This Week's Farmshare: Thanksgiving Ready!

Now that our Harmony Valley farmshare deliveries have slowed to just once every 2 weeks, I get especially excited when they come. Any lover of tasty soup recipes will tell you that you can never have too many root vegetables, too much squash, or too much garlic. And this week being the start of Thanksgiving ... well, let's just say I'm grateful once again for fresh, locally grown sweet potatoes to put beneath mountains of marshmallows and brown sugar.

So why am I stressed out? Because we've been assigned dessert! Take a look at what we've got this week (the descriptions and suggestions come directly from Harmony Valley's email newsletter):

  • Garlic: Make a garlic-infused olive oil for drizzling over salads or dipping bread. Store in the refrigerator and bring up to room temperature to serve. (Don't ever store garlic in oil at room temperature. Botulism may develop in these anaerobic conditions. Not trying to scare you, I'm just saying. Store it in the fridge.)
  • Red & Yellow onions: Fill a tart crust with caramelized onions, cheese, and fresh herbs. Serve in thin wedges as an appetizer.
  • Sweet potatoes: If these don't all end up in your Thanksgiving dinner, cook them down and add vitamin-packed sweet potato puree to oatmeal cookies or raisin bran muffins. Delicious and nutritious!
  • Cipollini onions: These pretty little onions will look lovely on your holiday table. Try tossing them with a balsamic vinaigrette and roasting until golden. Serve as a side dish with roast meat or poultry, or toss them into a salad with other roasted vegetables.
  • Parsnip: Add steamed parsnip to a root mash. Try any combo of celeriac, turnip, sweet potato, parsnip, or potato. Season with salt and fresh pepper and fi nish with a splash (or two) of cream.
  • Beauty heart radish: Beauty heart is a winter storage radish. Use it now, or keep it in the crisper drawer for several weeks. Its brilliant pink coloring adds a lovely touch to any salad or stir fry. (Beauty heart is green on the outside and pink on the inside, like a watermelon. Sweet scarlet turnips are pink on the outside and white on the inside, like a Chioggia beet. You're just lucky there's no Chioggia beets this week.)
  • Scarlet turnip
  • Festival squash: Some of the best squash seeds we've had this year! Don't discard squash seeds; toasted and salted, they make a good topping for a salad, or can be added to any baked treat you might ordinarily use nuts.
  • Cabbage, green savoy: Try some thin-shredded crunchy cabbage in a raw veggie wrap. Marinate cabbage in a bold vinaigrette for an hour, toss with carrot or celeriac, onions, and radish slices, and roll into a whole wheat tortilla.
  • Tat soi: These lovely, glossy deep green leaves make a good addition to a stir fry, or can be cut up and added to a salad. We've been waiting for this week to harvest these for you and thank goodness that it didn't snow & bury them! Enjoy the green!
  • Chicory: Wilt chopped chicory in a sauté pan over medium heat and dress with a sweet mustard vinaigrette. Serve with a root mash and pork or poultry. In your box, you might have Sugarloaf (resembles Romaine), Puntarella (long thin leaves, reminiscent of dandelion), or Frisée (curly/spiky, crazy, delicious)
  • Carrots: Keep a few crunchy, raw carrots handy for refreshing, light snacking once you're tired of all the rich holiday foods.

Some things are obvious, even to me. For example: those sweet potatoes are crying out to be made into dessert. But here's what we did with them this weekend instead. I don't feel guilty -- it was delicious. We've done it before and I'd do it again.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions Recipe from "Everyday Food: Great Food Fast" (this turns out to be one of our most-loved cookbooks):

  • 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (we used leeks from our garden)
  1. Heat a grill to medium. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large bowl with the olive oil, thyme, and cayenne pepper; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill the potatoes, turning frequently, until tender when pierced with the tip of a pairing knife, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Return the grilled potatoes to the bowl; add the butter, and break the potatoes into large pieces with the side of a spoon. Toss in the scallions and serve. Serves 4

What now? Garlic and onions are everyday favorites, but for dessert? What would you do? How to keep it local?

I'll admit that I'm grateful to be getting the (non-local, but organic) fruit share as well. This means we've got lots of apples, pears, cranberries, and dates, so we do have a few more, um, conventional (though not conventionally grown, of course) options.

So tell me, what would you make for Thanksgiving with those vegetables or fruits? If you'd like, include a recipe in our comments section. I'd appreciate the help!