Thursday, November 15, 2012

week 24

Lettuce Tennessee Sweet Potato Squash (Cushaw)
Fun Jen Chinese Cabbage Collard Greens Kale
White Potatoes Acorn squash Garlic
Herb bag: Celery Parsley Dill

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ” ― Denis Waitley

Giving Thanks. We're grateful for the awesome abundance that continues to pour forth from the soil of this little hollow. It's been a pleasure to work the ground and get to know you all this season. We hope that the food we've brought to town has served to bring health and general deliciousness into your life this year. Be well!

We're taking a week off from veggie delivery next week – Happy Thanksgiving. There's still more food in the garden than one family can possibly eat this winter, so we will continue bringing it to you until the weather and supply slow us down. Look for an email on the Monday or Tuesday after Thanksgiving for details.

Another experimental garden squash greets you this week. It resists vine borers, couldn't care less about drought, and may have been cultivated in the Americas for as many as 5,000 years (THAT'S some history). This is the Tennessee Sweet Potato, Cushaw, Green Striped Bell, and many other names. We were initially attracted to its name because we so love sweet potatoes. Upon reading the fine print, and cooking one of these monsters, we're not at all sure why they received that name. When we search for specifics about it's eating qualities, we find a mixed bag. Some folks think these squash are for decorative purposes only. They are dramatic. AND, then there is a deep Southern tradition of using Striped Cushaw, or whatever we want to call them, in place of pumpkins in pie or sweet butter. That's two very distinct opinions about what to do with a squash. That said, we worked with the Cushaw this week and were pleasantly surprised at how nice a pie it makes. The color is lighter, and flavor is milder than butternut, our usual favorite pie squash, so the flavor of the spices, and even the sweetener (we use sorghum) comes more into play. At least, you can create a wonderful decorative side or centerpiece from this squash. At most, you can roast it, make soup, pie, and freeze some squash flesh to enjoy later.

It is interesting to contemplate that as recently as one hundred fifty years ago folks, by and large, weren't always making food decisions based solely on taste. How well a food grew in their backyard had a whole lot to do with how much of it was eaten. When you've got a cow to milk, young'uns to feed, and a fire to tend, picky vegetables fall by the wayside. Those crops that don't demand so much tending become highly favored. Seeds didn't fly in airplanes yet, so we were also more bound to what had migrated en masse with different peoples.

Greens this week include Fun Jen – the lettucey leaf Chinese Cabbage. It makes a fine addition to salad. You might want to lean on it to help stretch out this lettuce – there won't be more lettuce coming for quite awhile! Fun Jen also stir fries just fine.

Collard Greens. These are like the meat of the brassica family. The dark green round leaves are thick and full. Traditionally, these are made with bacon grease. If that's not your thing, I recommend coconut oil, tamari, and garlic. Yummmmm.

To store your greens, wrap them tight in a plastic bag (they really don't mind) and keep them in your crisper drawer. You can keep these big chinese cabbages in a cooler on your back porch now that it's cool weather.

Last night was the coldest so far in this cold snap. It was 22 degrees down here this morning. The celery was still frozen when we harvested it. It's not clear how well it will recover. It should be good at least for use in soups and turkey dressing.

Usually my recipes are about the food in your basket. It only makes sense, of course. But with Thanksgiving coming, my mind is wandering. I want to share this pie with you. It is an excellent change from the old standard pies. I wish we could grow cranberries down here; we would send them to you for this recipe. Maybe we should make the hollow into a bog . There's a winter project!

Cranberry-Pear Pie (from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions)

1 recipe pie crust (2 rounds) 12 oz cranberries
1 cup maple syrup 6 large pears
4 ½ tsp arrowroot dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water

Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie crust dough and reserve the rest for making lattice. Place cranberries and maple syrup in a saucepan. Peel and core pears and cut into ½ inch pieces, adding to maple syrup as you cut. Bring syrup to a boil and cook, stirring, for several minutes until cranberries begin to pop. Add the arrowroot mixture and cook another minute more, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly. Pour into pie shell. Make a lattice to cover the pear mixture and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Feast well and enjoy thinking grateful thoughts.

We hope to see you soon.

Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon Entwistle

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