Welcome to the 7th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Winter CSA!
Here’s what’s in the share:
- Cipollini Onions – small Italian onions great for caramelizing
- Small Leeks
- Mountain Rose Potatoes
- Chicory Salad Mix
- Winter Squash – Delicata plus either Black Futzu or Acorn
- Dried Apples – We grew them, we dried them, we hope you like them!
- Dry Beans – more of last summer’s pole beans, dried and ready for an overnight soak and cooking up
It’s been feeling a lot more like spring these last couple of weeks. The sun has been lingering longer each night, allowing us that much more time to finish up outdoor projects before breaking out our headlamps. Plus we sowed the first seeds of the season. That always feels like a shift from the death of winter to the life of spring. We’ve happily been seeing very good germination for the first flats sown. What a relief after last year’s slow start.
We started with cold-hardy crops including lettuce, spinach, bok choy, parsley, and kohlrabi. This past week we added flats of heat-loving peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant to the mix.
Seeds are amazing little bits of life, just waiting for the right conditions to wake up. Some seeds will germinate at lower temperatures than others, thus we try to provide the right conditions for different crops. Those initial cold-hardy crops are set out on regular pallet tables in our propagation house, but the heat-loving crops go on heat tables we’ve built to keep the soil warmer for better germination rates. This year Jeff covered the heat tables with pvc hoops and plastic, effectively making a heated greenhouse inside our propagation greenhouse. We’re still playing with the temperature of the heat cables, but we’re looking forward to much better germination for our peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant.
The spring-like weather has been a welcome change from the snow and cold of this winter. We’ve been enjoying the rainstorms mixed with brief dry periods. Though we did recently have standing water in the field, we were lucky not to be pushing for groundwork for planting.
The trees around the farm are gearing up for spring and the cover crops have begun growing again. Evidently we’re not the only ones that appreciate the increased daylight length. I recently saw these Canada geese flying north, a sure sign spring is just around the corner. At least, it felt like it in the moment.
We’d like to thank you all once again for sticking with us through this rough winter. We’ve got several more months together before the winter CSA winds up, but we’re looking forward to things to come. Thanks for your support as we wait-out the end of the “Winter of Roots” and dream of salad greens and radishes.
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you in two weeks!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Mashed Potatoes with Carrots and Leek
- 1 leek (white and pale green parts only), coarsely chopped
- 2 lb potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold or russet (baking) potatoes
- 2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Wash chopped leek well in a bowl of cold water, then lift out and drain well.
Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cover with cold water in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 18 minutes. Drain and return to saucepan.
While potatoes are simmering, cook carrots in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes, then drain. Cook leek in butter in a 10-inch skillet over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 6 minutes. Add milk, salt, and pepper and simmer, stirring, 2 minutes.
Add leek mixture to potatoes and coarsely mash with a potato masher, then stir in carrots.
From Epicurious, via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mashed-Potatoes-with-Carrots-and-Leeks-109125
Creamy White Bean Soup with Leeks
- three 19-ounce cans white beans, rinsed well in a sieve (or pre-soaked dried beans)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups thinly sliced washed white and pale green part of leek
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a blender purée the beans in batches with the tarragon and the broth and strain the purée through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the solids. In a large saucepan cook the leek, the garlic, and the red pepper flakes in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the leek is softened and begins to turn golden. Add the purée, the half-and-half, the lemon juice, and salt to taste and simmer the soup, stirring, for 5 minutes.
From Epicurious, via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Creamy-White-Bean-Soup-with-Leeks-13357
Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions
- 2 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) slivered almonds
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup raisins, plumped in warm water and drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place the squash in an ovenproof dish and bake until tender, 50 to 60 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and fry until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the nuts to paper towels to drain.
Add the onions to the oil in the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the sugar and cinnamon, decrease the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the onions turn brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add the raisins and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until heated through. Transfer the squash to a warm serving platter. Spread the onion mixture evenly over the squash, sprinkle with the fried almonds, and serve.
From Epicurious, via Gourmet, by Kitty Morse and Danielle Mamane, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Squash-with-Caramelized-Onions-106292