Thursday, November 19, 2009

What to Do With Your Thanksgiving Share --- Part 2

Late Fall harvesting

The Thanksgiving holiday is but a week away, and it's time to start planning the menu (and harvesting the vegetables!) In the previous blog we suggested a cheesy root soup as a starter. For this blog I refer you to yesterday's Washington Post's Guess Who's Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner article. Resplendent with recipes from the likes of Julia Child, Alice Waters, James Beard and Fannie Farmer, I can think of no one place to go that has such a wonderful array of recipes to offer.
There are three different greens recipes; for Brussel sprouts, cabbage and greens. Edna Lewis' silken turnip soup sounds familiar, and is also recommended as a meal starter. Jacques Pepin teams with Julia to bone out part of the turkey before stuffing with sage/cornbread stuffing and roasting it. Go to the link to see the many other recipes, from rolls to cranberry sauce to pies. We hope you all have a healthy and happy thanksgiving.
Rebecca and Tom

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What to Do With Your Thanksgiving Share Part 1

Tuesday morning at the farm
We are pleased to have had such a mild November so far, with lots of sunshine to keep the crops in the fields growing. Since the season ended, many vegetables still in the ground have doubled in size, making them just right for a Thanksgiving share. While we still have some picking to do (once the snow melts), we anticipate the share to include the following:

Broccoli (1/2 to 1 lb)
Brussel sprouts (2 decent sized stalks)
Carrots (Red Core Chantenay, good for eating or storing)
Beets (our best planting yet)
Bulb fennel (the cool weather makes them mild, sweet and delicious)
Celeriac (adds a subtle celery flavor to veggie mashes and stews)
Endive (a bitter green)
Leeks (maybe only 1/2 lb, but a great addition to any dish)
Garlic (2 nice heads)
Chard/kale (add some greens to an otherwise brown dinner)
Herbs (choice of thyme, sage, mint, or dried)
Onions (1 quart of good storage onions)
Roots medley (1 quart of mix and match radish, rutabaga or turnips)
Cabbage (a large savoy type)

White Soup with Cheese
One thing we hope to become a part of over the years is your Thanksgiving tradition. 2009 has been a good year, with quite a final bounty. We expect most years to have many of these same vegetables available, so you can create dishes that are uniquely local, seasonal and tasty.

One dish that often is overlooked at Thanksgiving is soup. With the usual 10 choices of dishes, piling our plates and digging in can be the norm. I know that this year as we host Thankgiving for Rebecca's family, we are going to try to keep the choices down, and start the meal with a cup of soup. The blending of flavors in the white soup recipe below is just the thing to get one's taste buds ready for the meal of the year.

2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
2 to 3 Hakurei turnips
1 celeriac
1 bulb fennel
1 rutabaga
1 kohlrabi
(You can also add cauliflower, regular turnips and/or potato. You want about 2+ quarts of chopped vegetables total)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 to 2 tsp sea salt
1 quart stock or water
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 cup grated cheese (we used Parmesan)

Clean and chop the vegetables. They all need to be peeled, and their unique shapes require different techniques. Veggies like celeriac and kohlrabi are best cleaned with a large knife. Simply place them on their side and "shave" off the outer layer, as shown in the photos. You can do some final peeling with a paring knife or peeler. Treat fennel like celery, cutting off the root end and ferny tips. Rutabaga can be peeled with a veggie peeler.

Saute the onions, fennel and celeriac in the olive oil and butter for about 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add the salt and remaining vegetables. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the stock (just enough to cover the vegetables), cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are very tender.
Strain the liquid from the vegetables and return it to the soup pot. Puree the vegetables until smooth and add back to the liquid. Stir in the milk, cream and cheese and simmer for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Serve hot.