This Week's Farmshare is Extremely Heavy

We were down to very slim pickings when this week's Harmony Valley farmshare arrived (now that we've hit the cold months, the box comes just once every two weeks). I had been excited about it for days, especially as it became increasingly clear that we didn't have enough carrots to last the week.

As I looked over the bounty, I was happy to see a few old favorites - celeriac and sunchokes in particular. My wife tells me my cooking is good but basic, and I take it as a compliment. The celeriac will be a simple soup (onions, garlic, potatoes) before the weekend is over, and the sunchokes will likely be roasted with butter, salt and peper. With ingredients this good, fresh, and local, I don't need to be a great chef - I just need to get out of the way.

I was, however, struck by how dang heavy this week's farmshare is - squash, onions, sweet potatoes - I might skip cooking entirely and use this week's selection to work out instead. Not likely, I know.

Here's what came in this week's farmshare, with notes and a photo from Harmony Valley:

  • Garlic: Roast and add to mashed parsnip, rutabaga and/or celeriac with butter, cream and salt and pepper.
  • Red & Yellow Onions: If you have a pile of onions forming on your counter, put them in a safe place to store them until you are ready to use them. Keep them in a cool, dry place and they will store into the New Year. Check them periodically and remove any that start to sprout or decay.
  • Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are best stored at a temperature of 55-65°F. If stored properly, they will hold for several more weeks. An alternative is to cook them, puree them and freeze the cooked potato. Pull them out during the winter and turn them into soup, spread on a quesadilla,or just add a pat of butter.
  • Baby Beets: These cuties will cook quickly and make a nice addition to a fall meal, either as a side dish of roasted root veggies or chilled and used in a salad.
  • Parsnips: Keep these loosely wrapped in a plastic bag and store in your crisper drawer to preserve them until you are ready to use them. For a tasty dish, cut into chunks and roast until golden brown. Puree them in a food processor with butter and a little cream. Sweet and tasty.
  • Celeriac: Now that salad greens are done for the season, it's time to get creative with other vegetable salad options. Try celeriac grated with scarlet turnip, carrots and apple, tossed with a creamy slaw dressing.
  • Cabbage: Another great fall salad option, there are many ways to turn a head of cabbage into a tasty chilled salad. Of course there is the traditional creamy cole slaw, but you could also try tossing shredded cabbage with a sesame-soy vinaigrette for an Asian style slaw. Add shredded radish,carrots and toasted cashews.
  • Rutabaga
  • Beauty Heart Radish: Slice thin into matchsticks and use to garnish a steaming bowl of miso soup.
  • Sunchokes: Treat this veggie as you would treat a potato-boil it, roast it, pan-fry, or toss into a soup or stew. They can also be added to a veggie stir-fry and will have a crispy texture and fl avor similar to a water chestnut.
  • Sweet Scarlet Turnips: If you aren't going to use the entire turnip at one time, wrap it in plastic wrap or store in an air tight container with a little water. This sweetie makes a delicious addition to fall veggie salads and platters.
  • Carrots: I think I smell a pot roast cooking ... with chunks of carrots, celeriac, parsnip and turnips on the side.
  • Flowering Kale or Tat Soi: It's refreshing to have such a beautiful green to December! For the kale, remove the small leaves from the main stem and cook as you would any other kale. Store this in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator until you are ready to use it. If you wait a little while and it gets limp, toss it into soup. Enjoy the Tat Soi in a stir fry, coleslaw or as part of a nice raw salad! So green and so versatile!
  • Festival Squash: Use your squash as a table decoration until you are ready to use it. This one makes a quick and easy side dish. Just cut in half, bake until tender and add a little butter, salt and pepper.
  • Kabocha Squash: This is a great squash to cook, puree and freeze. Pull the frozen squash out in the winter for a quick side dish, add to muffins, pancakes, or turn it into a cheesecake (using a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake) or pie.