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Sunday, October 14, 2012

October 16th and 19th: fall

Harvesting, Washing, Cleaning, Packing for Winter

 
 
I spend most of October and early November on my knees in the cool damp soil harvesting the last of the veggies for winter storage (carrots, beets, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac, leeks, potatoes and cabbage) and planting garlic.  If all I had to do was harvest, the fall would be easy!  But alas, after the veggies are harvested many hours are spent in my rain gear washing, washing, washing.  Then the veg must go into a container and placed into the walk in cooler for the winter.  Some veggies like onions and potatoes store better unwashed, but still we sort through and "clean" them as much as possible.  Since these are dry products, they are the last items to get packed into the walk in for winter storage.  The winter harvest is looking bountiful, so hopefully there will be space!
 
Fall always amazes me.  Late September comes with cool nights and a few frosts and I always think "ok this is it, no more growth".  But wow!  cool loving crops like broccoli, cauliflower and greens are still inching along and looking so vibrant and tasty.  Friday night brought a low of 24 degrees here.  A cold too cold for the PYO flowers, peppers, tomatoes and tomatilloes.  A cold too cold for even a few broccoli and cauliflower plants.  Most of the greens I have protected and when I flipped up the cover today to take a peek they looked like little green gnomes lined up in perfect formation....just waiting to be eaten!
 
I may give you a few "weird" greens these last couple of weeks...chicory, tat soi and pac choi.  But I hope you can find a way to love them, to love what Maine fall growing brings to our table.  I know eating locally and seasonally is a life change and a challenge that some of you don't even want to take.  But I hope that being a part of a CSA this year has at least brought you a little closer to realize what bounty and greatness our short growing season can bring, even if some of it is a little strange!
 

 
Extra Pumpkins $.35/lb!
Help yourself to the wagon to decorate your home..or make more pumpkin goodies!
 
The next couple of week's harvest:  will be a smorgasbord of veggies from the fall fields......lettuce, tat soi, pac choi, pan di zucherro chicory, fennel, peppers, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, cabbage, butternut squash, beets, chard, parsley...(broccoli, cauliflower, spinach you may not all  see these 3 items when you come, but I will try and mix them around so you all get a taste).
 
RECIPES
 
pan di zucchero chicory
"sugar loaf" in Italian. This heirloom chickory is sweeter than most bitter chickories.  The center will be the sweetest, with the outer leaves being a bit more bitter.  Use the center leaves raw in salad and try sauteing the outer leaves with olive oil, garlic and even the tat soi or pac choi!
 
greens and beans
1 head pan di zucchero chicory (about 4 cups, chopped)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3T olive oil
1 ½ cups cooked white beans (cannellini, great northern, or navy)
2-3 cups vegetable broth (or water from parboiling the chicory)
salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes
grated cheese
chop the chicory into coarse big pieces and boil for a minute or two in a pot of water. remove, drain (reserving some water for later if you don’t have handy broth) and dry off (blotting with a clean towel works fine)
meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large cast-iron or other fry pan, add the garlic and sauté just until soft (not brown) add a pinch of salt, black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes
add the greens and sauté until very tender (4-5 minutes)
add the beans with the broth and warm them through
drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve with fresh grated pecorino or caprino romano (sheep or goat romano)
(for a non-vegetarian version, start by cooking a little bacon in the pan before the garlic and use beef or chicken broth)
 
TAT SOI/PAC CHOI (aka Bok choy)
Grilled Bok Choy/Tat Soi
Time: 10-20 minutes heating grill, 5 minutes preparation, 5 minutes cooking

1 head of young bok choy or tatsoi per person
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Slice the head in two lengthwise and wash thoroughly for any sandy soil that may reside in between leaves.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce and sprinkle on a light coating of salt and pepper on the cut side.
3. Grill the bok choy, cut side down, over very hot coals for 4-6 minutes or until the greens are browned but not burnt. Serve immediately.
 

Yummy Tatsoi Recipe (or use pac choi!)

Ingredients
6 cups tatsoi, chopped
1½ cups carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 additional tablespoon
1 tablespoon season oil
¼ onion, chopped 5 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
Egg noodles

Directions

Sauté oil and garlic for 5 minutes. Add carrots and onion sauté for 5 mintues. Add tatsoi and sauté till tender. In a bowl, mix together peanut butter, white wine vinegar, and soy sauce. Poor over vegetables and fry for a few minutes. Serve over egg noodles
 
FENNEL

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