Quadruple Fall Pickup! Oct. 1, 2014

In this week’s box:

2 large bags sweet potatoes

3 large bags Gala apples

2 large bags tomatoes

8 butternut squash

4 acorn squash

1 half-gallon jug apple cider

1 dozen eggs

1 bunch curly kale

3 green peppers

2 two-pound bags white potatoes

2 bags string beans

5 edible heirloom hubbard squash

**CHOICE OF 4 pre-picked pumpkins OR 6 pick-your-own pumpkins of any size (9a.m. until 6 p.m.)

**2 OPTIONAL BONUS PICK-YOUR-OWN bouquets of sunflowers, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

**1 OPTIONAL BONUS PICK-YOUR-OWN quart of raspberries, 9 a.m. until noon

**1 OPTIONAL BONUS family hayride, 9 a.m. until noon

Total retail value of this week’s box: $201

Total retail value of goods distributed this season (adding in $80 for Christmas pines): $1,609.50

Emily’s notes:

There are items in this week’s box that you will want to use up within a week or so (tomatoes, kale, peppers and string beans) and then there are many more that you can keep for weeks, even months, making your CSA dollar stretch even further. Each year, I love to use the winter squash in the fall box to decorate around my house, pulling them down one by one to bake for pumpkin bread, soups, risotto and all the other great things you can make with pumpkin or winter squash. The hubbard squash in this year’s box are a real treat. These pumpkin-shaped gourds are not only beautiful, but they are also some of the most sought-after varieties for making soups, pies, souffle and other dishes. I would recommend against using any squash you plan to eat as outdoor decoration. Squirrels, birds and occasional neighborhood teenagers have a tendency to take chunks out of them, leading to quicker decay and possible contamination.

If you pick up one thing at the store on the ride home from this pickup, make it bacon. Use it to make this classic Southern recipe for green beans and new potatoes, which I’ve shared before, but it’s hearty and so good I had to share it again for fall eating. I am considering trying it with sweet potatoes.

This box can truly get you through to Thanksgiving and even Christmas cooking. These sweet potatoes are grown by Miles Hastings at Canning Farm in Dogue, and they are delicious. While many holiday sweet potato dishes are packed with butter and sugar, you really don’t need them to make a dish so decadent it tastes like a dessert. This recipe from Cooking Light is what I put on my Thanksgiving table last year. It’s so good, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait that long to make it again.

Acorn squash can be eaten very simply–baked with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon or stuffed with rice, sausage, beef or whatever else suits you. But it can also make for a very elegant presentation when sliced and roasted. Its pointed shape and the contrast of the dark peel against bright flesh adds interest to many dishes. One that caught my eye recently is this one for roasted acorn squash and apples with kale, quinoa and tahini dressing. I love the flavor combinations here, and the variety of textures.

As for butternut and hubbard squash, I tend to use these interchangeably. These are all great for your pumpkin pies at the holidays, and the numerous other uses for pumpkin you’ll find on Pinterest and the Internet. I recently added diced butternut squash (one whole medium squash, diced) to my go-to chili recipe, and was pleased with the result. It allowed me to get more meals out of a pot of chili, and provided some vegetable nutrition to a meat-heavy dish.

Apples are wonderful for quick crisps and more involved pies, but don’t forget that they’re great in savory dishes, also. This recipe for baked sausages with apples and potatoes is a favorite in our house.  I also love apples and kale together. Massage some kale with your favorite vinaigrette, toss in some chopped apples, blue or goat cheese, dried cranberries, walnuts, bacon…some cubed and roasted butternut squash would be nice here, too.

Have fun with this box, folks!

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Week 17: Aug. 27, 2014

Remember:

  • This is the last CSA pickup until the quadruple fall pickup on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
  • You can join the Snead’s Farm CSA for 2015 by downloading the application here. Hard copies of the application are also available at the farm stand.

In this week’s box:

1 flat peaches

1 dozen eggs

1 dozen corn

1 quart okra

2 1.5-pound bags string beans

1 bag eggplant (4 eggplant)

2 bags tomatoes

2 2-pound bags potatoes

2 butternut squash

The following pick-your-own opportunities are for CSA members only

1 half-pint optional bonus pick-your-own raspberries, 8 a.m. until noon, Wed., Aug. 27

1 quart optional bonus pick-your-own Concord grapes, 8 a.m. until noon, Wed., Aug. 27

2 half-pints optional bonus pick-your-own raspberries, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $80

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $1,551.50 

Emily’s notes:

As usual, this summer sped by, and the advance of fall is evident in this box, with butternut squash and tomatoes and raspberries side-by-side. If you’re not quite ready to start cooking winter squash, don’t worry, you can hold onto butternut squash for months if you keep it in a relatively cool place. I’ll have lots of squash recipes coming before the fall pickup, but for one that feels more summer than fall, here’s a Mexican Butternut Squash and Corn Saute from Food52. You could use your CSA tomatoes instead of canned. Maybe add a dash of ground chipotle chili powder or red pepper flakes to make up for the fire-roasted element.

You could also combine your butternut squash and corn into a chowder, as this recipe from Martha Stewart does (no need for frozen corn, obviously).

We often think of okra as a Southern vegetable, but it also shows up a lot in Indian cuisine. I would sub in fresh diced tomatoes for canned in this recipe for Indian eggplant with okra and tomatoes. This would be delicious over rice, no meat needed! I can also now say that I highly recommend this recipe I linked to last week for okra and potato hash, although I would use a bit more salt. I might throw in an ear’s worth of corn kernels or maybe a diced eggplant this week.

If you’re looking for a new way to eat peaches, this recipe for blueberry peach oatmeal muffins makes a nice lower-sugar snack or breakfast option. A couple of additions I recommend are doubling the peaches and omitting the blueberries, since we don’t have those this week, adding about 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to the dry ingredients and using brown sugar instead of white.

 

Week 8: June 25, 2014

In this week’s box:

3 half-pints raspberries

2 half-pints black raspberries

1 dozen eggs

1 bulb fennel with fronds

2 bags red new potatoes

2 bunches spring onions

2 bags green beans

2 heads cabbage

1 bag zucchini

1 bag yellow squash

**OPTIONAL BONUS** up to 4 half-pints pick-your-own raspberries, between 9 a.m. and noon, CSA members only.

Total retail value of goods distributed this week: $54.50

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this season: $529.50

Emily’s notes

With both green beans and potatoes in this week’s box, I highly recommend this recipe I shared last year for Southern-style green beans and new potatoes. It’s a good reminder that bacon makes everything better.

With spring onions and cabbage, I will definitely be making this recipe for cabbage salad with ramen noodles. It works just as well with regular cabbage as with the Napa cabbage called for in the recipe. I find it’s best to use a food processor to shred the cabbage if you have one.

What to do with fennel? You could slice it very thinly and toss it with thinly sliced apples and some of the chopped greens from the spring onions, along with a vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, some walnuts and blue cheese for a cool summer salad. I would also finely chop some of the green fronds from atop the fennel bulb to add to this. Some folks don’t like raw fennel, though, and in that case, I would just toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic and throw it on the grill or into a 450-degree oven to roast until tender. It becomes sweeter and a bit less licorice-tasting when cooked.

Looking for a new way to serve zucchini and squash? I always love the way the Bavarian Chef in downtown Fredericksburg treats these vegetables. Try mixing green and yellow squash in this recipe from The Kitchn for Potato, Squash and Zucchini Gratin with Goat Cheese. I am always hesitant about gratins, because so many recipes seem to call for enough cream to cancel out all the virtue of the vegetables, but I like that this one is much lighter, and very easy to pull together with this week’s box!

I would also recommend substituting 1-2 shredded yellow squash for the carrots called for in this recipe for Healthy Morning Muffins from Martha Stewart. Please share your favorite summer squash and zucchini recipes if you have them!

 

Week 11: July 10, 2013

In this week’s box:

1 dozen eggs

2 large bags of tomatoes

14 ears of corn

2 quarts of peaches

3 pounds of string beans

1 1/2 pound bag red potatoes

1 1/2 pound bag of yukon gold potatoes

2 eggplant

1 bag sweet peppers

Emily’s notes:

I’m going to start off with some fresh ideas for green beans (Although I can’t seem to stop myself from making this recipe for Green Beans and New Potatoes over and over and over again. It’s simple and fantastic.).

This recipe for a weeknight-friendly version of Eggs Benedict looks promising. I’m all for dinners that come 100 percent from the CSA box, so I might swap out the polenta for some grilled or breaded and fried eggplant rounds.

This recipe offers a nice, simple green-bean-and-goat-cheese salad that delivers a different flavor profile than the green bean dishes we’ve been eating in my house lately.

– Green beans are one element of the French salade niçoise. A lot of the other elements are also in this week’s box (Use this recipe as a rough guide, but I always encourage improvisation.). If you can prep your ingredients (boiled potatoes, blanched beans, hard-boiled eggs) ahead of time, the salad will come together without too much fuss at mealtime. Tuna is traditional, but I’m thinking of doing this with a can of salmon that’s been in my pantry for a while.

Just looking at this list, I think a tomato, corn, sweet pepper and peach salsa would be fantastic, especially spooned over grilled chicken. I would probably just toss diced tomatoes, peppers and peaches with corn, olive oil, salt, pepper and perhaps a little basil or cilantro. I don’t think I’d want citrus competing with the peaches.

Speaking of peaches, last year I threw some peach slices into a leftover pesto pasta salad and discovered that peaches and pesto are an amazing combination. I would consider tossing short pasta, chopped tomatoes, roasted or grilled corn and/or eggplant and some nice fresh peach chunks with a pesto sauce for a really summery dish that’s a different take on your usual pasta salad.

If you can get your hands on some good summer squash (not a tall order this time of year), you will have the makings with this box of the traditional French dish ratatouille. There are many strong opinions on how to make this dish, but one that is particularly friendly to this week’s CSA box is in Alice Waters’ book, “The Art of Simple Food,” a great reference for any CSA cook. That recipe is reproduced with adaptations here. This dish is great topped with a fried egg.

 

Week 10: July 3, 2013

In this week’s box:

1/2 dozen eggs

1 1/2 pints of raspberries

3 lb bags new potatoes

3 lbs of green beans

14 ears of corn

2 bunches of basil

1 bag of tomatoes

Emily’s notes:

With July 4 this week, many of you may be heading to pot luck suppers or cooking for crowds. Your green beans, corn and basil would go nicely in this recipe for Green Bean Salad with Corn and Olives, which would be great at a pot luck.

This box also supplies you nicely for this recipe for herb buttered potatoes with corn. I think you could sub in your basil for the thyme and parsley used in this recipe and it would be more summery.

Earlier this year, we made pancakes out of our turnips and potatoes. I think you could do the same with potatoes and corn and it would turn out nicely. I don’t use a recipe for this, but here’s the method: Grate however many potatoes you want to use. Slice the kernels off of the ears of corn you want to use. Mix these together, then add about 1/4 cup flour (or less) per two cups of vegetables, along with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne or any other desired seasonings to taste. Add about one beaten egg for every 1/4 cup flour. If the batter seems too wet, add more flour. If it seems too dry, add another egg. You want a consistency that feels like slightly runny raw hamburger patties (doesn’t that sound yummy…) when you form it into pancakes (which I recommend doing with your hands). Drop the cakes into about 1/8 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a wide skillet (hard to beat cast iron here). Cook until golden brown on each side. I would sprinkle the finished cakes with finely chopped basil and serve with sour cream. These are filling, so you don’t necessarily need meat with them.

Basil is a summer addiction of mine, and I feel sad when I see it go limp after it’s been sitting around too long. So I think I’ll be whipping up a batch of pesto as soon as I can after bringing this batch home. It’s been ages since I used a recipe for this, but this recipe from Ina Garten offers a pretty good guide (There is no need to be exact here with the quantities. I usually like to add the juice of one lemon to my pestos, and I never use pine nuts–too expensive. Walnuts or almonds are just fine.).

And finally, this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans seems to be made for this week’s CSA box. I have had really good luck with the recipes I’ve tried from this blogger, so it’s high on my list.

Happy Fourth!

Week 9: June 26, 2013

In this week’s box:

3 pounds of green beans

1/2 dozen eggs

3 pounds of potatoes

2 bunches of green onions

2 bunches of beets

2 bunches of swiss chard

14 ears of bicolor corn(white and yellow on the same cob)

1 head of broccoli

1/2 pint of raspberries

1 pint of blackberries

1 bag of tomatoes

Retail value of this week’s box: $46

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this season: $472

Emily’s notes:

vegOn a recent trip to the library, I stumbled upon a cookbook that I think would make a great reference in any CSA member’s kitchen. It’s called, “Eat More Vegetables” by Tricia Cornell, and was published in 2012. Cornell, who lives in Minnesota, is a longtime CSA member. She writes about how the weekly box of produce was overwhelming for her for the first few years of membership, and she even dreaded CSA pickup days at times because of the volume that came into her kitchen. But over the years she developed rhythms and devised dishes that made it all a lot more manageable and enjoyable for her entire family. There are some really creative recipes in here that look like a lot of fun. I think I might have to make an exception to my self-imposed ban on buying new cookbooks to add this one to the home library.

When I picked up this book, I was thinking about beets, which also appear in this week’s box. Cornell’s recipe for Beet and Goat Cheese Tart looked intriguing to me. I’m going to be entertaining guests this week, so I might give it a try. Here it is:

Beet and Goat Cheese Tart

Serves 8 as an appetizer

1 pound beets

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 egg

6 ounces goat cheese

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

olive oil

1 to 2 tablespoons honey (optional)

1 teaspoon dried sumac (This is a Middle-Eastern spice that Cornell says is optional, but adds a nice tartness.)

Wrap beets in foil and roast at 400 degrees until a knife slides easily all the way through (This took about an hour with the beets we got last week.). You want beets on the softer rather than firmer side for this recipe. Leave the oven on. Peel the beets under running water as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Slice them 1/4 inch thick.

Mix yogurt, egg and goat cheese. Place pastry on lightly floured or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush very lightly with olive oil. Cover pastry with overlapping disks of beets, leaving about 1 inch around the edges. Spoon goat cheese mixture over the top, still leaving the edges clear. Drizzle with honey (I am thinking balsamic vinegar might be a good alternative here.) and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until edges are puffed and golden brown. Cool completely, then slice into 2-inch squares and serve.

If you’re looking for more beet ideas, the beet salad described in this post on the blog “Dinner: A Love Story” looks nice to me. I also might have to make this beet hummus that has been on my to-do list for years, but never seems to get made before I use my beets for something else. Like cake.

With onions, green beans and potatoes in this week’s box, you’re all set up to make a classic Southern side, green beans and new potatoes. This recipe from the blog Deep South Dish gives a good guide. I can smell the bacon now.

On a busy night, I sometimes like to roast my green beans. They don’t get as soggy, and the flavors of what you dress them in intensify a bit. The last time we got green beans, I roasted them after tossing them with a mix of sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. This recipe for parmesan roasted green beans from the blog Skinny Taste looks like something I’ll have to try with this batch.

And the first corn of the season is here! Last year I discovered that the best way to get corn on the table quickly on a weeknight was to toss it in the microwave, husk and all, and cook for about 3 minutes per ear (exact time will vary based on your microwave’s power). Remove it with a potholder (It’s hot!) and hack off the end that was attached to the stalk. Then you should be able to shake the cooked ear of corn straight onto your plate without having to deal with those pesky silks. It’s not quite as good as roasting corn in an oven (also with husks on) or grilling it, but it’s pretty good for a quick weeknight technique, which is what I need most of the time these days.

You could combine fresh corn taken off the cob with chopped tomates and onions from this week’s box for a quick fresh salsa. Toss the mixture with a little olive oil, lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper and cilantro (if you like it). Dice some of the potatoes and serve them hash-brown style, and scramble a few of the eggs. Spoon your salsa over the potatoes and eggs and you have a really tasty dinner completely from your CSA box!

You can click the “Swiss Chard” tag at right to see all the recipes we’ve linked to for chard so far this year. I am thinking of using my pizza dough recipe to make a chard calzone this week. I’ll share the recipe if it turns out!

This far into the season, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog. Are the recipes useful? Do they fit your lifestyle? Are there vegetables that you need more ideas for? Please e-mail me here with your comments (I will specify that I am asking for comments about the blog itself. Questions about CSA pickup should be directed to the Sneads.)

Week 7: June 12, 2013

In this week’s box:

1/2 dozen eggs

2 pints sugar snap peas

2 quarts strawberries

1 bulb fennel

2 bunches Swiss chard

2 bunches of spring onions

1 bunch of dill

1 bunch of basil

3 pounds of string beans

1.5 pounds of red potatoes

1.5 pounds of white potatoes

1/2 pint of raspberries

1 head of Chinese cabbage

Emily’s notes:

Have you ever cooked fish in parchment, or en papillote, as the French say? This week’s box contains a lot of ingredients that would be well-suited to this easy and healthful cooking method.

Here is an easy step-by-step tutorial with pictures from Cooking Light on how to prep and fold the parchment packets, and below is a rough recipe for how to make the most of this week’s box in such a dish.

Fish and vegetables en papillote

4 salmon fillets (or other fish of choice)

Any combination of the following, depending on your preference:

3/4 pounds green beans, rinsed and trimmed

1/2 pound small red potatoes, sliced about 1/8 inch thick

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

10 fresh basil leaves and/or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

one lemon, sliced

4 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper to taste

4 teaspoons olive oil

drizzle of white wine (optional)

To ensure your vegetables cook all the way, you might want to blanch them first (fennel and potatoes 2 minutes, green beans one minute) in boiling water, then shock them in ice water to stop the cooking. While they’re in their ice bath, arrange each fish fillet on one of your prepared parchment “heart” halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. (If using potatoes, you might want to put the potatoes down first as a bed.)

Next, layer fennel, green beans, then capers, herbs and a lemon slice or two for each packet. Drizzle each package with olive oil and white wine, if using, before sealing.

Place packets on a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Maybe saute some Swiss chard with a chopped spring onion to eat as a side dish.

When I see potatoes and dill, I immediately think of this potato salad recipe from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. I’ve made it too many times to count, it’s always a winner. Even though I think red onions add a great heat to this salad, you could definitely use the spring onions in this week’s box instead.

Speaking of Ina, she also wrote this recipe for Potato-Fennel gratin that would also be good with this week’s box. I am confident you could get away with using just one fennel bulb here, and the spring onions you’re getting this week instead of a yellow onion, as the recipe calls for (I usually use my spring onions in the same manner I would use mature onions, so it’s one less thing I have to buy during CSA season.).

If you’re looking for a new way to use Swiss chard, give this recipe for Swiss Chard Spanakopita a go. I did something similar with beet greens last year. It worked well as a freeze-ahead meal, also.

With Chinese cabbage, a recipe that has always been a hit in our house is this one for a salad that includes ramen noodles and a cider vinegar dressing. This is excellent for pot lucks.

It’s a real treat to have strawberries and raspberries in the same box. Celebrate by buying some premium vanilla ice cream and spooning on the fruit!