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November 17, 2017
Patti Labelle's Sweet Potato Pie
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash
I discovered this post in the archives and was struck by how much is unchanged over time. The girl is taller, but still takes her stuffies with her everywhere. And the Farmer still adores her.
The stars twinkled brightly against the pitch black sky as the Farmer warmed up the engine of the box truck this morning. His daughter, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket and equipped with a suitcase full of stuffed animals, sat in the passenger’s seat, eyes wide with anticipation.
With a groan and a squeak, laden with the bounty of the fields, the truck slowly rolled out the drive and down the road. Shivering in my pink bathrobe, I stood for a moment and looked at the sky. Stars have an amazing capacity for putting perspective on things. One glance at a zillion of them and I can’t help but feel much less important than my swirling thoughts suggest. A myriad of stars helps one escape a myriad of busy thoughts. A deep breath of crisp, frosty air, and, for a moment I feel absolute peace and thankfulness.
In many ways our markets this weekend surpasses all others. For us, this is the quintessential moment of bounty. A hardworking Farmer and crew harvests, washes and packs vegetables for almost twelve hours the day before. Today, West Chester Grower’s market will be humming with dedicated local foodies. They will be hunting for premium goods to grace their Thanksgiving tables. Local wine, mushrooms, Artisan cheese, sauces, dips, pies and of course vegetables. Salad greens, parsnips, potatoes and rutabaga will be top sellers for us. Oh, and let’s not forget those sweet potatoes for the the homemade version of Patty Labelle's sweet potato pie (see recipe below).
CSA members are “shopping” too this weekend. Ordering from our online “market.” Red Earth veggies accompanied by local cheeses, mushrooms, bread and Eat This spreads will be decking the tables of our members.
Every year we host a Thanksgiving meal at home, the perfect opportunity to celebrate with gratefulness another successful growing season. For the first time we will be eating in . We will, however, think of all of you, and feel the connection with the many families eating our vegetables simultaneously. Nourishing us all for another long winter. Connecting us all with the good, brown earth it came from. May the bounty of the season be reflected in your full and happy bellies! Thank you all for another wonderful season!
November 12, 2017
By Charis Lindrooth
Those of you who are new to the CSA might not know the secret deliciousness that resides in celeriac, aka “celery root” (even though it’s a tuber not a root…details, details!)
This vegetable might win the award for the weirdest looking vegetable on the farm, although kohlrabi is a close second. Don’t be put off by it’s appearance, or the fact that you have never tried it. I’m here to assure you: it’s not only tasty, but easy to use.
Before we launch in to cooking and eating it, let’s figure out how to prep the gnarly beast:
Place the celeriac on a sturdy cutting board. Chop off the base and the tip of the vegetable. With a significant knife, carefully cut down the sides, close to the skin in order to remove the coarse outer surface of the tuber.
When the skin is completely removed, chop or slice the flesh, depending on your preference. To avoid discoloration, soak the vegetable pieces in cold water and a few lemon slices.
Now for the good part! The first rule of using celeriac in cooking is that you can use it in just about any recipe that calls for celery: apple salad, chicken stir-fry, turkey filling…ants on a log might be tricky, but I bet it can be done tastily. It is delicious raw or cooked. Boil it and add it to mashed potatoes for a unique and tasty mash.
My all-time favorite way to eat celeriac is in Potato Celery Soup. You can make this simply by peeling and dicing one celeriac root and a few potatoes. Saute a sliced onion in butter, ghee or olive oil until clear. Add potatoes and celeriac and toss until warmed through. Add water or broth. Simmer with a lid on until vegetables are soft. Puree in a blender and return to pot (hand-held blenders are fantastic). Season with salt, pepper, and herbs, such as dill, parsley or thyme. To make the soup creamier add a little heavy cream at this point, or canned coconut milk. Alternatively, add a handful of cashews to the pot with the vegetables. They will puree nicely adding a creamy texture.
CSA member, Anne S submitted this recipe, a perfect side-dish for celeriac-newbies:
1 soft-ball size celeriac root
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mild curry powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Peel celeriac. Cut into dice-size cubes
Turn oven to 400 deg
Pour into a pot of boiling slightly salted water.
Cook for no more than 2 minutes. Stir once or twice/
Put oil, curry powder, salt in the pan and add drained celeriac.
Stir vigorously to coat the cubes.
Pour cubed celeriac onto a baking tray covered with aluminum foil
Scrape remaining oil and seasonings onto the celeriac.
Cook for 25 minutes. (while you eat breakfast and read the paper)
Provides a lunch time side dish for 2 or 3.
Find a ton more inspiration here.
November 5, 2017
Curried Crockpot Collards and Kale
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Photo by Marta Reis on Unsplash
I am always looking for new flavors to incorporate with bitter greens, making them more interesting and easy to consume. If bunches of greens are accumulating in your fridge, try this recipe. It reheats easily if you want to double the recipe for leftovers during the week.
- 1 bunch of hardy greens: 1/2 bunch of collards and 1/2 bunch kale - or any greens can be used - judge cooking time by the toughness of the greens used.
- 1/4 cup olive oil or ghee
- 1TBS curry powder
- 2 tsp garam masala (optional but fantastic)
- 2-4 cloves garlic crushed
- 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional, may substitute 1/2 tsp dry ginger)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can (16 oz) crushed or diced tomatoes (season if salt free) - or 4-5 fresh tomatoes, dicedOptional: 1/2 cup, more or less, cubed cheese such as sharp cheddar, Swiss or feta.
Chop greens into bite sized pieces, removing the tough center ribs from each leaf. Season with a little salt and a splash of olive oil and massage to help break down the toughness - this is an optional step if you are in a hurry. Dump tomatoes in bottom of crock and place greens on top. Cover and set on high.
Place a medium skillet on medium heat with oil and/or ghee - grass-fed ghee
is marvelous in this recipe. When sizzling add spices, garlic, ginger and saute quickly to coat everything in the oil. Cook for a minute or two, keeping a careful eye so the garlic does not burn. Remove from heat and quickly scrape contents on top of greens in crock. Leave pan with some oil and spice remnants for later use.
If time permits, turn crackpot to low and let simmer until everything is cooked down, tender and saucey. You may need to add a little boiling water during cooking time if the tomatoes aren’t super juicy. Keep an eye on it so the greens do not burn. 3 hours is usually adequate, but you could make this dish faster on the stove top, using more water and monitoring more carefully.
If including cheese: just before serving reheat the skillet containing the remnants of the oil and spices on medium high. Toss cubes of cheese into skillet and quickly work with your spatula to coat with the fragrant oil. The softer the cheese the more it will melt. I like to use a cold, hard cheese so it doesn’t completely melt before I can get it out of the pan. If it does, don’t worry, it is still fantastic. This step takes less than a minute. Quickly toss coated cheese onto greens and give one or two big stirs.
This is practically a meal in itself, but makes a great side to lamb or beef stew.
Let me know how you like it!