This week your basket contains: leeks, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, broccoli, basil, beets, eggplant, cauliflower, and sweet peppers.
As we move into true fall and winter, soups will again become a significant part of our menu. With this week’s harvest this is the one that immediately comes to mind. Since the first time we gave this recipe many years ago, we’ve come to use an immersion blender instead of a stand-alone blender; it’s faster, easier, and there is less to clean up.
BUTTERNUT LEEK SOUP
Here is a wonderfully simple recipe that marries the flavors of leeks and squash. It makes a rich but low-calorie soup that warms you up on wet fall days. Bake a winter squash (butternut, acorn or Delicata) when the flesh is tender, scoop it out and set aside. Sauté one large or two small leeks in a little olive oil until translucent and tender. At the same time bring four cups of stock (vegetable or chicken) or water to a boil. Add the leeks and the flesh of the squash to the stock; season with herbs (salt, pepper, bay, thyme, dill or any combination) and bring to a boil again. Take the soup off the heat and allow it to cool a bit. Puree the soup in a blender and serve with sour cream or yogurt garnish.
We tried a new variety of beet this year called Three Root Grex, which was developed by an Oregon seed grower down near Corvallis. The seeds will throw 3 different colored beets, all of which have fantastic greens that should be used like Swiss chard (we were able to supplement half shares with leaves from some beets that didn’t have the quality to put in your baskets.)
BEETS AND BEET GREENS WITH TAHINI SAUCE
1 bunch medium or large beets (3 to 4)
1 large bunch or 2 smaller bunches beet greens (about 3/4 pound)
Salt to taste
1 plump garlic clove, cut in half, green shoot removed
¼ cup sesame tahini
2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Cut greens away from beets, leaving about 1/4 inch of stems. Scrub beets with vegetable brush. To steam beets, place in a steamer above 2 inches water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cover. Turn down heat to medium. Steam small and medium beets for 30 minutes and large beets for 40 minutes, until you can pierce the beet to the middle with a knife or skewer. Remove from heat and allow to cool. To roast, preheat oven to 425ºF and place beets in a baking dish (or lidded ovenproof casserole). Add 1/4 inch water to the dish. Cover tightly. Place in the oven and roast small beets (3 ounces or less) for 30 to 40 minutes, medium beets (4 to 6 ounces) 40 to 45 minutes, and large beets (8 ounces) 50 to 60 minutes, until they are easily penetrated with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the covered baking dish.
When beets have cooled, cut away ends and slip off skins. Slice in rounds or cut into wedges or half-moons. Blanch greens in salted boiling water for about 1 minute, just until they wilt. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, then drain and squeeze out excess moisture, taking up the greens by the handful. Alternatively, steam for 2 minutes, using tongs to flip the greens over top to bottom halfway through, for 2 minutes, or until wilted. Rinse with cold water, squeeze out excess water and chop coarsely. To make sauce, purée garlic cloves with a generous pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle, or put through a garlic press. Transfer to a bowl or measuring cup and whisk in sesame tahini. Whisk in lemon juice, beginning with smaller amount. The mix will stiffen up. Gradually whisk in up to 1/4 cup water, until sauce has consistency of thick cream or runny yogurt. Taste and adjust salt and lemon juice. Line a platter with the beet greens and arrange beets on top and around greens. Drizzle on tahini sauce, sprinkle with parsley and serve.