Week #40 (2/26 & 3/1)

This week your basket contains: potatoes, beets, Thelma Sanders squash, leeks, garlic, and salad mix (spinach, arugula, endive, lettuce & red cabbage) 

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 RED LENTIL SALAD WITH FETA AND BEETS

2-3 beets

¼ cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)

1 Tbsp. minced shallots (or 1 small onion)

1 garlic clove, minced

½ tsp. ground cumin

½ tsp. ground fennel seeds

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup red lentils

2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

1 bunch arugula, torn into bite-size pieces

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap the beets in foil and roast them for 45 minutes, or until tender; let cool.  Peel the beets (rubbing under cold water) and cut them into wedges.  In a medium skillet, heat the oil until shimmering.  Add the shallot and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add cumin and fennel seeds and cook just until fragrant.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice and cayenne.  Season with salt and pepper and whisk until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add lentils and cook just until tender.  Drain and transfer to a bowl.  Toss the lentils with half the vinaigrette and let cool.  Stir in parsley.  Toss the arugula and beets with the remaining vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.  Mound the salad on dinner plates and spoon the lentils on top.  Garnish with the feta and serve.  Serves 4.  From Food and Wine Jan. 2001.

Despite the crummy, cold weather (the coldest February in 30 years!), we are very happy to have salad greens out of our hoop houses.  These late winter greens are best served with a substantial dressing.  This is a good one.

HOT BACON SALAD DRESSING

10 slices smoked lean bacon
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 green onions, chopped
1 egg yolk, boiled and grated
salt and pepper, to taste (optional)

In a skillet, sauté bacon until crisp; crumble into pan. Drain, reserving a tablespoon of bacon drippings. Add sugar, vinegar, horseradish and pepper.  Chop green onions (use the green tops as well as the white portions). Sauté for 1 minute.  Pour immediately over baby lettuce or potatoes. Sprinkle boiled, grated egg over the salad as a garnish.  Note: Be sure lettuce or potatoes are dry so they are better able to absorb the dressing.  Season, if desired, with salt and pepper. Serve hot. From COOKS.COM

Thelma Sanders squash (often called Thelma Sanders Sweet Potato Squash) is an heirloom variety that looks like an acorn squash.  It has better flavor often compared to chestnut or sweet potato and keeps well in storage.  Having tender skin, it is a good choice for roasting in rings or wedges.  It can be substituted in sweet potato recipes and would also work well in this recipe.

BARLEY RISOTTO WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND KALE

½ lb. kale

5 ½ c. chicken or vegetable broth

1 c. water

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 ½ c. pearl barley, rinsed

2 c. peeled butternut squash, ¾ in cubes

salt and pepper to taste

¼ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ c. dry white wine

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Remove stems and thick ribs from kale leaves.   Boil leaves until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water, coarsely chop and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, heat broth and water over medium heat until simmering.  Keep warm.  In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring, until browned, about 7 minutes.  Add barley and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, until it evaporates.  Add ½ cup broth and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  After 5 minutes, add squash.  Continue stirring and adding broth, ½ cup at a time, as needed, until barley is tender and creamy yet still firm, 40 to 50 minutes.  Stir in reserved kale and cook, stirring constantly, until heated through, about 1 minute.  Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.  Serves 6.  From Eating Well October 1998.