Now we have four Winter Shares done, and two to go! I hope that you all are well into the swing of using these storage-time staples each month. It can be nice to settle into patterns and familiar recipes. I’ve been through a few: hashbrowns, cubed and sautéed roots together with an egg on top, spicy coleslaw, miso soup, chocolate-chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter. Oh wait, that’s a different category.
If your go-to recipes are starting to feel more like a rut, and less like a comfort, I hope you can find some ways to add some pep and switch things up this month. Making a meal plan change can be as easy as trying a new condiment, or digging into the back of the spice cupboard and see what has fallen out of use for a while (not too long though… they do go bad [mom]). If you normally reach for lemon juice to brighten dishes, try a new vinegar, or some wine.
I know I’ve said before, that I have learned more about cooking from friends and roommates than I ever have from a cook-book or blog. From canning tomatoes to homemade pita bread to massaged kale to chopping food small enough- my friends didn’t even know the lessons they passed on just by sharing a kitchen.
The joy of cooking and preparing food together is something I miss. Sharing meals and passing dishes around a table to friends or family is going to be the first thing I do whenever those kinds of things can happen again. I am sure I will cry the first time.
With the sharing of food in groups missing, the connection between food and community might feel non-existent at times. Maybe if you split your share with another family you have an additional sense of connection as you sort through boxes together or drop food off. I am glad that at least, with the food you get from our farm, we are all still connected, and your support is a critical part of how we can do what we do. Indeed, of why we do what we do.
Even if you find yourself alone over a plate of uninspired-feeling (but delicious tasting) roasted delicata some time this month… you might not actually be as alone in that as you think.
For the farm crew,
In your share this month:
Beets – Purple and Orange Carrots – Green Cabbage – Delicata Squash – Onions – Parsnips* – Red and Baby Yellow Potatoes
*A note on our tiny little parsnips: this crop got 2020ed (is that be a verb now?), and the replanted ones didn’t have time to size up very well. I would recommend NOT peeling them, but scrubbing them well instead. The rusty, oxidized look on the outside shouldn’t affect the taste. They are just too small to peel. Here’s to next year’s planting going better.
Potato-Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
From the Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 18 2 1/2 to 3-inch latkes
1/2 pound (about 1 large) potato
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound parsnips (Farm note: you got 1 1/2 lbs in your share, and you could probably get away with using all of them in this)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil (or a mix of olive and vegetable or peanut oil) for frying
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated or prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped dill
Preheat: Oven to 250 degrees. Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with foil and leave them in the oven until needed.
Prepare vegetables: grate them on the large holes of a box grater or (my preferred method) using the shredding blade of a food processor.
Transfer shredded vegetables to a lint-free dishtowel or square of cheesecloth, and wring out as much liquid as possible. Let stand for two minutes, then wring again. Wetness is the enemy of crisp, light latkes, so we want to get rid of as much as possible.
Make batter: Transfer wrung-out vegetables to a large bowl. Add lemon juice. In a tiny dish, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and any herbs or additional seasonings and toss with vegetables, evenly coating the strands. In the same tiny dish, whisk your egg(s) and then stir this into the vegetable-flour mixture, evenly coating the strands.
Prepare pan: Heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once skillet is hot, add 3 tablespoons oil and heat oil until shimmering. If you’re unsure, you can flick a droplet of water onto the oil; if it hisses and sputters, you’re good to go.
Cook: Using a fork or your fingertips (letting the eggy batter drain off a little is good), gather spoonful-sized mounds of battered vegetables and drop them onto the heated skillet. When golden underneath, 3 to 4 minutes later, flip pancakes. Cook on the other side until nicely bronzed underneath, another 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to paper towels briefly to drain pancakes, before transferring them again to tray(s) in warm oven. If latkes cook too quickly or slowly on the stove, adjust the heat accordingly.
Add more oil if needed (you want to keep the pan at that 3 tablespoon level), being sure it is heated before adding more pancakes to the skillet. Repeat with remaining batter. I like to keep the latkes in the oven for at least 10 minutes to ensure they’ve cooked through before serving them. This gives you time to…
Make sauce: Mix sauce ingredients in a small dish. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Beet and Carrot salad with Currants
From the Leek and the Carrot
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dried currants (or cranberries)
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 large (or 1 extra-large) beets, peeled
3-4 large carrots, peeled
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 cups chopped and toasted almonds
- In a small bowl, combine garlic, currants and vinegar. Let currants plump and garlic mellow in there for at least 20 minutes. It will likely take that long to get your veggies cut up anyhow.
- Cut the beets, carrots and apples into matchsticks and place in a large bowl. Squeeze with lemon and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine then add the garlic and currant mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and toss several more times to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- When ready to eat, serve with toasted almonds. If not eating all at once, keep toasted almonds to the side and add right before eating so they maintain their crunch.