It's October Harvest!
The nights are getting just a touch of frost, and the trees are in their full glory- it's a beautiful time of year. It's been a bit wet and gloomy lately, but 'tis the season. I do love the late season vegetables, though. They have such substance and flavor!
Your bags this week include:
Carrots (White Satin, Purple Haze and Yaya varieties, in white, purple and orange)
Tomatoes (I think we picked the last 150 pounds of them today; we're going to rip the vines out soon)
Lots of great meal possibilities! I'll include some recipes down below, but first: the pie pumpkin.
COOKING & FREEZING PUMPKIN
Now lots of people assume it's a terrible headache/mess to cook a pumpkin, but it's really not!
Here's the basic method:
I usually make sure my pumpkin doesn't have any major dirt on it, but it doesn't have to be pristine, either. In the past, I've often cut my pumpkin in half and scooped out the seeds before baking it, but it's really okay to simply bake it whole after piercing it with a fork a few times to create steam vents.
That's what I've been doing lately, and the only difference is it takes slightly longer, and scooping out the seeds is a little more difficult once the innards are all soft and cooked, but it is safer than cutting through a squash with a very tough rind while it's still raw. If you do cut it in half first, you should bake the sides face down in a glass casserole dish at 350°F for about an hour or so.
It's best to do this on a day when you'll be around the house, since the baking time will vary on the particular squash or pumpkin and you'll want to check on it occasionally. Once the pumpkin is very soft and the skin is easily pierced by a fork, remove from the oven and let it cool for a while.
Once it's comfortable to handle, use a spoon to scoop and scrape out all the great cooked pumpkin filling from the rind into a bowl. Depending on the squash, you might want to purée it in a blender or food processor, but most of the time, pumpkins are smooth enough that all you have to do is mash it up a bit with a fork.
At this point, you have pumpkin purée ready to use in pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup (I could go on :>) OR once it's cooled off completely, you can put it all in containers and freeze it. Squash and Pumpkin freeze and thaw and refreeze very well, and keep their flavor quite well throughout the whole process, so save some for a day when you feel like baking!
Now for some recipes:
1) Sautéed Spinach w/ Roasted Garlic, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta
spinach (approx. 10 oz) 3 Tbsp olive oil 3 cloves garlic, sliced ½ cup onions, chopped ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes ¼ cup sherry (or substitute apple juice) ¼ cup lemon juice 5 Tbsp butter ½ cup feta salt & pepper to taste
Over medium heat, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Add sun dried tomatoes, then add sherry and lemon juice and reduce by a third (about 3 minutes)
Add butter, and toss until it melts, then add the spinach. Cover and stir occasionally until slightly wilted and warm (about 3 minutes).
Add feta and cook until slightly melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
And in case you still have that red cabbage from last week, here's a recipe from someone in the CSA that comes highly recommended!
2) Autumn Salad
from Prevention, October 2010
4 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp pepper
3 medium sweet-tart apples (Braeburn, Empire), quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
1½ cups thinly sliced red cabbage
⅓ cup crumbled mild blue cheese
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
Whisk oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in large bowl.
Add remaining ingredients, tossing to combine.
3) Cauliflower and Spinach Gratin
1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets approx. 10 oz fresh spinach salt and pepper to taste 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs, divided Alfredo sauce, approx. 13 oz ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese 1 Tbsp basting oil 1 Tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 350°F, add cauliflower and spinach to a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Add ½ cup bread crumbs, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese. Mix well, set aside.
Combine rest of bread crumbs and basting oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
Grease baking 13x9-inch baking dish with olive oil, add vegetable cheese mixture to dish.
Bake 40 minutes, uncovered, stirring halfway through baking time. Remove from oven, sprinkle with topping, return to oven and bake 15 minutes, until topping is light golden brown.
All the best,
for Lucky Moon Farm