snippets of fresh herbs and sautéed onion. Leave a few small sprouts whole to float in the soup.
Distributed around a roast. (If the sizes are mixed, cut any jumbo ones in half.)
Their strong, faintly bitter flavor marries well with sweet fall vegetables such as carrots, onions and fennel.
Holiday Braised Brussels Sprouts
Peter Gentry serves 4
1 lb small brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium shallots or 1 small mild onion, minced
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
salt to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Trim the stem end of each brussels sprout and remove the loose leaves so you have small, tight sprouts. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Saute the shallots or onions over medium heat until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, broth, cream, and salt. Cover and simmer until the sprouts are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mustard, pepper, and parsley (if desired). Serve hot.
Greens Quiche serves 4-6
Crust: (make your own or purchase pre-made)
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch greens of choice, chopped (about 6 cups)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheese
CRUST: Place all the ingredients in a pie pan. Mix with a fork until well blended, then press over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Flute the edge with your thumb and finger.
FILLING: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the greens and cook until wilted. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Mix in the salt and the greens mixture. Pour into the crust. Sprinkle the cheese on top, pushing it slightly into the egg mixture. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes.
On the Farm . . . what's happening this week in words and pictures.
We are finishing our last minute preparations for the winter storm predicted this weekend. In an effort to get back to that, here is a quick run down of what's been happening these last weeks along with pictures.
My family was out this past weekend and good-naturedly pitched in to get the last of the summer trellising down and rolled up. The old saying, "Many hands makes little work." was proven true again. Thanks everyone!
We planted and covered next year's garlic crop. We more than tripled the amount we planted last year. Steadily increasing our supply year to year, we save a substantial amount of the current year's harvest to plant in that fall for the following year. At times, that limits the amount we put in boxes. Even though we had more to give out in 2015 compared to 2014, our goal is to have even more in 2016. To be sure, along with the stock we held back, we purchased more. It was a long day of planting, but the kids came out to help us finish the last row and cover it all with a protective 4-inch layer of straw. It has been hard to be patient, but it looks like persistence will soon be paying off!
We finished harvesting the Brussels sprouts, rutabagas, radishes, and celeriac crops in anticipation of the coming snow and cold temperatures. At a certain point fall crops are better stored inside versus in the field. We've finally reached that tipping point. Some of the digging and pulling was done in the rain. Our hands quickly turned into mud balls with the ends of our fingers sticking out, and Bill couldn't help but laugh at me when I was lucky enough to get an annoying itch on my chin. Fortunately for me, he didn't take a picture of the attractive smear of dirt I wore most of the morning! To a visitor it might appear that we are harvesting mud as you could hardly discern what crop was coming out of the ground. Later back at the pack shed, it was very satisfying to wash the crates of produce and see bright, orange carrots and shiny purple and white rutabagas hiding underneath the layers of wet dirt.
We have more to do closing the hoophouse up against the winter mix headed our way so I'm off to help Bill before delivering produce boxes in Madison and Richland Center this afternoon!
Have a good week,
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