Wednesday, September 25, 2019

September 26, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Jicama!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Italian Garlic: Honey Fermented Garlic

Green Boston OR Red Batavia Head Lettuce: Black Bean Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps

Jalapeno Peppers: Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey Lime Dressing (see below); Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

Broccoli Romanesco or Cauliflower: Cauliflower Slaw

Purple or Orange Carrots: Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey Lime Dressing (see below)

Jicama: Baked Jicama Chips (see below); Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey Lime Dressing (see below)

Cilantro:  Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey Lime Dressing (see below)

Black Bean Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
photo from
Welcome to another week of CSA eating!  This week’s vegetable treasure is a bit less flashy than most vegetables.  Jicama is a humble vegetable, but one we’ve come to love and appreciate—both because we like to eat it and because we like the challenge of growing it!  It’s often eaten raw as a snack or used in raw salads and slaws.  One of this week’s featured recipes is for Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey Lime Dressing (see below).  Eat this on its own as an accompaniment to a sandwich or bowl of soup, or use it as a topping on tacos or even a lettuce wrap.  This recipe for Black Bean Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps calls for serving them with a mango salsa, but they’d also be good with the Jicama Carrot Slaw!  The second featured recipe is a simple one, Baked Jicama Chips (see below).  Everyone loves a good vegetable chip and of course every chip needs a dip.  My suggestion is to turn the poblanos in this week’s box into Caramelized Onion & Roasted Poblano Dip.   I’ve mentioned this recipe in previous years because it’s a good one and is on my favorites list!  It’s a good dip for chips, but it’s also good on baked potatoes, spread on sandwiches, and stirred into scrambled eggs.

We’re moving into fall greens and that means leafy green salads are back on the menu!  This week’s boxes will contain either spinach or baby arugula.  Fall greens go very nicely with fall fruit such as pears and apples.  This week I have two suggestions for fruity greens salads.  The first is an Apple Cranberry Spinach Salad.  This salad features fresh apple, dried cranberries, walnuts, feta  and a honey-dijon dressing that is more of a vinaigrette than a creamy dressing.  You can eat this as a side salad or add some cooked chicken and turn it into a main dish salad.  The second recipe is an Arugula Salad with Pears, Prosciutto and Aged Gouda.  This is a slightly different take on a dijon based vinaigrette, which is a nice contrast to the fattiness of the prosciutto and gouda as well as the sweet pears.  Of course, you can mix and match your greens in these two salads.

Balsamic Vinaigrette, photo from
We also have salad mix this week!  I like to keep a jar of one of my favorite, basic salad dressings handy for quick salads on the fly.  One of my favorite go-to recipes is for Balsamic Vinaigrette.  If you have a jar of this in the refrigerator, you can build a quick salad in no time at all!  Toss it with some fresh salad mix and then start adding toppings as you wish.  You might include some thinly sliced red onion, sweet peppers, shredded carrots, dried or fresh fruit, toasted almonds, and the list could go on!

Last week we featured broccoli raab along with a recipe for Mediterranean Gratin with Almond Breadcrumbs.  This is a baked pasta dish that is more on the lean side, not cream based.  If you prefer cream based, try this recipe for Baked Pasta with Broccoli Raab and Sausage.

Sadly, this is our last week for leeks.  One of our members used her leeks last week to make this classic leek dish, Leeks Vinaigrette.  I have to mention it because it is not only a simple, classic way to prepare leeks, but also because she said it’s kid-approved and accepted!  Of course, I can’t resist a good quiche and I love the way the silky leeks mix with the creamy custard of a quiche.  So, perhaps you’ll join me in making Leek & Mushroom Quiche.  Serve it for breakfast, dinner or brunch alongside this Cauliflower Slaw.  Of course you can substitute broccoli Romanesco for the cauliflower in this recipe.  This dish also includes some sweet, dried currants, toasted almonds, and a light vinegar based dressing.

Sausage & Egg Stuffed Sugar Dumpling Squash
photo from
I do like eating vegetables for breakfast, especially winter squash.  Check out this recipe for Sausage & Egg Stuffed Sugar Dumpling Squash.  Of course, this dish could also be lunch or dinner as well.

Eggs are typically in abundance around here and Richard always loves a good deviled egg.  How about making these Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs!  Eat them as a snack, add them to a dinner menu, or pack them and take them for lunch!

Lastly, while food is our medicine on a day to day basis, sometimes during the winter cold and flu season we need a little extra immunity protection.  Start now and make this Honey Fermented Garlic.  Keep a jar of this in your kitchen and use it as your own homemade way to prevent and ward off colds, flu, etc this weekend.

That brings us to the bottom of the box.  Before I close, I want to extend one final invitation to you to join us at our Harvest Party this coming Sunday.  We’ll have lots of good food, games, activities and more.  We hope you’ll join us for the day and come prepared to reap the benefits of being immersed in nature!

Vegetable Feature: Jicama

Jicama is the odd-shaped vegetable with brown skin occupying one corner of this week’s CSA box.  It is also known as yam bean, Mexican yam or Mexican turnip and is native to Mexico.  The name of this vegetable is pronounced [HICK-uh-mah] or [HEE-kuh-mah].  It is a tropical plant that resembles a bean plant with bean-like vines and seed pods.  The jicama grows underground and is a tuber that can produce multiple tubers off the one main stem.

On the outside jicama is not the most attractive or flashy vegetable.  Peel away the brown, leathery skin and you’ll find a solid white flesh inside that is mild in flavor, crunchy with a slight sweetness and slightly starchy.  You can eat jicama both raw and cooked.  One of the most basic ways to eat jicama is to slice it into sticks and give it a squeeze of lime juice and a light sprinkling of chili powder and salt.  Jicama also pairs well with fruit including citrus (oranges, grapefruit, limes), pineapple, mango, and apples.  It is common to see jicama slaws, salads and salsas that also include fruit.  It also pairs well with avocado, hot and sweet peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, seafood, onions, and garlic to name just a few complementary ingredients.  In Asian cuisine you may find jicama used in stir-fry type preparations.  When stir-fried, jicama should be added towards the end of cooking to retain the crisp texture.  If you let it get just slightly soft, it has almost a potato-like flavor and texture.

When we first started growing jicama, we realized by accident just how important post-harvest handling is to the overall quality of the vegetable.  Jicama needs to be “cured,” similar to how we cure sweet potatoes after they are harvested.  We held the jicama in one of our greenhouses for a week after harvest at a temperature of 68-77°F with high humidity of about 95%.  This process helped to set the delicate skins so they will store better.  Jicama is very sensitive to chill injury, so it is best to store it on your kitchen counter until you are ready to use it.  If you store it in the refrigerator, you’ll notice the quality will deteriorate quite quickly.  Once you cut into it, store any cut jicama in the refrigerator and eat it within a few days.

JAC washing jicama
We can’t deliver jicama without giving credit to one of our crew members, Jose Antonio Cervantes Gutierrez (aka JAC).  JAC is responsible for introducing jicama to Harmony Valley Farm.  Without his influence, we likely wouldn’t be growing this vegetable!  One day we were working in the greenhouse and he presented me with a handful of seeds in a small packet.  He asked if I thought we could grow it here?  Well, I had no idea how to grow jicama and had only eaten it several times.  We decided to give it a try and after several years of learning we are finally getting good results!  I asked him why he brought those seeds with him when he came to work here that year.  There is a large farm not far from where he lives that grows large amounts of jicama.  He would pass by their fields, see the jicama and was intrigued by it.  He said he brought them because he had tried planting them at home, but couldn’t ever watch them grow because he had to leave to come here to work!  So, he brought the seeds with him so we could plant them here and he could watch them develop!  JAC’s favorite way to eat jicama is to eat it raw with a squeeze of lime juice and salt or lime juice and a sprinkling of Tajin, a seasoning mix made from salt and a specific type of chile.

We don’t grow jicama every year, but it has a permanent spot on our list of “vegetables we grow every 2-3 years.”  We’re grateful to JAC for introducing us to something new and we’re glad you, our members, have grown to appreciate it too!

Jicama and Carrot Slaw with Honey-Lime Dressing

picture from

Yield:  8 servings

1 Tbsp + 2 tsp fresh lime juice
¾ tsp honey
¼ tsp ground cumin
⅛ tsp salt
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound jicama peeled & thinly sliced (1 small or half of a large)
2 large or 4 small carrots, grated
3 Tbsp minced cilantro
½ jalapeño pepper, seeded & minced
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, honey, cumin and salt.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the jicama, carrot, cilantro and jalapeño pepper.
  3. Add the dressing and toss to coat.  
Recipe borrowed from

Baked Jicama Chips

photo from

Yield:  4 servings

2 medium or 1 large jicama, peeled
2 tsp olive oil
Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tsp chili powder
¼ tsp salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper or baking racks if you have them.
  2. Cut the jicama into super thin slices.  Try to achieve similar thickness with all the pieces.  You can cut the jicama using a mandolin or just a sharp knife.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice and zest, chili powder and salt.  Add the jicama slices, and mix well so that all the slices are fully coated.
  4. Place the slices of jicama in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, or until they begin to brown and get crispy.
Recipe borrowed from

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