Winter CSA Share #1

Welcome to the 1st share of the Pitchfork & Crow 2022/2023 Winter CSA! Here’s what’s in the share this week:

  • Rosalba Radicchio – Great for robust winter salads with punchy dressings and nuts and strong cheese and citrus. Holds up to a little warming too. We’ll eat it with oven baked salmon, rice, and creamy dressing for a quick dinner. Soaking in ice water can help reduce the bitterness if needed. Click here for some tips if you think radicchio and chicories bring too much bitter to the table.
  • Romaine Lettuce Bites – Mini romaine heads, peeled down to the best leaves.
  • Red Cabbage
  • Brussels Sprouts – Pop the sprouts off the stalk and enjoy them in your favorite recipes. We usually just cut the sprouts in half, toss with a little oil/salt/pepper, and roast at 400 degrees for ~20 minutes. Don’t forget to check out the recipe index here on our website if you’re looking for suggestions.
  • Celery
  • Alpine Daikon Radishes – A short Korean daikon variety traditionally used in kimchi but tasty on salads or roasted.
  • Pinto Fingerling Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes – In an effort to prolong their storage life we’re giving these out unwashed. You may want to give them a soak pre-scrubbing. Enjoy!
  • Carrots
  • Yellow & Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Candystick Dessert Delicata Squash – We tend to roast most of our winter squashes by cutting them in half and baking cut side down at 400 degrees until tender.
  • Pie Pumpkin
  • Dried Apples – After a less than stellar apple growing year we decided to buy in some apples from another local farm. These are Airlie Red apples, a red-fleshed variety discovered locally in Kings Valley, that we purchased from RainShine Family Farm located west of Corvallis. We did the drying and bagging.
Pink chicories and pink apples! (up top) plus the chicory field (bottom left) and a winter rainbow (bottom right).

Welcome to the first week of the Winter CSA! We’re excited to kick off our tenth winter CSA season and hope you are too! Whether you’re a returning member who is already well versed in seasonal eating or a new member joining us for the first time, we hope you know we’ll be trying our darndest to bring you the best organic vegetables we can grow to each CSA pick-up over the next five months.

As you know already, winter weather can be unpredictable and growing conditions are the most challenging through the winter months. Ice and snow can be game changers. Short cold days mean not much plant growth is happening at the moment so we’re relying on the planning and planting that happened last summer and fall. That’s all to say that while winter may like to keep us on our toes, there will be vegetables to eat and hopefully they’ll include a wide diversity. So far, so good!

A snowy jaunt in the woods (top) and flame weeding garlic, first walking and then with the tractor (bottom).

We often get questions about how we spent the two week break between the end of the Summer CSA season and the beginning of the Winter CSA season. After a long, rough growing season we chose to hunker down at home for a short but restful break from farm projects. Jeff focused on his willow basket hobby (if you’re in the market for a willow coffin, hit him up) and I relaxed into wrangling our house back into some semblance of order, cooking slightly more ambitious meals than we find time for during the growing season, and evaluating 2023 health insurance plans. Fun!

Of course it wasn’t all fun hobby time. We had an assortment of random projects that needed some attention. When we last left you our 90s era F150 truck needed repair. Luckily Jeff swapped out the computer and was back in action in no time, plus the repair required a quick trip to the hills to get the computer acclimated to highway speeds. Bonus! We also managed to upgrade our washer/dryer after a washer failure a few days into the break. That involved too much time spent researching the mysterious inner workings of new washing machines, eventually discovering we couldn’t diagnose the problem properly to repair ourselves, realizing no one will repair the brand, and laying down some money for new repairable machines that are equally (if not more) mysterious. And Jeff sold his duck flock on Craigslist to a small farm in Oregon City looking to up their duck game. Herding and catching 22 very wary ducks in muddy conditions is definitely a project.

We did ease back into farm tasks too. Jeff worked on flame weeding the garlic first with a handheld propane torch and then with a wider propane torch with multiple burners that he attached to the tractor. Hopefully he can keep the grass at bay long enough for a dry spell when we can truly cultivate to clean up the beds. We also moved the dry corn out of the prop house where it had been drying down since harvest. Not wanting it to languish in the barn I went ahead and shelled it, resulting in 300ish pounds of dry corn for future flour/polenta milling. Plus there was some apple drying, root harvesting and washing, composting, barn cleaning, bin washing etc. We’ve still got a long list of winter projects to get through but it was nice to get a slow start on some of them.

That’s all to say it was a successful working staycation and we’re looking forward to getting into the swing of the Winter CSA!

Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you here again in two weeks!

Your farmers,
Carri Heisler & Jeff Bramlett

.

Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:

Grilled Chicken Caesar Lettuce Wraps

  • For the Caesar dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (2-ounce) can anchovy fillets, drained, and minced
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • For the chicken lettuce wraps:
  • 4 chicken breasts, halved horizontally
  • 6 slices bread, ideally crusty and rustic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 small head radicchio, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 3 hearts of romaine, broken into leafs for lettuce cups

For the Caesar dressing:

Make the Caesar dressing. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust accordingly.

For the chicken lettuce wraps:

Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to a big plastic bag and add 1/2 cup Caesar dressing. Mush around to completely coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the fridge or up to 1 day.

Get your grill going. For charcoal: Set up for one-zone, high-temperature cooking. For gas: Heat to high until the temperature reaches about 600° F. Make sure the grill grates are clean, then lightly oil them.

Grill the chicken over direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until charred on the outside and cooked (about 165° F) on the inside. Transfer to a plate to rest.

Now grill the bread. First drizzle with olive oil, then grill over direct heat until charred, a couple minutes per side. Transfer to a plate to cool and crisp.

Chop the chicken into chicken chunks. Add to a bowl along with the radicchio, parmesan, and capers. Dress with the remaining Caesar dressing—use however much feels right to you. Taste and adjust salt accordingly.

Tear the grilled bread slices into crumbs.

Serve as such: lettuce cups on one plate, chicken salad in a bowl, crumbs on another plate. To assemble: Fill a lettuce cup with chicken salad and top with breadcrumbs.

From Food52.com by Emma Laperruque, https://food52.com/recipes/77670-grilled-chicken-caesar-lettuce-wraps

Coconut & Chile Braised Winter Squash

  • 2 to 3 pounds winter squash (such as 1 large butternut, or 2 medium delicata)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 13.5 ounces can unsweetened coconut milk (full fat)
  • 3 tablespoons chile sauce, such as harissa, or to taste (see author note)
  • Couscous or rice, for serving

To prep the squash: Peel the squash if using butternut; no need to peel delicata. Halve lengthwise and remove seeds and stringy flesh. Cut into 3/4-inch chunks.

On a sheet pan, toss the squash with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, or just enough to coat. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.

Heat the broiler with an oven rack about 4 to 5 inches from the heating element. Broil the squash until nicely charred on the first side, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and broil about 1 to 2 minutes longer. (The total time will depend on the intensity of your broiler, so keep a close eye on the squash!)

In a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion until tender, about 5 minutes (a little browning around the edges is fine) then add the garlic, coriander, and rosemary and sauté a minute longer. Add the charred squash, stirring to coat it evenly in the oil.

Add the coconut milk, harissa, and another pinch or two of salt, and bring to a simmer. Half cover the pan with the lid, and braise for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Add a little water (using the empty can to get every last bit of coconut milk!), as needed, if the sauce starts to get a little dry.

Adjust salt to taste, and add more chile sauce if desired. Serve warm with couscous or rice as a complete meal, or as a side to virtually any protein.

From Food52.com by EmilyC, https://food52.com/recipes/84649-coconut-braised-winter-squash-recipe

Sweet Potato Nachos

  • Nachos
  • 2 pounds (about 6 medium) sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Smashed Black Beans (see recipe below)
  • 16 ounces (about 4 cups) shredded cheese (I like a mix of Monterey Jack, pepperjack, and yellow cheddar)
  • 1/3 cup salsa or pico de gallo
  • 1 or 2 ripe avocados, sliced (or, for a bit more excitement, 1 or 2 batches of the Chunkiest, Herbiest, Greenest Guacamole)
  • For serving: thinly sliced (daikon) radishes, shredded cabbage, thinly sliced raw or pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced raw or pickled onions, thinly sliced scallions, sour cream (for dolloping), gently crushed tortilla chips, roughly chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Smashed Black Beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black (or pinto) beans, liquid reserved
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Nachos

Heat the oven to 450ºF.

Slice the (unpeeled) sweet potatoes into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Err on the thin side for more charred, crispy potatoes; thicker for creamier—both are excellent!

In a large bowl (or directly on two rimmed sheet pans) toss the potatoes with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer. Bake, with one pan on a rack in the top of the oven and the other on the bottom, for 12 to 14 minutes, until well charred. Flip the potatoes, swap the positions of the sheet pans, and continue cooking until cooked through and charred on the other side, another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the trays from the oven and toss the potatoes to ensure none are stuck to the pan.

Reduce the heat to 350ºF. Spread about half the beans and sprinkle half the cheese over one tray of potatoes. Return the tray to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Building on the one tray, layer the remaining sweet potatoes over the melted cheese. Cover the second layer of potatoes with spoonfuls of the beans (use the rest of the batch or however much you’d like). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Dot the surface of the nachos with large spoonfuls of salsa or pico de gallo. Scatter avocado over the nachos (or dot with large spoonfuls of guacamole). Finish with the remaining desired toppings and serve immediately, with lime wedges for squeezing.

Smashed Black Beans

While the potatoes are cooking, make the beans. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and season with salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring regularly, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Make a well in the center and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Stir in the paprika and cumin and let sizzle for 30 seconds, until the spices are fragrant.

Dump the entire can of beans (yes, liquid, too!) into the pot. Fill the can halfway with water, pour into the pot as well, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Use the side of a spoon or spatula to gently smash the beans up a bit. Let cool slightly, then mix in the vinegar before serving.

From Food52.com by Rebecca Firkser, https://food52.com/recipes/84941-best-sweet-potato-nachos-recipe

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