We sure do love this fall weather. Can you believe this wagon-load of winter squash? And there's more still to pick from the field! Photos by Elissa Planz.
- CBF is hosting a Tuesday evening series of classes about the Chesapeake Bay and how to help. We're especially welcoming residents of Prince George's County and Montgomery County to this fall's series. Now is a great time to get involved. Learn more HERE.
- Your last week of CSA shares is November 11, 12 and 14. We are currently in week 19 of 26.
This week's share
- Garlic, 2 heads
- Winter Squash, 2 butternuts!
- Sweet peppers, 5-7
- Eggplant, 1 pound
- Green Tomatoes, 1-2
- Choose: quarter pound salad mix or half pound collards
- Choose: half pound chilies or okra
- I love roasting vegetables. It's so easy! Give yourself time to heat up the oven to about 400 degrees F, roll your big chunks of veggies in oil and salt, lay them in a single layer on a pan, and about 25 minutes later (depends on size and vegetable) you have transformed your share to something even picky eaters can't resist. It's like magic. Be sure to include garlic and chunks of onion because they make the whole house smell fabulous.
- Epicurious posted a great guide to roasting vegetables. We pulled out a few of the relevant ones below:
- Eggplant: You’ll notice that a lot of recipes for cooking eggplant begin by instructing you to dice or slice, then salt the pieces and set them aside to draw out the moisture. That’s great for sautéing, where the cooking is usually quick, but it isn’t really necessary for roasting eggplant.
What is necessary: high heat and plenty of room. Crank the oven to 450°F, then toss eggplant with oil and salt, lay in a single layer on a sheet pan, and roast for 20–25 minutes, checking early if your pieces are small.
- Peppers: What we tend to call roasted peppers aren’t technically roasted—usually. Instead, they’re blistered on a grill, under a broiler, or right on the eye of a gas stove until the skin is blackened. Then they’re placed in a covered bowl to steam, and finally the blackened skin is rubbed away with the help of a kitchen towel to reveal the tender pepper flesh. From there you can marinate them if you like.
However, peppers can be roasted the traditional way too. Cut bell peppers in half to make boats that can be stuffed, then pull out the seeds and white pithy ribs by hand. Toss with oil and salt and roast cup side down at 375°F for 35–45 minutes. If you like, stuff with cooked rice or tomatoes and cheese and return to the oven to warm through or melt.
- Winter Squash: Here we go with the pumpkin, the butternut, the acorn, the spaghetti, the kabocha, and all the many, many varieties of autumn and winter squash that abound throughout the year’s coldest days.
Whether or not you choose to peel the squash is entirely up to you. I find that, generally, squash skin tastes great and peeling it only results in slippery, hard-to-handle veg. (Watch your fingers!) And for the squash skin that’s a little too tough to eat: The flesh scrapes away easily after it’s cooked.
Squash roasts best when the flesh makes contact with the pan, but if slicing into a large, firm squash sounds like Dangertown to you, go ahead and prick it a few times to let the steam escape, then roast it whole (425°F for about 30 minutes), or prick and then toss it in the microwave to soften for about 8 minutes on high. Then halve or cut into slices, wedges, or chunks, discard the seeds, drizzle with oil and season with salt, and roast for another 20 minutes.
If you’re roasting squash that hasn’t been precooked, turn the heat down to about 400°F and cook for 40–50 minutes, tossing once or twice, until browned.
- Not much has changed on the u-pick list this week, except that flower pickings are slim (the zinnias bit the dust) and the okra is super tall! To pick the okra, you have to gently bend the plant down toward the ground to reach the small pods about a foot below the tip of the plant.
If you can believe it, this was taken 3 weeks ago, and now the okra is over 12 feet! This photo of our normal-sized co-worker, Kellie Fiala, was taken by David Tana.
- This is probably the last week of green tomatoes. Have you tried tossing chunks of one into your stir fry or salad? Or you can treat it like a tomatillo and make the last fresh salsa picante of the season.
- You'll start seeing a few sweet turnips soon to go with your salad greens.
- Hopefully the photos make it clear that you have lots more winter squash for the weeks to come, particularly acorn and butternut.
- Sweet potatoes still have a lot of sizing up to do. Let's hope we don't get an early frost.
- Peppers, eggplant and okra are hanging in there but have slowed way down. They'll die with the first frost. We're taking bets on how tall the okra will be before it finally dies (over 12 feet at press time!).
If you need to keep your spirits up these days, take a deep breath and enjoy this perfect weather. There's all kinds of reasons to take to the streets these days.
Thanks so much for being our members,
The Clagett Farm Team