The Sunny Side – Week of 10/12/14

The Sunny Side – Week of 10/12/14

In Thursday’s box you will find:

  • Carrots
  • Kale
  • Celeriac
  • Yellow Onions
  • Leeks
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cilantro

In Sunday’s box you will find:

  • Beets or Carrots
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Celeriac
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Swiss Chard
  • Fennel

In the Field

It’s been a lovely week out on the farm! Nick’s grandmother was visiting us from Oregon, so I got to spend a lot of time out in the field while he hung out with her and with the baby. We had temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, no rain, and clear blue skies – boy did I luck out:) As much as I have loved being with little Ray this season, it is nice to get out and harvest a little bit. Even Nick admits that I am speedier than he is, but I think that might just be because my hands are closer to the ground. In any case, it was a treat to see how big the celeriac has grown and to hunt down the last of the big fennel bulbs. And Nick did do all of the washing, so it was a good deal for me!

Barn Two StarsWe’ve had some big changes this year, like juggling baby and harvest and markets. And this fall, we are in the midst of preparing for another big change. We are going to wait to share all the details until they are final, but we do want to let people know that we’ll be moving house and farm next year. We will be leaving Grayslake and Prairie Crossing, where we have farmed for the last 5 years, to begin farming a new acreage just west of Harvard, IL. It is a beautiful place and a great opportunity, and we are VERY excited to begin writing a new chapter for Midnight Sun Farm!

Storage tips for this week:

  • Remove the tops of the turnips, celeriac and beets from the roots and store separately.
  • Turnips, beets, celeraic and carrots can all store a long time – 3-4 weeks – if stored in a crisper drawer or plastic bag with a little ventilation.
  • Onions can be stored on your counter for 3-4 weeks.

Cooking tips for this week:

  • Peel and boil celeriac until very tender, then mash with salt, pepper and butter like potatoes for a great side dish. Turnips can also be boiled and mashed, although you need not peel them.
  • Roasting root vegetables like beets, celeriac, leeks, brussels sprouts, and carrots is easy, and then you have them cooked for salad or pasta.
    • To roast beets, cut them 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 olive oil, salt and pepper, if desired. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast at 350F 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.
    • To roast brussels sprouts, wash well and use a knife to cut an “x” intot he bottom of each sprout. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper, if desired, and place on a baking sheet. Roast at 400F until tender, about 30 min.
    • To roast carrots, scrub well and cut into 1 inch chunks if desired. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast at 350F for 30 min.
    • To roast celeriac, peel and cut into 1 inch cubes. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper, if desired, and place in a baking dish. Roast at 350F until tender, about 30 min.
    • To roast leeks, trim roots and dark green tops and cut into 2-3 inch lengths. Cut in half lengthwise and rinse thoroughly between layers. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet. Roast at 350F for 15-20 min.
  • Peel and boil celeraic until very tender, then mash with salt, pepper and butter like potatoes for a great side dish. Turnips can also be boiled and mashed, although you need not peel them.
  • Hakurei turnips are very delicious, so much so that we are repeating them in the box this week! 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!
  • 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!


Carrot, Cilantro, and Chile Slaw

(see more at

  • 12 ounces carrots (preferably assorted colors), peeled, julienned (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
  • 2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, minced
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Toss carrots, oil, lime juice, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and jalapeños in a large bowl. Let marinate for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add cilantro and coriander; toss to evenly incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Celeriac and Fennel Salad

  • 1 bulb fennel, cut into matchsticks
  • 1-2 bulbs celeriac, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 apple, cut into matchsticks
  • Parmesan cheese shavings
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Whisk together mustard, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Toss with vegetables and apple. Top with Parmesan cheese shavings.

Roasted Root and Fennel Salad

  • 4 medium sized beets or 6 medium sized carrots
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 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 or carrots as described above, seasoning with thyme, salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Clean and peel beets and cut into wedges, or cut carrots into chunks. 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 roasting juices into a bowl and whisk in the vinegar. Add the beets or carrots, 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.

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