Winter CSA Week 3

Fresh and Value-Added Items:

  1. Carrots 1.5#
  2. French Fingerling Potatoes 2.5#: Herb Roasted Chickens with Vegetables
  3. Beets 2#: Beet KetchupSweet Potato and Beet Chips
  4. Onions, red
  5. Spinach: Simple Spinach Salad (see below)
  6. Cabbage 2-3#: Sesame and Peanut NoodlesTart Apple Slaw
  7. Eggs
  8. Dried Good Mother Stollard Beans (2 cups): ALWAYS wash beans to remove any stones/grit before cooking.
  9. Raspberry Jam 1/2 pt: Suncrest Gardens raspberries, sugar, low-sugar pectin
  10. Pickled Beets pt (canned): beets, vinegar, sugar, spices

Frozen Items:

  • Vegetable Stock 1 Qt: water, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt & pepper
  • Butternut Apple Soup 1 Qt: roasted butternut squash, onions, water, vegetable stock, apples, olive oil, ginger, nutmeg, sage, salt, white pepper (some like this with croutons, crusty bread, or add a little cream to it)
  • Roasted Tomato Basil Soup 1 Qt: roasted tomatoes, onions, vegetable stock, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme (instead of soup, add 1 can of seasoned tomato paste to this and pour it over bow tie pasta with parmesean cheese, add sauteed chicken if you want).
  • Garden Salsa 1 pt: tomato, onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, lime, salt, pepper (Put salsa in a colander and strain off extra liquid. We bought avocados at Hyvee this week 5 for $4 and made a guacamole…flash back to summer!)
  • Pickles 1 qt bag: cucumbers, onions, vinegar, water, salt, sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper, pickling spice
  • Grated Zucchini 1 qt (frozen) Lemon Zuchhini Bars or Bundt Cake
  • Strawberry Sauce 1 pt: Suncrest Gardens strawberries, sugar, vanilla extract (Add a little to yogurt, smoothies, pour over pancakes or waffles, or put on ice cream.
  • Raspberries 1 pt (frozen): whole berries, keep frozen until you want to use them.

Remember: Pick up TWO BOXES: one frozen, one non-frozen. You may return clean jars to pick-up site for reuse.

The fresh dried beans are a lot different than the beans you buy in the store. They do not take as long to rehydrate as they are only self dried in the field a couple months ago. These in particular are called Good Mother Stallard and are a beautiful mix of red and white. They were a trial crop this year that grew on a trellis. They grew all season long, and I picked the dried beans hanging from the trellis in October. The beans continued to dry as they hung in gunney sacks until this winter.

To get them out of the shells, I literally put on a pair of clean shoes and stomped on them while they were in a big rubbermaid. The chaff was removed by dumping the beans, shucks, and chaff between buckets with a fan blowing. It was quite a process. I felt like a big kid jumping up and down on those beans! And then we are left with these beautiful colored heirloom beans we have today.

The beans are dense, delicious, and a little nutty. They are great prepared as a simple bean dish (recipe below) or as beans and rice to let their flavors stand out. Always wash the beans to remove any stones or grit before using them.

For a small batch for 2, put 1/2 pound of the beans in a pot and cover them well with water. The water should be about 2 inches above the beans. Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 bay leaf, a pinch of sage, 1 clove of garlic thinly sliced and 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Bring the beans to a boil, then cover them and simmer on the lowest possible heat. Check them every 15 minutes or so, and add more water if necessary. The beans should always be well covered with water. After about an hour or so, begin checking the beans by tasting one to see if the texture is soft. Once they are cooked all the way through, turn off the heat and they are ready to serve.

Winter Spinach! Yeah!! This is our first harvest from the new greenhouse. I expect to have spinach for the rest of the winter CSA shares. My spinach salads have a pretty standard combination: dried fruit, walnuts (toasted if time), feta or other tangy cheese, and sometimes a fresh fruit if I’m going wild such as apples, pears, or mandarin oranges. Here’s a basic vinaigrette recipe that follows. Sometimes I add in raspberry jam instead of the sugar.

Spinach Salad Recipe with Feta and Walnuts

serves 4-6 (with extra dressing)

Ingredients

Dressing: 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (cheap kind is fine) 3/4 cup olive oil 1 TBS sugar 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper Salad: 6 cups fresh baby spinach 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 1/4 cup crumbled feta 1/4 cup dried fruit like cranberries or raisins

Instructions

Put vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper in a bottle and shake well to combine. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary.

Toss spinach with nuts, feta and fruit. Give dressing another shake and drizzle over individual servings.

Fearless Cooking Tip of the week:  For those of you looking for some wonderful cooking instruction, I heard about a super helpful website called Cooking Fearless. The author and chef gives a lot of good basic tips for cooking and basic understanding of how to become more proficient in the kitchen. She also has a great video on how to properly hold a knife and how to cut those perfect sticks and cubes of vegetables or diced onions.

An important part of being a CSA member is learning how to cook with your regular supply of vegetables. One tip from “Cooking Fearless” is to have 3 great knives in your kitchen: a chef’s knife, a serrated knife for bread (or tomatoes), and a pairing knife. The other knives are all optional. The big butcher block set is not necessary, except as a good safe storage of these knives I might add. Do not put these knives in the dishwasher even though they say they are dishwasher safe. The detergent acts like little grains of sand that sandblasts the sharp edge off the knife. Simply hand wash, dry, and put away the knives after use. I know that I simply could not do anything in the kitchen without my chef knife!

2013 Winter CSA upcoming delivery dates:

  • Feb 20th
  • March 6th
  • March 20th…final Winter CSA delivery

Happy Cooking from your farmer,

Heather

Eat Well. Smile Often.

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