November 19, 2013

This Week's CSA Harvest (11/18/13)

Reminder: This week we are distributing vegetable shares, lamb orders and turkey orders. This is the final week of the CSA season.

The Vegetable Share:
  • Spinach
  • Shallots
  • Garlic
  • Scarlet Turnips
  • Crimini Mushrooms (from River Valley Ranch)
  • Beets
  • Sweet Potatoes (from Harmony Valley Farm)
  • Parsnips

Jeff, Jen, Matt and I just returned from our annual fall planning weekend. This is a time when we discuss all of the ups and downs of the farming season. It's an opportunity to use what we've learned to help us plan for the next season. We like to do it in the fall, as opposed to the deep of winter, while everything is still fresh in our minds. This year's planning weekend was special because it marked the 1-year anniversary of the partnership between our 2 families (the Sheaffers and the Millers). Matt and I couldn't be happier to be working together with Jeff and Jen (pictured with their boys, above). Their hard work has made everything possible this year. Congratulations to Jen and Jeff on a job well done, and thank you to all of our members for sharing in the experience this year. Have a great winter!  --Peg

Registration for 2014 CSA Shares
Information for next year's CSA shares is available at our website. You can register online and pay for your 2014 shares in up to 5 installments throughout the course of the season. If you are planning to register for next year, we would encourage you to do so relatively soon. Spring vegetable shares are almost sold out, and more than half of the summer vegetable shares have already been reserved. Please contact us with any questions.

In the Farm Kitchen: Making the Most of your CSA Share
This week's share contains some beautiful scarlet turnips. (By the way, to help you figure what's what, we have bagged the beets his week and left the scarlet turnips unbagged.) I know some of you may not have made friends with turnips yet. If you are currently among the unconverted, start by pairing them with potatoes. When I first starting cooking with turnips, I found that bringing along an old friend (the familiar and comforting potato) was a great way to start building a good relationship with this slightly intimidating new vegetable. Try mashing them together or pairing them in a gratin or a hash. You should also know that scarlet turnips have a mild radish flavor and an inherant sweetness that can be played up in dishes that call for apples, apple juice or honey. Try grating a chunk of scarlet turnip into a salad (leave the skin on for maximum visual effect) and tossing with toasted walnuts, diced apple and a honey-dijon dressing. Enjoy!

Mushrooms & Turnips with Garlic Butter and Creamy Polenta
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan or other cheese
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium unpeeled scarlet turnips, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup white wine

To make the polenta, bring the broth to a simmer in a medium pot and add the cornmeal. Simmer on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream and Parmesan. Season with salt to taste.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the mushrooms and turnips for 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and white wine. Continue to cook, stirring, until the wine has reduced by at least two thirds. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and swirl in the rest of the butter. Season with salt to taste. Serve mushrooms and turnips over polenta.
Skillet Turnips & Potatoes with Bacon
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 1/2 pounds turnips, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 cup fresh spinach, very thinly sliced
Mix 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and sugar in small bowl. Combine oil and bacon in heavy large skillet; sauté over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes. Add shallot and garlic; sauté about 5 minutes. Add turnips and potatoes; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt and toss 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until vegetables are almost tender, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Push vegetables to 1 side of skillet. Pour vinegar mixture into cleared space. Toss vegetables with vinegar mixture. Spread vegetables in even layer in skillet; cook until golden and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn vegetables over; spread in even layer and cook until browned and slightly crisp on bottom, about 4 minutes. Continue to turn, spread, and cook vegetables until tender, golden, and crisp around edges, 7 to 8 minutes longer. Season with more sea salt and black pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with spinach.