This Week’s Share
- Braising Mix
- Winter Squash
Braising Mix – The braising mix is predominately chois (Joi choi, Mei Qing choi and Tat Soi) with a bit of kale and spicey mustards mixed in.
Cabbage (Charmant) – This week’s cabbage is a smooth green variety. I think cabbage leaves are a great way to inspire leftovers. Just spoon leftovers such as rice salad, pilaf, stuffing, or vegetables onto the center of a cabbage leaf and roll into a neat little package. Bake at 350 until hot and serve warm. Also try the Braised Cabbage recipe below.
Carrots – Carrots originated in Afghanistan, and were later introduced to the English in the 15th century, where they were coveted for their tops, and no well dressed English gentlewoman would be seen without lacy carrot leaves decorating her hair.
Collards – Collards have higher nutritional value when cooked than when raw due to their tough cell structure. They are a good source of protein, calcium, Vitamins A and C, and soluble fiber.
Parsnips – Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to the carrot, but paler in color and stronger in flavor. Parsnips are not grown in warm climates, since frost is necessary to develop their sweet flavor. For more info on how frost affects the flavor of cold-hardy plants see the “In the Fields” notes below.
Peppers – We knew the frost was coming so last week we harvested all our peppers and stored some of them in our walk-in. Thus this will be our last distribution of peppers for the season.
Shallots – Shallots are the perhaps the most under utilized and under appreciated member of the allium family. The majority of shallots sold in the U.S. are imported from France. Their flavor is often described as a cross between an onion and garlic. Shallots are reported to be more digestible than the rest of the family and have less impact on the breath. Shallots cook quickly, maintaining a silky texture. They can be used in place of onions especially when raw where their more delicate flavor can be appreciated. Shallots are a common ingredient in sauces and salad dressings. Try them in compound butters or roasted whole for an interesting side dish. See the curried parsnip pie recipe below.
Winter Squash (Acorn) – I like Acorn squash roasted in the oven at 400, cut in half, the flesh rubbed with oil and face down on the pan, and cooked until a fork slides easily through the skin.
Curried Parsnip Pie
Adapted from About.com Pastry
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme or oregano
- Cold water, to mix
- 4-8shallots, peeled
- 2 large parsnips, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp butter or margarine
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp mild curry paste
- 1-1/4 cups milk
- 4 ounces sharp cheese, grated
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp fresh coriander or parsley, chopped
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 2 tsp water
Make the pastry by rubbing the butter or margarine into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Season and stir in the thyme or oregano, then mix a firm dough with cold water.
Blanch the shallots with the parsnips and carrots in just enough water to cover, for about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1-1/4 cups of the liquid. In a clean pan, melt the butter or margarine, and stir in the whole wheat flour and spice paste to make a roux. Gradually whisk in the reserved stock and milk until smooth. Simmer for a minute or two. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the cheese, and then mix into the vegetables with the coriander or parsley. Pour into a pie dish and allow to cool.
Roll out the pastry, large enough to fit the top of the pie dish. Brush the pastry edges with egg yolk wash. Using a rolling pin, lift the rolled out pastry over the pie top and press down well. Cut off the overhanging pastry and crimp the edges. Cut several slits in the top of the crust, brush all over with the remaining egg yolk wash.
Place the pie dish on a baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the pie for about 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and crisp on top.
Carrot & Parsnip Latkes
Adapted fromJewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan
- 2 medium carrots, peeled
- 3-5 parsnips (about 1 pound), peeled
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon minced chives or scallion
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Peanut oil for frying (or canola)
Grate the carrots and parsnips coarsely. Toss with the flour. Add the eggs, chives, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until evenly moistened. Heat 1/4 of peanut oil in a sauté pan until it is barely smoking. Drop in the batter by tablespoons and flatten. Fry over medium heat until brown on both sides. Yield: 16 to 18 two-inch pancakes
Sweet and Gooey Parsnips Recipe
Adapted from 500 Treasured Country Recipes by Martha Storey & Friends
- 1 pound parsnips
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel the parsnips, then cut them into sticks about the size of your little finger. Dry well with a paper towel. In a heavy 10-inch skillet, melt the butter; then add the parsnips, shaking to coat. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Cover tightly and sauté on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. The parsnips should be tender and gooey, and slightly caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 lg. onion, sliced
- 1 lg. carrot, sliced thin
- 1 c. chicken broth or water
- Minced parsley
- 2 lbs. green cabbage cut in 8 wedges
- 1/2 tsp. crushed cumin seed
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium heat melt butter. Add onion and carrot; sauté until well glazed. Add broth; bring to boil. Add cabbage, overlapping slightly; season with cumin and salt. Reduce heat; cover; simmer 15 to 18 minutes or until cabbage is crisp tender. Serve vegetables with some of pan juices spooned over. Sprinkle with parsley.
In the Fields
Last week we experienced our first hard frosts. While we had some lighter frosts the week before last, last week’s low temps brought an end to our pepper season and long delays to the beginning of our harvest in the field while waiting for many of our crops to defrost. Crops like cabbage, kale, and salad greens will wilt if harvested before they defrost so we must wait for them to thaw. However, these delays are not a hindrance, but rather opportunities to catch up on other projects in the barn that need doing like cleaning onions and popping garlic into individual cloves to be used as seed for next year’s crop. While frost is challenging if not down right fatal to our crops in the field, it does wonders for many other vegetables. One of the ways that cold hardy plants deal with freezing is to increase the amount of sugars and other substances from their cells. This sugar solution acts as antifreeze. It also makes many species taste much sweeter after they’ve been frosted a few times (Solomon, Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades). So in the coming weeks enjoy the effects of the changing season as our kale and carrots get sweeter in an effort to fend off the encroaching winter.