Week 22 - Catching Up

[Posted by Ruth]

Our older son is finished with his Master's Degree and came back from Texas last week so there hasn't been much time for posting.  To make up for it, here is a longish post with a couple of recipes.

This week was week 22, the last week of the regular farm share.  As you can see, we got a terrific assortment of goodies.  This has been a wonderful experience which will continue as we have also purchased a fall share which takes us into December and then will continue to use what we've frozen and put by and also focus on buying local produce.Without any reservations whatsoever, we will definitely sign up the CSA next year as well.  We've enjoyed it and have definitely saved a considerable amount of money as well.

Here are some things I've learned along the way:
  • The day the farm share arrives is the day to prep as much as possible.  Wash, spin and bag the greens right away they're much more likely to be used throughout the week.  A paper towel thrown in the bottom of the bag keeps them fresh longer.
  • Be realistic about what's actually going to be used during the week and blanch, roast, can, freeze the rest in the beginning.  Otherwise, the vegetables will wither and age while waiting in the fridge.  Ask me how I know.
  • Plan the meals around the vegetables.  For me this didn't mean eliminating meat but it did take a back seat and I think we've had a much healthier diet because of that.
  • Be open to new combinations.  I probably wouldn't have gone to the supermarket and bought turnip greens, hot peppers, eggs and goat cheese with the plan of combining them in an omelet for dinner, but the results were delicious.
We used the cabbage from last week as part of our son's first dinner home.  I love the name of this dish, which comes from the sounds it makes while cooking.

Bubble and Squeak
1 small head cabbage, cored and coarsely shredded
1 medium onion, finely chopped, or 2 small leeks, white part only, finely sliced
4 -5 medium/large Potatoes, preferably a yellow or gold variety
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
Salt, pepper
1 T caraway seeds, optional

Scrub the potatoes and partially cook, leaving the skins on.  The quickest way to do this is to pierce them a couple time with a knife and microwave for about 4 minutes.  Let sit until cool and then cut into 1/2" cubes.

Heat oil and butter in a large, heavy skillet and cook the onions or leaks over medium/low heat until softened.  This will take about 10 minutes for the onions or up to 20 minutes for the leeksDo not brown.

Add the cabbage, potatoes and salt and pepper, stir to distribute the butter and oil and cover.  Cook over medium, low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage has softened.  If it begins to stick, add some more butter or oil and lower the heat, if necessary.  When softened, raise the heat a bit , adjust the salt and pepper, add 1 T caraway seeds, if using, and cook, stirring often, until some of the potatoes brown a bit.  This works well  as a side dish for salmon, which is what we had, or pork chops, ham or corned beef.

Here, by the way, is the previous week's farm share.

For the last two weeks, I've been roasting and freezing the butternut squash for use later.  This turns out to be an incredibly easy process.

Easiest Roasted Butternut Squash
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Poke a few holes in the squash but don't bother to peel it or cut the ends off.
Place in pan or on baking sheet and bake, uncovered until it's softened and the skin is beginning to brown.  Approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of the squash.
Remove from oven and while still fairly hot, slice in half.  Scoop out the seeds and strip the skin off.  The skin strips off very easily, which if you've ever peeled a raw butternut squash you'll love!

To freeze as a puree just process in a food processor and, when cool, bag in freezer bags.  If you leave it unseasoned, you'll have the option of using it for either sweet or savory dishes later on.