This week your basket contains: potatoes, leeks, cabbage, cooking greens (kale & collards), carrots, parsnips, pumpkin or winter squash
THIS WEEK IS THE FIRST OF TWO LARGER BASKETS WE WILL BE DELIVERING THIS MONTH. You will get another one next week. We will then skip deliveries on Dec. 27th and Jan. 3rd. Normal deliveries will resume Jan. 10th. This schedule is also on the home page of our web site. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns.
I was surprised when I first learned that much of the “pumpkin” you can buy in cans was actually winter squash, but on reflection it opened up a lot of possibilities in the kitchen. One such opportunity was to use pumpkin in squash recipes and vice versa. The recipe below is perfect whether you have a sugar pumpkin or a Thelma Sanders squash in your basket today.
INDIAN PUMPKIN CURRY (SAMBAR)
The Indian curry served in most western countries is usually a rice dish covered with a thick, yellow sauce containing commercial curry powder. In authentic Indian cooking, there is no specific dish called curry, but there are many dishes with sauces, each made with its own special spices and ingredients. The delicious sauce in pumpkin curry is made with coconut milk and lentils. If you can’t get fresh pumpkin, try making this southern Indian specialty with a winter squash such as acorn or hubbard.
1 small pumpkin or winter squash, about 3 cups chopped
1 cup brown or split red lentils
4 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 curry leaf, optional
Cut pumpkin into quarters, scrape out seeds, cut off peel, and chop into 1-inch squares. Place lentils in a colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Remove any inedible objects from lentils while washing. Put 4 cups of water in a large kettle. Add cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, and salt and bring to a boil. Add lentils, cover, and lower heat. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. If you are using split red lentils, they will cook in about 15 to 20 minutes. Add pumpkin squares to lentils. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until pumpkin is tender. Add coconut milk to kettle and stir. As soon as mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and set aside. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fenugreek, mustard seeds, onion slices, and curry leaf and fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is brown. Add onion-and-spice mixture to kettle. Cover kettle and let stand 5 minutes. Stir pumpkin curry before serving over rice.
We usually don’t give squash and potatoes in the same week, nor do we usually give carrots and parsnips together. Being a larger basket this week, we chose to do both. The following tip is a great way to use up a good supply of root vegetables. You could also add in any celeriac or Hamburg parsley to the mix if you have it on hand. Roasting brings out the flavor of all the root vegetables in your basket. Either surround a chicken with them or roast them alone with olive oil (1/4 c. olive oil for a casserole), garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper. Potatoes are ideal for this. Beets should be roasted separately if you don’t want them to color the other veggies. Allow at least an hour at 350 degrees for most vegetables to soften and turn golden. Leeks should be added 15 minutes after the other veggies. When you take the veggies out of the oven, they can be tossed with 4-5 Tbs of Balsamic vinegar. Leftover roasted vegetables can be pureed with some stock and stuffing or bread to make a hearty fall soup.
While the recipe below calls for sorrel, it would work well with your cooking greens in this week’s basket
GRATIN OF SORREL AND POTATOES
3 cups sorrel leaves
2 oz. butter
3 lbs yellow Finn potatoes
salt and pepper
2 cups milk, stock, or combination
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 and butter a large baking dish. Remove stems from sorrel, rinse, and spin dry. Melt half of butter in sauté pan, add sorrel and cook until completely wilted. Set aside. Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Layer half of the potatoes in the baking dish and season with nutmeg salt and pepper. Spread the sorrel over the potatoes, layer the remaining potatoes on top, and then pour the liquid over it all. Cut the rest of the butter into pats and distribute over the top of the potatoes and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake for 1 hour, or until the liquid has been absorbed and the top is brown. From Shepherd’s Garden Seed catalog.