This week your basket contains: zucchini (full shares), tomatoes, rainbow carrots, sweet peppers, lettuce, broccoli, CELERIAC, onions, and potatoes.
Thank you to the many subscribers who came to the farm this past weekend for our annual pumpkin pick-up weekend. We always love to see the people behind the names on the baskets we fill each week. Congratulations to Alan & Justin, the winners of our two Guess-the-weight pumpkins! Those of you who came on Sunday had an opportunity to talk with Lani Raider about her No Bull vegetable concentrate flavor boosters. Polly & I love these easy to use pastes that make spicing a dish simple. My favorite is the mushroom-based Umami base (though the carrot ginger is a close second). We find that No bull makes using the veggies in a weekly basket easier and tastier. Check out her web site for full information and ordering details (www.nobullsf.com).
Celeriac, or celery root as it is also known, is a wonderful combination of celery flavor and potato texture. The leaves, which are very similar to the herb lovage, can be used in soup stock or stews to add a celery flavor. To use the root, it must be peeled first. Perhaps the easiest way to use celeriac is to grate it after peeling, dressing with mustard vinaigrette and serving cold. This is the vinaigrette that we use:
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp wet mustard
5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Press garlic into the bottom of your salad bowl. With a fork, mix well with salt until it forms a paste. Mix in vinegar and mustard until salt is dissolved. Whisk in olive oil to make an emulsion. Add black pepper to taste. These proportions are in no way set in stone. You should experiment to find the proportions you prefer. Also, other spices, herbs and vinegars can be used to vary the dressing.
This is another recipe that works well with this week’s basket.
CELERIAC DUMPLINGS IN TOMATO BROTH
1 red pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
900 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made
1 tbsp tomato purée
140 g (5 oz) frozen petit pois
2 tomatoes, about 100 g (3½ oz) in total, skinned and roughly chopped
salt and pepper
sprigs of fresh basil to garnish
150 g (5½ oz) celeriac, diced, or 55 g (2 oz) cooked celeriac, mashed
75 g (2½ oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs
125 g (4½ oz) soft mild goat’s cheese
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
1 egg, beaten
Preheat the grill to the hottest setting, then grill the red pepper for about 10 minutes, turning it often, until the skin is charred all over. Put it in a polythene bag and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the pepper, discard the seeds and cut the flesh into 1 cm (1/2 in) squares. For the dumplings, cook the diced celeriac in boiling water for 10–15 minutes or until very tender. Drain well, then purée in a blender or food processor, or mash until smooth. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the leek and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the red pepper, stock and tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the peas halfway through the cooking. Remove from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and seasoning to taste, then set aside. Add the breadcrumbs, goat’s cheese, basil and egg to the celeriac, with seasoning to taste. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Use 2 small spoons (teaspoons are suitable) to shape the mixture into 12 small dumplings, setting them on a plate as they are made. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Gently lower half the dumplings, one by one, into the water on a draining spoon. Bring the water back to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4–5 minutes. Use the draining spoon to remove the dumplings from the pan to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining dumplings. Return the tomato broth to the heat and bring to the boil. Ladle the soup into bowls, add the dumplings and garnish with basil. Serve immediately.