December Winter Share

Copy of farm to table

We have had some challenging winter days the past couple of weeks: if you are reading this, you must not be under a bank of snow. Congratulations! I hope that beyond the shoveling and snow-blowing and spinning and drifting, you have had a chance to enjoy how beautiful the whole world is under the winter-spun blanket.

This time of year tends to be busy – and many of us have traditions that bring us back to family or friends to share a meal or two. The traditions surrounding the food we eat at any holiday run deep in many families, and others may have more flexibility and change up seasonal cooking norms. I tend to like what I’ve eaten year in and year out. For just  a couple of meals a year: I like the same things over and over, and not much of it is all that healthy.

There are also common complaints about this Holiday season, probably more than any other. The complaints I’ve heard tend to center around the need to shop for gifts, and the expectations surrounding how families spend their time, and with whom, and when and all that. There are a lot of stressors. Not a small one is that people seem to feel trapped by how decadent the food is and that it is everywhere, all the time, in copious amounts. And when I say food, I mean treats. So, so many treats.

Over the years, I’ve found myself thinking that peoples’ complaints about this time of year aren’t really about the Holidays. The root of the problem is that all year long we feel stressed about expectations around family time, and about the endlessly available shopping options, and about the constantly available treats. We’ve spent 11 months burning ourselves out on it all and when the time rolls around for those things to be special, they aren’t any more. Now it becomes a matter of having to do all these things, but multiplied by 10 to make it seem special.

The older I get the more I think I would like a Christmas season that our families lean a little more to a “Little House on the Prairie” sort of gift exchange (i.e., a penny, candy small cake and little cup), and think of oranges as a bit of a treat.

Of course this time of year doesn’t hold exactly these kinds of issues for everyone. Some people don’t make a big deal out of the Holidays. Some people maybe would like to, but don’t have people near by to share the bounty with. There is of course a wide range of ways people spend their time and energy this time of year.

Perhaps parts of your winter share this month will add healthful and seasonal dishes to the bounty. Or, like the recipes below, somewhere between healthy and not. And wherever you enjoy your share, and with whomever you enjoy it: I hope it’s blessed.

And I hope that there are some moments of peace and love and simplicity for you this time of year as well.

From all of us at the Food Farm,

Karin


In your share this month:

Beets, Red cabbage, Carrots, Onions,  Russet and yellow potatoes, Delicata and Sunshine squash


 

Beet Chocolate Cake (From Bon Appétite)

Gluten free and dairy free

Cake

  • 4 medium beets, scrubbed
  • 2 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil, plus more for pan
  • ½ cup cocoa powder, plus more for pan
  • 1½ cups almond flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Glaze

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

    Cake:

  • Cook beets in a medium pot of boiling unsalted water until tender, 30–40 minutes, depending on size. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Cut off stem end, then peel and cut beets into large pieces. Transfer to a blender and add 2 Tbsp. water. Blend, adding water 1 Tbsp. at a time as needed, until a smooth purée forms—it should be the consistency of applesauce. Measure out 1 cup purée (reserve remaining purée for another use, such as blending into a smoothie).

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottom of an 8″ round cake pan with parchment. Grease with oil, then dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

  • Whisk almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and remaining ½ cup cocoa powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

  • Heat chocolate and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring often, until melted. Remove bowl from heat. Stir in vinegar, vanilla, and reserved 1 cup beet purée until smooth.

  • Beat eggs, brown sugar, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed (or use an electric mixer and large bowl) until more than tripled in volume and mixture holds a ribbon for several seconds when beater is lifted above batter, 5–7 minutes. Thoroughly beating the eggs is key to creating an aerated, light crumb and is a critical step when using gluten-free ingredients.

  • Pour chocolate-beet mixture into egg mixture and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Turn mixer off and gently tip in reserved dry ingredients. Beat on lowest speed, scraping down bowl as needed, until combined.

  • Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when gently pressed, 45–50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edges of pan, then invert cake onto a wire rack and let cool.

    Glaze:

  • Heat chocolate, oil, vanilla, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring often, until chocolate is melted. Let cool, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and cool enough to touch, 10–15 minutes.

  • Place rack with cake on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour glaze over center of cake to cover top, tilting baking sheet slightly to encourage a few drips to run over sides of cake. Let sit at room temperature until glaze is set, 2–3 hours.


Blue Cheese and Potato Tart

  • 1 Savory Tart Shell, below, or recipe of your choice, in a 9-inch tart pan and ready to fill
  • 1 pound potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoons finely chopped herb or herbs of your choice, such as a mixture of thyme and rosemary
  • Fine sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium saucepan, cover potato slices with water by two inches. Simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. If the potatoes don’t seem very dry, pat them dry with towels.

Arrange potato slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles around the tart pan. Sprinkle blue cheese over potatoes. Whisk cream and egg yolk together and pour into tart shell, then sprinkle tart with herbs of your choice and salt.

Bake tart on a baking sheet until bubbling and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on rack and serve warm or cold. With a big green salad, for balance.

Savory Tart Shell

  • 1 1/4 (5 1/2 ounces) cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, diced
  • 1 large egg

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg and mix with a fork until a dough forms. If this does not happen easily, toss it out onto a counter and knead it together. This dough is rather tough but with a little elbow grease, it does come together nicely.

This dough can also be made a food processor, or in a stand mixer, though I’ve only tried it in a food processor.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate or tart pan and press to remove any air bubbles. Level the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Proceed with a filling of your choice, no parbaking required.

November Winter Share

farm to table (1)

 

Welcome to the first Winter Share of the season! The warm and colorful part of the autumn is very much past, the evenings are dark and it is time to start getting in the wintery culinary mood!

I love this time of year, and I know I’ve said so every winter newsletter for a couple of years now. It’s still true. I love the subdued colors of everything, and cold wind on my face and snow falling in the sunshine. I love planning exactly what I should wear outside, and thinking about how I’m so great at planning outfits for winter activities… until I start shedding extra layers along a trail to retrieve on my way back.

I love eating as many potatoes as I want (job perk!). I love getting into a different “breakfast rut” each winter. Two years ago it was hash browns. Last year it was carrots, parsnips (stay tuned for them in later shares!) and potatoes all cooked in a pan with yogurt or ketchup on top.

This year my favorite part of the season will be coming up in just a couple of months: my infant son’s first bites of food. I am so excited for him to eat with me out of the root cellar at the farm. I haven’t decided which of the veggies will be his first. Probably carrots or squash. Or parsnips. Or potatoes. Or rutabaga. I feel so lucky to start him off with such wholesome, good quality food. What a blessing.

Thinking about my boy, and what and how I want him to eat as he grows has been fun, and also challenging for me. It has required me to look at how I eat and my imperfect relationship to food. I want him to have good food, the best food. Healthy and as much organic as possible. But that’s not really all of it. Not at all. I also want food to be something that he sees is worth spending time planning, preparing, and sitting down for.  I want to show him that there is value in investing time and money in food. I don’t want to treat the preparation of food like an inconvenience that just needs to be got over as quickly as possible. And by the time he’s taking his first bites I want to do less eating above the kitchen sink, and more sitting down. Even if it’s just for a fried egg sandwich in the morning.

I say that now. But I recognize that our meals won’t always be balanced, or include a complete protein, or be organic or mostly local. Maybe sometimes they’ll be mostly take-out pizza. And, I want him to see that too, and not see it as a thing of shame. There should be so much LESS shame and embarrassment around familial and personal food choices. Because it isn’t easy to always make the ideal choices we’d like to imagine ourselves making.

At the end of it all, I want him to learn joy- the joy of food in our lives. Food is work, fun, tasty, beautiful, communal, and sustaining.

So thank you for taking on a counter-cultural approach to food with us this winter season. Thanks for being willing to slow things down a bit and put your money down on something of quality.

Whether this is your first or tenth Winter Share with us, welcome or welcome back! I hope this season of local produce finds you well, and keeps you trying new ways of cooking with old staples.

With joy,

Karin


Potatoes with Shaved Celery Salad

(I think in newsletters of yore, I have mentioned that I don’t tend to be much of a recipe follower. Perhaps some of you are though, and perhaps you also got celeriac instead of celery. Ah! If I were you, I’d still give this recipe a whirl, but I would roast scrubbed and halved celeriac until tender (an hour or so) and chop it after that to toss with the salad. But I am not you, so perhaps you’d like to simply roast it with oil and salt and enjoy as is!)

  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated red onion
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups thinly diagonally sliced celery
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 12 cups water and potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Add vinegar; simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Drain. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet; cool.

Combine buttermilk and next 8 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Stir in potatoes. Stir in celery and pepper. Chill at least 1 hour.

 

Curried Carrot and Coconut Soup

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • ¾ pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch coins
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander, to taste
  •  Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  •  Juice from ½ lime
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  Cilantro, if you have it
  1. Heat the butter until the foam subsides. Add the diced chopped onions, sprinkle with salt, stir to coat with butter. Add the chopped carrots along with the spices. Stir and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the stock; there should be enough to cover the vegetables. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the carrots are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup in the pot. If not, wait until the soup cools slightly, and purée in a food processor. Add enough coconut milk (and a little more stock or water if necessary) to bring the soup to the consistency you want. Adjust the seasoning (depending on the stock you use, you may need more or less salt), and lime juice to taste. Garnish and serve.

Summer CSA, Week 1

Here it is – the first Summer CSA Share! How nice that it actually looks and feels summery to be starting things off for the harvest season. This morning, I found myself eyeing up pants that I might cut into shorts – I am always aspiring for that 7-year-old scraped knee look.

Anyway, here we stand at the beginning of what I think will be a fantastic season. We img_20190602_145959574_hdrhave a rock star crew with Garrett, Sam and Tiff (from a few seasons back) returning, and a new face, Jane, who is not new to farming and is game for whatever we seem to throw at her. Of course Teri and Patricia and Dave are all back and in full swing planting for the CSA and keeping us organized in the pack shed. Now we’ll see less of Teri, since she’ll be running (sometimes literally) around delivering the shares on Mondays and Thursdays. Of course, with the harvest season we’ll see familiar faces of volunteers returning to help us a few different days a week. I’m excited to start this routine back up -it’s like going to summer camp, only with more lifting.

We had a full crew starting earlier than normal this season. Start times were a bit 20190605_095057staggered, but not by much. Even though things have been off to a cool and wet start, the crew has been getting some good projects rolling. The barn roof has been replaced, and the inside cleared through in preparation to remove the side wall so we (i.e., Janaki) can park more tractors and implements in there. All of the carrots are being planted across the road this year. If they get water on them, they’ll like that sandier soil. Or that’s the idea. The deer of Wrenshall also seem to like it over there, and the crew has been in a race against the clock to get a deer fence up. Wooden posts are in at the corners, H braces made, T posts in progress… if nothing else the activity around there must be a turn off for a curious herd.

I am in my own race against the clock every day. Any time now, my project of 8 1/2 months will be joining me in the outside world. I’ll be missing almost an entire farm season, but starting my own season of sorts -and we’re delighted.

I am leaving the newsletter, and probably other projects I haven’t thought of yet, in the capable hands of Tiff. She’s a kick -you’ll all like her I’m sure.

As some of you know (hopefully) from seasons and newsletters past, we’re glad you’ve chosen to plan your meals and your time around getting our CSA share. Your investment in our farm makes the season, the hiring of the amazing crew, and all the projects for sustainability possible.

If you’re new to all of this, welcome! Thanks for seeking out a new way to get food onto your table. Sometimes aspects of getting a share can be daunting. If you’re new (or even not so new) and find yourself with questions about how to use things, or tricks about storage or how to put some things away, reach out and we can connect you with other members who are pros at using up a share. Personally, I just cook most things in butter and put an egg on top – but that’s not for everyone.

Thank you for slowing down some of your meals, and being outside norm of the constant “grab and go” way we treat food in this culture.

For the hall of famers and farmers crew,

Karin

 


In your share this week:

Greens Mix – Green Onions – Romaine and Bibb Lettuce – Pac Choi – Rhubarb – Spinach


Pac Choi with Ginger and Garlic

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 8 cups chopped fresh pac choi
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season, to taste, with black pepper.


 

Rustic Rhubarb Tarts, from The Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher or coarse salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 batch Rhubarb Vanilla Compote (recipe below)

In a food processor: Combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and pulse in short bursts, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add heavy cream and egg yolks and pulse until combined; it will look crumbly but it will become one mass when kneaded together.

In a stand mixer: Whisk the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, add the butter and turn the mixture speed to low (you’ll want to lock the top, so the mixture doesn’t fly about) and mix to break up the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the butter is as coarse as cornmeal. Add the heavy cream and egg yolks and mix until combined. The dough will look crumbly but when pinched between your fingers, it will come together.

By hand: The butter can also be blended into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, or you fingertips. The cream and egg yolks can be mixed into the butter mixture with a wooden spoon. You’ll likely want to turn the dough out onto a counter to gently knead it into one mass.

Shape the tarts: Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface and using the heel of your hand, flatten the dough into a rough circle. Continue flattening until it is approximately 5 inches in diameter. Try to work quickly, so the dough doesn’t get too warm and soft, making it harder to handle. For more elegant edges, gently flatten the outer edge of the circle with your fingertips, making it thinner than the rest of the dough.

Spoon 3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb Vanilla Compote into the center of the dough. Fold the edge of the dough toward the compote and up, to create a ruffled edge; continue around the perimeter, letting the ruffles be their bad irregular selves. Slide a bench scraper or spatula under the tart and transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. Freeze the tarts on their tray for at least 1 hour or up to 2 weeks, wrapped tightly in plastic.

Bake the tarts: Preheat over to 375°F. Bake tarts, still frozen, for about 35 minutes or until the edges of the tarts are brown and the rhubarb is bubbling and thick. Serve warm or at room temperature. The tarts keep in an airtight container (or not, as I forgot to wrap mine and they were still awesome the next day) for up to 2 days.

Rhubarb Vanilla Compote

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar (i.e. 15 tablespoons, if you want to drive yourself mad)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

Rinse the rhubarb stalks and trim the very ends. Cut them in half lengthwise (unless they’re very slim) and then on the diagonal into 3/4-inch chunks. Leaving the last 1 1/2 cups aside, put 3 cups of the rhubarb into a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the brown sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pods and turn the heat to medium low. (You want to start at a low temperature to encourage the rhubarb to release its liquid. Unlike most compotes, this one adds no water.) Cook the rhubarb mixture, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture is saucy. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium, cooking an additional 15 to 17 minutes, or until the rhubarb is completely broken down and thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan. Discard your vanilla bean pods and add remaining rhubarb chunks to the compote. Pour the compote out onto a large plate to cool.

April Winter Share

Welcome to

 

We made it! through the winter, through the stores in the root cellar, through all the snow (we can make it through some more, right?).  I like winter a lot, but I’m glad it isn’t forever. It is nice to walk into a store and leave my jacket in the car, and it’s nice to walk on sidewalks again.

Though we look forward to it, this time of year doesn’t get any blue ribbons for presentation, that’s for sure. The melting snow reveals the half-rotted detritus of last fall. Walking out of the new greenhouse yesterday with freshly harvested spinach, and past the field with some of last year’s broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts sure was a contrast of scents.

All that mess and decomposition makes the next season’s bounty possible. The debris in gardens and yards and forests makes space for insects and small critters to winter over, and all the organic matter odoriferously returning to the soil is a feast to some microscopic life form or two. Life and death are always tangled up together; sometimes in our lives, sometimes in our yards.

I am really looking forward to this next season’s produce. I’ll miss the parsnips, carrots and potatoes when they’re gone, but for farm lunches I get really excited about cooking vegetables that cook fast, like bok choi or peppers. Or tomato mayonnaise sandwiches. That’s cooking, right?

I hope that as your spring moves forward (and it is moving forward, even if it snows again) you enjoy these last offerings from the root cellar (and the first from the greenhouse!) Thank you for participating with us in the season’s cycle. Your support of our CSA makes our planning and planting through the years possible.

Please sign up for next season’s produce if you haven’t already and take our Winter Share survey here.

Until June, and for the sweater-shedding crew,

Karin


In your share this month:

Beets – Orange and Purple Carrots – Onions – Parsnips – Red and Yellow Potatoes – Rutabaga –  and Spinach & Greens Mix! 

Note: the spinach has made it through the whole winter in the greenhouse and gets a little freeze-dried in the cold weather. It’s a good idea to give it a little soak in cold water to rehydrate it a bit. Enjoy!

 


Raw rutabaga and purple carrot salad

  • 1 rutabaga
  • 3 purple carrots (any carrots work – these are just pretty in the salad)
  • 1 large apple
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

 For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard

Shred the rutabaga, carrots and apple in a food processer, spiralizer, or grater (or do small matchsticks). Add the walnuts (optional).

In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until smooth. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss until coated.

Enjoy chilled or at room temperature!


Potato, Scallion and Kale Cakes

  • 8-12 scallions
  • 1 handful spinach leaves, rolled in a stack and sliced into very thin ribbons
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt (or less)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups cold leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Clean and trim the scallions, leaving about 2 inches of green stems;  reserve the darker green tops for garnish and salad additions. Cook in boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, wring out well, and chop finely. Place the scallions in a medium-sized bowl, add the spinach, eggs, nutmeg (if using), salt, pepper, bread crumbs and potatoes and stir to combine. The batter will be loose and wet; this is just fine.

Heat the oils in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Use about 2 tablespoons batter (I used a cookie scoop that holds slightly less) per pancake, flattening them as they hit the pan. Cook until golden brown underneath, just a couple minutes, before flipping them and cooking them on the reverse side until golden and crisp as well. Drain on paper towels, but be gentle as they are still fragile. You can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven while cooking off the rest of the batter, adding more oil as needed and letting pan cool between batches if it gets too hot.

Serve scattered with reserved scallion stems, if desired, topped with an egg or alongside a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. They also make a wonderful meal with a big salad. Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days

March Winter Share

Est. 2012

I went shopping yesterday for this and that and walked out of the store noticing that of the variety of things I bought, everything was a sky-blue ranging from light to vibrant. I also happened to have put on a bright blue shirt that morning. I felt like one of those Bowerbirds that collect the blue bits and pieces of the world to decorate their homes with. Maybe the blue things in my home will impress all my friends?

I think the color du jour was a sign of having let myself get a little more cooped up this winter than usual. But I am looking forward to playing in the snow as it (hopefully) starts to dissipate. Maybe I’ll make a snow man, just to watch it melt this weekend.

Seeing the sunlight return is my favorite thing about this time of year. Not setting the clocks ahead, I hate that nonsense, but having more daylight and having the sun higher in the sky is a good feeling. And a 40° high late this week? I am sure that will be a welcome feeling for most people.

The transition and back and forth nature of spring in this region can make winter seem 20190308_105451like it’s dragging on and on. On the farm we’re hoping for not too much dragging. It would be nice to see fields drying and thawing out by next month. As soon as the frost is out of the ground, our plan is to build a deer fence on the land across the road. This will be the forth season of planting out there. So far we’ve had potatoes and squash (and cover crop) planted in those fields. Deer tend to leave those things alone, though they’ll go for the squash when they get sweeter. Janaki wants to put carrots over there this year, because of the soil being nice and sandy. If we plant, we’ll be up against the clock for putting up a fence.

It’s hard to picture weeding carrots over there. Not like it’s so very far, but we’ll all need to bike over, or jump in the van with bottles full of water, because there won’t be back and forth to get water in the middle of weeding. And the way the soil is over there, I’m sure on warm days it’ll feel like we are roasting from all sides, like rotisserie chickens. That actually sounds kind of nice right now, but I know that when I’m in the midst of carrot weeding, I’ll be picturing standing in the cool packing shed, putting all the carrots into bags.

Farming seems to always be a mix of being in the moment and looking ahead a few months, or a few rows. It’s life.

For the expectant farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month:

Beets – Carrots – Onions – Parsnips – Yellow potatoes and Purple Fingerlings – Rutabaga


 

Parsnip Cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom or 1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups grated parsnip (from 1 large peeled parsnip)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs, oil, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and parsnip. Stir in flour mixture.
  2. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners. Divide batter among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, with a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining teaspoon vanilla until combined. Spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Mashed Potato, Rutabaga and Parsnip Hot-dish

  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 ½ pounds rutabagas, peeled and cubed
  • 1 ¼ pounds parsnips, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 3 onions, thinly sliced
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Combine chicken broth, potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips, cloves, bay leaf, and thyme in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cover partially. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.

  • Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter . Use an electric mixer, beat mixture until mashed but still chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mashed vegetables to a buttered 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.

  • Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter or margarine in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions. Saute until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Saute until onions are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over mashed vegetables. Casserole can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until heated through and top begins to crisp.

Febrrruary Winter Share

Rosemary

***Your farmers are coming to the big city on February 19 from 5-7 in the Zeitgeist Arts atrium to talk about the upcoming season and give away some of our precious rutabagas! You can come and sign up for a CSA share or just chat local organic farming and swap root vegetable recipes.***


If you are reading this, and you’re in Northern Minnesota or Wisconsin right now, congratulations. You’re still here! The stand-out weather events of the past few weeks are a great unifier of sorts. Case in point: I know we’ll all be shoveling this evening, no? At least it’s fluffy.

I’ve always felt that our less than ideal driving conditions actually make us better drivers. The slipping and sliding, not to mention the hills and banks of snow (that I’m sure hide my silvery Civic from all cross traffic) keep us in constant awareness of our actions on the road affecting those around us. We know to slow down early before stoplights, and to give the right of way to anyone trying to make it up a narrow avenue. We shovel people out and get pushed out of intersections by strangers, with no time, or traction, to stop and say thank you. We’re all in it together, and I think we either love complaining about it or relishing in the wintry wonderland of it all. Or a mix of the two.

And we’re unified by our source of staples for the month. At points during these winter months I’m sure many of us are eating lunches and dinners that look very similar. Our cutting boards will all look bright pink at points too.

As always, I’m thankful that you all seek out our winter (and summer) CSA and with that support we are able to keep growing in sustainability and resilience for our shifting climate.

We are all unified in that too, though it doesn’t always create the rush of feeling of sliding to, or maybe past, a stop sign. Sometimes it is like a lullaby of climate change – of more and more sunny beach days in the summer where the Lake is actually warm. Or of fewer mosquitoes on camping trips. Sometimes the way we are affecting the environment does pack a punch. Like with washed out bridges from “hundred year” floods that have happened back to back, or record highs year after year, or a photo of stacks upon stacks of bison skulls bleached in the prairie sun. Our grasping reach has been off balance for a long time, and we’re sliding.

Day by day, with our choice to eat locally what we can, and live simply in the ways we can, we’re unified in trying to make the out-of-control slide slower, to ease the burden our convenience culture has put on the environment.

I hope we can go forth in the world and treat each other with with the same awareness too. We are all a part of the climate just as much as the Lake or the rutabagas or the honey bees. On the surface it’s often impossible to see who might be sliding uncontrollably down hill, or unable to dig their way out of a drift as the winds of life blow, or who might need a kind push to get going, even if they don’t stop to say thank you.

The roads, our dinner plates and our humanity unify us, and I for one should practice going out with a sense of collaboration and not of playing bumper cars with anyone or anything.

For the boot stomping and carrot bagging farm crew,
Karin

 


In your share this month:

Red and Chioggia beets – Red cabbage – Carrots – Yellow and red onions – Parsnips – Red and yellow Potatoes – Rutabaga – Delicata squash


Spicy squash salad with lentils and goat cheese -From the Smitten Kitchen

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 as a main

3/4 cup black or green lentils
6 cups peeled, seeded and cubed squash (1-inch cubes)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika*
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup soft crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves (optional)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
Roasted squash seeds (about 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash cubes with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet and roast 20 minutes. Flip pieces and roast for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. Cool.

Meanwhile, soak lentils for 10 minutes in a small bowl, then drain. Cook lentils in boiling salted water until tender but firm, about 30 minutes. Rinse with cold water, then drain and cool.

Combine lentils, squash, any oil you can scrape from the baking sheet (I didn’t get enough for this to be worth it) with arugula, if using, half of goat cheese, mint, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper and extra vinegar, if desired (we felt it needed it). Divide among plates and pass with remaining goat cheese to sprinkle.

*More or less spicy to taste


  • 1/2 lb delicata, peeled and cubed

  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 large beet, peeled and cubed

  • 1 rutabaga, peeled and cubed

  • 1 parsnip, peeled and cubed

  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature

  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg

  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

     

    Place squash, potato, beet, rutabaga and parsnip into a large pot and cover with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and return to pot.

    Mash vegetable mixture and butter together with a potato masher or fork until orange-ish with streaks of red from the beets; season with nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.

January Winter Share

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*A couple of notes:

  • We have been running low on our egg cartons for a while, and even if you don’t get eggs from us, we’d take whatever 1 dozen cardboard cartons you  have. Thanks!
  • Also, I would recommend using your squash earlier rather than later as it has been a touchy year for storage. It freezes well after roasting or steaming if you want to extend its shelf life.

 

Even as what was slush is now solid ice on all the sidewalks, I am trying to freeze the memory of how everything looked the past couple of weeks with snow magically stuck to every branch along my drive to the farm and my walks around. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a winter-wonderland look last for so long.

A couple of weeks ago my life was full of hustle and bustle and friends and family. I got to share some Food Farm carrots with my mom’s side of the family and some pickled green beans with my dad’s side. Everyone approved. I love the time of year where people make a point to gather together and linger for a bit, but I’m glad it’s just once a year. Now I am enjoying working my way through a book I got over the holidays, and tucking back in my ornaments. My wintery tea towels get to hang out a little longer.

This seems to be a time of year for reflection and trying to put one’s best foot forward. I guess the fact that I’m saying that makes me a week late to the resolution party. But if 20181207_161125you’re on your way into the new year with aspirations and expectations, I hope they’ve been going well. Trying to make a change by adding or subtracting things from your routine is hard. It can be overwhelming, the fact that personal change is hard enough while also knowing that societal changes are all the harder because it takes large groups of people working hard for a single goal.

As members of our Food Farm CSA, in my mind you are all actively part of making this one change happen in your kitchens, and thus, in our larger (global) food system. The fact that you have signed up for a share, and get it every week or month during a given season might seem small, but for every parsnip you eat and batch of soup you make it is one more step that adds to a healthier world. Not just because of the food being good for you, but because of the direct impact of supporting a farm in your area.

With ever increasing ways available to buy and consume food, I am thankful that you’ve chosen a way that supports the Food Farm, and has for over 2 decades. I feel like a broken record in saying it, but I know there are easier ways to eat than with food from a CSA. So thank you for starting another year with us, and taking time to scrub your potatoes and break into a cabbage or two.

For the crew,

Karin


In your share this month:

Green Cabbage – Orange and Purple Carrots – Yellow Onions – Parsnips – Russet and French Fingerling Potatoes – Kabocha and Delicata Squash


Carrot Salad With Harissa Feta and Mint

3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and coarsely grated20190104_104141
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 crushed clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds or about half as much, ground (I used seeds but ground them first)
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds or about half as much, ground (I used the seed but ground them first, again)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon harissa (for a solid kick of heat; adjust yours to taste, and to the heat level of your harissa)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
100 grams feta, crumbled or chopped into bits
In a small sauté pan, cook the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa and sugar in the oil until fragrant, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Pour over the carrots and mix. Add the herbs and mix. Leave to infuse for an hour and add the feta before eating.


Cabbage and Lime Salad with Roasted Peanuts

1/2 small red cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded (about 6 cups)
1/2 small green cabbage, trimmed, cored, and shredded (about 6 cups)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 bunch fresh baby spinach, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch wide ribbons (about 4 cups loosely packed)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 small limes)
1 tablespoon Dijon or other salty prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, toss the shredded red and green cabbage with the salt. Transfer the cabbage to a colander and let it drain for two hours. (I was in a rush and did this in one. It was still nicely wilted, but of course could have been even softer.)

If you’re worried about the cabbage being too salty when you’re done with the salting process, taste a piece of cabbage and if it concerns you, rinse and drain the cabbage well. This is not a suggestion in the original recipe, but something I suspect might bother some people.

Put the salted, drained cabbage back into your (rinsed and dried) large bowl and add the spinach. In a medium bowl, whisk the lime juice, mustard and cumin together. Add the peanut oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until the ingredients are thoroughly emulsified. Toss the salad with the dressing and add the roasted peanuts. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This salad is best served immediately, but it does keep surprisingly well in the fridge for a day or two.