Box Logic

As we plan each CSA box, we look for logical combinations.  I’d like to share our thought process in designing this week’s box.  I think it will help you cook and enjoy the produce.

Potatoes and leeks are an obvious choice to send together so you can make potato-leek soup, or warm the house with a potato-leek casserole.  Check out Lauren’s recipe below for Potato and Leek Fritters.  It’s a twist on the classic combo and sounds like perfect comfort food to me.

The Zavory chiles have excellent flavor with minimal heat, and will work well with the potatoes.  Parsley combines well with almost everything in the box; beans, potatoes, peppers.  You may have noticed (and wondered) why we have sent so many frying peppers this year.  They have consistently been the best quality peppers on the farm this season, and very delicious, so we’ve sent them multiple times.

In summer, we fill the boxes with what the farm offers.  There’s a steady supply of tomatoes, peppers, melons, zucchini, sweet corn, etc.  We pack a member of the onion family in every box because they are essential in cooking.  Then we choose a mix of items that can be eaten raw versus cooked, to make the box easy to use.  If a vegetable is unstoppable in the field (tomatoes!) then it is in every box.  If it’s not (fennel) we pack it with the vegetables we think it combines best with (tomatoes, garlic).

In fall, we can be more strategic.  For example, we plan to alternate starchy vegetables in the upcoming boxes, from potatoes to sweet potatoes to winter squash.  Then we add at least one brassica (broccoli, Romanesco, cauliflower, cabbage) as well as some type of greens (kale, bok choy, napa cabbage) plus alliums (onions, leeks, garlic).  Then we fill in with all the other special things of the season, items like scallions, celeriac, parsnips and winter radishes.  In summer, the boxes are driven more by volume, by the limits of what we can fit in the box.  In fall, there are as many items (and as much weight) but less fluff, so the boxes are not as full and are simpler to pack.

Here’s what I plan to cook this week.  The weather has cooled so we will turn on our oven and roast a pan of potatoes, onions and garlic, using our favorite (and adaptable) recipe for roasted veggies.  We’ve already prepared many of our favorite pepper recipes this summer, so I plan to make a sauce with roasted peppers and onions, parsley, Zavory chiles and garlic.  In a household of ‘diverse’ eaters, it helps to have a sauce on the side to enliven oven-roasted potatoes or steamed beans.  Even if you dress your steamed beans in a light vinaigrette, adding roasted pepper sauce at the table is a nice boost.  I’m intrigued with this roasted carrot harissa recipe, and will adapt it to extend my roasted pepper sauce.

Finally, remember you can freeze any extra peppers, whether raw or roasted.  You will enjoy them this winter.  Beth

Farm News

You will notice that no one is wearing mosquito nets in the photos below. The mosquitos have abated, freeing us from our net suits.  We continue to work around the rainy weather.  We accomplished a lot in the fields on Monday and Tuesday so we could focus on indoor jobs when it rained on Wednesday.

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Butternut harvest is complete.  From right, Charlotte and Lizzy load squash onto the harvest conveyor belt we take to the field.  On the wagon, Jory, Karen and Madeleine pack and organize the squash.  The butternuts are curing in our warm, dry greenhouse.

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Pumpkins are clipped too.

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Steve, Ari and I harvested carrots during a dry spell over the weekend.  Carrot harvests will continue into November.

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We hosted beet trials this summer for UW graduate student Solveig Hanson (at left in photo).  Solveig is breeding beets for specific flavor and color profiles.  She returned to the farm this week for us to sample and evaluate her breeding lines.  The range of flavors is quite interesting.  As a group, we are a mix of beet-lovers, beet-haters and beet-ambivalent types.  Almost everyone found a breeding line they found appealing.  You will have a chance to sample Solveig’s beet lines at our gleaning party.  Stop by her table.

Veggie list and veggie notes (Sept. 29/30, 2016, week #20, purple EOW)

Satina yellow potatoes, 3.5 lb
Leeks, 1 lb
Broccoli, 1.25 – 1.5 lb
Romano beans, ~1.6 lb
Carrots, 2 lb
Yellow onions
A mix of peppers, mostly frying peppers, about 5 – 6
‘Zavory’ not-hot habanero chiles, a handful
Parsley, 1 bunch
Garlic (maybe?), 1 bulb

Next week’s box will probably contain sweet potatoes, bok choy, scallions, peppers, broccoli, edamame soybeans, and more.

Satina potatoes – These pale yellow potatoes are from our friends out at Driftless Organics.  Satinas are an all-purpose potato with thin skin and smooth flesh.  We oven-roasted a batch and they browned perfectly.
‘Zavory’ habaneros (small, orange or red) – These habaneros are NOT HOT.  Almost all the spice has been bred out of them, leaving mild heat in the seeds.  Now we can all learn what habaneros actually taste like.  The blazing heat always got in the way, as normal habaneros are about 200,000 Scoville units.  Lo-and-behold, these Zavory chiles have great, fruity flavor, really interesting.  You should still approach them with caution.  We’ve found rare off-types mixed in, but very infrequently, and not with the full heat of a normal habanero.  As always, remove the seeds if you want to reduce the risk of spiciness.

RECIPES FROM LAUREN

MASHED POTATO & LEEK FRITTERS
Takes 1 hour
Makes 14-15 pancakes

2 pounds yellow potatoes, cubed
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large leek, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
2-3 Zavory peppers, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 eggs
1/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. Place potatoes and 1 teaspoon Kosher salt in a large pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling for 15 minutes, drain water and mash potatoes. Stir in butter and milk until thick and creamy. Add additional milk if needed to thin. Measure out 1-1/2 cups for the fritters. Save the rest for another use.
  2. Combine mashed potatoes, leeks, peppers, parsley, eggs, breadcrumbs, remaining salt and ground pepper in a large bowl. Stir until smooth. The mixture will be loose and wet, but this is just fine!
  3. Heat oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Drop spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot pan in two tablespoons piles being careful not to crowd the fritters. Flip once browned (2-3 minutes) and then press down with a spatula to flatten. Remove from the pan once both sides are browned and gently move to a paper towel. They will still be quite delicate. Keep the first batch in the oven at 200 degrees if you like while you prepare the rest.
  4. Serve warm with sour cream and some additional chopped parsley.

———-

COLORFUL BROCCOLI SALAD
Takes 15 minutes
Makes 6 cups

1 large head broccoli
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 red frying peppers, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  2. To prepare the broccoli, cut off the florets and roughly chop into bite-size pieces. Take the broccoli stems and cut into small matchsticks.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add just the broccoli florets (not the stems) and blanche for 3 minutes then strain and rinse under cold water.
  4. Combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add broccoli, broccoli stems, peppers, yellow onions and cranberries to bowl and stir with a spatula until dressing coats salad.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

———-

LOCAL THYME RECIPES

Comforting Classics

Broccoli Almondine
Buttered Romano Beans with Leeks
Italian Rice Stuffed Peppers
Pot Roast or Portabello Pot Roast

Outside the Box Recipes

Roasted Broccoli Persillade
Romano Bean, Potato and Meatball Stew
Sweet Italian Pepper Sauce with Capellini
Carolina Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

Quick and Easy Meal

Roasted Chicken Dinner with Gravy

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