Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Good Eats Weekly Newsletter - November 30, 2016


Localvore Members 
& Full Veggie Only Share Members
take a LIGHT GREEN BAG

This week your bag contains:

Spinach
Tatsoi
Cilantro
Pink or French Breakfast Radish
Leeks
Green Savoy Cabbage
Parnsips
Sweet Potatoes

Out of the bag:
One Acorn Squash


 


Half Veggie Members
take a YELLOW BAG containing:

Spinach
Tatsoi
Leeks
Parnships
Sweet Potatoes

Out of the bag:
One Acorn Squash





Localvore / Pantry Offerings

Elmore Mountain Bread VT Redeemer
Butternut Mountain Farm Maple Sugar
Tangletown Farm or Axel's Eggs

Accidentally deleted last week's newsletter? Need to research a funky veggie variety? Check out our blog, which archives newsletters going back to 2007!

What's with all the potatoes?

On a pretty regular basis, I get emails from members with thoughts about veggies. One of the most common emails during this share period is about potatoes - namely, there are too many!

In the next few days, we'll be sending out a survey to gauge your appetite for fall veggies: how often do you want certain types and in what quantity, etc. 

While we'd love to tailor each person's share to their dietary needs, there are over 500 of you! We strive to find a balance that works for our members so participating in the survey is a great way to collectively tell us what you want each week.

Our newest greenhouse helps us extend the growing season so we can bring you a weekly variety of fresh greens and root crops. However, we must also accept that the Fall/ Winter Share season needs to work with the reality of Vermont. Potatoes, carrots, beets, and other hearty root crops store very well. 

~ Taylar
It might not look like much is happening but growth is happening under those covers! Chard, spinach, pac choi, and tatsoi are all growing. Your spinach and tatsoi was harvested from here.
Storage and Use Tips 
 
Sample small veggie share
This week we bring you items from our greenhouse! Both shares receive a beautiful bunch of tatsoi direct from our tunnel. Tatsoi is a dark green Asian salad green that has a spoon like shape, a pleasant and sweet aroma flavor like a mild mustard flavor, similar to bok choi. Tatsoi is generally eaten raw or sauteed, but may be added to soups at the end of the cooking period. Store tatsoi in a plastic bag or container and use within several days.
 
Large shares will receive a bunch of greenhouse grown radishes. We typically don't have radishes this time of year but with our newest greenhouse and this unseasonably warm weather, these radishes provide a nice change of pace from winter roots. The greens are very tender and are quite nice when sauteed in olive oil. You  may have some darker greens typical of other winter greens. Radishes are nice on buttered toast, in a salad, sauteed with other winter veggies, or thrown into a curry.
 
Large shares also receive a bunch of cilantro, harvested right before Thanksgiving before the coming winter storm. Cilantro keeps well when it's in a cold, moist place. Store it in your fridge in a jar of water. You may want to take it out of its rubber band to avoid damaging the stems. Use cilantro to top any curry or throw it into a slaw with cabbage and radish. It's also enjoyable with eggs or Mexican-style dishes.
 
Both shares are also receiving some nice winter spinach, also from one of our greenhouses. Spinach is wonderful when eaten raw or lightly sauteed with olive oil, garlic, and salt. It is a great accompaniment for salads, in eggs, in pasta, or in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. (not pictured)
 
We're also sending out parsnips for the first time this winter! Parsnips run the gamut from large sizes to small sizes. Some of you  may even receive "baby parsnips" perfect for a roast veggie mix. These root crops are very flavorful and versatile. Try roasting them or cutting and cooking them like French fries or potato chips. You can also mash them - use them in place of potatoes if you dare! Store unwashed parsnips loose in a crisper drawer. They will keep for several days. But don't worry - there are more to come!
 
Leeks were once called the poor person's asparagus, but today are cherished for their culinary qualities right along side asparagus. Leeks tend to collect dirt in between the tops of their long leaves therefore it is important to wash between leaf folds to remove dirt or soak in a water bath and let dirt sink to bottom. Store wrapped in plastic in the fridge. Although the best quality is within the first few days, they can be stored for an extended amount of time in the fridge. Peel outer leaves if damaged and use tender inner stalks. Use them as if they were onions.
A sample of this week's full share bag, minus the spinach.
 
And don't forget your OUT OF THE BAG acorn squash. Acorn squash is a the classic old favorite green winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet, yellow-orange flesh.  It's a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, as well as smaller amounts of vitamins C and B, magnesium, and manganese.  It's excellent baked or roasted, steamed or stuffed with rice, meat, or vegetable mixtures. Try roasting veggies with cilantro and baking them into the squash. Just slice off the top and scoop out the insides. Fill the squash with your fixings and bake in the oven around 350 degrees.


Need to Skip a Week?

If you're ever not able to pick up your share, please let us know at least one week in advance. We can either skip your share and give you credit, send it the next week, or donate it to the food pantry. It's up to you!

Sorry, we cannot skip a share or change pick-up sites with less than 48 hours notice.

** Heads up: There will be no delivery the week of December 26th **
 
Localvore Lore

The Marvin family has a keen interest in Vermont's food economy. Elmore Mountain Bread is owned by Blair Marvin and Andrew Heyn. Blair and Andrew mill their wheat and bake their bread in a wood-fired oven at their home in Elmore. This week their Vermont Redeemer bread is in your share. This loaf is made with stoneground Vermont-grown wheat from Rogers Farmstead in Berlin. Blair (below, with her bread) and Andrew mill wheat daily at their bakery.

This maple sugar comes to you from Butternut Mountain Farm, which is now headed by Blair's cousin, Emma Marvin. Butternut Mountain Farm started in Johnson and produces quality maple products at its solar-powered facility in Morrisville. Use maple sugar as you would any time you use sugar - in your coffee, for baking, or when you make French toast (see this recipe below for a way to use all your localvore items!).

The eggs this week come from Tangletown Farm in Glover. These eggs are often very large, so please be gentle with the cartons! Tangletown's hens moved as part of their rotational grazing practice so their laying cycle was a little off. Some of you are receiving Axel's Pastured Eggs, raised by Axel McKenzie in Greensboro. We welcome your clean cardboard egg cartons once you're finished with them. Just return them to your CSA site.


Recipes

Chilled Sesame-Ginger Tatsoi
From the New York Times November 1995. You can use both the pac choi and the tastoi in this recipe. The cooking time for the pac choi will be a bit longer, and pac choi stems a bit longer still (still no more than 2 mins).

1.5 lb Tatsoi; washed and dried
Salt to taste
1/3 tamari
2 TB sesame oil
1 TB ginger
1 TB sugar
½ c white vinegar
4 dashes Tabasco
Black Pepper to taste
¼ c sesame seeds

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the tatsoi, blanch for I minute, drain, immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process, and drain again.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, sugar, vinegar and Tabasco. Mix well, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, combine the tatsoi and dressing, and mix well Refrigerate until well chilled, gar nish with sesame seeds and serve.

Maple Vinegar Glazed Parsnips

2 lbs parsnips, peeled and cut in even chunks
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 c water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp cider vinegar
black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. In a large roasting pan, toss parsnips with oil and salt. Set pan on a burner over medium heat and add water. Bring to a simmer. Place in oven and roast until tender, turning frequently. This could take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. When fork tender, drizzle with maple syrup and vinegars. Toss gently; roast until deeply browned and glazed, turning once or twice, about 10 minutes. Serve with fresh ground black pepper.

Winter Tart with Potato, Leeks, and Mustard Greens
Here's an easy tart you can throw together.  Leftovers make great lunches.

Prebaked pie crust
1 bunch mustard greens, chopped (or any other winter green: kale, chard, spinach, etc.)
1 leek, sliced
4-8 slices of bacon cooked, cooked and chopped
1 potato, sliced thin
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp ground mustard or a tsp prepared
1 TB olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
goat cheese

Heat a skillet and add 1 TB olive oil once hot.  Add the sliced leeks and cook on medium, stirring, til leeks soften.  Add the mustard greens and cook just a couple of minutes til wilted and remove from heat.

Layer in the cooked pie crust like so: sliced potato, greens & leek, bacon. Mix the eggs and milk together, and pour into the pie crust. You want the mixture to come almost to the top of the crust; if you don't have enough, add more egg/milk until it rises to that level. Cover with goat cheese crumbles. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the custard sets. Let cool a few minutes before serving.

Curried Squash Soup with Green Garnish
Mix the left over green garnish with eggs and cheese to make a frittata for a second evening's meal. 

1 winter squash, such as pumpkin or acorn, peeled and sliced thin
2 pinches sea salt
1 15 oz can coconut milk
2 pinches yellow curry powder
salt and pepper to taste

For garnish:
1 TB sunflower or olive oil
1 large leek, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch greens, washed, dried and chopped finely
salt and pepper to taste

Chili-Roasted Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut each squash half into several wedges, then halve wedges crosswise.

On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with oil and chili powder; season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Roast until tender and starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway through.
Steam squash, sprinkled with salt, in a large pot over medium heat, until soft. Puree with coconut milk, curry powder, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.

While squash is steaming, heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until leeks are translucent, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add mustard greens, salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently, until mustard greens turn deep green, about 5 minutes, decreasing heat if necessary. Taste for seasoning. Ladle hot squash soup into bowls and garnish with the sauteed greens.

Squash & Coconut Curry
Serves 4-6

2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 medium (roughly 2 1/2 pound) butternut squash (or other squash)
3 tablespoons cooking oil, such as grapeseed or peanut oil
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2-inch knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeño chile, chopped (seeds optional, for extra heat)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional, for extra heat)
2 small, dried red chilies (optional, for extra heat)
1 Balinese Long Pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
Cilantro, for garnish
Cooked rice, to serve

In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds. Once cool, grind the toasted spices in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.

Meanwhile, peel and dice the squash into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 5-6 cups of squash.
Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are soft and translucent. Add the chile, turmeric, cayenne (if using), small dried red chiles (if using), Balinese Long Pepper (if using), and the ground toasted spices. Stir to release fragrance, cooking for 2-3 minutes.

Add the squash, tamarind paste, coconut milk, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 45 minutes until squash is tender and just beginning to break down. The squash will thicken the curry as it cooks down. If you want an extra-thick and creamy curry, puree a cup or two of the squash with an immersion blender and mix it back into the curry.

Garnish each plate with sprigs of cilantro and serve with cooked rice.

French Toast with Maple and Apples

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon
Pinch maple sugar
6 slices bread
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for serving
3 apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup maple syrup
Pinch maple sugar

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, and a pinch of ground cinnamon in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add the bread in a single layer, turning until all the egg is absorbed.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, and add apples, stirring to coat until starting to caramelize. Add the water, cooking until water has evaporated and apples are tender, about 4 minutes.

Pour in the maple syrup and a dash of ground cinnamon; simmer for a minute to combine.
In a large, heated nonstick skillet, melt about 1 tablespoon butter and sauté the soaked bread until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes. Place French toast on a plate and top with apple-maple mixture, plus more butter if you'd like!
  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Good Eats Weekly Newsletter - November 22, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving! Please remember to pick up your share ONE DAY EARLY!


Localvore Members 
& Full Veggie Only Share Members
take a LIGHT GREEN BAG

This week your bag contains:

Mesclun, Celery, Garlic, Gilfeather Turnips, Yellow Onions, Mixed Carrots, Russet Potatoes

Out of the bag:
One Butternut Squash





Half Veggie Members
take a YELLOW BAG containing:

Mesclun, Celery, Parsley, Gilfeather Turnips, Yellow Onions, Russet Potatoes

Out of the bag:
One Butternut Squash





Localvore / Pantry Offerings

Vermont Cranberry Fresh Cranberries
Jan's Farmhouse Crisps
Sweet Rowen Farmstead Farmers Cheese
Champlain Orchards Apples


New! Order veggies and grains online at our Pete's Greens Online Farmstand! Order items by Thursday for delivery with your Wednesday CSA pick-up!

Thankfulness

Your shares this week are packed with items we hope will help with your Thanksgiving Day cooking. It's heavy on the roots and root veggies. We get to feature the first round of Gilfeather turnips - Vermont's new state vegetable! Read more about that below.

We're giving thanks here at the farm for an awesome growing season last year that left us with tomatoes coming out of our ears and more carrots than we can handle! 

We're also thankful for all of you for keeping our farm strong and for our site hosts who are our eyes and ears out there. 

Our office will be closed on Thursday. If you have any issues with CSA pick-up this week, please let me know ASAP! 

Safe travels and happy eating,

~ Taylar

Storage and Use Tips 
 
Russet potatoes are making their first appearance here! These Russets are huge! The Russet is a reliable baking and mashing potato. Store in a cool place.
 
Mesclun is a French word that means, literally, "mixture". Mesclun is a salad mix that originated in Provence, France. It is the term now widely used for assorted young salad greens. This week's mix in both shares is a little bit of spinach, a little bit of claytonia, and a little bit of baby lettuce.
 
We're also sending both shares a half bunch of celery. On its own, celery has a mild flavor but is excellent for flavoring sauces, stuffings, pasta dishes, soups, and other items where flavors all meld together. Wrap unwashed celery tightly in a plastic bag and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator. To maintain really crispy celery, place it upright in a glass of water in your fridge and cover loosely with a plastic bag.
 
The Gilfeather turnip was designated Vermont's state vegetable this year. We had a good Gilfeather year so you'll receive these a couple of times this season. But what is a Gilfeather turnip? VPR did a story this spring about this unique variety: "It’s half-rutabaga, half-turnip hybrid that was developed by John Gilfeather, hence the name. The earliest reference we have in print to it is about 1902 in Wardsboro. It's white instead of yellow and it doesn't have that little back-of-the-throat bite that normal turnips have — they're sweet and creamy." From that same story, it takes two years to get the seeds out of a Gilfeather turnip! A true heirloom variety, indeed! Store Gilfeathers in the fridge or in a cool place. Like other rutabagas, keep them away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination. Try eating Gilfeathers mashed, roasted, in a creamy soup, or grated in a salad.
 
And don't forget your OUT OF THE BAG butternut squash. Such a versatile squash; great roasted, in soups, or pureed as a substitute for tomato sauce in pasta dishes. Sweet enough to use in pumpkin pie! Store at about 50 degrees for up to a month. Please take one squash!


Thanksgiving is this week!

 REMINDER! This week shares will be delivered on Tuesday instead of Wednesday (or Wednesday instead of Thursday).

If you're ever not able to pick up your share, please let us know as soon as possible. We can either skip your share and give you credit, send it the next week, or donate it to the food pantry. It's up to you!


Localvore Lore

We have some really special Thanksgiving-esque items for you this week! Entertain your out-of-state guests with some of Jan's Farmhouse Crisps topped with Sweet Rowen's Herb Farmers Cheese. You can bake up a warm apple pie with these Northern Spy baking apples from Champlain Orchards and enjoy these Vermont-grown cranberries fashioned into a relish, baked into that apple pie, or my favorite, sugar-coated after dinner treats. The cranberries will keep in the fridge for quite a while if you do not eat them all right away.

I'll keep this section brief because I know your mouths are probably watering, too, and you have a lot of cooking to do! Please enjoy these locally produced items this week in gratitude of our Vermont bounty and the ingenuity of our food entrepreneurs: 

Jan's Farmhouse Crisps, award-winning artisanal crackers made in Stowe, VT
Sweet Rowen Farmstead Herb Flavored Farmers Cheese, award-winning artisanal cow's milk cheese made in West Glover, VT featuring Vermont-grown herbs
Champlain Orchards Northern Spy apples, organically and ethically grown apples from Shoreham, VT
Vermont Cranberry Company Cranberries, Vermont's first and only commercial cranberry company, cared for in Fletcher, VT
 


Recipes

Sugared Cranberries
I made these on a whim a few years back and now they're a staple on Thanksgiving day! The sweet and the tart blend together in a way that is so dazzling in your mouth! They're the perfect color to a cookie tray and the perfect before or after dinner snack. I save the simple syrup and use it in cocktails for a little hint of cranberry. Kids will even eat them!

2 cups sugar, divided
12 ounces fresh cranberries

To make the sugar syrup, bring the sugar and water to a gentle simmer. Use a whisk to help break up the crystals. Do not boil. Set aside.

Meanwhile, rinse your cranberries discarding any bruised or damaged ones. You want firm berries. Pour them into a bowl. Add the warm sugar syrup to the bowl. If the syrup is too hot, the cranberries will burst. Test a small batch if need be.

The cranberries will naturally float to the surface so cover them with a plate to keep them submerged. Once completely cool, cover the bowl (and plate) with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

To make the cranberries, drain them in a colander reserving the syrup. You will not need the syrup. Transfer the berries to a large shallow bowl lined with paper towels. Pat dry to absorb all of the liquid. You want the cranberries to feel tacky, but not wet.

In a small bowl, add about 2 tablespoons of either organic cane sugar or Turbinado. Add only 3-4 berries and jiggle them around in the bowl to coat. Make sure not to overcrowd the bowl as the sugar will get wet and clump. If this happens, just change it out and start again. Transfer the berries to a wire rack and allow to dry for a couple of hours, minimum of 2. They are ready when the sugar is slightly firm, forming a crust. Do not store in an airtight container as they will become soggy. 


Fluffy Gilfeather Turnip Soufflé

2 tblsp. butter
1 tblsp. chopped onion 
3 cups Gilfeather® Turnip, boiled and mashed
1 tsp. salt 
1/8 tsp. pepper 
1 tblsp. sugar 
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 egg yolks, beaten, plus 2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Melt butter in a large pan. Add onion and sauté until a delicate brown. Remove from heat. Add turnips, salt, sugar, pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add the beaten egg yolks. Fold in the stiff egg whites. Put into greased baking dish or soufflé dish. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until solid in the middle.


Apple Pie
This is Amy's favorite apple pie recipe. The pie is made with honey rather than sugar. The honey flavor comes through in the pie and gives the pie a rich, decadent flavor.

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1.5 sticks cold butter cut into 1/4" slices
Ice water

Pie filling:
7-8 baking apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4" thick
2/3 cup honey
3 TB flour
1 TB lemon juice
2 TB melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon

For the crust
Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and give it a quick pulse to mix. Toss in the slices of cold butter. Using the pulse button, pulse 7-8 times for 1 second each time until the flour butter mixture looks like very coarse cornmeal. Run a fork through it and look for butter chunks. The largest chunks should be pea sized or a bit larger (high bush blue berry sized?). Transfer to a mixing bowl. Pour in 1/3 cup of water and fold flour in from outer edges of bowl with a rubber spatula. The goal in mixing water into the dough is to do it with as few strokes as possible so use some strategy. You will need to add more water, depending on how cold your butter is, moisture content of flour etc. You may need as much nearly another 1/3 cup but probably not quite that much. As soon as it starts holding together, use your hands to gather the dry flakies that resist capture and form the dough into two equal sized balls. The dough wants to be just moist enough to come together, and not so dry that your balls want to crack apart again. Press your dough balls into flattened rounds and proceed to rolling it out if you are ready. If you aren't, wrap your flattened rounds in plastic and refrigerate (can be made a couple days ahead).

For the filling
Melt the butter and if your honey is thick and creamy, let it heat along with butter so that it is easier to blend with the apples. No need to heat it lots, just enough to make it pour easier. Pour the honey/butter mix over the apple slices in a large bowl and mix to coat. Add the flour, cinnamon, lemon juice.

Assemble your pie and bake at 425°F in the middle of your oven for 30 mins. Then turn the temp down to 350°F and bake until lightly browned and bubbling - another 15-25 mins.

Crispy Potato Roast
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen via Martha Stewart. We’ll be eating this potato dish for the second year in a row this Thanksgiving. You can substitute sweet potatoes for russets if you prefer. You may have to play around with baking dishes depending on the size of your potatoes.

3 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes (optional)
3-4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled (smaller diameter potatoes are great, if you can find them)
4 shallots, peeled
8 sprigs thyme
Garnishes (optional): Bits of goat cheese, crumbles of bacon and/or bits of crisped pancetta

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine butter and oil. With a sharp knife or manoline, slice potatoes crosswise very thinly. Figure out what baking dish you’d like to use; Martha suggests a 9-inch round baking dish (a deep dish pie pan would fit this bill) though you could go an inch bigger, an oval 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish might also be pretty.

Once you’ve picked the dish that seems the best fit for your slices, pour a tablespoon or so of the butter/oil mixture in the bottom and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the oil mixture with a few pinches of coarse salt and red pepper flakes, if using; this will allow you to season both the top and underside of the potatoes. Arrange your potato slices vertically in the dish.

Thinly slice shallots with your mandoline and slide shallot slivers between potato wedges, distributing them as evenly as possible. Brush with remaining oil/butter mixture. Generously season your dish with salt; go easier on the red pepper flakes, if using. Bake 1 1/4 hours, then arrange thyme sprigs on top and bake until potatoes are cooked through with a crisped top, about 35 minutes more. If casserole seems to brown too fast, cover it with foil to slow it down. Add any garnishes, if using, and serve immediately.

Gilfeather Turnip Soup
Adapted from a recipe created by Greg Parks, Chef at Newfane's Four Columns Inn.

5-6 TB butter
3 large onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 lbs. Gilfeather turnips, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup half and half
scant 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
salt and pepper to taste

A few handfuls of fresh spinach (or some shoots perhaps?)

Melt butter in 5 quart kettle and saute chopped onion and garlic until soft but not browned. Add stock and chopped turnips and cook until tender. Drain and reserve some of the liquid. Puree mixture in food processor until smooth. Put through a food mill or sieve and return to kettle. Add seasonings and half and half. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add reserved cooking liquid if soup is too thick. Saute spinach in a small amount of olive oil until just wilted. Use spinach as a garnish on top of the soup before serving.

Cranberry Relish

1 large apple, unpeeled, halved, and cored
1/2 navel orange, unpeeled and seeded
2 cups cranberries (thawed if frozen)
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar

In a food processor, working with each ingredient separately, pulse apple, orange, cranberries, and walnuts until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in sugar.

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons
My gracious Thanksgiving hosts like to have a squash soup ready during the day for snacking. Try this winter squash soup, especially if you have squash building up! You can use a combination of squash or one kind. Your butternut squashes this week are a little over 2 pounds. This recipe is another one from the Smitten Kitchen vault. Serves 8

Soup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)*
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 cup whipping cream

Croutons
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

For soup: Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

For croutons: Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.

* If you are not confident in your knife skills or lack a very very sharp one, I’d suggest roasting the squash, halved and seeded, on a baking sheet coated lightly with oil at 425 until soft, scooping it into the pot, and cooking it the rest of the way there.