Week #23 (10/29 &11/1)

This week your basket contains: carrots, Florence fennel, Chinese cabbage, onions, celeriac, potatoes, and sweet peppers.Normally, we wouldn’t give a somewhat unusual item like Florence fennel two weeks in a row.  However, with the cold temps (into the low 20’s) we are uncertain how well they will stand in the garden.  We decided to harvest them again this week and do our best with frost protection fabric to protect the remaining plants out in the garden.  In the meantime, this is a great soup for fennel.


1-2 medium fennel bulbs with fronds

1 Lb. carrots, quartered lengthwise

1 medium onion, quartered

1 garlic clove

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position. Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon and reserve. Discard stalks and remaining fronds. Slice bulbs 1/4 inch thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Blend half of vegetables in a blender with broth until very smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and water. Thin to desired consistency with extra water and simmer 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, finely grind fennel seeds in grinder and stir into remaining 2 tablespoons oil. 3Serve soup drizzled with fennel oil and sprinkled with reserved fronds. From Epicurious.com.

If you have been holding onto your Kabocha squash (or have sweet potato on hand), this is the perfect recipe for this week.


3 Lbs. chicken thighs

salt and freshly ground pepper

½ Tbs. ground cumin

3 Tbs. butter

1 large onion thinly sliced

2/3 cup raisins

pinch of saffron threads, crumbled

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 Lb. sweet potatoes or Kabocha squash peeled and cubed (1/2 inch)

1 celeriac peeled and cubed (1/2 inch)

1 Tbs. honey

Rub chicken pieces with salt, pepper and cumin.  If time allows, let stand for 1 to 2 hours.  Covering the chicken and refrigerating overnight would be best.  When ready to prepare the dish, heat the butter in a large casserole or Dutch oven and cook chicken in batches until golden on all sides.  Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add raisins, saffron, cinnamon and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Pour 2 cups water into the casserole.  Cover and cook the chicken for 30 minutes over low heat.  Add the sweet potatoes or squash and the celeriac along with additional salt and pepper.  Simmer the stew, covered 20 minutes.  Carefully stir in the honey, taking care not to mash the vegetables.  Serves 4-6.  Adapted from Fooday


1 pound chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

3 to 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, as desired

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Oriental sesame oil

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons cold water

2 cups sliced bok choy or Napa cabbage

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions with tops

Sprinkle chicken with soy sauce and set aside. Discard stems from mushrooms. Slice caps in half and set aside.  Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture, garlic and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add broth, vinegar, sesame oil and reserved mushroom caps and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered until chicken is cooked through, about 2 minutes.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with cold water and stir into stew. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened. Stir in bok choy and green onions; heat through.  Makes 4 servings.  Reprinted from Twenty Minute Chicken Dishes, by Karen A. Levin