In Your Share (Nov 1st)

Welcome to the first week of the 2011-2012 Winter CSA!

It seems remarkably balmy still for November. I’ve been plowing with the horses down at the Grand Island farm in order to get more fields ready for springtime. The horses are lighter on the ground, so we can work them even when it is too wet for the tractor. This is nice because it means that we can get fieldwork done later into the fall (like now!) and earlier in the spring.

This week your share may include…

  • Beets: These big beautiful beets are an incredible winter variety called, not suprizingly, Winterkeeper. The greens on them are still very nice to be sure to use those too. If you’re looking for simple tips and recipes then read this post I wrote a few years ago called Beets 101.
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli: Your choice of happy heads of cauliflower or beautiful broccoli. This cauliflower is so tender it makes for perfected roasted florettes. Cut into bite sized pieces, toss with olive oil & salt, put on a jelly roll pan directly under the broiler. Keep your eye on it and shake the pan a few times to keep them from sticking. Pull them out when the edges just start to carmelize – easy, fast & yum! One of my favorite dishes is Gino’s Cauliflower Pasta. Often recipes suggest parboiling cauliflower first, but I have found that is not necessary with these heads and it can turn them to mush. The white cauliflower variety is Candid Charm and the green ones are called Panther. The broccoli variety is Arcadia.
  • Cabbage: These nice big heads are really sweet & tender so they’ll make a great salad or slaw. That said, on a cold fall evening there is nothing better than braised cabbage. Try this recipe for cabbage with onion & poached egg inspired by Cathy Whims at Nostrana.
  • Chard: Various greens are a staple during the winter. The Swiss Chard is not as winter hardy as some of the other types, but we should be able to enjoy it well into December. Provided the winter is not too harsh, we’ll also probably be able to pick some when it warms up in the spring too. Cook chard (and beet greens) just like you would spinach. I sauteed some last weekend with those beautiful red onions and then added them a fritatta which was fabulous. Also, if you haven’t tried my grandmothers Chard Bisque I highly recommend it!
  • Celery: I love home grown celery. It is not quite as tender as the pampered ones grown down south, but it has much better flavor. We’ll have some more at the next pickup too because I think it is a necessary ingredient in the traditional Thanksgiving stuffing.
  • Onions, Red Tropea: This sweet red Italian onion aka Rossa Lunga di Tropea has a slightly elongated shape. This onion variety is originally from Calabria – the region in southern Italy where my husbands family also came from : )
  • Parsley: When we are blessed with these big beautiful bunches of flat leaf Italian parsley I treat it less like an herb and more like greens ie. chard, spinach, kale. I often chop up greens and saute them as soon as I get home. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to a week and they’re ready to add to pasta, soup or eggs at any time. This makes the fit in the fridge much better too!
  • Peppers, Gypsy: Better late than never – this will be the last week of peppers – hip hip hooray that they finally ripened!!
  • Peppers, Jimmy Nardello: This is NOT a hot pepper. It is a traditional frying pepper that is usually ripened to red, but it these little green ones are good too.

Coming soon… Beautiful Winter Greens!!