Weeks #31 & 32 (12/17 & 21)

This week your basket contains:  winter squash, pumpkin (or Black Futsu or Doran Round), elephant garlic, beets, Brussels sprouts, leeks, potatoes, carrots, RADICCHIO and collards

THIS IS THE SECOND OF TWO LARGER THAN NORMAL “DOUBLE” BASKETS.  We will skip delivery on Dec. 24th & Dec. 31st. We will  resume a normal delivery schedule on January 7th.  For easy reference, this information is also on our web site under the “blog posts” tab.

Our friends at Kenai Red Fish Co. are offering a discount to Pumpkin Ridge Gardens subscribers on their seasonal sampler boxes (see kenairedfc.com for details.  Click on “ordering” then “Monthly Seafood Market”).  These samplers include smoked salmon products and other fresh fish.  They are great for gifts or for you holiday table.  Use promo code PR10 for  “Rudolph’s Smoked Sampler Box” or PR15 for “’Tis The Season Sampler Box”.

This is the first time we have grown enough radicchio to give whole heads! While radicchio is notoriously bitter, there are a few tricks you can use to reduce the bitterness, while still retaining the health benefits of this super green. First, soaking the leaves in ice water for 30 minutes before putting together your salad will help. Also, grated cheese or avocado chunks (or both) in the salad helps to balance the flavor. Second, cooking the leaves of endive or radicchio can moderate the bitterness, as in this recipe, which works for both:


 Copyright 2004 Lynne Rossetto Kasper.
This was how my Tuscan grandmother got me to eat the greens I detested. They said I was a bright child, but I didn’t catch up to what she was doing until I was well into my teens.
8 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible)

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup whole canned tomatoes, crushed with your hands (do not use canned crushed tomatoes)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 medium to large onion, minced

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 large handfuls escarole or curly endive leaves, finely chopped

1/3 tight-packed cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 cup tiny pasta (anice, orzo, stars or alphabets)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup or more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a 6 quart pot combine the broth, wine and tomatoes. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes. Add the garlic, onion, chickpeas, greens and basil. Simmer partially covered 20 minutes. Stir in the pasta and simmer, partially covered, 8 minutes or until pasta is tender. Taste soup for seasoning. Serve hot, passing the cheese to be sprinkled on the soup as its final seasoning.   Serves 6 to 8 as a first course; 4 to 6 as a light main dish. Soup can be done a day ahead up to point of adding the pasta.

 You can use any or all of the greens in your basket for the following recipe.  Collards may need a longer time to soften.


1 ¼ cups pearl barley

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. spring greens

4 large radicchio or endive leaves, torn

1 lemon, finely grated zest and juice

5 cups vegetable stock

1 leek, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, diced

2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

A handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (optional)

Put barley in a large heatproof bowl and add sufficient boiling water to cover. Let sit 10 minutes to soften the barley a little, then drain well and set aside. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the greens and radicchio and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the leaves soften. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir well, and set aside. Put the stock in a large saucepan set over low heat and gently warm through while you start the risotto. Put the remaining tablespoon of oil in a saucepan set over medium heat. Add the leeks and the garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until the leeks are soft and silky. Add the barley and herbs and stir for 1 minute. Add a ladleful of the warmed stock and cook, stirring constantly, until almost all the stock has been absorbed. Repeat the process until all the stock has been incorporated and the barley is almost cooked through—the risotto will be quite wet. Add the greens and radicchio to the pan and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley and serve hot. Serves 4. From Easy Vegan from Ryland Peters and Small.

Everyone got Jester winter squash this week.  It is a new-to-us variety that seems like a cross between Delicata and acorn squash.  Let us know what you think of it.  Some of you got pumpkin, some Doran Round, an heirloom butternut, and some got Black Futsu, a knobbly Japanese variety.  Any or all of them will make great pumpkin pie.  They can all be added to the Jester for any squash recipe you like.


1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or canned broth

2 medium butternut squash (1 1/2 pounds each)

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 medium leek, white part only, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon olive oil

One 12-ounce can evaporated skim milk or 1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon sugar

4 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

2 slices toasted  peasant bread (cut into 4 equal pieces)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese

8 basil leaves, shredded

Preheat the oven to 400°. Halve the squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the squash, cut side up, in a baking pan. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper and cover tightly with foil. Bake for about 1 hour, until the squash are tender but not mushy. Let cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the leek, olive oil and 2 teaspoons of water. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the leek is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the wine. Increase the heat to high and boil until the liquid is reduced to approximately 3 tablespoons, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock, milk, sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Using a big spoon, scoop the flesh from the squash in large pieces. Place in a medium bowl.  To assemble the gratin, preheat the oven to 400°. Bring the leek mixture to a boil. Spoon half of the squash into a 6- to 8-cup casserole. Ladle half of the leek mixture over the top and cover with half of the toast and half of the Gruyère. Repeat the layers with the remaining squash, leek mixture, toast and Gruyère. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake the gratin for 30 minutes, or until the top is browned and bubbly. Garnish with the basil and serve.  Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared up to assembling the gratin 3 hours ahead. Set aside at room temperature.  From Food and Wine  Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes, The Best Squash Casserole Recipes  Published November 1993

The following recipe calls for parsnips (if you have some hanging out), but it can be done with mashed potatoes instead.


1lb parsnips
3-4 cardamom pods
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 oz butter
1lb Brussels sprouts
1 large cloves of garlic
3/4 chicken or vegetable stock
freshly grated nutmeg

Peel the parsnips, cut them up roughly and steam or boil until soft. Extract the seeds from the cardamom pods, then grind finely in a coffee grinder with the coriander seeds. Put a dry frying-pan over a fairly low heat, add the ground spices and stir for a minute, then add half the butter. Stir until melted and remove from the heat. Purée the parsnips in a food processor with the spiced, melted butter and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Spread the parsnip purée in a large, round and shallow serving dish, bringing it up slightly around the edge. Loosely cover with foil and keep warm in a low oven. Trim the sprouts if necessary and slice thinly lengthways. Peel the garlic and slice thinly crossways. Heat the remaining butter and stock in a pan over a medium heat. When the mixture is bubbling, add the sprouts and garlic. Cover and simmer for three to four minutes, until the sprouts are bright green and tender. Remove the lid and stir the sprouts around over a higher heat until the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat, taste and season if needed. Spoon the sprouts on the parsnip purée, leaving it showing round the side. Grate a generous amount of nutmeg over the sprouts and serve at once. The parsnips can be cooked in advance and reheated and the sprouts take only a few minutes to cook, at the last moment.