The Sunny Side – Week of 10/5/14

The Sunny Side – Week of 10/5/14

In Thursday’s box you will find:

  • Beets
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Arugula
  • Red and Yellow Cipolini Onions
  • Green or Red Scallions
  • Swiss Chard
  • Fennel

In Sunday’s box you will find:

  • Radishes
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Arugula
  • Storage Onions
  • Green Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Green Onions
  • Carrots

In the Field

All of a sudden it is October! And what better way to celebrate the first week of October than a nice early dusting of snow? It was cold on Saturday, but the temperatures have warmed up and it looks like this next week will be, if a little overcast, at least comfortably warm. No harm done to any of the crops – the tomatoes were on their way out already, and everything that is left can stand a little frost. The taste of some thing, like the collards and brussels sprouts, even benefit from the cold weather.

When the fall weather blows in, my thoughts often turn to Ray Bradbury, the famous science fiction writer. He was born in Waukegan, IL, a town only a few miles from where we farm. Bradbury wrote, in his book The October County, “October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”

Nick and I both love his writing, and find that his stories evoke strong feelings of the late fall, our favorite time of year. Perhaps you recognize the picture he paints of northern Illinois at the time of year when corn is being harvested, days are growing shorter, and we all start to get ready for winter. As for us, we’ll continue working away through the quick noons and into the lingering dusks and twilights for a few more weeks. Here’s a reminder about the end of the season: the final vegetable CSA deliveries will be on Sunday, October 26th and Thursday, October 30th. Stay tuned for information on the egg share  schedule.

Storage tips for this week:

  • Remove the tops of the turnips, beets and radishes from the roots and store separately.
  • Turnips, radishes, beets and carrots can all store a long time – 3-4 weeks – if stored in a crisper drawer or plastic bag with a little ventilation.
  • Cippolini onions can be stored on your counter for 3-4 weeks.
  • Green tomatoes will keep best if stored in the fridge!

Cooking tips for this week:

  • Turnips and radishes are back, and they are very mild and delicious. I eat them raw, either by themselves or on crackers or toast, but they are also delicious when roasted or added to soups or stews.
  • Do not toss those turnip tops! They are mild and delicious, just like their underground counterparts, and can be sauteed like chard or bok choi. They are also super nutritious!
  • Roasting beets is easy, and then you have cooked beets for salad or pasta. To roast, cut beets from stems, leaving about 1/4 inch of stems. Scrub the beets and place in a baking dish. Add 1/4 inch of water to the dish. Season with oilive oil, salt and pepper, if desired. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast for 30 min to one hour, or until they’re easily penetrated with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the covered baking dish. Cut away the ends, slip off the skins, and quarter.
  • Arugula is delicious when used sparingly in a salad (like this one, with beets), or you can make arugula pesto or arugula pizza.
  • Save and freeze fennel fronds and add to your cooking liquid when you make white beans from scratch. Or just skip the freezing and go directly to the fennel and white bean soup – recipe below!
  • Tradition dictates that green tomatoes be fried – these fried goodies can be eaten alone or used as a sandwich ingredient. But you can also quick-pickle them, or use them in unexpected places….like baked goods! Our friend (and CSA worker share) Catherine turned us on to this great recipe for green tomato spice cake! Sounds crazy, but is SUPER delicious:)


Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad

  • 4 medium sized beets
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large fennel bulb with fronds—bulb cut into 1/2-inch wedges, 1 tablespoon chopped fronds
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  1. Roast beets as described above, seasoning with thyme, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Clean and peel beets as described above and cut into wedges. Reserve baking liquid.
  2. In a small baking dish, drizzle the fennel wedges with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer until tender and lightly browned.
  3. Pour the beet juices into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Add the beets, fennel wedges and fronds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

White Bean and Fennel Soup
(from the LA Times)

  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound dry Great Northern or cannellini beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons best quality olive oil, divided, for garnish
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and carrots, and cover and cook until they soften, about 20 minutes.
  2. Trim the branches and fronds from both bulbs of fennel; chop at least one-third cup of the fronds, wrap tightly and refrigerate. Quarter one bulb lengthwise and cut out the solid core. Dice and add to the soup pot. Set the other bulb aside until later.
  3. When the vegetables in the soup pot are softened and aromatic, stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the beans, bay leaf and 8 cups of water. Cover and place in the oven to cook for 1 hour.
  4. After 1 hour, remove the pot from the oven and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Return to the oven to finish cooking until the beans are quite tender, another 45 minutes to 1 hour, 15 minutes. Cooking time can vary quite a bit depending on the condition of the beans, so begin checking after 30 minutes.
  5. When the beans are tender, remove the pot from the oven. If there are still just a few beans that are slightly chalky, that’s OK — leave the pot covered for a while and they will finish cooking from the reserved heat. If the soup loses too much moisture in the oven, add water as needed to maintain a loose, soup-like consistency.
  6. In a small skillet, heat one-fourth cup of olive oil over medium heat. Quarter the remaining fennel bulb lengthwise, but do not trim the core, so the fennel bulb will stay together. Fry the bulb until well browned on all three sides, covering tightly in between turns to avoid splattering. Remove the pan from the heat momentarily to carefully add the wine, replace the cover, and cook until the fennel is tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. When the fennel is tender, remove it from the pan, sprinkle with salt and cut each quarter in half lengthwise. Add these to the soup. (The dish can be prepared up to this point a day in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.)
  8. When ready to serve, warm the soup over medium heat in a covered pot. Just before serving, stir in the reserved chopped fennel fronds. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste and more salt if necessary. Ladle the soup into warm, wide soup plates and finish each with a drizzle of the best-quality olive oil. Serve immediately.

Maple-Glazed Baby Turnips and Carrot Coins

  • 12 oz. young turnips, washed, largest turnips halved
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch thick coins
  • 1⁄2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 to 3 tsp. Hickory Bacon Salt or 1-2 pieces crumbled cooked bacon (optional)
  1. Put the vegetables and stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until the turnips are barely tender, about 10 minutes. Pour most of the liquid off, return pan to stove, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter and maple syrup. Stir to coat the vegetables and continue to cook uncovered until the vegetables are glazed and beginning to caramelize around the edges, about 2 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle Bacon Salt or bacon over vegetables, toss to coat, and serve.

Fried Sage and Green Tomatoes

  • 2 to 3 large green tomatoes; sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup flour; divided in half
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 to 3 large eggs
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • Salt and fresh black pepper; to taste
  • celery seeds; to taste
  • hot sauce; to taste
  • Sage leaves; cleaned and dried
  • Peanut Oil
  1. Sprinkle both sides of the green tomato slices with salt and pepper. Whisk the milk, hot sauce, eggs and seasonings together. Set aside.
  2. Place 1/2 cup flour in a large bowl. Use the remaining 1/2 cup flour to mix with the cornmeal in another wide bowl. Season both flours with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour enough peanut oil in a black skillet to cover the bottom at most half and inch. Place one green tomato slice in the plain flour. Then place it in the egg mixture. Dredge the slice through the cornmeal and flour mixture. Place on a paper towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the other tomato slices. Working in batches, add two slices to the hot oil (be careful not to add too many slices to the pan, for the oil’s temperature will reduce). Fry green tomatoes until golden brown, about 2 to 5 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a prepared baking sheet lined with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep warm in oven.
  4. After all the tomato slices are fried, add dry sage leaves to the oil. Fry for a few seconds. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
  5. When serving the Fried Green Tomatoes, place Fried Sage leaves on top. Enjoy warm.

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