Week #30 & 31 (December Double Basket)

This week your basket contains: potatoes, acorn squash, onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts, carrots, pumpkin, parsnips, cabbage, celeriac, and salad mix (lettuce, arugula, spinach, endive, and Asian salad greens).

This is a double delivery.  Your next basket will arrive on Friday, January 8th.  We would like to wish you all a very happy Winter Solstice.  It is at this time of year when the day are their shortest and the nights the are their longest that we take the time to appreciate all the gifts life has given us over the past year and to look forward to what we want to accomplish in the coming year.  Whatever holiday you celebrate, take time to appreciate the people in your life and express your love for the people closest to you.

SPICED PARSNIP SOUP

1 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 onions, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic cloves, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoon oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cumin

1 /2 to 1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 to teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 to 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock

In a skillet, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil. Add the cumin, cardamom, coriander, turmeric and ginger and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the parsnips and stock and simmer gently until tender, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Puree the soup in batches (or use your immersion blender) and serve hot. Serves 6 to 8.

We like to substitute winter squash for sweet potato in recipes like this one.  Remember that pumpkin could be substituted or added to the squash in your basket in this or any recipe.

CHICKEN TAGINE WITH SWEET POTATOES AND CELERIAC

3 Lbs. chicken thighs

salt and freshly ground pepper

½ Tbs. ground cumin

3 Tbs. butter

1 large onion thinly sliced

2/3 cup raisins

pinch of saffron threads, crumbled

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 Lb. sweet potatoes or Kabocha squash peeled and cubed (1/2 inch)

1 celeriac peeled and cubed (1/2 inch)

1 Tbs. honey

Rub chicken pieces with salt, pepper and cumin.  If time allows, let stand for 1 to 2 hours.  Covering the chicken and refrigerating overnight would be best.  When ready to prepare the dish, heat the butter in a large casserole or Dutch oven and cook chicken in batches until golden on all sides.  Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add raisins, saffron, cinnamon and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Pour 2 cups water into the casserole.  Cover and cook the chicken for 30 minutes over low heat.  Add the sweet potatoes or squash and the celeriac along with additional salt and pepper.  Simmer the stew, covered 20 minutes.  Carefully stir in the honey, taking care not to mash the vegetables.  Serves 4-6.  Adapted from Fooday

CELERY ROOT AND WILD RICE CHOWDER

1/2 cup wild rice
1 celery root (about 1 pound)
2 large leeks, white parts only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 celery rib, diced
1 cup thinly sliced potato
1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 bay leaf
1 large thyme sprig
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
2 cups half-and-half or milk
truffle oil, optional

Cover wild rice with 5 cups water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until tender. Thickly cut away celery root skins, then quarter and chop the root into bite-sized pieces. You should have about 3 cups. Chop and wash leeks. Melt butter in a soup pot. Add vegetables, parsley, bay leaf, thyme, and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, then add stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add half-and-half and simmer until vegetables are tender. Taste for salt and season with pepper. To give soup a creamy background, puree a cup of the vegetables and return them to the pot (don’t forget to remove bay leaf!). If soup is too thick, thin with rice water or additional stock. Divide soup among 4 or 6 bowls and add a mound of wild rice to each. Garnish with parsley and a drop of truffle oil, if using, and serve. From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison.

INDIAN PUMPKIN CURRY (SAMBAR)

The Indian curry served in most western countries is usually a rice dish covered with a thick, yellow sauce containing commercial curry powder. In authentic Indian cooking, there is no specific dish called curry, but there are many dishes with sauces, each made with its own special spices and ingredients. The delicious sauce in pumpkin curry is made with coconut milk and lentils. You can also make this southern Indian specialty with a winter squash such as acorn or hubbard.

1 small pumpkin or winter squash, about 3 cups chopped

1 cup brown or split red lentils

4 cups water

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek

1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 curry leaf, optional

Cut pumpkin into quarters, scrape out seeds, cut off peel, and chop into 1-inch squares. Place lentils in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Remove any inedible objects from lentils while washing. Put 4 cups of water in a large kettle. Add cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, and salt and bring to a boil. Add lentils, cover, and lower heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. If you are using split red lentils, they will cook in about 15 to 20 minutes. Add pumpkin squares to lentils. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender. Add coconut milk to kettle and stir. As soon as mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and set aside. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fenugreek, mustard seeds, onion slices, and curry leaf and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is brown. Add onion-and-spice mixture to kettle. Cover kettle and let stand 5 minutes. Stir pumpkin curry before serving over rice.

This is a very tasty seasonal salad that disappears quickly whenever we serve it.  A nice variation would be to use some of the arugula from your salad mix as a substitute for the watercress.

CABBAGE SALAD WITH APPLE AND CELERIAC

1 small green cabbage

1 bunch watercress

1/2 small celeriac

1 Granny Smith apple

1 shallot

1 Tbs. sherry vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 Tbs. hazelnut or walnut oil

1 Tbs. olive oil

Chives and chervil for garnish

Prepare a vinaigrette:  peel and dice the shallot and combine with the sherry vinegar, salt and pepper, and the two oils in a large salad bowl.  Cut cabbage in half, remove core and slice thinly.  Wash and dry watercress, removing larger stems.  Peel celeriac, cut into thin slices, and then into julienne.  Peel and core the apple and cut into small dice.  Add the cabbage, watercress, celeriac, and apple to the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly.  Serve with chopped chives and chervil on top.

LAMB CHOPS WITH PARSNIPS

2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1-2 cups parsnip sliced 1/3 inch thick

3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate (6 ounces), thawed

Zest and juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons drained prepared horseradish

Salt and freshly ground pepper

8 lamb loin chops, 1 inch thick (2 1/2 pounds)

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the parsnips and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden and tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the parsnips to a plate.  Add the apple concentrate to the skillet and boil until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, the parsnips and 1 tablespoon of the horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.  Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil until shimmering. Season the lamb chops with salt and pepper, add them to the pan and cook over high heat, turning once, until the meat is cooked but still pink throughout, about 7 minutes.  Transfer the lamb and parsnips to plates. Spoon the sauce over the lamb, top the chops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of horseradish and serve.

For more than 20 years we have been involved with a local CSA farmers’ group called The Portland Area CSA Coalition (PACSAC).  In addition to being a way for the normally solitary farmers to get together to share information and tips, the group has been essential to our efforts to educate people about the benefits of supporting farmers like us by subscribing and eating seasonally. PACSAC also Helps educate young farmers to ensure that the availability of CSA shares continues to grow. If you would like to support the work of PACSAC (and get a tax deduction for 2015) just visit PORTLANDCSA.ORG and click on the “donate” button at the top of the home page.

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