Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Newsletter 10/31/07

Pete’s Greens Good Eats Newsletter Oct. 31, 2007
This week’s share includes: 1 pie pumpkin, 1 bu. fennel, purple and red carrots, shallots, mesclun, mixed potatoes, sweet salad turnips, 1 gallon cider, Patchwork bread (organic whole wheat milled at bakery, organic spelt flakes, sourdough, deep well water, sea salt), Jasper Hill Constant Bliss cheese, mixed peppers, broccoli or cauliflower
Important information: Thanksgiving Week Good Eats pickup is on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Please make a note of it!
Some of you might be tiring of peppers. This is the last time you’ll receive from our bumper crop this season. It is remarkable how many lbs. of peppers four, 200 ft. long beds produce. The round white bunched item is sweet salad turnips. This time of year they achieve turnip perfection-sweet buttery flavor. They can be cooked but when they taste this good it’s a shame not to eat them raw. The stems and green are great in stir-fry or soup. Half of you received broccoli, the other half cauliflower.
It’s the last day of October and we have 42 beds of roots still to be harvested out of our original 320. We’ll knock off about half of them today leaving just one more day of digging roots. It is a marathon that sometimes seems like it won’t end. Many thanks to Santiago, Steve, Elena, Meg, Maria, Heather and Emily for their dedicated work on root harvest. Steve has been in charge of transporting the roots from field to cooler and has done a great job arranging the in the cooler in a systematic manner. To give you some perspective on our root crop we harvested 7 acres. This has filled our 35 by 45 ft root cellar to the ceiling with very narrow aisles to walk through. It is about 150,000 lbs. of roots, or 75 tons. If families averaged 10 lbs. of roots per week Nov.-April it is enough for 500 families. We are one of the largest growers of roots in the State. You can see that if we are serious about Vermonters eating locally we need more farms.
We are doing our absolute best to get the newsletter to you before you pickup your share. If it is late it is because our internet service is not working. We have the best service available in Craftsbury and it works great 80% of the time but there is nothing we can do when it is down. We hear rumor that we will have service over phone lines by sometime next year, which will hopefully be an improvement. We are big supporters of government efforts to improve service in the boonies. There is so much business that can now be conducted in the back hills of Vermont but being connected is essential. Pete
With the weather finally feeling more like fall, it’s the perfect time for Pumpkin Soup! I improvise on this, but there are a few essential ingredients and an easy way to prepare the pumpkin. If you aren’t sure what to do with your fennel and turnips, they would be delicious here, too. Their flavor will be delicate in the soup. Otherwise, save the fennel and turnip for another recipe and add few stalks of celery to the soup.
1 pie pumpkin, about 3 lbs
2 medium or 3 small white turnips
1 or 2 fennel bulbs
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbs olive oil
1 qt chicken or vegetable broth
1 qt water, as needed
Fresh or dried herbs to taste: thyme, sage, parsley, fennel greens
Pinch or red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350; cut pumpkin in half, place in baking pan cut side down, add 2 inches water. Bake until tender, about an hour. Cool to handle, discard seeds, scoop out flesh and chop up a bit if it’s in large pieces. Set aside for now.
Now you could make a nice vegetable stock with the pumpkin shell, and the parings from the onions, fennel, and turnip. Cover with water in a large stock pot and simmer 15 minutes. While this cooks, you can chop and sauté the vegetables.
Dice the turnip, fennel bulb, and onion. Mince the garlic.
Heat olive oil in large soup pot, add onion, sauté 5 minutes; add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until fragrant and slightly browning. Add the salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir around a couple of minutes, and then add in the pumpkin. Set a mesh strainer over the pot and very carefully pour in the vegetable stock. Simmer about 30 minutes, adding more stock or water as needed.
This can be a thick chunky soup or a velvety smooth puree, so add as much broth or more water as needed to make the desired consistency. A splash of cider is also lovely. Puree if you wish.
Garnish with fresh snipped parsley/fennel greens and/or some roasted pumpkin seeds.

So now, what about those turnips, fennel and beets if you don’t use them in the pumpkin soup? I saw this intriguing recipe for a Turnip salad. The white sweet salad turnips are the ones to use for this.
1 bunch turnips, trimmed, halved and sliced
1 tsp salt
1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp harissa or other chile garlic paste
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Salt the turnip slices and set aside for 30 minutes. Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.
While the turnip is being salted, prepare the rest of the salad ingredients. Cut the rind off of the orange with a sharp knife. Cut into 1 inch chunks. Blend together the lemon juice, garlic, harissa, salt to taste, and olive oil. Toss turnips, orange and dressing. Garnish with cilantro.
The beets are wonderful as a roasted vegetable. Scrub the roots, but you don’t have to peel the whole thing, just trim as needed. Toss together chunks of beets, fennel, turnips, carrots and any other roots, wedges of onion and minced garlic with salt, pepper and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. A pinch of cumin and paprika are nice, too. Place in a baking dish, roast at 400 for about hour, covered for the first 30 minutes. When done, the roots should be tender and nicely browned. Stir a couple times during roasting.

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