Wednesday, September 23, 2020

September 24, 2020 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Winter Squash

Cooking With This Week's Box

Calibra Yellow Onions: Winter Squash Soup with Ginger, Turmeric, and Miso (see below); Homemade Vegetarian Chili



Jalapeno Pepper: Easy Coconut Curry recipe (see below); Jalapeno Cornbread




Mini Sweet Peppers: Giardinera

Sugar Dumpling Squash or Kabocha Squash: Gochujang and Sesame Roasted Winter Squash (see below); Winter Squash Soup with Ginger, Turmeric, and Miso (see below); Easy Coconut Curry recipe (see below)

Saute Mix: Easy Coconut Curry recipe (see below); Skillet Potatoes and Greens

Cauliflower, Romanesco, Red Cabbage or Green Savoy Cabbage: Winter Squash Soup with Ginger, Turmeric, and Miso (see below); Easy Coconut Curry recipe (see below); Giardinera; Italian Orecchette Pasta with Broccoli Romanesco; Red Cabbage Slaw; Seriously Good Homemade Coleslaw

Happy first week of Autumn!! The trees are starting to change colors, the nights are getting a bit more chilly and the harvest crew is harvesting root vegetables faster than I can get them put away in the cooler!  As you can tell by the box this week, we’re at a transition point in the season.  We’re officially done picking melons and watermelons.  Our first planting of tomatoes is nearly finished and we’re doing our last harvest of basil later this week.  It’s time to start moving into fall crops and this week we’re giving the stage to winter squash!  I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this week’s “Weed Em’ and Reap” article all about Winter Squash.  In that article we’ve included a description and picture for every variety of squash we’ve grown this year, so this is an important resource you can use in future weeks.

HVF Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce
This week we’re starting by sending either sugar dumpling or orange kabocha squash your way.  The first recipe I included this week is for Gochujang and Sesame Roasted Winter Squash (see below).  If you made a batch of HVF Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce last week, you can use it in place of gochujang in this recipe.  You can make this recipe using either kabocha or sugar dumpling.  The recipe calls for butternut or kabocha squash, but you could also use the sugar dumpling.  I’d recommend leaving the skin on and cutting it into thin wedges.  The second recipe is for Winter Squash Soup with Ginger, Turmeric, and Miso (see below).  This is a warm, nourishing soup that is packed with so many nutrients to support your immune system.  This is a recipe you’ll want to hang onto and use throughout the winter with a variety of squash.  Lastly, we look to loveandlemons.com for an Easy Coconut Curry recipe (see below).  I love winter squash in simple curries and this recipe caught my eye as it’s perfect for this week’s box.  In addition to squash, garlic and onions, it also includes cauliflower and spinach.  While we don’t have spinach quite yet, you can substitute this week’s saute greens.  This is another recipe you may want to add to the monthly rotation this winter.  While kabocha squash is one of the best options, you can also substitute butternut squash with equally good results.

Homemade Vegetarian Chili
photo from cookieandkate.com
It’s chili weather!  Make a batch of Homemade Vegetarian Chili using this week’s sweet peppers, onions and tomatoes.  Many recipes call for canned tomatoes, but since you have fresh tomatoes right now you might as well use them!  Serve this with a piece of Jalapeno Cornbread.

Both of the varieties of potatoes we’re delivering this week are good choices for potato salad!  When I was in Sicily back in February, we ate lunch at a little restaurant on the coast that had just a few items to choose from.  We chose a salad similar to this Italian Style Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Salad.  You can use any of the sweet pepper varieties in this week’s box.  Make sure you choose a good quality, flavorful olive oil for this salad.  Serve this alongside a simple fish dish such as this Sicilian Cod with Tomatoes and Garlic.

Before we leave Italy, I have a few more recommendations for Italian inspired recipes you can make this week.  Actually, a member commenting on our Instagram post reminded me about Giardinera, which is Italian pickled vegetables.  If you received cauliflower this week, use it for this recipe along with some mini sweet peppers to make a jar of these.  They make a great addition to an antipasto platter complete with a few cheese selections, some salami or other cured meats and of course some good Italian bread or focaccia.  This could be a fun, relaxed weekend dinner!  If you received Broccoli Romanesco, use it to make this Italian Orecchette Pasta with Broccoli Romanesco.  You could substitute cauliflower in this recipe as well.  This recipe calls for a few anchovy fillets.  If you’ve never used these before, I encourage you to do so.  They have a strong flavor, but you only use a small amount in the dish.  They provide a nice background flavor without being overpowering.  You can buy a small jar in the grocery section near cans of tuna fish.

On Tuesday afternoon we started harvesting some of our fall cabbages and I have to say, they are gorgeous!  The first thing Richard’s going to ask for will be cabbage slaw, creamy of course.  Here’s a recipe for a creamy slaw, actually it’s called Seriously Good Homemade Coleslaw.  This is best made with the green savoy cabbage.  If you received the red cabbage, you may want to try this Red Cabbage Slaw with a simple vinaigrette.

White Beans with Broccoli Raab and Lemon
photo by Laura Murry for bonappetit.com
Lets talk greens for a minute.  This week you’ll receive either broccoli raab or baby bok choi.  If you receive the broccoli raab, consider making White Beans with Broccoli Raab and Lemon.  If you receive the baby bok choi, make one of my all-time favorite recipes for this Bok Choi Salad with Sesame Almond Crunch!  We all need simple, easy dishes to turn to sometimes, such as this recipe for Skillet Potatoes and Greens.  The recipe calls for Kale, but you could also use the saute mix as well as broccoli raab or bok choi.  Add a protein of your choosing to round out the meal.

That brings us to the bottom of this week’s box.  Next week we are hoping to have more cauliflower as well as broccoli.  We might also start harvesting leeks and we still need to bring in our lemongrass, although we may wait one more week on that item.  We also have some gorgeous head lettuce that will be ready very soon!  Have a great week!—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Winter Squash

By Chef Andrea

This week we’re featuring winter squash as we celebrate the first official week of autumn!  We encourage you to read our “Weed Em’ and Reap” article this week that offers an expanded look into this year’s winter squash varieties.  You’ll want to refer to this article throughout the season to remind you about the characteristics of each kind.  It is important that we talk about storage though, so I want to offer a little info on this topic in this space this week.

The optimal storage temperature for winter squash is 45-55°F.  This may be difficult to achieve in a home setting, so my recommendation is to choose a cool, dry place in your home if possible, even if it is a little warmer than 55°F.  Many people choose to store winter squash in the garage or basement, which is fine to do as long as these spaces don’t get too cold in the winter and if they aren’t too humid.  In the coldest part of the winter our garage temperature usually dips into the 30’s which is too cold for squash.  We also do not recommend storing winter squash in the refrigerator.  As I mentioned, storage at temperatures less than 45°F may cause chill injury which will shorten the storage potential of your squash.  Honestly, it’s fine to also store them at room temperature, beautifully displayed in your kitchen or living space.  They will add beauty to your space until you’re ready to eat them!  They’ll also be easy to keep your eye on them.  It’s important to check the squash periodically if you’re keeping it for extended time.  Look for any spots starting to form that may indicate the start of deterioration.  If you do see a problem spot, don’t automatically throw it out!  I repeat, do not throw it out!  If you catch it early, the problem may only affect a very small portion that may be cut away.  If that’s the case, don’t delay, it’s time to cook the squash before the issue gets bigger!  It will be easier for you to monitor a few squash than it will be for us to monitor bins and bins of squash.  Don’t feel like you have to eat it all right away.  If it’s a variety that will store, you can set it aside for later.  If you do have some that are starting to develop spots, you should still cook it even if you are not ready to eat or use them.  You can scoop out the flesh once it’s cooked and freeze it.  Better to do this so you can preserve the flesh than to surrender it to the compost bin!

Winter Squash Soup with Ginger, Turmeric, and Miso

Yield:  about 2 ½ quarts (6 servings)

2 Tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tsp dried turmeric powder OR One 4-inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (about ¼ cup) 
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped (about ¼ cup)
2 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste
4 pounds kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 10 cups)
5 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup sweet white miso, mellow white miso, or chickpea miso
Tamari (optional)
  1. Warm the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until beginning to brown.  Stir in the garlic, turmeric, ginger and salt and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the garlic is golden and fragrant.  
  2. Add the squash and water (the water should come almost to the top of the chopped squash), raise the heat, and bring to a boil;  then cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender.  Test by pressing a piece of squash against the side of the pot;  it should crush easily with a little pressure.  Remove from the heat, season with pepper to taste, and set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Working in batches, scoop the soup into an upright blender (filling it no more than two-thirds full).  Add the miso and puree on high speed until smooth and velvety, then pour into a large bowl or another large pot.  Season to taste with more salt and pepper, and with tamari, if using, and serve warm.  Store leftover soup in jars in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe borrowed from Amy Chaplin’s book, Whole Food Cooking Every Day.

Easy Coconut Curry

photo from loveandlemons.com
Yield:  4 servings

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cardamom
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups cubed butternut or kabocha squash
1-2 Korean chile peppers or ½-1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk 
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
 4 cups fresh spinach (may substitute sauté mix)
 ½ cup frozen peas (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For Serving:
2 cups cooked basmati rice
  1. A few big handfuls of fresh basil or cilantro
  2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft and well-browned, about 10 minutes, reducing the heat to low halfway through.  
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Add the squash and chiles to the pot, stir, and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in the cauliflower and then add the coconut milk and the spice mixture.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 
  5. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, spinach or sauté mix, peas (if using) and stir.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding additional lime juice, salt, and pepper, as desired.
  6. Serve the curry over the rice with fresh basil or cilantro and lime wedges on the side.
Recipe borrowed from loveandlemons.com.

Gochujang and Sesame Roasted Winter Squash

photo by Danny Kim for bonappetit.com
Yield:  4 servings

2 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp gochujang or HVF Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
1 medium butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, sliced ¼ inch thick
Scallions, thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt
  1. Place oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven;  preheat to 425°F.  Whisk sesame seeds, oil, gochujang, and soy sauce in a large bowl.  Add squash to the bowl and toss to coat the squash with the gochujang mixture.  
  2. Divide squash between 2 rimmed baking sheets, arranging in a single layer.  Roast, rotating sheets once, until tender and browned on some edges, 25-30 minutes.  Serve topped with scallions and salt.
Recipe borrowed from bonappetit.com.

Welcome to Fall! It’s Time to Introduce This Year’s Winter Squash Selections!

By Chef Andrea

Winter Squash Varieties
This week we officially make the transition into fall.  Many people think we start winding down farm operations in late September and October, but on our farm this is the time of year when we kick it into high gear and continue to harvest up until Thanksgiving!  While summer is a bountiful season, fall also has a lot to offer, both in fall crops that we eat fresh out of the fields as well as all of the storage crops we squirrel away so we (you included) have food to eat throughout the winter.  We completed our winter squash harvest several weeks ago, a bit ahead of schedule.  We’ve been “curing” it to concentrate the sugars and set the skins for longer storage.  Now it’s time to make the transition and start enjoying this unique group of vegetables.


I recently read a blog post about winter squash where the author made the following statement:  “One of my favorite farmers says that eating a winter squash is like eating a season’s worth of sun stored up in one neat sweet bundle.”  I love this description and it really is true!  “Winter Squash” is a pretty broad description that includes hundreds of different vegetable varieties that fall into this category.  Selecting varieties to grow can be a bit overwhelming when looking through the seed catalogs each year.  Over the years we’ve developed our own set of criteria for deciding which varieties we want to include in our lineup.  There are a few important criteria that are non-negotiable.  For starters, we try to select varieties that actually have good flavor and are enjoyable to eat!  We also need a variety to have good disease resistance.  We need a healthy plant in the field that will survive the long growing season needed to bring squash to maturity on the vine.  Disease resistance is also important because it impacts the storage of squash.  If there are problems with leaf disease or other similar issues on a crop, the squash may look perfect at the time of harvest but we find that their shelf life is shorter.  We have several months ahead of us where we’ll be eating winter squash as an important part of our diet, so we also try to select different types of squash to grow to keep it interesting for all of you!  Lastly, we choose smaller varieties that will actually fit in a CSA box!  There are some varieties of winter squash that can grow very large.  My grandmother used to grow a variety that was several feet long and yielded enough flesh to make 6-8 pies!  Every year we have some standard favorites we grow, such as butternut, but we also trial new varieties each year as we continue to look for ways to vary and improve the next year’s offerings.

Winter Squash curing in the greenhouse.
I’ve included descriptions of each variety we grew this year.  As we go through the upcoming CSA deliveries, please refer back to this article to help you identify the squash you are receiving and refresh your memory about each one.  Before we look at the specifics though, I want to talk a little bit about storage.  The optimal storage temperature for winter squash is 45-55°F.  This may be difficult to achieve in a home setting, so my recommendation is to choose a cool, dry place in your home if possible, even if it is a little warmer than 55°F.  Many people choose to store winter squash in the garage or basement, which is fine to do as long as these spaces don’t get too cold in the winter and if they aren’t too humid.  In the coldest part of the winter our garage temperature usually dips into the 30’s which is too cold for squash.  We also do not recommend storing winter squash in the refrigerator.  As I mentioned, storage at temperatures less than 45°F may cause chill injury which will shorten the storage potential of your squash.  Honestly, it’s fine to also store them at room temperature, beautifully displayed in your kitchen or living space.  They will add beauty to your space until you’re ready to eat them!  They’ll also be easy to keep your eye on them.  It’s important to check the squash periodically if you’re keeping it for extended time.  Look for any spots starting to form that may indicate the start of deterioration.  If you do see a problem spot, don’t automatically throw it out!  I repeat, do not throw it out!  If you catch it early, the problem may only affect a very small portion that may be cut away.  If that’s the case, don’t delay, it’s time to cook the squash before the issue gets bigger!  It will be easier for you to monitor a few squash than it will be for us to monitor bins and bins of squash.  Don’t feel like you have to eat it all right away.  If it’s a variety that will store, you can set it aside for later.  If you do have some that are starting to develop spots, you should still cook it even if you are not ready to eat or use them.  You can scoop out the flesh once it’s cooked and freeze it.  Better to do this so you can preserve the flesh than to surrender it to the compost bin!

Maple Sage Roasted Black Futsu Pumpkins
When it comes to using winter squash, you need to evaluate each variety and determine the best use for it.  Some varieties will be better for use as individual servings or may be good for stuffing with a filling (Sugar Dumpling, Jester, Heart of Gold, Festival).  Others may be well-suited for use in curries, stews, soups and braised dishes as well as baked goods such as cakes, pies, bread and muffins. (Kabocha, Butternut, Butterkin, Tetsukabuto)  Each week as we deliver the different varieties, refer to the “What’s In the Box” section of the newsletter/email for details on the varieties being delivered in that week.  I also want to mention that the seeds in most of our winter squash varieties are edible as well!  When you scoop the flesh out of the cavity of the squash, separate the seeds, given them a rinse and then roast them in the oven until they are crispy and golden.  They make a nice garnish for soups and salads or just eat them as a snack.  If you need a little more guidance on this process, check out the resources at TheKitchn.com.

Ok, lets dive in and take a look at the squash we grew for you this year!


Sugar Dumpling Squash: We only grew a small amount of this variety as it is not the best storage squash and sometimes we don’t have room for it in the box early in the fall when we have so many other things to eat!  The tradeoff for a short storage window is that this squash is one of the most sweet and flavorful ones we grow.  Sugar Dumpling squash have a thinner skin and a high sugar content which makes them vulnerable to deterioration.  This squash is described as “the perfect two-serving dumpling squash” because you can cut it in half, bake it and eat the flesh right out of the shell!  All it needs is a little butter, salt and pepper.  The seed for this squash is produced by our friends at High Mowing Seeds in Vermont.


Jester Squash: This is a new variety we grew as a trial this year, so we only have one bin.  Our neighbor at the farmers market grew this variety last year and gave us one to try.  We’ve only eaten a few, but so far we’ve been impressed by both the flavor and sweetness of this squash.  We were hoping this squash could fill an early season slot previously filled by delicata squash.  While we know delicata is a popular squash, we have not had good luck storing it and typically have to compost a lot before we are able to deliver it.  This squash does have a thicker skin, which may indicate it will store longer.  So far it’s looking pretty good, but we’ll need to give it a little more time in storage to truly evaluate its potential.  At this point it does look promising and we’ll likely choose to plant more next year.


Heart of Gold Squash: While acorn squash is one of the most common and familiar varieties of winter squash, we’ve never cared to grow it because we can’t find a variety that has any flavor!  Heart of Gold is classified as an acorn variety, but as you can see in the picture it does not look like a traditional green acorn.  It has a beautiful creamy background with green markings and the flesh is golden yellow.  We grew this as a trial last year and were impressed with both its flavor and ability to be stored for several months.  This year we increased production with the intention that we can deliver this one later in the season.  While many recipes for acorn squash call for copious amounts of brown sugar, please try this one without the added sugar first.  Trust me…it doesn’t need it!


Festival Squash: We’ve been growing this variety for many years and it’s one of Richard’s favorites because it’s a beautiful squash!   The exterior has cream, orange and green markings and the flesh is golden yellow. This is another variety known to have long storage potential, so we often wait until November or December to deliver this one.  Festival is another squash that is easy to prepare by simply cutting it in half, baking it and serving one half as a portion.  It’s also a good squash for baking with a filling.


Orange Kabocha Squash: This variety is actually called “Sunshine,” which is very fitting for this bright orange squash!  Kabocha squash has a very thin skin that is actually edible.  It’s up to you whether you want to eat the skin or if you prefer to peel it.  It also has a very thick, deep gold flesh that has a very sweet, rich flavor.  Because this squash has a thinner skin and sweet flesh, it doesn’t always store as well.  This is a big bummer because it’s such a delicious squash that is very versatile in its uses.  It is excellent used in soups, curries, stews, but is flavorful enough to be steamed and lightly seasoned or just baked and served with butter.  It also is a great choice to use for baked goods.  We have reduced our planting size of this variety in recent years, but I think we’ll always grow this squash despite its challenges.


Black Futsu Pumpkin: This is a Japanese heirloom we grew for the first time last year, simply because I fell victim to the description in the seed catalog describing this as a squash highly revered by chefs.  This is one of the most unique varieties we grow with its’ knobby exterior and charcoal exterior color that turns to buff as it continues to develop in storage.  This variety has a flavorful golden flesh and a thinner skin that is actually edible.  I found the skin is most enjoyable if the squash is cut into thinner wedges and roasted so the skin gets crispy.  Our experience with this squash from last year is that it does store pretty well.  I did notice that the ones I cooked in late December and January had a tougher skin.  It’s pretty hard to peel this squash given it’s exterior, but the alternative way to deal with it is to just cut it in half and bake it.  Then you can scrape the flesh out of the shell and discard the skin if it’s too coarse to eat.


Butternut Squash:
I don’t have any official stats on this, but if I had to guess, I’d say butternut squash probably ranks at the top of the list in this country for pounds produced and consumed.  It does have a lot to offer in its versatility as well as the flavorful, sweet flesh.  It’s delicious roasted, baked, steamed, pureed and can be used in a wide variety of preparations.  There are many different varieties of butternuts, so how do you choose?  We fall back on our criteria mentioned earlier in this article and have narrowed our selections to Butterboy and Butterscotch, while continuing to trial new ones every year.  Butterboy yields well, has disease resistance, is good in storage and produces larger squash that are appropriate for a CSA box.  Butterscotch is a smaller variety that produces cute little fruit with exceptional flavor.  They were bred for sweetness, richness and complex flavor…..and they live up to all these characteristics!  Some of them are small enough to be a personal-sized squash.


Butterkin:
 This is a cousin to butternut squash and one we started growing a few years ago.  It has the flesh and exterior color of a butternut with the rounded appearance of a pumpkin!  It stores really well and can be used in any way you would use a butternut.  Plus, you could also prepare it in such a way that the shell could be used as a serving vessel!


Autumn Frost:
This is another cousin to butternut, and a new variety we’re trialing this year.  It has kind of a gourd-like, squatty shape, but has the buff color of a butternut as well as butternutesque flesh.  The description in the High Mowing Seed catalog was very convincing and lured us in. Here’s what they say:  “Don’t be fooled by the decorative gourd-level beauty of this productive squash.  The unique appearance houses a delicious flesh that is sweet, earthy, and reminiscent of your favorite butternut squash.  Perfect for roasting, pies and breads.  It is an excellent storage crop…..”  So far it has met all of the criteria we’re looking for!  I haven’t cooked one yet, so I’ll have to report on the flavor factor later.  If it proves to hold up in storage we may choose to plant more next year.


Tetsukabuto:
“The squash of choice for the apocalypse.”  This is the heading under this squash in the Johnny’s seed catalog!  This caught our attention last year and we had to try it.  This is a cross between a kabocha squash and a butternut squash.  It has good disease resistance and is very productive.  It also has an exceptionally long storage potential.  In fact, they recommend that you wait at least 6 weeks after harvest before you eat it for the best flavor.  One of the attributes that contributes to its storage potential is that it has a very hard skin to protect the sweet flesh.  We have quite a few of these this year, but we are saving them for the last deliveries in December.  This will likely be the last squash you eat before the return of spring!


One-Pot Kabocha Squash and Chickpea Curry

Winter squash is a hearty, nourishing vegetable that will fuel our bodies and keep us strong and healthy throughout the long, cold winter.  The ways you can use it are endless, so we hope you will enjoy using the different varieties throughout the winter as you prepare your favorite recipes from the past and find new ones to try.  The possibilities for using squash are endless, but if you come up against a block and don’t know what to do with them, refer to our recipe archives on our website or head over to our Facebook Group and ask for help!  I guarantee we’ll be able to help you find something delicious to create!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September 17, 2020 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Korean Chili Peppers

Cooking With This Week's Box

Korean Chili Peppers: HVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce—Updated (see below); Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs (see below); Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Butter Popcorn (see below)








Baby Bok Choi: Steamed Bok Choi




Steamed Bok Choi, photo from steamykitchen.com
I’m excited to kick off this week’s Cooking With the Box discussion by introducing you to Korean Chili Peppers!  We’ve only been growing this pepper for several years, but I it quickly became one of my favorites and I have had fun learning more about it each year.  If you haven’t had a chance to read this week’s Vegetable feature article about this pepper, please do so.  My top suggestion for what you can make with these is HVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce—Updated (see below).  I published a version of this sauce back in 2018, but I’ve updated it this year and think the results are quite tasty.  This is a homemade, quick version of gochujang, a fermented Korean chili paste.  No, it’s not the exact thing, but it can be used in any recipe that calls for gochujang.  Because this is a hot pepper, a little bit of this sauce will go a long way.  So if you make one recipe of this sauce you’ll have about one cup to work with.  You will be able to make several different recipes with this one batch.  Plus, there’s no rush to use it all right away.  Store it in the refrigerator for up to a month or freeze it in smaller portions so you can use it throughout the winter.  I have two recipes to share with you that you can make using some of your HVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce.  The first is this recipe for Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs (see below).  I made this recipe last winter and we loved them!  You can serve them for dinner with Steamed Bok Choi or Korean Carrot Salad, or both!  You could also make them into smaller meatballs and serve them more as an appetizer or like cocktail meatballs for the holidays or a Super Bowl party!  The other recipe I tried this week was for Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Butter Popcorn (see below).  If you like popcorn, you’re going to love this.  It’s up to you how spicy you want to make it.

Grilled Salmon Tacos with Jalapeno Ranch
photo from honestcooking.com
While we’re talking about peppers we might as well cover the other selections in this week’s box.  You’ll find one jalapeno in the same bag with your Korean peppers.  Earlier this week I saw this recipe for Grilled Salmon Tacos with Jalapeno Ranch.  Of course you’ll want to dice up some fresh tomatoes to serve with these tacos.  As for the sweet peppers, one of my favorite things to make with mini sweet peppers is Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes & Mini Sweet Peppers.  I love how the peppers get silky and sweet to contrast the crispy roasted potatoes and crispy chicken.  I also like to stuff mini sweet peppers, such as with these Cheese Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers with Roasted Corn Salsa.  Eat them as a snack or for dinner!  Your choice.

Pepper & Corn Pasta Salad, photo from ohmyveggies.com
There are also several other “sweet peppers” in the box this week.  This Pepper & Corn Pasta Salad looks simple and tasty.  Serve it with Garlic Thyme Burgers with Grilled Tomatoes.  You could also use them to make this Veggie Cream Cheese Spread along with red onions and carrots.  Spread this on a bagel for breakfast or lunch or use it as a spread for sandwiches or wraps!

We’ve had a pretty good year for tomatillos and couldn’t help but send them again this week.  We likely only have a few more weeks before we lose them to frost, so we might as well make the most of them while we can!  We’re whittling down the recipe list that we published earlier this year in our Tomatillo Vegetable Feature Article.  We haven’t had pizza for awhile, so maybe we’ll try this Tomatillo Pizza with Cilantro Pesto or if you want to include some sweet corn you can try my recipe for Corn & Tomatillo Pizza with Fresh Tomatoes & Basil.  We haven’t mentioned much about breakfast or brunch, but if you are looking for something to fill this meal slot consider making Green Tomatillo Shakshuka.  Shakshuka is a great one-pan meal that is good served at any meal of the day.  This version uses tomatillos as the base to cook the eggs in.

Borscht with Beet & Beet Green, photo from sharonpalmer.com
Several members mentioned Borscht in the Facebook Group recently.  They also said they used the beet greens in the soup.  I’ve never used the greens in this way, but what a great idea!  I’ve also never made borscht with golden beets, but why not?  Here’s a vegetarian version of Borscht with Beets & Beet Greens.  If you’re not into Borscht this week, perhaps you may prefer to make Golden Beet Soup with Carrot & Ginger.  Now that the evenings are a bit chilly, a bowl of warm soup with some crusty bread makes for a nourishing dinner.  Wait, I almost forgot to share this recipe for Cashew Corn Chowder with Cilantro Cream, courtesy of Sarah Britton.  I made this soup earlier this week using fresh corn.  It was so delicious and the soaked cashews gave it a nice body and creamy texture--no dairy!  This is the kind of soup that makes you feel alive and invigorated after eating it!

Despite the fact that summer is nearly officially over, we still have so many gorgeous vegetables to send your way!  Check out the picture of some of the things Richard brought in from the field earlier this week!  This is our first time growing Purple Napa Cabbage and it is absolutely GORGEOUS!  The purple cauliflower took us by surprise and some is ready to harvest.  There are a few red cabbage as well as green savoy cabbages that are ready to harvest.  We also have our eye on the return of baby arugula, spinach, salad mix and possibly saute mix.  We may start sending a few early winter squash next week and Richard and Rafael can’t seem to stop digging to check on the sweet potatoes!  While many farms start to wind down this time of the year, we rev up!  So don’t think it’s over, we still have so many delicious vegetables to enjoy!  Have a great week!--Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Korean Chili Peppers

By Chef Andrea

Two years ago this pepper caught our eye in the seed catalog for no reason other than it had an interesting name (Dang Jo Cheong Yang) and it was a purple hot pepper.  We were looking for a different hot pepper to grow so decided to give it a try.  One of the fun parts of growing a new crop is figuring out when to harvest it, how to use it, etc.  Once the peppers turned purple we thought they were ready to harvest, but when we tasted them it was pretty disappointing.  They really didn’t have much flavor.  They just tasted like a boring green pepper with heat.  We decided to leave them and see what would happen.  I’m glad we did because they started to turn from purple to brilliant red and when they did the flavor changed dramatically!  In that first year we had no idea that we had stumbled upon a unique Korean pepper.  I had to really search and dig to figure out where this pepper came from and it was through both research and using it that we have come to love this hot pepper both for its history and origin, but also for its complex flavor.

This pepper is referred to as gochu in Korean.  While not all Korean food is spicy, many of the traditional foods in Korean cuisine are spicy and this pepper is one of the most widely used ingredients.  One source claims this pepper is “Korea’s most consumed vegetable when measured by weight (200 to 250,000 metric tons per year).”   I’m not sure how common it is to use it in its fresh form in Korea, but most references I found demonstrate that it is most commonly dried and used as dry flakes or powdered.  These forms are the way this pepper is used in traditional Kimchi (fermented cabbage and vegetables) and Gochujang (fermented chili paste).  Both of these foods have been part of Korean cuisine for thousands of years and originated out of a need to preserve and extend the shelf life of food.    The capsaicin (the component that makes it hot) in the peppers is an important part of the preservation process coupled with fermentation which not only preserves the food but also develops complex flavors.

I found some interesting information in the Journal of Ethnic Foods in an article entitled “History of Korean gochu, gochujang, and kimchi.”  Some sources debate the origin of this Korean pepper arguing that peppers are a New World fruit that must’ve been brought to Korea through trade.  In this article they state the belief that this pepper is actually indigenous to Korea and references to its use and cultivation in Korea are documented in records over 2,000 years old.  They also stated that “Based on scientific evidence, gochu started to grow on the Korean peninsula a few billions of years ago, and it is safe to say that it is original to Korea.”

I mentioned earlier that one of the reasons we love this pepper is for its complex flavor.  Yes, it’s a hot pepper, but you taste more than just hot when you eat it.  It has a unique flavor and a bit of sweetness that balances the heat in such a way that the heat doesn’t just burn your mouth.  I should also mention that while it is hotter than a poblano pepper, they are a modest heat pepper that are often more mild in heat than jalapenos.  Of course the heat can vary depending on the season.  We have received feedback from members over the past two years that individuals who don’t typically enjoy hot peppers actually like this one!  Since this pepper is traditionally used in fermented foods, we decided to see what would happen if we used it to make a fermented hot sauce.  We worked with Faith at Fizzeology Foods in Viroqua.  She made the most delicious Fermented Korean Chili Hot Sauce that was very well received by some of the “hot sauce experts” within our membership.  One of the great things about fermented foods is that they just continue to get better with time.  We are going to make more this year, but we do have a limited amount of last year’s batch remaining.  Check out our “Produce Plus” offerings if you’re interested.

So what can you do with these fresh peppers?  You can use them anywhere you need a fresh hot pepper in salsas, sauces, curries, soups, etc. I also have several simple suggestions for preserving them so you don’t have to use them all right now.  For starters, you can follow Korean tradition and dry them.  After they are dried you can turn them into pepper flakes or grind them into a powder.  When we first featured them in 2018 we published a recipe for Salt-Cured Chiles which is available on our website.  You can do this with nearly any chili pepper, but I really like to do this with the Korean peppers.  It’s super simple and all you need is salt and the peppers.  Once you’ve salt-cured them they will store for quite awhile in the refrigerator.  In fact, I still have a jar that I made last year!  The beauty of salt-cured chili peppers is you can use them to add heat to anything you want and they still have a fresh chili flavor.  I use them throughout the winter for stir-fries, fried rice, soups, stews, sauces, etc.

Salt-Cured Chiles
You can also use the fresh chiles to make a quick version of gochujang.  Since this chili pepper is most often either dried or fermented, you likely won’t come up with many recipes calling for just the fresh peppers.  Now, if you search for recipes using gochujang, I guarantee you’ll come up with a hearty list!  Gochujang is a fermented chili paste traditionally made from dried chili peppers, glutinous rice, fermented soybeans and salt.  I found references recommending fermenting it for 4-6 months or years!  While it may be hard for any of us to make the traditional gochujang in our homes, you can make a quick version of gochujang that uses the fresh chiles.  The flavor may not be as complex and the consistency will be more like a sauce and less of a paste, but it will still be delicious and you can use it in any recipe that calls for gochujang.  In this week’s newsletter I have included a recipe for HVF Fresh Korean Chili Sauce (see below) which may be used in place of gochujang in recipes.  You can store this sauce in the refrigerator for about a month, or divide it into smaller portions and freeze it.  I shared a similar recipe in 2018, but have updated the recipe a bit this year.

Here are a few recipes I have in the queue that call for gochujang.  The recipe in this week’s newsletter yields about 1 cup, but many of these recipes only call for a small amount which means you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy these peppers in many different recipes over the next few months!  Have fun and enjoy!


HVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce--Updated

Yield: 1 cup

4 oz fresh Korean chili peppers
4 cloves garlic
⅓ cup miso
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar
  1. Remove the stem and roughly chop Korean chili peppers (seeds included) into one inch pieces.  Put the peppers in a food processor or blender along with the garlic cloves and roughly chop them until they are a fine, yet chunky paste.
  2. Add the miso, honey, tamari and rice vinegar.  Blend together until smooth.
  3. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed to your liking.  Add tamari for more depth of flavor, honey for more sweetness, garlic to get more “zing” or salt if it just needs a little enhancement to wake up all the other flavors.
  4. Put the sauce in a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 2-4 weeks.  Alternatively, you can freeze it in smaller portions as a means of preserving it for later use.  
Note:  You may use this in place of the Korean fermented chili paste called gochujang.  It’s pretty hot, so a little bit will go a long way!  
Recipe originally adapted from minimalistbaker.com.

Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Butter Popcorn

Yield: 2 Servings

2 Tbsp butter
1-2 tsp gochujang or HVF Fresh Korean Chili-Garlic Sauce (see note)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp honey
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
⅓ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
Fine sea salt, to taste
  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add gochujang, sesame oil, and honey.  Whisk together until well combined.  Remove from heat and set aside in a warm place.  
  2. Pop popcorn by your method of choice.  If you are popping it on the stovetop, heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat.  When the oil shimmers on the bottom of the pan, add popcorn kernels.  Cover and shake intermittently until popping starts, then continue to shake the pan until popping stops or significantly slows.  Remove the pan from the heat and pour popcorn into a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the butter mixture to ensure it is well-combined, then pour evenly over hot popcorn and toss to coat.  Season with salt to your liking.  Eat immediately!
NOTE: For milder gochujang butter, use only 1 tsp of gochujang.  If you like it spicier, use 2 tsp.
Recipe adapted from domesticdreamboat.com.

Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs

Yield: 16-18 meatballs

Meatballs:
½ cup finely minced onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb ground beef or pork
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
1-2 Tbsp gochujang or HVF Fresh Korean Chili Garlic Sauce*
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp ground white pepper

Gochujang Glaze:
⅓ cup apricot preserves
1-2 Tbsp gochujang or HVF Fresh Korean Chili Garlic Sauce*
1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Garnish:
Sliced green onions (when in season) and/or toasted sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients.  Using your hands, mix all ingredients until everything is well mixed.  Form the mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs and place on a cookie sheet.  You want to spread them out a bit so there is space in between them.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are cooked through and firm.  
  2. While the meatballs are baking, make the glaze.  In a small saucepot, combine all glaze ingredients.  Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.
  3. Once the meatballs are cooked through, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the meatballs to an 8 x 8-inch baking dish or other small casserole.  Pour the glaze over the meatballs, making sure all are covered in the glaze.
  4. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle with green onions and toasted sesame seeds if desired.
*I made this recipe using 1 Tbsp of HVF Fresh Korean Chili Garlic Sauce in the meatballs and 1 Tbsp of the sauce in the glaze.  This will give you a spicy, but not over the top, meatball.  If you really like spice, increase the gochujang quantity.  
Recipe adapted from a recipe submitted to Food52 by foxeslovelemons.