Tues 9/13/11 Farmshare CSA Newsletter
Although we may still have a few warm summer days left to enjoy, fall is officially here and Applecrest’s harvest is in full force! Bright orange pumpkins are covering the fields, more and more apple varieties are blooming on the trees, and the leaves may or may not be changing colors already – depending on whether or not you’re ready to admit it!
A quick announcement to all CSA members regarding the PYO flowers: even though the 10-week flower & herb share is officially over, we did extend an extra bonus this week and the flower garden does have some more colorful flowers waiting to be picked and decorate your home. So, please feel free to grab a basket and some clippers and enjoy a bouquet from the flower garden for the remainder of the flower season. We are inviting you to pick a decently modest bouquet* at your discretion to brighten your home or kitchen table.
*We kindly ask you to leave the sunflowers for our farm’s Fall Harvest outdoor adornment.
What’s in This Week’s Share
Red Leaf Lettuce
Tomatoes – Regular and Roma
Mini Savoy Cabbage
Mixed Winter Squash – Spaghetti, Blue Hubbard, Butternut or Acorn
Silver Queen Corn
Apples – McIntosh & Cortland
Peaches – White & Yellow
Pear – Asian
Potatoes may be considered tubers, but they actually are not roots – they have their own roots hanging from them that are easily torn away. If you find “potato hairs” in your quart, it’s because they were just gathered from the soil in the field – fresh as can be! Potatoes, actually, are a stem.
Potatoes can come in all shapes – knobbly, round, oval; sizes – large, elongated, small, round; colors – white, yellow, red, blue/purple; and textures – waxy, or floury.
Medical: Potatoes are rich in carbs, magnesium and potassium (more pro-rata than a banana!) with some Vitamins B &C (which adequately supplied soldiers during WWII), low in fat, and have as many calories as an apple or glass of OJ. Avoid green potatoes which are toxic.
Facts: After wheat, corn, and rice, the potato is the world’s most important food crop. They were first grown and cultivated in S. America, but were brought over to Europe in the 16th Century where Louis XVI wore potato flowers in his button hole and Marie Antoinette in her hair. French scientist Antoine Parmentier first served “French fries” at a dinner to honor Benjamin Franklin but they were first introduced to America by Thomas Jefferson. The nickname “spud” comes from a tool that was used to weed the potato patch.
Storage & Handling Tips
Unwashed potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place. They will keep for weeks at room temperature, even longer at 40-50 degrees. For most potatoes, other than “new potatoes” which are thin skinned, refrigerators will turn the starch in potatoes into sugar. Moisture will cause spoilage, light will turn them green, and onions will cause them to sprout (just cut off the “eyes” – they are still good potatoes!)
Potatoes are incredibly versatile – boiled, steamed, baked, roasted, mashed, sauteed, fried, au gratin, microwaved…Scrub potatoes to get rid of any dirt in crevices. Cut out any black spots which are bitter internal bruises and cut off any green skins or sprouts – the rest of the potato is ok. Peeling depends on preference and cooking method – most of the nutrients though are in the skins. Soups and stews may separate the skins, but roasted, boiled, baked, or fried the skins will become a wonderful crisp outside. Prick potatoes if cooking whole. Cover peeled and cut potatoes in cold water if not using right away to prevent the flesh from turning brown.
Choose russets, blue or purple types that have a crumbly, fluffy texture for making French fries, baking or pureeing as they will absorb more flavors and fat for crispiness. Choose waxy red, white, and yellow potatoes for salads and gratins where their firm, moist texture will stay whole and in tact.
Storage & Handling Tips
Uncut squash can be kept in a cool, dark place for over a month, up to 6 months sometimes.
Asian pears are more crispy than melt-in-your-mouth pears. It can be eaten straight from the tree, with hints of honey and spice.
Storage & Handling Tips
Asian Pears should be refrigerated.
Asian pears do not need to be peeled, although they have a tougher skin than most pears. If peeled, rub the flesh with lemon to avoid it from turning brown. They would be delicious in salads with cheese and walnuts.
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
2 pounds small fingerling potatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, 1 to 2 tablespoons
sprig of fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Spread potatoes out on a baking pan. Scatter garlic over potatoes. Coat lightly with extra virgin olive oil and season potatoes with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the rosemary. Give a good toss so the potatoes are covered in the oil and the oil absorbs the rosemary and the garlic flavors. Roast until tender and the outside is crisp and golden, about 20 minutes.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Cut the spaghetti squash in half or quarters, remove the seeds, drizzle over olive oil and seasoning and bake for until tender, about 40 minutes, at 400F. After it has cooled, scrape with a fork to remove the flesh, in spaghetti strands, and place in a bowl.
It’s fun to treat spaghetti squash like spaghetti – there is an obvious correlation with it’s name for a reason! Add extra virgin olive oil, parmesean cheese, parsley or basil; parmesean cheese and cracked black pepper; feta, olives, and mixed vegetables; with meatballs and marinara sauce; served with scallops, grilled chicken or seared beef.
Winter Squash Puree
*From Blackberry Farm Cookbook
5 lbs winter squash – hubbard or acorn or butternut
1/4 vegetable oil
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream, or as needed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and strings inside. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 1 – 1 1/4 hours, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove and leave at room temperature until cool enough to handle.
Scoop out the flesh and put into a food processor. Pulse and gradually add the cream until smooth and thick. Reheat if necessary and add the butter and pepper. More cream can be added if it is too stiff. Season. Serve warm with roasted chicken or meats
Asian Pear and Grilled Gouda Cheese Sandwich
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 slices light rye bread
2 ounces thinly sliced young Gouda cheese (aged 1 to 6 months)
5 slices (1/8-inch-thick) Asian pear
Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, spread half of the butter on one side of each slice of bread.Once the pan is warm, add 1 slice of bread, buttered side down, then top with half of the cheese, all of the pear slices, and top with the remaining cheese. Close with the second slice of bread, buttered side up. Cook until the bread is toasted and golden and the cheese is melted, about 6 minutes per side.
Charred Sweet Corn & Fregula
*From Mario Batalli
1 1/2 cups fregula pasta (not a grain, but an ancient pasta from Italy made from semolina. It is courser than couscous)
2 ears corn, shucked
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Regiano
Dried basil, dill, red chili flakes
Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil with 1 tbsp salt. Cook the fregula until somewhat tender, but not cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Drain and run under cold water and let dry. Brush the ears of corn with oil, season with salt and pepper and grill (or broil) until the sides are nicely charred and the kernels are about to burst. Remove with tongs and when cool enough to handle, remove the kernels with a sharp knife directly into a large saute pan. Add the fregula and stock to the pan and cook over high heat until the stock boils and is absorbed into the pasta, about 5 minutes. Add the cheese, herbs, and season, tossing for about another minute.
The juicy, sweet corn kernels and the chewy fregula pasta are about the same size, making it a winning, fall-warming dish.
Easy Tomato Sauce and Pizza Dough
* From Jamie Oliver
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil
12 ripe Roma tomatoes, chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped basil
Sauté the garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften. Add all but a couple of tablespoons of the basil. Put the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.
7 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo “00” flour or
5 cups strong white bread flour or Tipo “00” flour, plus 2 cups finely ground semolina flour
1 level tablespoon fine sea salt
2 x ¼-ounce packets of active dried yeast
1 tablespoon raw sugar
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2½ cups lukewarm water
Sift the flour/s and salt onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a large cup, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.
Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
Move dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it to push the air out with your hands. Divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas. Timing-wise, it’s a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them.
Spread the tomato sauce onto the rolled out dough and add any topping you like! mozzarella, basil and proscuitto; pears, pecorino and walnuts; squash and gorgonzola; fingerling potatoes and rosemary….
Oven-Dried Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese and Olives
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 medium tomatoes or large romas, cored, halved crosswise, seeded
2 small garlic cloves, thinly slivered
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme, divided
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 cup coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 300°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; brush foil with 1 tablespoon oil. Place tomato halves, cut side up, on baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic and 1 tablespoon thyme over tomatoes; drizzle remaining 1/4 cup oil over. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until tomatoes begin to shrink and are slightly dried but still soft, about 2 hours. Cool tomatoes on sheet. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Store in single layer in covered container in refrigerator.)
Roll out pastry on lightly floured surface to 13-inch square. Transfer pastry to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom, pressing pastry firmly onto bottom and sides of pan. Trim overhang to 3/4 inch. Fold overhang in and press, pushing crust 1/4 inch above pan. Pierce crust all over with fork; chill 30 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line pastry with foil; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until crust is set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans; bake until crust edges are golden, piercing with fork if crust bubbles, about 12 minutes longer. Cool crust 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Meanwhile, using fork, mash mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme together in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add eggs and cream and stir until mixture is well blended. Spread cheese filling evenly in crust. Arrange tomato halves in filling, cut side up. Place olives between tomatoes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over top. Bake until filling is puffed and set, about 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Push up pan bottom, releasing sides. Serve tart warm.