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Monday, October 18, 2010

Week 22 Oct 19th and 22nd

WINTER ROOTS
This year I experimented with growing vegetables for the Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative. Crown of Maine is a local coop that buys food from farms and resells it to restaurants, grocery stores and food coops. I have really enjoyed selling to them as I feel they are in tune with us farmers and give really fair prices. Anyway, this year I grew colored carrots and winter radishes for them. These are the only 2 crops that you will get "2nds" as Crown of Maine gets the perfect looking stuff. You have already seen the colored carrots and this week I will introduce the winter radishes!

From left to right: Daikon, Saisai Leaf, Green Meat, Munchener Bier, Nero Tundo

Daikon: An Asian root, crisp and full of hot flavor. Cooking mellows the heat. Used mostly in making kimchi, a pickled root dish.

Saisai Leaf: This root is very similar to the daikon, but a little plumper. It was bred so that it leaves could be harvested for salads, stir-fries and pickling. I didn't try any leaves this year, maybe next.

Green Meat: Unique miniature daikon. Crisp and "sweet".

Munchener Bier: Germans traditionally serve this mildly pungent radish sliced thin and salted with a dark beer. Try them sauteed and salted too.

Nero Tundo: Black radishes have been traced back to the 16th century conquistadors. Pungent white flesh loses some heat when boiled or stir-fried.

Radishes are exalted for their many nutritional supplements and vitamins.

--Radishes, especially black ones, contain a unique phytochemical called MIBITC that is even stronger than the much-lauded anti-cancer compound sulforaphane, which is found in broccoli.

--radishes are rich in vitamin C, the B vitamins and sulfur.

--The radish root can also be crushed and used as a poultice for burns, bruises and smelling feet.

As for eating, well...your imagination is your limit!

All of these radishes may be cooked, eaten raw, grated or pickled. Most are quite spicy (especially since it was so hot and dry), but flavor mellows or sweetens when cooked. Grating them onto salads or on top of soups adds nice flavor, but not too much spice all at once.

According to several online recipes, winter radishes work very well peeled, chopped into matchstick-sized pieces and cooked in stir fry dishes. They can also be thinly sliced, baked and eaten as "chips" or grated and mixed with sour cream and lemon juice as a salad/side dish.

Gilfeather Turnip This heirloom "turnip" (it's actually a rutabaga) is sweeter than most turnips. It is wonderful grated with carrots or roasted in a pan. It was either developed or discovered by a lanky secretive bachelor, John Gilfeather, in VT who was said to have cut off the tops and the bottoms so that no one else could propagate them. However a few seeds escaped and were eventually commercialized. This year will be the 8th annual Gilfeather Turnip Festival in Mt Snow Vermont!

Inca and Pedro have started to explore the outdoors. They were so cute with the ducks. I think Inca has potential to be a duck herding cat!

This Week's Loot: lettuce/spinach mix, winter radish, leeks, onions, potatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, chard
Next Week's Loot: greens of some sort, delicata squash, onions, carrots, potatoes

Recipes:

Radish and Root Kimchi --Wild Fermentation, Sandor Katz, an awesome book
Ingredients for 1 qt
2 daikon
2 turnips
3 carrots
a few small red radishes
3 Tbs or more fresh ginger root
3 clove garlic
2 onions/leeks
3 hot peppers or more

Process:
1. Mix a brine about 4 cups water and 3 Tbs salt
2. Slice roots, leave on skins.
3. Place them in the brine and place a plate on them to make sure they are fully emerged overnight
4. Prep ginger, peppers, garlic
5. Drain brine off veg., reserving brine, you want it to taste salty, but not unpleasantly so. If too salty, rinse. If not salty enough sprinkle with a couple tsp and mix
6. Mix spices into veg and stuff into a quart jar. Pack tight, until brine rises, if you need to add reserved brine to cover veg do so. Place something on veg so it stays immersed and cover it with a towel to keep off dust and flies.
7. Place jar in a warm place. After about one week, place jar into fridge to slow fermentation down. You may also taste kimchi daily and place it in the fridge when you think it tastes ready.

CIDER SCALLOPED GILFEATHER TURNIPS
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup apple cider or juice
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
½ cup Jarlsberg cheese, shredded
1 cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground
½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2 lbs. Gilfeather turnips, peeled and thinly sliced
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Put oven rack in center position. Grease 10 x 2 round baking dish or an 8 x 10 rectangular baking dish; set aside. Place flour in a medium heavy saucepan; gradually add milk, whisking until smooth. Whisk in cider, broth, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, whisking constantly. Cook one minute more, remove from heat and set aside.Combine cheeses. Arrange half of the sliced turnips (slightly overlapping) in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle half of cheeses on half of the turnips. Arrange another layer of turnips on top of cheese. Pour cider mixture over turnips.
Golden Winter Soup
Leeks and potatoes provide the base for this hearty vegetable soup, and butternut squash adds a hint of sweetness. Gruyère toasts add a salty note.

2 tablespoons butter
5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced leek (about 2 medium)
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
12 ounces baguette, cut into 16 slices
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Preparation
Preheat broiler.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.
Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil bread slices 2 minutes or until golden. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 1 teaspoon chives. Serve 2 bread slices with each serving. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

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