"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
First let me address a misunderstanding. When I floated the idea of picking up at the farm for our last couple of weeks, I did not mean that those last couple of weeks were upon us. We are in our 16th week of 20 weeks. The last pick up will occur on November 3rd. You will continue to pick up at your prearranged location for the duration of the season. See you today between 4:30 and 6:30pm. Please bring your container.
The idea of a potluck dinner is still under consideration. Currently the most suggested evening is Saturday, November 7th. Sunday, Nov. 8th is in second place. Please let me know what you think. We're working on the logistics but this seems doable and would be a great way to end the season, to eat together.
This cool weather has canceled our subscription to okra magazine. The other hot weather vegetables have given up as well. The cherry tomatoes no longer taste like anything. There is no more squash, no more zucchini. The sweet peppers are hanging on for dear life. But...
The cool weather crops are coming into there own. This is one of the things I most like about where I live, a season, with its weather, changes for you at just about the time when you're bored or tired or frustrated with it. I've had people comment that eating locally is about giving up choices like fresh tomatoes on any particular Tuesday in December. I would argue that's not true. Sure December tomatoes from California taste like cardboard but I'm talking about a rhythmic pattern of eating that replaces out-of-season tomatoes with something else just as you've had more tomatoes than you could care to eat. The seasons, with their change, are meant to be enjoyed one at at time and then another enters in. The same is true for their food.
So as we get into cool weather crops some identification might be in order.
These are our radishes.
I am proud of these radishes.
These are our Collard Greens.
Everyone gets some this week. If you have never tried Collards or you can't remember the last time you tried them (they might have been canned!) you are obligated to try them. If you aren't from the South and have never tried Collards you are required to by NC State Law Article 43 of Chapter 125C, sections 239-243. Don't make me turn you in. There are recipes below.
These are turnips.
You can eat both the root and the greens. Recipes for both are below. Don't think of me as your mother, imploring you to try a new vegetable, think of me as your hip foodie friend who's telling you that all the kool kids are eating turnips and that if you don't at least give them a try you're not getting invite to the next dinner party.
This is our Swiss Chard.
I know, it's back. Chard gets really bitter in the summer but as the cool weather returns it gets sweet again. It's one of the few greens you can grow from spring until fall. By the way, the bitter part (if it is still a bit bitter) is right along the rib of the leaf. You can cut that section out.
A note about the "hot" peppers. Typically you have to dry these small, red peppers to get them to get hot. Earlier this season I bit into one while standing in the field. I burned my mouth. It had apparently dried on the plant and gotten hot. On this past Saturday however, I tried one while at the farmers market and it wasn't really hot at all. So I'm going to call these peppers "mild" from now on. My guess is that if you string them up and dry them that they will get hot. Try it.
Green Sweet Peppers
Red Sweet Peppers
Red "Mild" Peppers
Mizuna (enough to saute' or stir fry)
Swiss Chard (for some)
Turnips (for others)
Enjoy the rain.
Cool and Crunchy Radish and Turnip Salad
12 small radishes, thinly sliced
3 small salad/spring turnips, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon chopped chives
coarse kosher or sea salt, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and stir gently but thoroughly to combine and coat all the slices. Taste and season with salt (you'll need salt -- start with a little pinch and gradually add it until the flavors "pop" as much as you like.)
Mashed Potato and Turnip Gratin
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 5 medium - you got 2 lbs this week)
1 1/4 pounds turnips (about 3 medium)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, divided
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Butter 11x7x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Cook potatoes and turnips in heavy large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35 minutes. Drain. Cool vegetables slightly and peel. Cut into large chunks; place in food processor. Add butter and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup cheese and pinch of ground nutmeg; blend briefly. Season puree to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. (Gratin can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Bake gratin uncovered until vegetables are hot and top is golden, about 25 minutes.
Radishes aren't just for salads. Their peppery bite makes them ideal partner for creamy dips, like this one. Serve this radish dip recipe with crackers, chips or fresh raw vegetables.
5-6 radishes, washed and trimmed
3 oz. cream cheese
3 cloves garlic2 Tbsp. apple juice
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Place radishes in the work bowl of a food processor
fitted with a metal blade. Add
Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
White Turnip Soup
This recipe is adapted from the classic French frenseuse, a turnip and potato soup enriched with egg yolks and heavy cream. Select turnips with firm, unblemished flesh.
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 lb Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 lb turnips, peeled & diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 qt Chicken Stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
Croutons, for garnish (optional)
Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and turnips, stirring to combine. Cover, and cook for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to cover evenly, and cook for 1 minute. Add stock, season with salt and pepper to taste, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables from pot, and place them in a food mill. Puree vegetables, and return them to pot. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together
Sweet Pepper Pesto
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
ground black pepper to taste
Place the Parmesan cheese and olive oil in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth.
Add the red bell pepper, basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper; blend again until smooth.Turnips and Apples
2 pounds fresh turnips
1 fresh apple
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
First peel the turnips with a vegetable peeler. Peel the apple too if you like, but it isn't necessary, unless the skin is really ugly. Chop or slice the turnips and the apple into the chunks the right size for eating. Fill a big pot half full of water. Add the turnips, apple, the butter, sugar and salt and pepper as you like. Cover the pot and simmer on the back of the stove for about 20 minutes, or until the turnip chunks are tender to your preference. Serve hot.
Crispy Turnip 'Fries'
3 pounds turnips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a piece of aluminum foil and lightly grease.
Peel the turnips, and cut into French fry-sized sticks, about 1/3 by 4 inches. Place into a large bowl, and toss with the vegetable oil to coat. Place the Parmesan cheese, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder in a resealable plastic bag, and shake to mix. Place the oiled turnips into the bag, and shake until evenly coated with the spices. Spread out onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven until the outside is crispy, and the inside is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Mess o' Greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 smoked turkey wing (4 to 6 ounces), cut into 3-inch pieces
3 pounds greens, such as collard, mustard, turnip, and kale, washed thoroughly, trimmed, and torn into pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or casserole over medium-high heat until hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add leeks and garlic; stir to coat. Cook, stirring, until leeks are softened but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add red-pepper flakes, smoked turkey wing, and greens; if necessary add greens in several batches.
Add wine; cover. Steam greens, turning occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover, add salt and pepper, and cook, tossing occasionally, 3 minutes more. Discard turkey and garlic, and serve.
Southern-Style Turnip Greens
4 to 4 1/2 pounds turnip greens
1 pound salt pork, rinsed and diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sugar, optional
a dash of crushed red pepper, optional
Cut off and discard tough stems and discolored leaves from greens. Wash greens thoroughly and drain well. Cook salt pork in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and brown. Add the turnip greens, water, onion, sugar, pepper, and crushed red pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 40 to 45 minutes or until greens are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve with vinegar or pepper sauce and cornbread.
Over medium-high heat add a tablespoon of quality extra virgin olive oil to wok or skillet
Once heated add minced garlic (2 small cloves) and cooked for about 15 seconds, just long enough to release the flavor.
Then add the greens and cooked until wilted, about 2-3 minutes.