Cooking With This Week's Box
Italian Garlic: Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette; Tortilla De Patatas; Tomato Bread; Roasted Cauliflower and Black Bean Tacos
Leeks: Braised Leeks with Pappardelle & Parmesan (see below); Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta (see below)
Jalapeno Pepper: Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese
Purple, White or Cheddar Cauliflower: Silky Cauliflower Soup; Roasted Cauliflower and Black Bean Tacos
German Butterball Potatoes: Tortilla De Patatas
Saute Mix OR Broccoli Romanesco OR Broccoli: Sheet Pan Salmon with Broccoli, Turnips and Turnip Greens Chimichurri
Green Top Baby Violet Turnips: Sheet Pan Salmon with Broccoli, Turnips and Turnip Greens Chimichurri
Sweet Peppers: Easy Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps
Butterscotch Butternut Squash: Roasted Butternut Squash with Coconut Drizzle and Saigon Cinnamon; Baked Penne with Butternut Sage Sauce; Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos
Green Boston Lettuce: Carrot Ginger Dressing; Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette; Easy Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps
Orange Carrots: Carrot Ginger Dressing
The colors of the valley are changing rapidly and we’re preparing for our first frost! While we do cover some sensitive crops to protect them from frost damage, we don’t have time and resources to cover everything. So, the crews are picking as many tomatoes and peppers as they possibly can so we can tuck them safely away in the cooler. They are also going to dig the lemongrass which will not take a frost. We’re planning to pack lemongrass in next week’s box, so you can look forward to a little taste of the tropics next week! As we transition into fall, we are making a shift in our allium selections as well. We’re taking a little break from storage onions so we can enjoy leeks which are in their prime right now! This week I turn to two of my favorite bloggers/cookbook writers. It’s true, I have many, however I gravitate towards these two ladies quite often when I’m looking for simple, healthy, vegetable focused recipes. The first recipe, Braised Leeks with Pappardelle & Parmesan (see below), was featured by Alexandra Stafford on her blog, Alexandra Cooks, however it originated from Ronna Welsh’s book The Nimble Cook. The rich creaminess of this dish doesn’t come from cream, but rather from the silky texture of the slow-cooked leeks and a bit of Parmesan cheese. The second recipe comes from Sarah Britton’s blog, My New Roots. This recipe for Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta (see below) makes a nice vegetarian main dish with light, simple flavors.
|Carrot Ginger Dressing, photo from cookieandkate.com|
The green Boston head lettuce in this week’s box is GORGEOUS! This variety has soft, tender leaves and will make a beautiful base for a nice fall “tossed” salad with sliced sweet peppers, chunks of tomatoes and maybe even some little cauliflower florets. While carrots are often included in tossed vegetable salads, you can also use the carrots to make a dressing to put on the salad! This Carrot Ginger Dressing is light enough to not overpower the lettuce leaves and contributes a nice overall flavor to the salad. If you prefer to shred the carrots and actually put them on your salad, you may choose to dress the salad with this Fresh Tomato Vinaigrette. The leaves on this variety of lettuce are also great for things like these Easy Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps!
The baby violet turnips in this week’s box are a new item we wanted to try this year. They have a bit more of a turnip bite in comparison to the baby white salad turnips we grew earlier in the spring. As I was considering what I might do with them, I got an email update from dishingupthedirt.com letting me know Andrea Bemis had just posted this recipe for Sheet Pan Salmon with Broccoli, Turnips and Turnip Greens Chimichurri. Thanks for the suggestion Andrea, this recipe is perfect for this week’s box contents! The chimichurri sauce is made with the turnip greens and parsley. Speaking of parsley, it’s time to check your herb garden. With the first frost potentially coming this week, you might want to harvest the remainder of your herbs or be prepared to cover the plants. If you have extra herbs you can always dry them. I also want to mention, for those of you who appreciate Andrea Bemis’ recipes, that she has another book coming out! Local Dirt—Seasonal Recipes for Eating Close to Home. It is being released on October 13, but is available for pre-ordering right now!
|Roasted Butternut Squash with Coconut Drizzle and Saigon Cinnamon|
photo by Katarina Jankov for food52.com
We’re continuing to work our way through our stores of winter squash and this week we’re sending the cutest little Butterscotch Butternut squash! This variety is supposed to be small and may be served simply baked and topped with a pat of butter. If you want to try something a little different, you could also go for this Roasted Butternut Squash with Coconut Drizzle and Saigon Cinnamon. This recipe calls for a touch of honey, which is only needed for a bit of flavor as this squash is already very sweet on its own! I also want to try this recipe for Baked Penne with Butternut Sage Sauce, another recipe by Alexandra Stafford. If you’re going to be harvesting your sage before the frost, you might as well use some fresh!
|Silky Cauliflower Soup, photo from smittenkitchen.com|
Any interest out there in recipes that have 10 ingredients or less? Count me in! We’re moving into soup season, so consider making this Silky Cauliflower Soup. This recipe has seven ingredients including salt and pepper. From a flavor perspective, this soup would be good made with any color of cauliflower. From a presentation standpoint, I will be honest, I’m not sure how the color will turn out if you make this soup with purple cauliflower. That being said, I want to try it! If anyone else tries it, please share the results in our Facebook Group! The other recipe I want to mention that has five ingredients only is this Tortilla De Patatas. This is a traditional Spanish dish that is kind of like a potato frittata, but there’s a step in the recipe where you invert the whole thing onto a large plate and then return it to the pan to continue cooking on the other side. Don’t worry, you can do it! One day when the world opens up again, I really want to visit Spain. Until then, a little exploration into Spanish cooking will have to suffice! The author recommends serving this with Tomato Bread, another popular Spanish recipe originating in Catalonia.
|Roasted Cauliflower and Black Bean Tacos|
photo from gimmesomeoven.com
Shifting gears, how about some tacos this week?! Lets go vegetarian with these Roasted Cauliflower and Black Bean Tacos, or maybe Roasted Butternut Squash Tacos!
Just when you think mac-and-cheese can’t get any better, you come across a recipe like this for Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese. This recipe calls for quite a lot of jalapeno, but our peppers have been pretty hot this year, so I would suggest you error on the side of conservative.
Well, that brings us to the bottom of this week’s box. We still have 8 more boxes after this week that will be filled with so many good things yet to come! I mentioned earlier that we’re hoping to send lemongrass in next week’s boxes. We’re also planning to dig sweet potatoes this weekend, so it will be just a few weeks until we start sending those in your box as well! Before I close out this week’s conversation, I want to mention that I finally did it. I bought an Instant Pot! I’ve been resisting this purchase for a long time now, mostly because it seems to go against all the cooking techniques I learned in culinary school. What do you mean I can’t shake the pot? I lock the lid into place and walk away? The next step will be taking it out of the box and actually using it! So, if any of you have some tried and true recipes you like to make in your Instant Pot, please send them my way. I’m ready to embrace this kitchen tool and let it help me put dinner on the table in short order! The next 6-8 weeks are going to be very busy around here as we finish up our fall harvest, so I’m ready to implement any time saving hacks I have available! Have a great week!---Chef Andrea
Vegetable Feature: Leeks
We continue our journey through the seasons with yet another selection from the allium family. This week’s vegetable from the allium (onion) family is leeks! In this region, leeks are grown for harvest in the fall. We plant them from seed and transplant them early in the season, just after we transplant all of our storage onions. They need more time to grow than onions, but we also need to harvest them before it gets too cold. They can take some frost, but once the temperatures start to get into the twenty’s we risk damaging them. In some more mild climates growers are able to actually overwinter leeks. Our Midwestern winters are too harsh for overwintering them, so we’ll just have to enjoy them when they are in their prime!
|Carbonara with Leeks, Lemon & Bacon|
If you’ve never cooked with leeks, it’s important to note that leeks are not “just another onion.” While the flavor profiles are similar for all alliums, each one has its own distinct characteristics and qualities that set them apart. Leeks are much different than the chives and ramps we delivered early in the season or the Sierra Blanca white Spanish onions we delivered in early summer. Leeks are more mild and subtle in flavor. They are best cooked using more gentle methods such as braising, lightly sautéing or cooking them into soups, sauces and broths. When cooked using these more gentle methods, the texture of leeks becomes silky and tender. Leeks have fewer sugars than onions, so they do not caramelize in the same way as an onion. When you are sautéing leeks, do so at a low to medium temperature just until they are soft. Do not try to brown them.
|Leeks "hilled" in the field|
Leeks have a long white shank that turns to more of a bluish green color as you reach the top of the leek. The shank is made of many thin layers and is the portion of the leek most often used. However, the green portion on top is equally edible and at the very least should be added to stock for flavor. Throughout the growing process, dirt is hilled up on the leeks to cover the shank and block sunlight which keeps it white. As a result, dirt may get between the layers. While you need to take care to carefully clean the entire leek, the upper portion may have a bit more dirt between the layers and may need a little more attention. I find it easiest to wash the exterior of the leek and then slice them. Place the chopped leeks in a sink of clean, cold water and swish them around to remove any dirt. Remove the leeks from the water and place in a colander to drain. If there isn’t much dirt between the layers, you may also just place the sliced leeks in a colander and rinse them.
Leeks pair well with many fall vegetables including potatoes, celeriac, and other root vegetables such as parsnips and carrots. They are often incorporated into cream soups, gratins and egg dishes such as quiche. A traditional use for leeks is to make Leek & Potato Soup, of which there are many variations. They also pair well with late season sweet peppers and tomatoes, bridging the gap between summer and fall. Many recipes utilizing leeks also include complementary ingredients such as white wine, lemon, cream, cheese, apples, walnuts, chicken, bacon, fish and fresh herbs to name just a few ingredients.
Leeks will keep for several weeks if stored in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in plastic. We hope you enjoy this delicate allium and appreciate the subtle way it adds flavor to your meals this week!
Braised Leeks with Pappardelle & Parmesan
|photo from AlexandraCooks.com|
Yield: 4 servings
3 large or 4 to 5 small to medium leeks, white and light green parts only
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp water
⅓ cup crisp white wine
4 Tbsp butter, cut into bits
A few sprigs thyme
2 tsp kosher salt
5 peppercorns, optional
10 coriander seeds, optional
For the Pasta:
12 oz pasta, such as pappardelle
Parmesan cheese, shaved, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Optional herbs: finely copped parsley, or chives, to taste
Flaky sea salt, to taste
- Heat oven to 325°F. Trim the leeks of any roots. Slice each leek lengthwise through the bulb, then once more to make quarters—if you are only making the braised leeks, it’s OK to keep the leek end intact; if you are making the pasta, cut enough of the base off so that the leek does not stay intact. Fill a large bowl with water and submerge the leeks in it. Swish them around and carefully bend the pieces, using your fingers to release any dirt trapped between the layers of the bulbs.
- Once clean, lift out the leeks, drain, and place in a snugly fitting roasting pan or Dutch oven—ideally something that can go on both the stovetop and oven if you plan on making the pasta—no more than two layers deep. If your leeks are extra long, cut them to fit.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Cover and place in the oven. Braise until the leeks have dulled in color and are quite tender to a knife, and bend and flex effortlessly, about 45-50 minutes. Taste for salt. Continue on to the next step if you are making this entire pasta dish, or cool to room temperature if you are making the braised leeks portion of the recipe and want to make the leeks portion of the recipe in advance. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.
- Meanwhile, if making the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 Tbsp kosher salt. Cook pasta al dente (times will vary according to package). Reserve at least a cup of pasta cooking liquid.
- Place the pan of braised leeks on the stovetop over low heat. Transfer the cooked noodles to the pan with the leeks and toss with tongs to combine. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed—approximately ½ cup. Shave Parmesan to taste over top and season with fresh cracked pepper to taste as well. If you seasoned your pasta cooking liquid as directed, you should barely need any salt here, but taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.
- If using herbs, add them, and toss to coat. Serve, shaving more Parmesan and cracking more pepper over each serving if desired.
Recipe borrowed from Alexandra Stafford’s blog, AlexandraCooks.com.
Lemony Leeks with Chickpeas and Feta
|photo from mynewroots.org|
Yield: 2-3 servings
3 large leeks
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup cooked chickpeas
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp liquid honey
Juice and zest of one lemon
Pinch of sea salt & Freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small bunch fresh dill or parsley
- Slice off the root end of each leek, cut in half lengthwise, then cut the stalk into 1-inch chunks on the diagonal. Use both the white and pale green portion of the stalk, discarding the dark green tops. Submerge leek slices in a large bowl of water to remove dirt between the layers.
- In a large frying pan or saucepan, heat the vegetable broth until simmering. Remove leeks slices from water and place in the broth. Cover and let simmer for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
- While the leeks are cooking, make the dressing by combining all ingredients except for the lemon zest and dill or parsley.
- When leeks are just tender (do not overcook!), remove from pan with tongs and set on a serving platter, leaving the remaining broth. Pour chickpeas into the pan and heat in the broth for about one minute, tossing to warm through. Add half of the dill/parsley and toss.
- Remove pan from heat and place chickpeas on top of the leeks. Pour dressing over top, sprinkle with remaining dill/parsley, feta, lemon zest, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe borrowed from Sarah Britton, www.mynewroots.org.