Monthly Archives: September 2014

Root Veggie 101

Hello Harvesters

As the cooler weather approaches, we are going to start seeing an influx of root vegetables into the harvest boxes. Whether it’s beet, celery root, turnip, or rutabaga, these hardy foods thrive in the winter because of their resistance to cold. Some of our less adventurous friends express some disappointment when root veggie season rolls around- “awww, rutabaga again?” – but here at PCH we think root veggies are awesome. All it takes is a bit of root veggie know-how to keep these foods interesting over the long winter. Let’s start with the basics.

 

The Beet

"Beets-Bundle" by Evan-Amos - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg

“Beets-Bundle” by Evan-Amos – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Beets-Bundle.jpg

Beets are sweet, juicy root veggies that have the consistency slightly thicker than a potato, but with a much sweeter taste. Beets are the primary ingredient in the traditional Ukrainian soup called borscht, a stew-like dish with beets, potatoes, carrots, and beef or pork broth. Boiled, cubed, and chilled beets also make excellent additions to spinach salads in the fall, and beet greens can also be eaten sautéed. They come in many varieties, including red, gold, and “Chiogga”, the type that exhibits beautiful red and white spirals when sliced in cross-section. Be careful when cooking with red beets, as the juice can put bright magenta stain on your clothing.

 

The Turnip

By thebittenword.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By thebittenword.com (http://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 The turnip is a white and pink taproot of Brassica rapa. It grows partially under and above ground, with the underground part remaining white and the above ground part turning colors, usually pink. In southern cuisine, turnip greens are sometimes eaten boiled like collard greens. Turnips have a spicy kick to them, almost like a radish, and this can be a great addition to a beef stew.

 

The Rutabaga

By pin add (Swede (The Vegetable)  Uploaded by nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By pin add (Swede (The Vegetable) Uploaded by nesnad) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rutabagas look quite similar to turnips, but the colored top of the root tends to be a darker, more muted purple rather than pink, and the white subterranean part of the root tends to be a more yellowish cream color. The flavor of a rutabaga is milder than a turnip, with less radish-like kick. Rutabagas are good for adding substance to soups and stews, or for roasting on their own.

 

Celery Root

By Jamain (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jamain (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Celery root (or celeriac) is a variety of celery that is grown for its large edible root. It has a spicy, bitter celery taste, but a texture more like a turnip or a rutabaga. Celeriac makes an excellent addition to stocks, and tastes great sliced thin and roasted with salt.

 

 

Let us know which is your favorite root veggie!

 

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Whatever-You-Have Stew

Hello Harvesters

This week’s recipe is a little different. It’s not for a specific dish, but rather a basic lesson on how to use extra veggies from the pantry and fridge to make a tasty stew. This recipe is very flexible, and you can use it to cook up some extra veggies that might otherwise go to compost. Thanks to customer Rebecca N. for suggesting this idea.

Coco Eating His Soup, by Pierre-August Renoir

Coco Eating His Soup, by Pierre-August Renoir

Whatever-You-Have Stew

Ingredients:

Basics for the stock:

Bones from whole chicken (broken up if possible)

Water

Salt

Pepper

 

Additions:

1 bunch carrots cubed (1 inch pieces)

4 medium potatoes cubed (1 inch pieces)

1 stalk of celery (the whole thing, not just one piece of it)

2 medium onions diced

2 leeks diced

32 oz. veggie broth

2 cups barley

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 fennel root diced (1/2 inch pieces)

 

*you can add any veggies you have lying around to bolster your stew. Any root veggie or winter squash will make a great addition and if you want to add greens (kale recommended) add it about 15 minutes before serving.

Method:

The basis of any great stew is the stock. If you decide to roast a chicken or have a bunch of bones left over from a rack of ribs, definitely make stock for a stew. You can freeze it for later or make a delicious, nutritious stew to keep in the fridge and eat throughout the week!

To make the stock, break up left over bones and place in large pot (breaking the bones is not required, but it will help extract nutrients and flavor). Cover with water and bring to a boil. After water begins to boil, turn heat down to low and leave for 4-12 hours to extract the nutrients and flavor from the bones (a minimum for 4 hours for chicken and a minimum of 6 for larger bones). Keep heat at the lowest possible setting and cover pot, the longer it cooks the better. About 1-2 hours before you will want to eat, strain the broth to remove bones and add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Chop all veggies and add barley, onion, leek, and bay leaves and pour additional veggie broth over ingredients. Bring stew back to a higher heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes add potato, carrots, fennel, and cayenne. Let simmer for additional 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a warm baguette or corn bread. Enjoy!

 

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The Harvest Moon

Hello Harvesters

For this week’s blog post, we’re going to take a break from the usual discussions of different types of veggies, cooking styles, and gardening to focus on an astronomical phenomenon that has been incredibly important to human agriculture over the millennia. Next week, on the 23rd at 2:29 AM, the plane of the Earth’s equator will pass through the center of the sun, an event known as the Equinox. For us here in the northern hemisphere, this is the autumnal (fall) equinox, while in the southern hemisphere it is the vernal (spring) equinox. On the equinox, the length of day and night are approximately equal (though day when they are exactly equal might be one or two days off due to light refraction around the edge of the earth).

 

"Harvest moon" by Original uploader was Roadcrusher at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Khayman using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harvest_moon.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Harvest_moon.jpg

“Harvest moon” by Original uploader was Roadcrusher at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Khayman using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Harvest_moon.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Harvest_moon.jpg

The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is known as the Harvest Moon. This full moon often appears orange due the refracted sunlight reflecting off the surface of the moon. The Harvest Moon is unique because of the very short time between sunset and moonrise over the next two or three nights. While at most times of year the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, at the Harvest Moon this time shrinks to about 30 minutes, meaning that there is full light for an extended period after sundown. This is the reason for the name “Harvest Moon”- before modern technology, the extended light gave farmers the opportunity to catch up on the fall harvest long after the sun set on their fields.

5 Odd Facts about the Autumnal Equinox 

NASA, public domain image

NASA, public domain image

The Harvest Moon and autumnal equinox have taken on great cultural significance over the millennia. In Britain, the harvest festival has been celebrated near the harvest moon since before the spread of Christianity to the isles. In fact, the word “harvest” itself is derived from an Old English word, haerfest, meaning “autumn”. In revolutionary France, the monarchy was abolished on the autumnal equinox of 1792, leading the Republicans to declare the equinox “New Year’s Day” of the new Republican Era.

 

Do you have any plans to celebrate the Harvest Moon this year?

 

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Curry-Roasted Butternut Squash with Farro

Hello Harvesters

This week’s recipe is for a beautiful fall-appropriate entree. The recipe uses an ancient grain called farro, which has a satisfying, firm texture. Let us know what you think!

Curry-Roasted Butternut Squash with Farro

afterlight

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash

1 tablespoons olive oil

½ tablespoon mild curry power

½ tablespoon cumin

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups faro

¾ cup dried cranberries

1 cup salted cashews

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Rinse and drain faro. When water is boiling add faro and turn to low heat (so the water is simmering) and cook for 35 minutes. When done, drain any excess water. While faro is cooking, peel, seed, and cut butternut squash into 1 inch cubes. Toss squash with olive oil, cayenne, cumin, and curry powder and spread onto baking sheet in a single layer (season with salt and black pepper to taste). Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until tender a lightly browned. Serve squash on a bed of faro and sprinkle with cranberries and cashews. To give cashews added flavor, toast in a pan on low heat until lightly browned. Enjoy!

 

Original recipe for PCH by Kayla Waldorf

 

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A Cornucopia of Cucurbita (Say that 6 Times Fast)

Hello Harvesters

Pacific Northwest produce lovers have a love-hate relationship with our squash. Towards the end of the summer, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to consume all the zucchini and yellow summer squash coming out of our gardens without wasting any. It’s the season of trying to dump as much summer squash as possible into your neighbors hands while trying to avoid taking theirs, like a big game of hot potato (or hot squash, as the case may be).

"Cucurbita moschata Musquée de Provence - "Courge musquée" squash gourd" by fr:User:Spedona - fr:Image:Courge_musquée01.jpg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Musqu%C3%A9e_de_Provence_-_%22Courge_musqu%C3%A9e%22_squash_gourd.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Musqu%C3%A9e_de_Provence_-_%22Courge_musqu%C3%A9e%22_squash_gourd.jpg

“Cucurbita moschata Musquée de Provence – “Courge musquée” squash gourd” by fr:User:Spedona – fr:Image:Courge_musquée01.jpg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Musqu%C3%A9e_de_Provence_-_%22Courge_musqu%C3%A9e%22_squash_gourd.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Musqu%C3%A9e_de_Provence_-_%22Courge_musqu%C3%A9e%22_squash_gourd.jpg

 

Fortunately, the middle of September is when we start to see a transition from summer squash, like zucchini, patty, and yellow squash (generally of the species Cucurbita pepo), to more winter squash varieties like butternut and acorn (in the US, mostly C. moschata, with some C. pepo mixed in for good measure). Winter squash differ from summer squash in that they generally mature to the point where they have a hard and inedible outer rind before they are picked and eaten. This helps these hardy plants survive the colder weather of Cascadian autumn and winter. Their different physiology also gives them a different taste and different cooking applications. While zucchini is best sliced and sautéed (at least in my opinion), nothing beats a good mashed butternut squash with honey and butter.

"Cucurbita moschata Butternut 2012 G2" by George Chernilevsky - Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2.jpg

“Cucurbita moschata Butternut 2012 G2” by George Chernilevsky – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2.jpg

 

Thanks to their hard outer rinds, winter squash varieties have extremely long shelf lives. If you buy a prime acorn squash in good condition, it can keep for up to two months if it is stored in a cool (around 50 degrees F), dry place away from direct sunlight. Just make sure not to store them in a refrigerator, as this actually makes the squash go bad more quickly. This comes in very handy for busy Seattleites who don’t want to waste their produce, and makes winter squash a great standby food that you can save for when you really need it.

 

Keep an eye out for this week’s recipe, which includes butternut squash (but I won’t give it away yet!)

 

Happy harvesting.

 

 

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A Healthy Potato Salad You Won’t Want to Miss!

Hello Harvesters

This week’s original recipe from local food enthusiast Kayla Waldorf is a potato salad that bucks tradition. Instead of the usual heavy, mayo-laden dressing, this salad is drizzled in a lighter, honey-mustard style dressing and includes apples, radishes and kale. Give it a try for your next potluck!

 

Potato Salad with Kale, Apple, and Radish

photo

Ingredients

2 lbs. red potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes

2 large apples, cut into 1/4″ cubes

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced

4 cups shredded kale

2 T. White wine vinegar

2 T. Whole grain mustard (I prefer Ingelhoffer brand)

2 T. Honey

Salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions

Dressing:

Equal parts white wine vinegar, whole grain mustard (I prefer Ingelhoffer Mustard), and honey, approximately 2 tbsp. each, but more or less may be desired. Salt and black pepper to taste.

Salad:

Cut potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes and cover with cold water in a large pot (potatoes may be boiled whole, but boiling whole will take much longer). Bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Check potatoes after 5 minutes with sharp knife, if knife is easily inserted, potatoes are done. Drain and set aside.

 

Thinly slice radishes (about 1/8 inch thick) and cut apples into ¼ inch cubes. Washes kale and tear by hand into bite-sized pieces. Massage kale in hands to soften (don’t be afraid, really go for it!).

 

Put all ingredients in large bowl and toss with dressing. Enjoy! Would pair well with grilled chicken kebabs and sweet corn at and end of summer barbecue!

 

Original recipe and photo by Kayla Waldorf for PCH

 

 

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Preparing Your Garden for the End of Summer

Hello Harvesters

As much as we would like to deny it, the end of summer is upon us. Labor Day marks the last gasp of summer festivities, and a warning sign for gardeners to start preparing for the colder season. We still have a bit of growing season left for fall crops like potatoes, spinach, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts, but it’s time to start planning ahead for how to protect and regenerate your garden over the winter.

By Alan Manson (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Alan Manson (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A great way to regenerate your soil over the winter is to plant cover crops. Cover crops are planted at the end of the growing season, and then tilled into the soil at the end of winter instead of being harvested. Erosion, planting, harvesting, and foot traffic inevitably damage your garden’s soil structure. Cover crops help to reverse this process by restoring aeration and drainage to your soil, as well as preventing nutrient leaching. Some crops, like clover, also help to fix nitrogen in the soil, which is critical for growing crops like tomatoes. At the end of the winter, when the cover crops are tilled under the soil, the organic matter acts like compost, restoring more nutrients to the soil and preparing your garden for another healthy growing season. Check out these pages explaining cover crops and helping you decide which one to plant!

Blossom_(2762263328)

“Blossom (2762263328)” by Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany – BlossomUploaded by russavia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blossom_(2762263328).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Blossom_(2762263328).jpg

If you want to extend your growing season and get the most out of your garden, you may want to consider building a cold frame. Cold frames are small, insulated boxes with a transparent lid that act as miniature greenhouses. Most cold frames are small enough to fit on urban properties, as they are much smaller than traditional greenhouses. The lid allows heat from the sun to enter the frame, but prevents that heat from escaping by convection. It also protects the plants from the excessive moisture that we often experience in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re interested in building a frame, check out this page on how to build a good frame. This fall, try planting crops from the Brassica genus, such as cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts, or radishes, lettuce and spinach in your cold frame. Let us know how it goes!

 

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Chickens at Home

As any regular farmers market shopper knows, a farm fresh egg is a wonderful thing! The taste of the yolk from an egg laid by hens who get to range freely and eat organic feed is so much better than the taste of eggs from large industrial farms, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to a small farmer’s operation. If you’ve ever visited a farm, you know that chickens are funny little creatures that can be very entertaining to watch.

 

Did you know that if you live in Bellevue or Seattle, you can build your very own home chicken coop? In both of these cities, zoning regulations allow up to 6 birds for producing eggs at home, as long as you follow some basic rules. Here are some guidelines, tips, and tricks to keeping chickens at home.

Albertus Verhoesen, "Chickens and Park Vase", public domain

Albertus Verhoesen, “Chickens and Park Vase”, public domain

 Hens only!

A rooster crowing at sunrise is a romantic image when we think of farms in rural areas. However, a rooster blasting out an early morning alarm would not make the urban chicken-keeper very popular with her neighbors. If you want to keep chickens at home, make sure you get only female birds. Regulations prohibit keeping roosters in the city. If you discover a rooster in your home flock, it must either be slaughtered or moved somewhere where roosters are allowed, outside of the city. This can be accomplished by simply putting a listing for a free rooster on Craigslist or a similar website. Hens also make a bit of noise, but they are much more tolerable than roosters. The females sometimes squawk and cackle when they are laying eggs, but they will be completely quiet when it is dark outside, because they will be sleeping.

 Build a good coop

 

By Josh Larios from Seattle, US (DSC02753) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Josh Larios from Seattle, US (DSC02753) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Chickens can roam free in your yard with supervision, but they are not the smartest of creatures, and if you let them roam unsupervised, they will find all sorts of ways to get into trouble. From cars to dogs to raccoons, there are plenty of ways for urban chickens to meet an untimely end. Chickens should always be kept in the coop at night. When you build their coop, make sure it is well sealed to ensure that rats and other scavengers can’t get into the feed or steal the eggs. Here’s a handy page on how other people have built their coops.

Create a barter economy!

Eggs from a home coop are a very valuable item in a neighborhood food bartering economy. Maybe your neighbors have a tasty garden vegetable you covet? Trade them some eggs! Maybe you need a hand with a project that might be a bit of an imposition? Eggs to the rescue! Trades like this help you bond with your neighbors and make a friendly, positive social environment in an urban environment that can sometimes feel isolating and individualistic.

 

Send us photos of your home coop!

 

 

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Summer Frittata for Breakfast or Lunch

Hello Harvesters!

This week’s recipe is a delicious frittata with bell peppers, onions, sweet corn, and potatoes. It makes a great breakfast recipe (but it would work for any meal). Serve it with coffee and biscuits and your favorite hot sauce.

Summer Frittata

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

 

"Bell pepper" by Justus Blümer from Deutschland - Paprika (rot)Uploaded by Common Good. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bell_pepper.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bell_pepper.jpg

“Bell pepper” by Justus Blümer from Deutschland – Paprika (rot)Uploaded by Common Good. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bell_pepper.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bell_pepper.jpg

Ingredients

12 eggs

1 large butterball potato

1 large onion

1 large bell pepper

1 jalapeno

1 ear sweet corn, kernel cut from cob

2 tbsp. vegetable oil

Salt & black pepper to taste

 

Optional:

Splash of cream for eggs

Extra sharp cheddar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. In a large, oven-safe pan, heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Dice potatoes into ½ inch cubes and place in pan. Dice onion and bell pepper into ½ pieces and cut corn kernels from raw cob. Cut jalapeño and remove seeds, then finely dice. When potatoes begin to brown add onion until onion begins to look transparent. Then add the corn, bell pepper, and jalapeño and sauté for about 2 more minutes. Add approximately 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Crack 12 eggs into large bowl (add splash of cream and ½ cup extra sharp cheddar and 1 tsp salt if desired) and stir with a fork. Make sure veggies are spread evenly on bottom of pan, then pour egg mixture over veggies. Let cook on stovetop for about 3-4 minutes or until eggs begin to set on the edges. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for about 15 minutes until eggs begin to fluff up, but remove before the top browns. Serve warm with your favorite hot sauce (I suggest Secret Aardvark brand habanero hot sauce, made in Portland, OR).

 

original recipe for PCH by Kayla Waldorf

 

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