CSA Week 26:
- Bok Choy
- Mustard Greens
- Green Tomatoes
- Radishes-winter, or mixed root veggies
In your newsletter a couple weeks ago, Jess talked about the farm season coming full circle as we move into fall, a time of year that looks very similar to spring on a farm. I couldn’t agree more that that full circle feeling is a beneficial thing to experience as a beginning farmer. Throughout the year, we’ve seen the crops changing with the seasons. Back in the spring, I remember feeling a little overwhelmed and lost in all the plant varieties and different fields and rows and rows of greens–many with which I wasn’t very familiar–scattered all across the farm. And I remember having a sore back and blistered hands from all the planting and weeding…that seemingly endless weeding. And I couldn’t wait to get into summer crops, which I knew more about and preferred eating over greens, and I looked forward to the prospect of spending the days harvesting instead of pulling amaranth and clump grass out of the beds. I have to say though, now, it is refreshing to transition from those beloved tomatoes and beans back into greens and root veggies. It is refreshing to change tasks with the seasons, to work with the shortening days and cooler temperatures. It keeps the work from becoming monotonous, because it is inherently ever-changing. Seeding and planting and harvesting these spring/fall vegetables now, after having worked my way through a full season, I have such a better grasp on it all. Experiencing that cycle coming back around has been really enjoyable and immensely helpful in understanding the whole system.
Time-lapse of our cabbage, broccoli, kale, and chard over the past 6 weeks:
Winter radishes, and why a watermelon radish is called a watermelon radish:
Lots of carrots growing!
Recipes for your fall goodies:
Italian Chard Stuffing
I made this last spring, using ground country sausage in place of Italian sausages, in an effort to incorporate some greens into my meals and use up some of the chard we had. It was surprisingly simple and delicious!
1. Cut bread into 1/2-in. slices. Place slices in a large bowl and add milk. Mix gently with a spoon to saturate with milk and let stand about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, place a 6- to 8-qt. pot over high heat. Squeeze sausages from casings into pot. Discard casings. Cook meat, stirring often to crumble, until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes; discard fat. Add parsley, garlic, onion, and celery. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add chard and 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 5 minutes.
3. With your hands, squeeze bread slices to break them into tiny pieces. Add cooked meat mixture, parmesan, basil, sage, and rosemary. Season with salt to taste.
4. Preheat oven to 325° or 350° (use temperature turkey requires; see Note below). Spoon stuffing into a shallow 3-qt. (9- by 13-in.) casserole. For moist stuffing, cover with foil; for crusty stuffing, do not cover. Bake until hot (at least 150° in center) or lightly browned, at least 30 minutes.
Make ahead: Up to 1 day ahead, make stuffing, put in casserole, cover, and chill. Allow about 1 hour to bake.
Bacon Braised Mustard Greens
A lot of braised greens recipes I looked up also add a bit of sugar, which I am a fan of, in with the salt/pepper/vinegar. Makes a hearty side dish!
- 1 1/2 # mustard greens (about 1 large bunch), stemmed and cut or torn into smallish pieces
- 3 oz. bacon (2-4 slices, depending on size)
- 1 T. apple cider vinegar
- water or stock
- black pepper
- Cook bacon over medium-low heat in a large skillet or dutch-oven until firm and most fat has been rendered.
- Remove and cut into lardons (rectangular slices) when cool.
- If bottom of pan does not have a light coating of bacon grease, add a small amount of additional fat. If bottom of pan has too much grease, drain some (and use for another day!) and then throw all the greens.
- Push around with hands, tongs, or a fork and raise heat to medium-high.
- Replace bacon to pan and allow to wilt until little moisture remains in pan.
- Add vinegar and black pepper and a small splash of water or stock and cover pan, checking every few minutes to stir and make sure that moisture hasn’t all disappeared.
- After 10-12 minutes, check for salt level (if your bacon is very salty, you may not need any additional salt) and vinegar level (add more if you desire).
- Replace water and lid and continue until tender and flavorful (about 5-10 more minutes, depending on heat level and age of mustard greens.
- Allow all liquid to evaporate without the lid before serving.
Rustic Potato and Greens Pie
Erica made a greens pie for dinner this week, and I was blown away at how tasty it was. Hers did not have potatoes, but more cheese was added, and she used only 1 egg instead of 2 like this recipe calls for. So this is definitely a dish that can be altered based on what ingredients you have available. I would even suggest maybe using sweet potatoes instead of Yukons, as sweet potato and kale are a common pairing. In any case, throwing together some combination of greens and cheese and spices and baking it all up in a pie shell, you just can’t go wrong with that. This website also includes a butter pastry recipe, but I’m going to tack on the oil pastry recipe my grandma always used, which is now the only thing I use and is so easy and quick and produces a wonderfully flaky crust.
½ recipe Basic Butter Pastry (see recipe below) or store-bought pastry for a single crust pie
3/4 pound small boiling potatoes, such as Yukon gold or Red Bliss
1 medium onion
2 pounds cooking greens, such as chard, spinach, collards, mustard, or a mixture
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
2 oz Gruyére cheese
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 c ricotta
1/8 t nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1. Prepare the Basic Butter Pastry. Chill half while you make the filling. (Freeze the remaining half for another use.) Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Scrub the potatoes and cut them into 1 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 cups); place them in a medium saucepan. Add cold salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a knife.
3. Meanwhile, finely chop the onion (about 1 cup). Thoroughly rinse and spin dry the greens, remove the tough stems, and coarsely chop the leaves (about 24 cups). (If using chard, the stems will be tender; reserve them to stir-fry for another meal.)
4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until it has softened. Press in the garlic (about 2 teaspoons) and cook for 1 minute. Add half the greens and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until they have wilted. Remove the greens with tongs to a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining half of the greens.
Return the first batch of greens to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes more, or until any liquid that collected in the skillet has evaporated.
5. When the potatoes are done, drain and mash them with a potato masher. Combine the potatoes and the greens mixture in a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
6. Meanwhile, roll out the pastry between lightly floured sheets of wax paper to make a 12-inch round; pat the edges of the pastry to make the round even. Fit the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate; press against the sides of the plate, allowing the excess to hang over the edges. Put the pie plate in the fridge while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
7. Grate the Gruyére (about ½ cup) and Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 2/3 cup Microplane-grated or about 1/3 cup grated on the fine side of a box grater); fold the cheeses into the potato mixture along with the ricotta, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
8. Lightly beat the eggs, reserve 1 tablespoon. Stir the rest of the eggs into the potato mixture and spoon the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate. Gently lift the overhanging pastry over the filling, pleating as necessary to make it fit. (It will make a 1- to 1 ½ inch border covering the edges of the filling, which will be uncovered in the center.) Brush the pastry with the reserved 1 tablespoon egg.
9. Bake the pie for about 40 minutes or until the filling is heated through and the pastry is golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Oil Pastry (for 2 pie shells or 1 double-crust)
In a bowl, mix together 2 c flour, 2/3 c oil, 5 T cold water, and ½ tsp salt. Stir with a fork until just combined (over-mixing can make pastry tough). Divide dough into 2 pieces and roll out each piece between 2 sheets of wax paper, then flip off of wax paper into pie dish and press to fit.