Wednesday, October 30, 2019

October 31, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Purple Daikon Radish!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Purple Daikon Radish: Soy-Pickled Daikon (see below); Daikon Apple Slaw (see below)

Baby Bok Choi: Congee with Chicken and Greens (see below); Congee in an Instant PotVegan One-Pot Ginger-Scallion Ramen Noodles

Red Mustard: Congee with Chicken and Greens (see below); 10 Ways to Use Mustard GreensVegan One-Pot Ginger-Scallion Ramen Noodles

Cilantro: Vegan Butternut Black Bean NachosCilantro Lime Rice; Congee with Chicken and Greens (see below)

Congee in an Instant Pot, photo from
I love learning about new vegetables, and this week we have another purple beauty to share with you! In this week’s box you’ll find beautiful bright purple daikon radish.  Some people love radishes and others are still learning to like them.  If you’re in the latter group, I hope you’ll stick with me and hear me out.  This is a delicious and beautiful radish to eat!  Daikon radishes originated in Asia, so it’s fitting to go to Asian cultures to figure out what to do with them.  One of this week’s featured recipes is for Soy-Pickled Daikon (see below).  These are so very easy to make, so if you don’t do anything else with the daikon, at least make this recipe.  These pickles can hang out in your refrigerator and you can eat them in small quantities as a condiment with vegetables, meat or grains.  While there is some vinegar in the brine, they are more sweet and salty as opposed to sour or overly acidic.  In traditional Chinese cuisine pickled vegetables such as these are often served with rice porridge, which leads me to the next featured recipe, Congee with Chicken and Greens (see below).  I thought this was a fitting recipe to go along with the Soy-Pickled Daikon since Congee is rice porridge!  There is no one single recipe for Congee as it is one of those common household recipes that everyone puts their own spin on.  This version includes chicken and greens, which could be bok choi, red mustard or kale from this week’s box.  Feel free to make it your own and garnish it with whatever toppings you like, such as cilantro which is also in this week’s box.  Serve it with some of these pretty Soy-Pickled Daikon on the side.  Congee is simple to make but has a long cooking time.  If you want something that is more “set it and forget it,” check out this recipe for Congee in an Instant Pot.  I’ve also included a simple recipe for Daikon Apple Slaw (see below).  This is a crunchy, fresh salad with a light vinaigrette.  The tartness of this salad would make it a good accompaniment to fatty, rich foods such as short ribs or grilled chicken thighs.

Brussels Sprouts Ceasar Salad, photo by Alpha Smoot for
We’re excited to be sending the first Brussels sprouts this week!  Use them to make Roasted Garlic Brussels Sprouts, or use them raw and turn them into this Brussels Sprouts Casear Salad!  Make sure you cut this recipe in half because it calls for 2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts and you only have 1 pound in your box.  This will then serve 3 to 4.

Now that we’ve seen the first snowfall, soups are going to become more of a regular part of our weekly meals, starting with this Silky Ginger Sweet Potato Soup.  This is a good recipe to hang on to and make throughout the winter as it will warm you both by its temperature as well as the warming ginger.  If you want something a little more hearty, use sweet potatoes to make Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili.

Vegan Butternut Black Bean Nachos
photo from
Did you see the cute little butternut squash we have this week!?  These cuties are delicious just simply baked, but if you want to do something more with them, turn them into Vegan Butternut Black Bean Nachos.  The nachos are topped with chunks of roasted butternut and there is a sauce, reminiscent of nacho cheese sauce, made from pureed butternut squash.  If nachos aren’t your thing this week, maybe pizza is?  If so, here’s a knock-your-socks-off recipe for Sweet N’ Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Cider Caramelized Onions & Bacon.  There’s a lot happening on this pizza, but all of it will be well worth your time!

Every now and again you just need a simple meal of a good, homemade burger.  What goes with burgers?  Fries!  Jazz up burger night with Carrot Fries with Curry Dipping Sauce!  Life is about balance though, so now that we’ve had our fill of (healthy) nachos, pizza and burgers, lets make sure we eat our greens too!  We are nearing the end of greens season, so lets make the most of these last fresh ones.  Not sure what to do with red mustard?  Check out this article and find “10 ways to Use Mustard Greens”.  If you don’t use them to make congee, you could also use either red mustard or this week’s baby bok choi to make this recipe for Vegan One-Pot Ginger-Scallion Ramen Noodles.  This is simple, warming, nourishing, and who doesn’t love noodles!

(Freezable) Stuffing with Caramelized Onions & Kale
photo by Rocky Luten for
Don’t forget the lacinato kale!  Have a spaghetti squash hanging around, use it to make Spaghetti Squash with Kale Pesto.  Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, so you could also get a jump start on cooking for the big day and use the kale to make (Freezable) Stuffing with Caramelized Onions & Kale.  While you’re caramelizing onions, you might as well do some extra and turn them into Caramelized Onion Dip.  You could pre-caramelize the onions, freeze them, and then make the dip the day before Thanksgiving.  You have to have snacks to munch on while watching football, right!?

That’s a wrap for this week.  I’ll see you back next week with one more fresh from the field green and we’ll get started on planning for Thanksgiving!  Have a good week—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Purple Daikon

by Andrea Yoder

It’s been several years since we included daikon radish in CSA boxes, but you know we have an obsession with gorgeous purple vegetables and couldn’t resist trying this purple daikon!  This is our first year growing this variety, called bora king.  Its beautiful purple color, which extends through to the center, is what first caught our attention, but it has some other great qualities as well.  First of all, it’s much smaller than traditional white daikon radish that can grow to be more than 12 inches long!  It’s hard for a small family to eat that much radish and white daikon is one vegetable I don’t like to have remnants of hanging out in my refrigerator due to its pungent aroma.  This purple daikon, however, is much smaller which makes it more manageable to use.  It also has a delicious, slightly sweet, balanced radish flavor.  It does still taste like daikon, but I think it’s a little more balanced flavor than some white daikon that can be pretty pungent.

Daikon radishes are classified as a winter storage radish and are an important part of many traditional cultures throughout Asia.  Because of its ability to be stored, it’s an important winter food both because it’s available but also because it is high in nutrients including vitamin C which can help keep us strong and healthy throughout the cold winter.  Radishes are actually one of the oldest cultivated food crops and there are literally thousands of different varieties.  In the book, Roots, by Diane Morgan, she cites the following history:  “Radishes are likely indigenous to Europe and Asia and are believed to have been first cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean before 2000 B.C., probably in Egypt, where they were reportedly included in the daily rations, along with onions and garlic, given to the workers who built the pyramids.”

Daikon radish can be used in a variety of ways, both raw and cooked.  In Chinese and Japanese culture daikon radish is often pickled, another tactic to help preserve this food and so it is available throughout the winter.  Pickled daikon radishes, such as the recipe included in this week’s’ newsletter, are often served as a condiment. One of this week’s recipes is for Soy-Pickled Daikon, borrowed from the book Phoenix Claw and Jade Trees, a book about traditional Chinese cooking.  The author explains that pickled vegetables, including daikon, are often served with rice porridge.  After reading this I had to go do a little research and found that congee is the name given to rice porridge.  I am by no means an expert on Chinese food, culture or history, but I am always intrigued to find out about traditional dishes.  Congee is often eaten for breakfast, but it really can be eaten at any meal of the day.  It is a dish that came from peasant food and is a way to make a small amount of rice go a long way.  My understanding is that there is no one or right recipe for congee, rather everyone has their own version they identify with and the one they like is probably the one their grandmother made!  This week I have included a recipe for Congee with Chicken and Greens.  This is a fitting recipe to go along with the Soy-Pickled Purple Daikon which can be served as a condiment alongside this dish.  This week’s box also has plenty of greens to choose from (bok choi, red mustard or kale), all of which are appropriate for this recipe.

Now that we’ve talked about congee, lets get back to daikon!  Daikon radish may also be used in salads and other fresh condiments, often paired with other vegetables and dressed with a light sauce or vinaigrette.  Daikon radishes are also used in stir-fries and braised dishes.  It was interesting to learn that in some areas of China daikon is used in braised stews and soups, such as what would be equivalent to our beef stew.  Whereas we would use potatoes, they often use chunks of daikon radish.  Of course, remember daikon has a lot of nutritive value, so adding it to hearty broths and stews is a great way to fortify the soup.  Daikon radishes are also traditionally used in Korean kim chi, which is once again an important food to eat both for nourishment and health throughout the winter.

Store daikon radish in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in plastic to keep it from dehydrating.  It will store for at least 4-6 weeks if not longer.

Soy-Pickled Daikon Radish

“Pickling in soy brine is one of China’s ancient methods of preserving vegetables.  Any firm vegetable can be used for pickling once its moisture is leached out using salt and sugar.”

Yield: 4 servings as an appetizer, or more as a condiment

1 medium or 2 small purple daikon radish (12 oz)
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Soy Pickling Brine
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp white rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
  1. Peel the daikon radish (just remove a thin outer layer) and slice it very thin (for the best results, use a mandoline to slice them).  Put the daikon slices in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the salt.  Stir the daikon well to make sure the salt is applied evenly and let it marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature.  At this point the moisture will have bled out of the daikon and collected in the bottom of the bowl.  Squeeze as much of the liquid out of the daikon as possible and discard all the liquid.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar over the daikon and mix well.  Let the daikon marinate for another 30 minutes at room temperature.  As with the salt, a pool of liquid will form at the bottom of the bowl. Once again squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible and discard all the liquid.
  3. Add the ingredients for the soy pickling brine to the daikon and mix well.  Transfer the daikon and brine to a storage container, cover, and refrigerate at least overnight or for up to a month.
  4. Serve the pickled radish in a small bowl with some of the soy brine.
Recipe borrowed from Phoenix Claw and Jade Trees, by Kian Lam Kho.

Congee with Chicken and Greens

“Congee is a smooth rice porridge, and it’s really all about the toppings.  Even in its plainest form, however, it’s wonderful.  Top with hot sesame oil, Kimchi, scallions, soy sauce, sesame seeds, cilantro, or anything else that calls to you.”

photo from
Yield: 4 to 5 servings

1 cup white rice
10 cups water, stock, or whey
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 boneless, skinless single chicken breasts (4 to 6 oz each)
1 ½ cups tender greens, cut into thin ribbons (spinach, tatsoi, bok choi, mustard greens, or any other green you have on hand)
  1. Combine the rice and water in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium low, and cover.  Cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring every so often.  It will seem like there is too much liquid and not enough rice, but it will thicken.  When it does, add 2 tsp of the salt.
  2. Rub the remaining tsp of salt over the chicken breasts.  Using a sharp knife, cut the chicken into thin slices, about ½ inch.  Add them to the pot, stirring the chicken into the hot rice.  Stir in the greens.  Continue to cook until the chicken turns white and the greens are soft, about 5 minutes.
Note from Chef Andrea:  As indicated in the introduction, you can garnish congee with any additional ingredients you’d like.  I’d recommend some chopped cilantro on top and serve it with the Soy-Pickled Purple Daikon Radishes on the side!

  • For a coconut congee, replace 2 cups of the liquid with a can of coconut milk.
  • Replace the chicken with sliced pork tenderloin or tofu.
Recipe borrowed from The Homemade Kitchen, by Alana Chernila.

Daikon and Apple Slaw

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Sesame Seed Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp sambal oelek (or any other chili-garlic sauce)
1 tsp sea salt
2 green onions, including green tops, thinly sliced (or substitute thinly sliced red onion)

1 large crisp apple such as Granny Smith
12 oz daikon radish, peeled (2 small or 1 medium)
  1. To make the vinaigrette, using a mortar and a pestle or a spice grinder, grind the sesame seeds to a powder.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground sesame, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, oil, sesame oil, sambal oelek or chili garlic sauce, and salt.  Add the onions and stir to combine.  Set aside.
  2. Peel, half, and core the apple and cut into sticks about 3 inches long and ¼ inch thick and wide.  As the apple sticks are cut, add them to the dressing and stir to coat to prevent browning.  Peel the daikon and cut into sticks the same size.  Stir to combine the apples and daikon with the vinaigrette.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled before serving, about 30 minutes.  (The salad will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.)

Recipe adapted from Roots, by Diane Morgan.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

October 24, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Parsnips!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Italian Garlic: Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens; Crushed Potatoes with Cream & Garlic; Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage; Sweet Potato Kimchi Pancakes

Broccoli OR Cauliflower: Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad with Chickpeas

Orange Carrots: Carroty Mac and Cheese; Carrot, Feta and Almond Salad

Peter Wilcox and/or Mountain Rose Potatoes: Green Cabbage Soup with Potatoes and Sour Cream; Crushed Potatoes with Cream & Garlic

Red Onions: Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens; Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage; Sweet Potato Kimchi Pancakes

Red Mustard: Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens; Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Spinach or Salad Mix: Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Burgundy Sweet Potatoes: Sweet Potato Quesadillas; Sweet Potato Kimchi Pancakes

Mini Butternut Squash: Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens; Roasted Honeynut Squash

Parsnips: Parsnip Oatmeal Chocolate Cherry Cookies (see below); Parsnip, Lemon and Poppyseed Muffins with Lemon Drizzle (see below)

Green Savoy Cabbage: Green Cabbage Soup with Potatoes and Sour Cream; Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage

Last week at market it seems like our customers were finally ready to embrace root vegetables.  For the first time that I can remember in the history of HVF, we sold out of both parsnips and rutabagas!  This week we’re facing our first hard frost with temperatures dipping into the 20’s, which makes us all ready to make the transition to hearty fall and winter fare.  Lets kick off this week’s chat with dessert—why not?!  Parsnips are delicious in soups, stews and other savory preparations, but they’re also delicious in baked goods and desserts such as these Parsnip Oatmeal Chocolate Cherry Cookies (see below)!  This recipe is the creation of my friend, Annemarie of Bloom Bake Shop in Madison.  I asked Annemarie to make a special sweet treat for our Harvest Party and the one requirement was to include parsnips.  She knocked our socks off with these delicious cookies.  If you weren’t able to join us for the party, be assured these cookies are worth making!  The other recipe featuring parsnips this week is Parsnip, Lemon and Poppyseed Muffins with Lemon Drizzle (see below).  I made these muffins for the market crew earlier this year when we had overwintered parsnips.  They were so delicious!  Both of these recipes are good ones to tuck away and use for your Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.  A bit non-traditional, yes, but both recipes that will impress your guests!

Carroty Mac and Cheese, photo by Andrew Scrivani for
While we’re talking roots, lets tackle carrots.  Everyone loves a good mac and cheese, so why not try this recipe for Carroty Mac and Cheese.  It’s rich and creamy, but the carrots add a sweet, earthy balance.  Serve this as a main dish or a side.  If you’re looking for something a bit more on the lean side, consider this recipe for Carrot, Feta and Almond Salad.

Did you notice how gorgeous the red mustard greens are this week!  This is my favorite time of year to enjoy red mustard and one of my favorite recipes to use it in is this one for Red Lentils with Winter Squash and Greens.  You could also use spinach in this recipe, but mustard greens are always my first choice when making this recipe.  It also makes use of this week’s butternut squash.  If you don’t use your butternut squash in the lentil recipe, then consider making this simple Roasted Honeynut Squash.  If you aren’t familiar with Honeynut Squash, this title is referring to a specific variety of mini butternuts called Honeynuts.  They are a personal-sized mini butternut as well.  In this recipe you do nothing more than bake the squash and top them off with cinnamon, salt, pepper and butter.  They are so delicious you don’t need anything more than these few simple ingredients.

We’re always excited to kick off sweet potato season, so pull out all of your favorite sweet potato recipes and lets get started cooking!  We featured this recipe for Sweet Potato Quesadillas featured back in one of our 2007 newsletters.  You build a quesadilla with mashed sweet potatoes, cheese and greens.  You could use either spinach or red mustard in this recipe.  Prep all the components in advance and you can pull off a quick dinner in about 10-15 minutes!  I am also going to mention one of my all-time favorite sweet potato recipes.  If you’ve been with our farm for awhile this recipe will likely not be a surprise, but it’s so good I want to share it with everyone again!  Try these Sweet Potato Kimchi Pancakes.  They are so delicious!

Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage, photo by Julia Gartland for
Before we move to above ground vegetables, we need to talk about potatoes.  This recipe for Crushed Potatoes with Cream & Garlic is one of my favorite, simple ways to eat potatoes.  I also really like the simplicity of this Green Cabbage Soup with Potatoes and Sour Cream, a recipe we featured last year.  This soup is very simple, but very satisfying.  If you don’t use all of your cabbage to make this soup, consider trying this recipe for Suspiciously Delicious Cabbage.  With a name like that, I have to try it!  There’s a video link for this recipe as well….and you’ll have to check it out for yourself to find out what makes it so delicious!

Now that we’ve dealt with most of the vegetables that grow underground, we can turn our attention to the last item in the box.  Use this week’s cauliflower and broccoli to make this tasty recipe for Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomato Salad with Chickpeas.  Enjoy this salad as a main dish for lunch or serve it in a smaller portion as a side dish.

It’s hard to believe, but after this week we only have five more CSA boxes in the 2019 season.  I’ve already started planning the contents of our final boxes and I have to tell you, we have a lot of vegetables to try and squeeze in before the end of the season!  Have a good week and I’ll see you back here next week for more delicious recipes!—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Parsnips

By Chef Andrea

Parsnips fill an important place in our seasonal Wisconsin diets because of their ability to store well through the winter, both in our refrigerators as well as in the field.  Parsnips are one of our largest crops and this year we planted 3.5 acres.  That may not sound like very much, but in the world of parsnips it is quite a lot and will yield tons of food!  Parsnips are a challenging crop to grow because their seeds take about 2 weeks to germinate and we have to plant them early in the spring when the soil is still cold.  They also have a very long growing season which means more management in the field to keep them healthy and keep the weeds under control.  Parsnips are often described as being a white carrot.  While they do resemble carrots, they are not really just a white carrot.  They have a distinct flavor that is much different from a carrot.  They also have the ability to survive if we leave them in the field over the winter.  We’ll harvest most of this year’s crop this fall, but we will leave some parsnips in the field with plans to harvest them next spring.  It’s a little risky, but parsnips can be overwintered in the field and when we dig them in the spring they are even more sweet and delicious than they are this fall!

Spiced Honey Parsnip Bread
photo from
Parsnips are a versatile vegetable that can be prepared in a variety of ways.  Their sweetness really comes out when they are roasted, which is one of my favorite ways to prepare parsnips.  They also make a nice addition to a fall root mash or mix them with other vegetables in hearty soups and stews.  You can also use them in baked goods, similar to how you might use carrots.  I’ve used them to make parsnip muffins that are similar to carrot cake and this week we are featuring a recipe for Parsnip, Lemon & Poppy Seed Muffins (see below)!  You can also use them to make quick breads such as Andrea Bemis’ Spiced Honey Parsnip Bread.  You can also use them in cookies.  Make sure you check out the recipe for Parsnip Oatmeal, Chocolate, Cherry Cookies (see below) in this week’s newsletter!

Parsnips pair very well with other root vegetables, wine, shallots, apples, walnuts and a variety of spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger.  Some people really like the distinct flavor of parsnips, while others may still be learning to like them.  If you’re in the latter group, I’d recommend that you start by using parsnips in a baked good or use them in small quantities mixed with other vegetables in soups, stews or a simple root mash.

Store parsnips in the coldest part of your refrigerator in a plastic bag.  They will store for several weeks under these conditions, so don’t feel like you need to eat them all right now.  When you are ready to use them, Scrub the outer skin with a vegetable brush and trim off the top and bottom.  If you are making a pureed parsnip soup and want it to be snow white, I’d recommend peeling the parsnips.  If you aren’t looking for an art display presentation, I would recommend skipping the peeling part of the process.  

Parsnip Oatmeal Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Yield:  approximately 40 cookies (2-3 inch diameter)

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
⅓ tsp nutmeg
1 ¾ cups oatmeal
½ cup vegetable oil 
1 cup light brown sugar 
½ cup plus 2 Tbsps white sugar 
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups parsnips, shredded
1 cup finely shredded coconut
1 pkg (10 oz) chocolate chips (1 ¾ cup)
¾  cup dried cherries 
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir in oatmeal and set aside.  
  2. In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, incorporating well after each addition.  Add the parsnips and stir to combine.
  4. Last, fold in the coconut, chocolate chips and dried cherries.  The dough is going to be very stiff and you may feel like you are not going to be able to incorporate all of these last ingredients.  Trust the recipe and keep working them in.  It will come together!  Don’t forget to scrape down to the bottom of the bowl!
  5. Drop by the tablespoon full onto a cookie sheet.  Do not flatten the cookies, they will spread out as they bake.  Bake in a 350°F oven for 14-16 minutes.  The cookies should still be a little soft in the middle when you take them out of the oven.  They will set up nicely as they cool.  If you want a crispier cookie, bake them a little bit longer.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

This recipe was created by Annemarie Maitri, owner of Bloom Bake Shop in Madison, Wisconsin.  Annemarie dreamed up this cookie recipe when I asked her to make a sweet treat for our Fall Harvest Party this past September.  She was so pleased with the creation that she added it to her cookie menu for the fall!  Thank you Annemarie!

Parsnip, Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins with Lemon Drizzle

photo from

Yield:  12 Muffins
5 oz raw parsnip (approx 1)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
½ cup butter, softened (plus extra for greasing)
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup plain yogurt
¾ cup powdered sugar
4-5 tsp lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a muffin tin.
  2. Peel and finely grate the parsnips. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the poppy seeds and parsnip.
  4. In another bowl, use an electric mixer or wooden spoon to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each in well. Beat in the zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract, blend well and then add the yogurt and combine.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, alternating three times.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups, filling them ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Make the drizzle topping:  Stir lemon juice, teaspoon by teaspoon, into the powdered sugar until it is a runny consistency. Drizzle over the completely cooled muffins.
This recipe was borrowed from, a very interesting food blog written by Kate Hackworthy.  If you like this recipe, check out her blog where you’ll find more delicious baked goods featuring parsnips as well as other vegetables!

Sweet Potatoes 2019

By Chef/Farmer Andrea

This year's sweet potato vines in July.

We’re excited to be delivering the first of several weeks of sweet potatoes!  Sweet potatoes are an important crop for us, not so much because they are a big money maker, but more so because they are an important part of our diet and we love to eat them!  Richard may or may not admit this, but I think he also likes the challenge of growing a tropical plant in the upper Midwest!  As with every crop, you just never know what kind of a year you will get.  Up until 2016, we had always had a sweet potato crop to harvest.  Some of you may remember fall 2016 when we had a devastating 100 year flood at the end of September.  Sadly, our sweet potatoes were planted in field #65, right next to the river.  The rain started to fall, the river started to rise and quickly became a raging, angry beast that came out of its banks and flooded our beautiful sweet potato field.  It was heartbreaking as we were only one week away from harvest.  Even now it’s hard to write about that year when we lost the entire sweet potato crop.  We all survived with plenty to eat, but a winter without sweet potatoes just isn’t right!  We came back in 2017 and had a pretty good year.  The crop wasn’t perfect, but we were just thankful to have something to harvest!  In 2018, Richard and the crew were determined to have a knock-out sweet potato year.  Their determination paid off and we had the best sweet potato crop in the history of Harmony Valley Farm!  We harvested over 30,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and they were gorgeous!  It’s hard to match a crop like that, but we set out to do so again this year.

Digging sweet potatoes.
We planted this year’s crop on June 1.  We get our sweet potato plants from two organic producers in North Carolina.  Due to a cold, wet start to their season, they shipped our plants about 10 days later than we had planned.  Nonetheless, the field was ready before we received them so we were ready to start planting them the same day they arrived!  Most of the plants survived the transplanting process and took off.  Overall, the crop looked to have a good start.  We fertilized and delivered nutrients as needed, but there were periods of time when the soil was wet and saturated, despite the fact that we grow on beds covered with plastic mulch for heat gain.  I mentioned earlier that sweet potatoes are tropical plants.  They thrive in hot, dry climates.  In wet conditions, you often end up with scraggly roots and the plants don’t set potatoes as they should.  This year’s yields came in at about 50% of last year with an estimated 17,000 pounds.  The potatoes are nice and tasty, we just didn’t find as many potatoes per plant as in previous years.  Our two main varieties this year are Covington and Burgundy.  Both are orange fleshed sweet potatoes known to be sweet and flavorful.  We also grew Murasaki sweet potatoes, a white fleshed Japanese variety.  We haven’t had much luck with these potatoes in past attempts.  They have never yielded very well and the potatoes are always very small and skinny.  I can’t help myself though, it’s a delicious potato with sweet, moist white flesh.  Somehow I managed to convince Richard we needed to try them yet again this year.  Surprisingly, the yield was significantly improved and we harvested the largest potatoes we’ve ever seen on this variety!  Evidently this variety actually thrives with a little more moisture.  Despite a disappointing yield, we did make some important observations that will help us raise future crops and we’re always happy to have something instead of nothing.  We do plan to deliver sweet potatoes in most, if not all, of the remaining CSA boxes and we’ve allocated some to offer as a Produce Plus offering before Thanksgiving as well as part of our End of Season special offering.  We also partner with the Lakewinds Food Co-Ops in Minneapolis and they’ve done an outstanding job selling and promoting our sweet potatoes in their stores in previous years.  This year we’ll send a few their way, but not nearly what we or they had hoped for.  Because we knew our yields would be low this year, we saved every little potato when we were harvesting.  Typically when the potatoes are more abundant we would leave some of the little guys in the field. But this year, every potato is precious to us.  So we have some potatoes we’re sorting out as “Baby Bakers.”   Evidently we’re not the only ones in the country who have small, fat potatoes.  Within the last year other companies have started selling these baby sweet potatoes as well. They are completely usable potatoes, just much smaller than the historical industry standard.  You’ll likely receive some in your box before the end of the year.  They are the cutest little things and are actually easier in many ways to work with compared to some of the bigger potatoes.

Freshly washed sweet potatoes.
After we harvest the sweet potatoes, we bring them into our nursey greenhouse in wooden crates.  We stack them up and once they are all harvested, we start the curing process.  When sweet potatoes first come out of the field they are not very sweet and flavorful.  The skins are also very tender and delicate, so we have to handle them very careful with gloved hands to minimize any surface damage to the skin.  We hold them at a temperature of 85-95°F with humidity of 90-95% for 7-10 days.  During this time the greenhouse feels like a sauna!  This process helps to set the skins so they’ll last longer in storage. It also develops the starches into sugars, making them a truly sweet potato!

Sweet potatoes are best stored at a temperature of 55-65°F.  Do not store them in your refrigerator or at temperatures less than 50°F or they’ll get chill injury.  Store them in a cool, dry location or on your countertop until you’re ready to use them.

There are so many things you can make with sweet potatoes ranging from sweet potato casserole to sandwiches, fries, soup, cakes, pies, donuts, salad and more!  Of course, one of the simplest things you can do is just bake them and eat them right out of their skin with a touch of butter!

Sweet Potato Kimchi Pancakes

photo by John Kernick for

Serves 8 

1 pound sweet potatoes 
1 cup packed kimchi (approximately 7 ounces), chopped finely 
1 ½ tsp finely chopped garlic 
1 to 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Serrano chiles (The amount of chile pepper you use may be adjusted to your liking and will also be dependent upon the heat of the kimchi. If you do not have fresh chiles available, you may also substitute pickled jalapeño or a pinch of dried red pepper flakes.) 
1 cup thinly sliced onions 
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
1 tsp kosher salt 
¾ cup all-purpose flour 
About ½ cup vegetable oil
  1. Peel sweet potatoes and julienne (very small strips) using a mandolin or the shredding attachment on a food processor. You should have about 6 cups of sweet potatoes once they are cut. 
  2. Stir the potato together with the remaining ingredients except for the oil. Let the mixture stand at room temperature until wilted and moist, about 5 minutes, then stir again. 
  3. Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Using 2 serving spoons, scoop up some of the sweet potato mixture in one spoon and use the other one to compress the mixture and form a rough patty. Care- fully slide the patty off the spoon and into the hot pan. Repeat the process to add another 4 or 5 pancakes to the pan. You will need to do several batches to cook all the pancakes. 
  4. Cook until golden brown, 1 ½ to 2 minutes, then flip the pancake. Add a little more oil if necessary. Cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels or to a baking rack on a sheet pan. Hold the pancakes in a warm oven     (set at 150-200°F) until you are finished frying the pancakes and are ready to serve them. Add oil to skillet between batches as needed. 
  5. Serve warm with a dipping sauce of your choice. The original recipe was accompanied by a soy-vinegar dipping sauce, but I prefer to serve them with a dollop of sour cream or sour cream mixed with lime juice and cilantro. 
  6. If you have extra pancakes leftover, they can easily be cooled and frozen. When you are ready to use them, reheat the unthawed pancakes in a 375°F oven.
This recipe is a long time favorite!  It was originally published in Gourmet magazine and can be found at

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October 17, 2019 - This Week's Box Contents, Featuring Red Cabbage!

Cooking With This Week's Box

Broccoli OR Cauliflower: Lemony Cauliflower and Carrot Soup; Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce

Peter Wilcox Potatoes: Swiss Chard and Potatoes

Orange Carrots: Red Cabbage Slaw with Maple-Mustard Dressing (see below); Italian Wedding Soup; Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce; Winter Veggie Wraps with Carrot-Miso Spread

Calibra Yellow Onions: Warm Red Cabbage Salad (see below); White Bean and Escarole Pizza; Utica Greens; Lemony Cauliflower and Carrot Soup; Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic

Baby Beets: Winter Veggie Wraps with Carrot-Miso Spread; Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic

Red Chard or Red Mustard: Creamy Penne Pasta with Greens and Parmesan; Swiss Chard and Potatoes

Escarole: White Bean and Escarole Pizza; Italian Wedding Soup; Utica Greens

Red Cabbage: Red Cabbage Slaw with Maple-Mustard Dressing (see below); Warm Red Cabbage Salad (see below); Winter Veggie Wraps with Carrot-Miso Spread 

Salad Mix: Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic

Spinach or Baby Arugula: Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheeseand Honey Balsamic; Creamy Penne Pasta with Greens and Parmesan; Swiss Chard and Potatoes

This week we have another beautiful vegetable to feature, red cabbage!  We love to eat and grow vegetables with a variety of colors.  Of course you know that color also equals flavor and nutrients!  It’s win win on all fronts!  This week I’ve shared a recipe for Red Cabbage Slaw with Maple-Mustard Dressing (see below).  I’ve been making this recipe for years and it comes from Lorna Sass.  Her book was one of the first vegetarian cookbooks in my collection and I still reference recipes in it frequently.  This is a very simple recipe to make and goes well as a side along with a bowl of soup.  The second recipe in this week’s feature is also a salad, Warm Red Cabbage Salad (see below).  This recipe comes from one of my other favorite vegetarian cookbook authors, Deborah Madison.  You could add pancetta or bacon to this recipe if you like.

Utica Greens, photo from
Last week our featured vegetable was Escarole.  We featured two recipes using this delicious fall green.  If you didn’t have a chance to make the White Bean and Escarole Pizza  or the Italian Wedding Soup, take some time to try one of these recipes this week.  I’m not sure how I missed this in my research, but a friendly market customer this past weekend told me about a traditional recipe using escarole called Utica Greens.  It’s very simple and includes prosciutto, wilted escarole and hot pickled cherry peppers with a crumb topping of herbs, bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  I’m going to have to try this one!

If you don’t use all your garlic when cooking the escarole, turn it into Roasted Garlic Butter.  You can use this on bread and sandwiches, or put a dollop on top of grilled steak or roasted winter squash.

Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce
Photo from
One of my favorite parts about the farmers’ market is talking to customers about the dishes they make with our vegetables.  In addition to the recipe for Utica Greens, I got a tip on this Melissa Clarke recipe for Lemony Cauliflower and Carrot Soup.  I haven’t tried this yet myself, but some of our longtime CSA members tell me this is a super simple soup to make and there’s no dairy in this.  The creaminess of the soup comes from pureeing the vegetables and the addition of lemon brightens all the flavors in your mouth.  If you receive broccoli instead of cauliflower, consider this recipe for an Asian Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce.  This recipe calls for edamame.  If you don’t have any in the freezer, I’d suggest that you substitute some chopped sweet peppers or carrots in their place.

Looking for a quick lunch option?  This is a great week to make Winter Veggie Wraps with Carrot-Miso Spread.  Instead of shredding the carrots and using them as part of the vegetable filling, they go into making a flavorful, healthy spread for the wrap.  You can stuff these with the toppings of your choosing, but the recipe suggests shredded red cabbage and beets.  What a perfect recipe for this week!

The other thing I want to use the baby beets for is a simple roasted beet salad.  The baby beets we’re delivering this week are perfect for roasting whole and then using them to make a delicious salad with any of this week’s greens as a base.  This simple Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Honey Balsamic can stand alone or serve it as a side dish to a meal.

Swiss Chard and Potatoes, photo from
There are a lot of greens in this week’s box, so I wanted to share the link to this recipe for Creamy Penne Pasta with Greens and Parmesan.  We featured this recipe in a newsletter back in 2007.  You could use chard, mustard or spinach to make this recipe.  It’s simple to make and you can add chicken or sausage to it if you so desire.  Here’s another recipe for a simple greens based recipe, Swiss Chard and Potatoes.  You could use this week’s Peter Wilcox potatoes for this recipe.

I believe we’ve cooked our way to the bottom of another box.  Before I close, I just want to let you know the sweet potatoes are  about half way through their curing process.  It looks like we’ll be able to start washing them for CSA boxes as early as next week!  Start pulling out all of your favorite sweet potato recipes and get ready!  Have a great week!—Chef Andrea

Vegetable Feature: Red Cabbage

By Chef Andrea

We call it red cabbage, but others may refer to it as purple cabbage.  Perhaps it’s splitting hairs to debate whether it’s red or purple when the bottom line is that it is simply gorgeous!  Red cabbage is different from our green cabbage in several ways.  First, it’s obviously much different in color which means it also has a bit of a different nutrient profile.  Purple and red pigments in vegetables indicate the presence of chemical plant compounds called anthocyanins.  We talked about these several weeks ago when we delivered the black nebula carrots.  Anthocyanins have many health benefits including being antioxidants that combat free radical damage in our bodies.  Thus, they play a role in cancer prevention as well as enhance cardiac health and boost our immunity, amongst a long list of other benefits.  In addition to the benefits from anthocyanins, red cabbage also offers all the similar benefits of other vegetables in the Brassica family including phytonutrients called glucosinolates and sulfuraphane.  These two nutrients are important for reducing the potential for carcinogens to damage our tissues while also assisting the liver with detoxifying the body.  Red cabbage heads are also more dense and the leaves are thicker in comparison to green savoy cabbage or the sweetheart salad cabbages we delivered earlier in the season.

Red cabbage may be eaten both raw and cooked.  One of the simplest ways to use it is to just slice it very thinly and mix it in with salad greens or other vegetables when making vegetable salads or slaws.  It can also stand alone to make beautiful and tasty slaws and salads which may be served either cold or warm.  This week I’ve included a recipe for a simple Red Cabbage Slaw with Maple-Mustard Dressing (see below) that I’ve been making for many years.  Red cabbage is also often used to make braised red cabbage, a more common part of German and northern European cuisine.  Recipes for braised red cabbage will often include apples, juniper berries, caraway seeds and either red wine or red wine vinegar.  This is a good place to talk about how to retain that bright purple color when cooking red cabbage.  When you cook red cabbage, you can retain the bright purple color by adding an acidic ingredient such as vinegar or lemon juice.  If you don’t add acid and cook it for any period of time with the lid on the pan, the cabbage will turn to more of a blue-green-gray color.  This is kind of a fun kitchen experiment to do with kids so they can see how the color pigments change when in an acidic versus basic environment.

Beyond braised red cabbage and slaw, there are a lot of other ways to use this cabbage.  While I don’t have any experience using red cabbage in Indian cuisine, I did find some interesting recipes using Indian spices.  I also found a recipe that used the red cabbage to make Purple Cabbage Paratha, an Indian flatbread.  You can also use raw cabbage in spring rolls and wraps such as this Winter Veggie Wrap with Carrot-Miso Spread that we featured several years ago.  It’s also a great stir-fry vegetable, however I’d recommend using a sauce that has some citrus in it to help retain the bright purple color.

Some other foods that are complementary and are often used with red cabbage include the following:  apples, oranges, lemons, currants, onions, shallots, caraway, juniper, clove, star anise, red wine, vinegar, carrots, beets, blue cheese and goat cheese.  Red cabbage stores well, so don’t feel like you have to use it all right away.  It’s best to store red cabbage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  You’ll be surprised by how much you will get out of a head once you start slicing it!  If you don’t use all of the head, simply wrap up the remainder and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it again.

Red Cabbage Slaw with Maple Mustard Dressing

Yield: 6 servings

“The compliments will start pouring in for this tasty, gorgeous salad, which you’ve thrown together in about 5 minutes….Don’t be tempted to leave out the juniper berries: They are the secret ingredient that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.”

1 tsp coarsely ground juniper berries
½ to ¾ cup Maple-Mustard Dressing (see below)
1 ½ lb red cabbage, finely shredded
1 large carrot, grated
⅓ cup tightly packed minced fresh parsley
Sea salt to taste (optional; you may not need it)

  1. Stir the juniper berries into the maple-mustard dressing and, if time permits, let set for an hour.
  2. Just before serving, toss the cabbage, carrot, and parsley in a salad bowl.
  3. Toss in just enough dressing to coat the salad.  Add salt to taste if desired.

Recipe borrowed from Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen.

Maple-Mustard Dressing

½ cup sunflower oil
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp dry mustard
Pinch of salt
  1. In a small jar, combine all of the ingredients and shake well.
  2. Use immediately or refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks.
Recipe borrowed from Lorna Sass’ Complete Vegetarian Kitchen.

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

The cabbage is cooked just enough to soften it, then tossed with apples, goat cheese and roasted walnuts.  This is a very nice salad for fall when both walnuts and apples are newly harvested.  For variation in flavor and color, mix the cabbage with other greens, such as spinach or curly endive.

15 to 20 walnuts, enough to make ¾ cup shelled
2 tsp walnut oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 small red cabbage 
1 crisp red apple
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 to 4 oz goat cheese, broken into large pieces
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
½ tsp marjoram, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Crack the walnuts, leave the meats in large pieces, and toss them with the walnut oil and some salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Toast them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they begin to smell nutty.  Then remove them from the oven and let them cool.
  2. Quarter the cabbage and remove the core.  Cut the wedges into thin pieces, 2 to 3 inches long, and set them aside.
  3. Cut the apple lengthwise into sixths, cut out the core, then slice the pieces thinly, crosswise.
  4. Put the garlic, vinegar, and oil in a wide sauté pan over a medium-high flame.  As soon as they are hot, add the onion and sauté for 30 seconds.  Next add the cabbage and continue to cook, stirring it with a pair of tongs for approximately 2 minutes, or until just wilted.  The leaves will begin to soften and the color will change from bright purple-red to pink.  Season with salt, plenty of freshly ground black pepper, and more vinegar, if necessary, to sharpen the flavors.  Add the goat cheese, apple slices, herbs, and walnuts.  Toss briefly and carefully before serving.
Recipe borrowed from The Greens Cookbook, by Deborah Madison with Edward Espé Brown.