CSA Newsletter Week 19

newsletter with photoI unapologetically fall into the category of people who, come October, get giddy over pumpkins, butternut squash (all winter squash actually), gourds, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and apples.  So for your eating pleasure and ours we plant Sweet Pumpkin! Butternut Squash! Speckled Hound Squash! Blue Hubbard Squash! Black Futzu! Spaghetti Squash! Delicata Squash! And Acorn squash for those of you who must have it, because it’s what you know best. Or perhaps you find it least overwhelming.

Squashes are spilling out of our root cellar, so we are counting on you to take them home and turn them into all sorts of pumpkiny goodness. To give you an idea of what’s possible: using one Speckled Hound and one Blue Hubbard so far I’ve made “pumpkin” waffles (delicious–google it for an assortment of recipes), pumpkin stew, pumpkin/tomato orzo, pumpkin bread, pumpkin custard and butternut ravioli with browned sage butter (only it was Blue Hubbard, but “butternut” sounds better).

That last one I just made with CSA member Terrie Boehr on Friday as a test run for the cooking class this week. We umm-umm.umm.umm.Ummed! our way through our ravioli lunch like Bob did while eating dinner at the Marvin’s in, What About Bob (much to his Dr. Leo Marvin’s annoyance and the rest of the families’ amusement). Watch the movie for that scene if nothing else, and you’ll learn something about the kinds of noises Mark and I tend to make during dinner at our house. Anyway, I’ll include Terrie’s recipe for Butternut Ravioli next week–with pictures from the cooking class.

By the way, I’ve still got about 3 bags (2 c. each) of frozen blue hubbard squash in the freezer. I don’t say that to scare you away from taking big squash, but to inspire you to think of all the food you can get from ONE vegetable. I used the 2nd largest of the Blue Hubbards we grew, assuming few of you would want to tackle hacking it into pieces that would fit in your oven. I will try an axe next time…

So, of course the recipes of the week will be October inspired goodness. Oh, and Monday folks, you still need to pick up your jack-o-laterns–which will be lined up for you as you drive in–you can’t miss them! IMG_6716 2

Speaking of Big Squash… the Winner is…

Di Murphy… She guessed Fern Creek’s largest Blue Hubbard squash weighed 37 pounds. It weighed in at 36. Your collective guesses ranged from 12 to 72, and 50 to 2010 pounds for the Giant Pumpkin World Record.

The pumpkin guess was supposed to be our tie-breaker, but since Marcile Crandall came within a pound of that, we decided she ought to get a Divine Chocolate bar, too. The world record was set last year in Rhode Island–the first single vegetable to weight more than a ton (2009 pounds). I doubt, however, that anyone tried to eat it.

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From Field to Market

Assorted big winter squash (butternut, speckled hound, sweet pumpkin, spaghetti)
Assorted smaller winter squash (acorn, futzu pumpkin, delicata)
Brussels Sprouts
Super Sweet Corn (maybe)
Assorted greens (chard, collards & kale)
Red & Yellow Potatoes
Broccoli florets
Fennel
Carrots
Cortland & Red Onions
Summer Squash Varieties (what’s left)
Blue Lake & Fortex Beans (ditto)
Last of the Tomatoes (are you seeing a theme here??)
Marketmore, Diva & Lemon Cucumbers
Cabbage
Assorted Peppers
Eggplant
Garlic
Rosemary & Chives

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New from the Garden

Every year aphids attack our Brussels Sprouts shortly before they are ready to harvest. This year rain added insult to injury. But I am determined to get Brussels Sprouts to you before the end of the season–even if they are puny! Our go-to-farmer friend, Dave Brown of Mustard Seed Farms doesn’t even try to grow Brussels Sprouts because they are So Hard to grow organically. Still, I love them enough to try every year, and to put up with some aphids…  They will not be beautiful, but they will be organic. Fresh Brussels Sprouts are great steamed, grilled, roasted, sauteed, or added to stews. Saute some leeks in butter and then toss in Brussels Sprouts you’ve cut in half. Cover and cook on low until fork tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and perhaps a splash of  vinegar or lemon juice.

We held off putting out the Butternut Squash until now for two reasons. First, it’s the last to be ready, and second, we want to be sure you try other wonderful squashes before you settle into taking the one you are most familiar with. From this week on you’ll choose from an assortment of winter squashes. Build up a supply–take squash even if you still have one you haven’t cooked yet, because these will keep well for 3-4 months.

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Recipes of the Week

Baked Apples or Pears

Mark doesn’t quite think dessert is dessert if it still looks like a fruit when you eat it, but when you add a dollop of ice cream to a warm baked apple or pear and let it melt down the sides in rivers you create something even he has to acknowledge is a mighty good dessert.

Preheat the oven to 350.
Using a vegetable peeler, core however many apples or pears as you will have people. It’s easiest if you core from both ends and then meet in the middle. Hollow out until you have removed all the core and have a hole about 1/2 inch in diameter.
Plug one end with 1/2 date or a few raisins. Fill with 1-2 tsp. brown sugar. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp. cinnamon–mostly in the hole, but let it sprinkle over the apple. Plug with the other half of the date or a few more raisins. (Add 1 tsp. butter before you plug the hole if you are not serving with ice cream).

Bake until soft–about 30 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes and then top with a dollop of ice cream and serve.

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The Sweet Life inspires a lot of my cooking, even though I’m not a vegan. Since Mark and I eat low on the food chain I appreciate the way Sarah keeps feeding us ideas on how to eat compassionately. These two recipes were from her Friday’s Five Fave’s post last week.

This pumpkin fennel soup recipe will be on list for this coming week. It comes from Happy Hearted Kitchen.

I make granola only rarely, because I can’t leave it alone once I’ve made it. So I might make this Pumpkin Granola up and put it in the store for the final weeks of the CSA, and then freeze what’s left. It looks amazing.

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