What's In Your Basket?
Butternut Winter Squash
Diablo Brussels Sprouts
Broccoli or Romanesco
Produce Tips - How to Eat It, Cook It and Keep It!
Butternut Winter Squash
Butternuts are the quintessential soup squash: thin-skinned, easy to peel, incredibly meaty, golden-hued, and sweet. If you’re in the mood for some winter comfort food that you can eat with a spoon, this is your squash. Not that Butternuts can’t play a main role in lots of other dishes as well: curries, root roasts, braised or glazed. They are easy to handle, delicious to eat, and impressive to behold. FYI, most of the squashes that we sent out this week were about 3 pounds apiece (unless you got two small ones, in which case they are about 1.5 pounds each). That could be useful information if you find a recipe that calls for pounds instead of cups.
A few Butternut recipes to tempt you:
Butternut Squash Soup
Winter Squash Curry
And if you want to do something simple, try roasting your Butternut: Heat the oven to 400. Peel your butternut and slice into ¼ inch rounds. Douse a roasting pan with some olive oil or melted butter. Arrange the rounds on the pan, sprinkle with salt, pepper and/or herbs like sage, thyme or rosemary, and drizzle with a little more oil/butter. Roast for about 20-30 minutes without turning until the squash is tender.
Store your Butternut on the counter, not in the fridge. It will keep for months if conditions are cool (about 50 degrees) and dry.
What are those wacky, whimsical, Dr. Seuss stalks in your tote this week? Brussels Sprouts, still on the vine! Snapping sprouts off the stalk is an incredibly slow, laborious task – and with so many mouths to feed, we opt for the more succinct harvest method: log the whole damn thing! Lopping the stalks is probably the most macho harvest on the farm, all year. It goes something like this:
- We don full rain gear, even if the sun is shining (because the plants catch huge puddles of water and hold it in the cup of their leaves like living bird baths...).
- Then we karate-chop off all the leaves, down the entire 3 foot length of the plant.
- Next, we take a machete and swing with all our might at the base of the stalk, which is hard like wood. It often takes a few well-aimed swings.
- Finally, once the stalk is cut, we whack it in half so that it will fit in a Rubbermaid tote.
Could make for a good scene in a veggie horror flick…
As for eating Brussels Sprouts, I know, I know – I promised we wouldn’t harvest them until we got a frost. But the mercury hasn’t dipped lower than 40 yet, and the weeks are running out to share them with you. We DID do a taste test and can vouch that they do not taste like old gym socks. In fact, they taste great.
You can cook them up in a number of ways. One of the best things you can do, especially if you are eyeing them dubiously and reliving “eat your vegetables” childhood nightmares, is to roast them. I know it sounds odd, but something happens to Brussels sprouts when you cut them in half, toss them with some olive oil and salt, and put them in the oven at 400 until they are tender and a little crispy-browned. They get sweeter, saltier, greasier, swoonier. So good that you might just like them. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll love them.
Another of my favorite recipes, which calls for Brussels sprouts and romanesco, broccoli or cauliflower: Brussels Sprouts and Fall Brassicas with Mustard-Caper Butter
For ease of storage, you'll want to snap your sprouts off the stalk and close them up in a plastic bag. They’ll keep for at least a couple weeks that way. Take note that some of your sprouts might need to be cleaned before you cook them. Simply take a paring knife and cut the bottom of the sprout off. Like a tiny cabbage, the outer leaves will peel off revealing a light green perfect sprout beneath.
Also known as “celery root,” this is by far the most alien vegetable we grow. It is closely related to celery (the above-ground part of the plant looks like a dark green, leggier version of celery and the flavor is distinctly reminiscent), but celeriac is far more mysterious. Over the course of the whole season (we planted these puppies way back in May, and seeded them in the greenhouse in March!), celeriac slowly puts on girth below ground, swelling towards November until they are finally fat enough to yank from the ground. And I mean YANK.
What’s in your tote this week is a trimmed up, cleaned up, tidied up version of the uncensored celeriac. Straight out of the ground this veggie is about as unkempt as they come: huge hairy roots covered in mud; a wily top-hat of greenery; and the white orb itself sprouting what would be the human equivalent of nose hairs and chin hairs and ear hairs in wild disarray. It takes some deft work with the harvest knife to make them presentable, but I feel strongly that celeriac is well worth the effort. I’m guessing that most of you have never eaten it, and I am hoping hoping hoping that the amorous feelings I have towards this vegetable become your own.