Thanksgiving basket (11/18 & 22)

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This week your basket contains: FLORENCE FENNEL. potatoes, acorn squash, BRUSSELS SPROUTS, PARSNIPS, carrots, cauliflower, CELERIAC, Swiss chqrd, shallots, onions, garlic, and pie pumpkins.

THIS IS YOUR THANKSGIVING DOUBLE DELIVERY.  We will skip delivery next Friday, Nov. 25th and resume normal delivery on December 2nd.  We hope you all have a great holiday!

 As many of you know, Polly makes and sells dried flower wreaths and bird feeders (shaped like faces and animals) made from sunflower heads and other goodies the birds love to eat.  She and our friend Lyn Jacobs are holding a gift sale at La Finquita del Buho 7960 NW Dick Road Hillsboro 97124 (Lyn’s farm) on Friday & Saturday Nov. 25th & 26th.  They’ll have baked goodies and hot drinks for you as you peruse the array of handmade gifts (including  Lyn’s pottery).  This is a great way to support Small Business Saturday and get some lovely gifts as well.

Celeriac not only adds a nice flavor to traditional mashed potatoes, it also helps stop the potatoes in this recipe from getting gummy. The leaves also impart a nice celery flavor to stock.

CELERIAC AND POTATO PUREE

6 medium potatoes

¼ to ½ c. milk

1 ½ tsp. Salt

½ tsp. black pepper

1 large celeriac, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes

2 Tbs. butter

Peel potatoes (or leave unpeeled if you prefer) and cut into 1-inch cubes.  Place potatoes in a large saucepan with water to cover and 1 tsp. of the salt.  Bring to boil over high heat and boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Add celeriac and boil another 10 minutes, adding water if necessary.  Drain the potatoes and celeriac and return to hot saucepan. Add 1/4 c. of the milk and, using a hand masher or electric beater, puree the vegetables, adding more milk if necessary to achieve the proper consistency.  Season with the remaining salt and the pepper and stir in the butter. Serve at once.  Serves 4.  From The Vegetarian Table: France by Georgeanne Brennan.

Brussels sprouts are an oft-maligned veggie because most people have never had them really fresh.  Fresh sprouts are good even raw, sliced in half and served with dip. This recipe is a newer way to use Brussels sprouts.  It is a nice break from the traditional steamed whole sprouts that has been very popular with our family. We also love the Marinated Brussels Sprouts recipe that you can find on our website.

SAUTÉED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

3 strips lean bacon, chopped

1 stalk Brussels sprouts

1 leek or onion

1-2 c. chicken stock

1 tsp. lemon juice

Thinly slice the leek or onion.  Slice the sprouts thin, about 1/8-inch thick (we use the food processor slicing blade).  Cook bacon in a sauté pan, add the olive oil and sauté the leek slices.  When they have wilted, add the Brussels sprouts and sauté for a few minutes.  Add the chicken stock, to a depth of about a ¼ inch and continue cooking until tender.  Season with salt and pepper and the lemon juice.  Mix to end up with an emusified liquid that just coats the sprouts.

Pumpkins can be used just the same way as acorn squash and vice versa. The pumpkins in your basket are one of several varieties we grow which were developed specifically for eating.  They are sweet and have thick flesh relatively free from strings.  To make your own pumpkin puree, you can cut off the skin of the pumpkin as if you were peeling an orange. Then, halve the pumpkin and scrape out the seeds and pulp. After this, cut the flesh into 1½ -2-in. chunks and steam until soft. Press through a strainer or puree in a food mill. Pumpkin chunks can also be microwaved in a covered container in about 8 minutes. Use the puree for pies or in other recipes. It can be frozen and used later. There are also other pumpkin and squash recipes on our website.

CURRIED PUMPKIN SOUP

1 large onion, diced

¼ c. butter

1 tsp. curry powder

2 ½ c. chicken broth

3 c. pumpkin puree

½ tsp. salt

2 c. half-and-half

sour cream (optional)

fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute diced onions in butter until softened.  Sprinkle in curry powder.  Pour mixture into blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Return to saucepan and add chicken broth, pumpkin, salt and half-and-half.  Heat through over medium heat.  Do not bring to a boil or soup will curdle.  Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped parsley, if desired.  Serves 4-6.  From Portland’s Palate.

This was not exactly a stellar year for our fennel.  While small, they are very flavorful and easy to use.  They will impart a nice flavor to stuffing or any other dish you want to impart a bit of Italian sausage flavor to.  We recommend you chop it whole and use it as an herb in this recipe (as a substitute for the parsley) or in the fast sauté below.

QUICK CELERY ROOT SALAD WITH CAPERS AND LEMON

1 lemon, juiced
1 head celery root, peeled
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons walnut oil
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/3 cup juicy capers, rinsed
Small handful Italian parsley, chopped

Peel the celery root and shred it. Stop halfway through and sprinkle with a tablespoon of the lemon juice to keep the root from turning brown. Shred the other half and toss with another tablespoon of lemon juice. Salt and pepper liberally and toss.  Whisk the remaining lemon juice with the walnut oil, olive oil, sugar, and vinegar. Taste and adjust. Toss with the celery root, capers, and chopped parsley.

Parsnips, a wonderful root vegetable, are used in many of the same ways as carrots. Roasting them brings out their sweet, earthy flavor. We chop them into slices and put them around a roasting chicken with small potatoes, carrots and onions.  Baste them as you would the chicken. They can also be boiled and mashed with potatoes.

ROOT VEGETABLE, WHITE BEAN AND BREAD CRUMB GRATIN

½ cup finely chopped onion

2 medium cloves garlic, divided

2 sage leaves

2 tsp. tomato paste

2 cups cooked white beans, cooking liquid reserved, or 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained

Salt and pepper

1 large parsnip, woody core removed, or 2 small ones

1 large carrot or 2 small ones

⅓ cup toasted breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, sauté the onion in 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over moderate heat until golden. Mince the garlic and add half of it to the onions, reserving the rest. Cook and stir for one minute, then add the sage and tomato paste. Mix the tomato paste into the onion mixture and sauté for two more minutes, scraping up any brown bits that accumulate on the bottom of the pan. Add the beans and ½ to ¾ cup of their reserved cooking liquid. (If using canned beans, substitute water for the cooking liquid.) The mixture should be somewhat soupy. Season with salt and pepper. Partly cover the pot and let the beans simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the parsnip and carrot and cut each into ½-inch pieces. Steam the parsnip until tender, about 5 minutes, then steam the carrot until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the vegetables to the bean mixture and simmer 2 minutes longer. Add more bean broth or water if necessary. Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining garlic and the parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Lightly oil an 8-by-10-inch baking dish or gratin dish. Turn out the bean and vegetable mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the seasoned breadcrumbs over the beans and vegetables and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the gratin begins to bubble. Serve warm. By Kelly Myers on culminate.com

FAST SAUTÉ OF FENNEL AND MUSHROOMS

1 large fennel (with leaves)

1/2 lb whole mushrooms

2 Tbsp. butter

1 Tbsp. olive oil

salt & pepper

Thinly slice fennel, discarding any hard core.  Mince 1/2 cup of the leaves and set aside.  Slice mushrooms to same thickness as fennel.  Heat 1 Tbsp. butter and oil in a sauté pan.  Add mushrooms and cook over medium high heat until brown.  Remove and set aside.  Add remaining butter and fennel to pan.  Cook over medium heat until softened but still crunchy.  Add mushrooms, stir together.  Season with salt and pepper and stir in minced fennel leaves. (From The Victory Garden Cookbook)

In this recipe, substitute celeriac for celery and chop the fennel whole.

CELERY & FENNEL SOUP

1 large potato, cubed
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
1 head celery, chopped (include the leaves)
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, and very thinly sliced (reserve feathery top)
1 small onion, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
salt, as needed, to taste

In large covered saucepan simmer potatoes in chicken broth and wine until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, in large skillet over medium heat, sauté celery, fennel slices, and onion in olive oil until tender, about 15 minutes. Mash potatoes right in the broth mixture in the saucepan with a masher. Stir in celery-fennel mixture. Heat through. Season with pepper and salt.  Chop reserved fennel tops and use to garnish each serving. Adapted from Food.com

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