CSA Newsletter – Week 18
The Flavors of Fall
As you go through this week’s autumnal box there will be quite a few exciting and lesser known vegetables to explore. It’s quite an amazing thing to live in a place where you can grow so many different types of foods and explore so many different types of flavors. It’s even more amazing that so many of us who happen to live in this agricultural utopia don’t even know that there are such diverse and delicious foods to be enjoyed here. I certainly didn’t.
It’s crazy to imagine what it would have been like for people to live in places where they ate hardly anything but potatoes during the winter. The first time I had kabocha squash, having only ever had acorn before, I just couldn’t believe what I was tasting. I thought squash was something that had to be drowned in butter and salt to be delicious, and yet here was this squash that tasted like a roasted chestnut on its own.
And then when I had celeriac for the first time I just couldn’t understand how such an ugly-looking root sautéed simply with garlic and onion could elicit almost the same flavor profile as a rich chicken stock. And then! There’s the day that you see romanesco for the first time, making you question just about everything you thought you knew about the natural world in one glance. Soon even more flavors will start coming your way, from mushroom-flavored sunchokes and sweet earthy parsnips to savory Gilfeather turnips and incredibly herbal parsley root.
There just isn’t anything in the world quite like a new flavor. Just this week I picked a low-growing pink berry that smelled exactly like wintergreen gum—pure magic.
-Laura Bennett, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Box Contents
- Green Kabocha Squash—This squash will blow your mind! It’s basically a giant roasted chestnut, with a deeply savory and nutty flavor and a creamy yet dry texture. At the market, you’ll see a variety of green, scarlet, and grey kabochas, each with their own slight flavor variations.
- Celeriac—I had never heard of this vegetable before working for GTF, but it has since stolen my heart and has become a staple in my fall and winter diets.
- Romanesco—This is the vegetable of all vegetables, the one and only cauliflower relative whose florets form perfect fractal patterns that look more like a work of art than food. Use just like you would broccoli or cauliflower, and for the best results, cut to keep the florets in little tree forms.
- Conehead Cabbage—This cabbage is especially sweet, and the leaf shape makes it ideal for making gluten-free wraps.
- Sweet Bell Pepper—These could be the last peppers of the season. We’ll have to enjoy them while we still can!
- Green Bell Pepper
- Huckleberry Gold Potatoes—Everyone on the farm agrees, these potatoes are the most beautiful of the season so far. Their skin is dark purple with hints of magenta, and their flesh is a creamy golden yellow.
- Bunched Carrots
- Sweet Onions
Creamed Celeriac & Apple Soup
“With its wrinkled, whitish skin and protruding stringy roots, celeriac (also known as celery root) won’t win any beauty contests, but I nevertheless find it charming—perhaps because I’m French. In France, celeriac is commonly used in salads, soups, gratins, or mashed.”
- 1 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 1 celeriac, peeled & diced
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
- 1 large apple, peeled & diced
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp marjoram leaves (or oregano)
- salt & pepper
- 2/3 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
- chopped parsley to serve (optional)
- crumbles of blue cheese, to serve
To prepare the soup, in a heavy pot melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the oil and then the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.
Add the celeriac, potato, and apple and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Add the water, stock, bay leaf, and marjoram and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are fork-tender.
When the soup is ready, discard the bay leaf and transfer to the bowls of a food processor. Puree and return to the pot with the heavy cream.
Reheat the soup and check the seasoning. Serve with crumbles of blue cheese, chopped parsley, and olive oil.
Pretty much any vegetable sautéed with onions and then pureed with heavy cream will make a delicious soup. So feel free to add in carrots, spinach, romanesco, or even kabocha squash - just maybe not all at once.
*To see a tutorial on how to cut up celeriac and kabocha squash, check out this link:
Stir-fried Kabocha Squash
Kabocha and other large squashes lend themselves to easy baking, but being limited to a frying pan at market forces me to cook in creative ways. Trust me, if you stir fry kabocha once, you might never go back. Cooking it in the frying pan takes hardly ten minutes, as there is very little water to cook out, and you end up with bites of creamy squash encased within crisp edges.
- 1 kabocha squash, sliced thinly (you can decide if you'd like to shave the skin off first with your knife; scarlet kabocha skin is often soft enough to leave on, but the green squashes you have this week may have thicker skins)
- 1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
- 1 sweet pepper, sliced thinly
- 1/2 head garlic
- coconut oil
- salt & pepper
Cutting up the big kabocha squash while it’s raw is the hardest part of this recipe. Be safe, take your time, and don’t chop your fingers off however tempting it may be. Follow the chopping tutorial in the link above if needed.
Finely chop your onion.
Heat a pan of oil up to medium-low temp and add in the onions, letting cook 2-4 minutes.
Add in the kabocha squash slices and stir around. Let cook covered 2-3 minutes.
Finely chop garlic and peppers and add into the pan, continuing to cook uncovered another 5-8 minutes until crispy brown on some edges, but before the pieces turn to mush.