This week your basket contains: Leeks, potatoes, pumpkin or Kabocha squash, cabbage, and salad mix (lettuce, spinach, arugula, endive and tat soi)
This is the time of year that we start planting new crops, mostly in the hoop houses (it is too wet to make beds outside). We have peas, radish, lettuce, arugula, kohlrabi, beets, and carrots all seeded and growing. It is also the time of year where our overwintering and stored crops start to run out. Leeks will be finished in the next month or so (they will start making flowers), and our winter squash is reaching the end of its expected storage life (we don’t expect squash to remain at their best much past the end of March). We are very happy with the improvements we’ve made to our storage facility in the past few years and are pleased to say that we will have 3-4 weeks’ worth of squash coming your way. This week we mixed and matched pumpkin and Kabocha squash with this great recipe in mind.
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. If you can’t get fresh pumpkin, try making this southern Indian specialty with a winter squash such as acorn or kabocha.
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 great way to use your cabbage.
CHICKEN PAD THAI
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, cut into 1” cubes
5 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Asian fish sauce
½ lb. firm tofu, cut into 1/4” cubes (optional)
1 c. water
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 ½ tsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
¾ lb. linguine or chuka soba (chow mein noodles)
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 c. peanuts, chopped fine
4 c. cabbage, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
½ c. lightly packed cilantro leaves
In a small bowl, combine the chicken with ½ tsp. of the fish sauce. In another bowl, combine the tofu (if using) with another ½ tsp. of the fish sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 5 Tbsp. fish sauce with the water, 1 ½ Tbsp. lime juice, the vinegar, sugar, salt and cayenne. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until done. Drain. Meanwhile, in a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until just done, 3-4 minutes. Remove. If using the tofu, put another Tbsp. of oil into the pan, add the tofu and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove. Put remaining Tbsp. of oil in pan, add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the pasta and the fish-sauce mixture. Cook, stirring, until nearly all the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Stir in chicken, tofu (if using), and 1/3 c. peanuts. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ½ Tbsp. lime juice, cabbage, scallions and half of cilantro. Top with remaining peanuts and cilantro. Serves 4. Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine’s Quick From Scratch Chicken Cookbook.