Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Veggietrivia

First and foremost, I have to point you to my better and meat-cooking half, who cooked our second Thanksgiving turkey in a lukewarm cooler in his parents' bathtub. No vegetables were harmed in the making of this short documentary about it.

Second, a small Farm Share Stories announcement: Our house has decided not to subscribe to the Enterprise Farm East Coast CSA this winter. We've had a great year and a half with Enterprise, but we're also excited to explore some of the rest of the increasingly embarrassing wealth of Boston-area winter CSA options.

We've signed up for the Red Fire Farm Locavore Deep Winter CSA, which promises greens, storage crops, and neat local products for January through March, and we look forward to continuing to share what we cook and eat through these turnipy, parsnipity months.

We didn't think we could make it for all of December without our weekly vegetable fix, though, so we stocked up on apples (20 pounds) and winter squash (40 pounds) from Kimball Fruit Farm to get us through. (We're also planning a first-time house trip to Watertown to visit the incredibly-highly-reviewed Russo's. Stay tuned!)

However you're getting your greens on and your squash rocked this winter, we hope you'll stay in touch and keep us up to date on what you've got cooking.

P.S. We've also laid in supplies of another type, for another favorite winter tradition.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Neeps, and Tatties, and Haggis (?!), Oh My!

We had turnips and we had potatoes ... so obviously it was time for neeps and tatties.

Neeps and tatties is Scots for "turnips and potatoes," with the caveat that what the Scottish call "turnips" are what the English call "swedes," which are what we Americans call "rutabagas."

The traditional recipe for neeps and tatties is to boil and mash each separately (but been there, done that), so we did this mustard-roasted potatoes recipe from Smitten Kitchen, instead.

The standard accompaniment for neeps and tatties is haggis, that delectable product of Scottish ingenuity combining sheep entrails, oatmeal, and whiskey boiled in the sheep's stomach.

Of course, as with all good meaty things, there are vegetarian variations as well. Jack pointed out that vegetarian "haggis" is pretty much our standard Mark Bittman veggie burger with a dash of whiskey. He also agreed to wear a kilt if I made some.

Here's a great Australian narrative about haggis and the making of it, which includes the recipe I ultimately ended up following. We also had some bacon that needed eating, though, so our vegetarian "haggis" is actually double-scare-quotes "vegetarian" "haggis."

We didn't make the tomato sauce described in the recipe, but ketchup and barbecue sauce made good additions to a haggis our audience judged ... marginally edible.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Farm Share Stories. May you have a delicious day!

(Our haul courtesy of Kimball Fruit Farm.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stuffed Baby Pumpkins

So, as promised, I fed the people the Halloween decorations.

Seven no-longer-seasonal baby pumpkins became seven gooey cheddar-mozzarella-and-challah-filled practice Thanksgiving appetizers. Win!

The recipe is basically Dorie Greenspan's Pumpkin Packed with Bread and Cheese, which seems to be all over the Internet right now (final version on Epicurious; NPR interview). I adapted it for baby pumpkins with some of the ideas here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cranberry Relish

We just hosted practice Thanksgiving*, and I'm a little bit delighted with a very easy no-cook cranberry relish we tried.

You could click for the whole recipe, but I'll just tell you: 2 cups of cranberries, 2 peeled and cored apples, and 1 whole orange (peel and all) in the food processor; dump it into a bowl, stir in a cup of sugar, and wait.

Something about the equivalent inedibility of raw cranberries and orange peel -- not to mention the 2 minutes of prep time -- made me particularly gleeful about this combo.

(I happened upon the recipe via this discussion of Thanksgiving side dishes; it's worth a look, particularly if you don't know about roasted Brussels sprouts yet.)

* Practice Thanksgiving -- or "Thanksgiving drill" -- is some day that isn't Thanksgiving, usually a weeknight, when we audition new dishes for the big day, rehearse getting a multicourse meatless Thanksgiving on the table in less than two hours, and celebrate with people who are going to be elsewhere on the actual holiday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

French Onion Soup!

When your CSA gives you onions (so many onions, amirite?) ... make French onion soup?

Or better yet, have someone make it for you! This recipe comes courtesy of Erica's sweetie, Ray.
  • Roughly slice 2-3 large onions (red onions give you a more savory flavor, while yellow onions will be sweeter; depends on what you like) and add to large soup pot.
  • Saute onions in oil and butter (enough to coat bottom of pan) until deep brown, 30-40 minutes.
  • Add 5-8 cups (depends on your desired onion to liquid ratio) of good-quality beef stock (the better your stock, the better the soup).
  • Add brandy to taste (about 1/2 cup).
  • Wrap sprigs of rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves in twine (so they can be retrieved) and add to pot.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Bring to boil and then simmer, partially covered, on medium-low for 30-45 minutes, until flavors are well blended.
  • Remove herb bundle.
  • Ladle soup into individual ovenproof bowls and cover with 1-2 slices of Swiss cheese and 1 slice of French bread.
  • Bake or broil until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
Variation: Cook's Illustrated's Best French Onion Soup (also here) caramelizes the onions in the oven, which reduces stirring but takes a million years.

P.S. Once again, I scoop the New York Times; here's their piece on winter squash.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Squash Time!

The season of squash is upon us, and tonight's delicata squash rings (the skin is edible) are dedicated to all my indulgent roommates over the years, the ones who have enthusiastically signed off on a late November purchase of a 40-pound box of squash.

Guide to 23(!) types of winter squash
A shorter winter squash glossary
Butternut squash recipes on Food 52

Because there can never be too much squash, I'm also thinking of cooking the Halloween decorations: roasted baby pumpkins, baked miniature pumpkins, baby pumpkins stuffed with coconut vegetables.

Mom, maybe don't click, but here's some profane squash humor for the McSweeney's readers out there: "It's decorative gourd season." (Thanks, Ben!)

P.S. The New York Times is posting new vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes daily until T-day.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weird Roots

Our roots have started coming in white! These three weird sisters were the freaky superstars of last week's box.

In the knobby foreground is our old favorite, celeriac, which we've enjoyed in purees and soups, both good for a day foul or fair.

The green bulbous fellow in the middle is fennel, which we haven't cooked with before. You can eat both the bulbs and fronds. These folks suggest that you can eat it plain and raw with salt and olive oil, or use it in any dish as you would use celery, and offer lots of ideas and recipes besides.

And we argued about whether the root looming in the background was a beet or a turnip, but the Enterprise newsletter calls us all wrong. It's a watermelon radish, which "gets its name from its bright psychedelic pink and green interior, resembling the colors (but not the texture!) of a watermelon." They say to eat it like you would any radish, ignoring its disturbing size and albinism. (Here's a prettier picture of one; another picture and a pickle recipe; another incredibly enthusiastic fan.)

And speaking of disconcerting white root vegetables, I love it's not a parsnip, it's a carrot zombie.

P.S. Should you be in a similar rut of photographing but not cooking with your vegetables, you might enjoy Tiny Urban Kitchen's Eight Ways to Use Up Your Farm Share Vegetables.