Week #22 (10/22 & 25)

This week your basket contains: carrots, FLORENCE FENNEL, RED CABBAGE, beets, Swiss chard, leeks, potatoes, and sweet peppers.Thank you to everyone who came to our pumpkin pick-up weekend!  It was an amazing weekend for us.  We always love getting to meet new people and to catch up with longtime friends.  Congratulations to our Pumpkin Contest winners; for the first time every we had 2 people win with the exact same estimate on both Saturday and Sunday! 

This week we have turned a corner in terms of the harvest lineup.  This is the first harvest of mostly winter veggies.  We left the greens on the beets to be used along with your Swiss chard (there is a bit of a debate as to whether beets are chard with a huge root or if chard is beets that didn’t make a root).  In any case, they taste great and would be perfect in this recipe.

CHARD BRAISE

2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

1 lb. chard

1 Tbsp. olive oil

6 medium white mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp. kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place porcini in a medium bowl.  Pour boiling water over them and let soak until softened, about 30 minutes.  Separate chard leaves from stems.  Cut leaves crosswise into 1-inch strips and stems into 1-inch lengths.  Drain the porcini in a fine sieve lined with paper towel over a 2-cup measure.  Add water to the soaking liquid if necessary, to measure 1 ½ cups total.  Rinse the porcini under cool running water.  Squeeze out any excess water and coarsely chop.  Chop white mushrooms into ¼-inch slices.  Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add white mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, the chard stems and leaves, reserved liquid and chopped porcini; stir to combine.  Cover and cook until chard stems are tender, 8-10 minutes.  Uncover, increase heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid in reduced by half, 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 4. From Eating Well Feb./Mar. 2006.

While borscht is usually made with green cabbage, your red cabbage will work perfectly well.

RUSSIAN CABBAGE BORSCHT

2 Tbsp. butter

1 1/2 c. chopped onion or leek

4 c. stock or water

1 1/2 c. thinly sliced potato

2 tsp. salt

1 c. thinly sliced beets

black pepper

1 large sliced carrot

1/4 tsp. dill weed

1 stalk chopped celery (optional)

1 1/2 Tbsp. vinegar

3 c. chopped cabbage

1 c. tomato puree

1 scant tsp. caraway seeds

sour cream for topping

Begin cooking onions or leek in butter in a large kettle. Add caraway seeds and salt and cook until translucent. Add celery, carrots, potatoes, beets and cabbage. Add water and simmer slowly for 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before serving add pepper, dill weed, vinegar, and tomato puree. Taste to correct seasoning. Serve topped with sour cream.  From the Moosewood Cookbook.

FENNEL TIPS 

Here is how you prepare Florence fennel: wash and trim fennel stalks to the point where they meet the top and sides of bulbs.  Save the stalks and leaves for flavoring and garnishes. Fennel can be eaten raw, but our favorite way to prepare it simply is to slice it in half through the root end so that the resulting halves are wider than they are thick.  We then throw it on the grill or under the broiler with a brushing of olive oil. Cook until crisp-tender and slightly browned.   It is great with fish, very low-calorie, and has an anise flavor.  This is one of our favorite fennel recipes:

FENNEL, ORANGE AND PARSLEY SALAD

1-2 medium fennel bulbs

5 medium oranges

2/3 cup parsley leaves

2 Tbs. slivered black olives

1 tsp. olive oil

salt and pepper

Quarter, core and thinly slice fennel bulbs crosswise.  Separate oranges into segments over a large bowl (to catch the juices), then add segments to bowl.  Add fennel, parsley leaves, olives and olive oil.  Season with coarse salt and ground pepper.  Gently toss and serve.  Serves 4. From Everyday Food  October 2003.