Next week is the last week of the summer CSA. We encourage you to bring bags along with you so you can leave the box at the site.
As I type this, rain is falling outside, hot tea is steeping beside me, and 4 varieties of winter squash are baking in the oven, Yep, it’s fall and time to shift gears in the kitchen. Break out the soup pot and roasting pan and start making some warm, nourishing, comfort foods: roasted root vegetables, potato leek soup, stuffed winter squash, sweet breads and muffins!
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
Beets or chard
Scarlet queen turnip
ELABORATIONS: I am baking 4 different squash so I know whether or not to give you the green light on eating it yet. I’ll let you know by the end of this letter.
Acorn squash-The green one. It is one of the milder squash varieties, It lacks the extreme sweetness of delicata, which is why it is commonly seen baked with butter and brown sugar. Because of its subtler flavor, it lends itself well to stuffing with onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, strong cheeses, etc. A quick google search of acorn squash will no doubt yield a lifetime of recipes to try.
Spaghetti squash-The yellow one. Most varieties of spaghetti squash are HUGE-often upwards of 6 pounds. I was tempted by this little personal sized one in the seed catalogue and thought I’d give it a whirl. It is called spaghetti squash because when you bake it, the flesh comes off in strands, like…you guessed it…spaghetti!. Cut in half and bake cut side down in a bit of water until you can pierce through the flesh with a fork. Scrape flesh out with a fork using shallow strokes.
Potatoes-King Harry. You’ve had these before. They are very versatile. Use them in potato leek soup or scalloped potatoes.
Celery-Celery is so hard for us to grow, yet we persist. This celery is smaller than what you might be used to. It has a heartier celery flavor and is a great addition to soups and roasts.
Leeks-They are in the onion family and have a more robust, prominent flavor. Use them in place of an onion in most dishes (but the flavor will stand out). Another google search will give you plenty of inspiration. NOTE: As leeks grow, sometimes dirt gets trapped in the layers. To prepare for cooking, cut off the root end, and trim off all but 3 inches of the green part. Slice the leek in half lengthwise and fan under running water to rinse out any dirt.
Kale-red Russian or curly kale: Half of you got curly and half got Red Russian. Next week we will switch. I like the Russian for salads, green smoothies, kale quesadillas, and kale chips. The curly kind is great for soups, stir fries, or a quick sauté.
Scarlet queen turnip-really nice, crisp salad turnip. We often cut these into matchsticks along with carrots and kohlrabi, and snack on them. No need to peel. You can also cook with it.
SHALLOT: It is like an onion, only fancier. The flavor is richer and more complex than an onion, but not as distinguishable as a leek. They are often used minced in a vinaigrette or sauteed at the beginning of a soup.
THE SQUASH VERDICT: Okay, so Jim, Betsie and I all tasted the squash I baked. The delicata (no surprise) was sweet and amazing and ready to eat. The acorn, could be sweeter but was pretty darn good, especially if you plan to stuff it or do the classic butter/sugar thing. The spaghetti squash was close. I’d recommend waiting a week or two on that. And finally, the butternut-we all thought it was good, but would be better with age. So, in summation, delicata and butternut are ready now, acorn could go either way, and wait a bit on the spaghetti squash. All will improve over time. We also asked the crew if they had been eating any and what they thought. Teresa has had several good butternuts, Trine had delicata and butternut and gave it the thumbs up, but pour Maryclair had a less than stellar delicata. Such a crap shoot this early on.
Keep warm, stay dry, and start cooking!