Winter Squash - What to do with all that butternut!

Months ago we decided that our first CSA box of autumn should certainly include some winter squash. We delivered with five to six pounds of butternut and a large acorn squash or two in this week’s produce box. There are many fine recipes to use winter squash and pumpkin when it’s in season but we definitely favour a few preparations. Here’s what we think you might like to do with both varieties

The sweet, dense, and deeply coloured flesh of butternut squash make it an incredibly versatile vegetable. Butternut is excellent roasted, baked, steamed or even lightly browned on a grill. Like most squash and pumpkin the flesh can also be cooked down and used as the basis of sweet breads, muffins, and cookies. We certainly feel however that the best use for butternut is transforming it into a substantial, comforting soup. Two recipes for decidedly different butternut soup preparations can be found at the link below. These recipes were written by both Jonathan Davis (Tule Peak Farm) and a great friend of the farm, Jonathan Dye. Make sure to click the link!

http://www.tableandfield.com/the-great-squash-soup-duel-davis-vs-dye/

We cook acorn squash simply. After splitting the vegetable lengthwise and removing its seeds with a spoon we add the following to each half: a pat of butter, a tablespoon of minced shallot, the smallest dash of cinnamon, salt and fresh pepper, and a drizzle of maple syrup (a teaspoon of brown sugar is a decent substitute). Roasted at 350oF until the flesh is soft and caramelized (approximately 30 to 45 minutes) will provide you with an excellent vegetable side for some roast chicken. Adding a bit of cardamom and cumin to the above ingredients before roasting would put the squash in an Indian/South Asian category where it would play very nicely with a chickpea or cauliflower curry served with diced fresh cucumber (also in this week’s box!) and quality full-fat yoghurt. We think that you’ll be happy either way.

We should also mention that both of these squashes keep very well! You’ve got a couple of weeks to use them if they’re stored on your countertop. Stored in a cool, dark place with “cellar-like” conditions and you might manage to still have squash when we harvest our first next summer. This is why they are called “winter” squash. They were traditionally stored in root cellars and consumed in winter when fresh food was so precious.

Enjoy this week’s produce box (we hope you don’t feel to buried in watermelon!) and get to work on those winter squash when you have a moment. And please let us know how your winter squash recipes turn out in the comment section below.

Get ready for an eggplant recipe In the coming days – perhaps a recipe for caponata…    Happy eating and cooking!

-Your Farmers

Tule Peak Farmhouse Salad with Poached Egg and Fresh Goat's Cheese

This meal finds its way onto our farm’s table almost every single week. Served with a substantial appetizer, some crusty bread, and a glass of crisp white wine, this salad makes a perfect meal for a warm summer's night. A fruit and cheese platter would be a nice way to finish the evening. Hopefully this recipe helps you use your CSA produce to its fullest potential!

Our leaf lettuces going directly into the salad bowl at the peak of the season.

Our leaf lettuces going directly into the salad bowl at the peak of the season.

Prepare the Greens

  • Combine Tule Peak salad mix and baby beet greens in equal proportions - a portion of arugula would also be welcome here.
  • If the greens have been in the fridge for more than a day or two, refresh them in cool water and dry them thoroughly either by spinning or by spreading them on a clean kitchen towel. 

Prepare Dressing  

Dress greens with the following just before serving - this recipe should generously dress approximately 1 pound of greens

  • 1 clove garlic – minced or grated on a fine microplane
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar, red-wine vinegar, or lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce or two anchovy fillet (optional)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.
  • Whisk dressing until emulsified and salt is dissolved. Pour dressing over greens and toss with clean, bare hands.

 Poach eggs – One or two eggs per person 

  • In a saucepan, bring 1 quart of water to a gentle simmer.
  • To the simmering water add 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar (Optional).
  •  Over a sink, crack each egg into a slotted spoon or small colander.
  • Allow the loose portion of the white to drain and gently turn each egg into the simmering water, moving quickly to ensure near-equal cooking time.
  • Simmer for 2 to 2 ½ minutes
  • Remove poached eggs from pan with a slotted spoon or similar utensil.

 Plating

  • Place dressed greens on a plate and garnish with quartered cherry tomatoes and dollops of fresh goat’s cheese (chevre). 
  • Lay a poached egg or two over the salad.

 Serve this salad with a crusty baguette or a loaf of true sourdough. Pour a glass of wine, break the soft egg yolk atop your salad, grab a piece of bread, and enjoy your supper and the summer sunset!    

Our First Harvest

Our first CSA box delivery was a great success. If you are one of our member families thank you for coming out on this rather warm afternoon. We hope you enjoy this week's harvest. If you're not yet a member we still have a few spots remaining. READ ON to see what went into this week's box... 

French Breakfast and Cherry Belle Radishes drying on the washing table.

French Breakfast and Cherry Belle Radishes drying on the washing table.

Here's what went into this week's Tule Peak Farm vegetable CSA box

Tule Peak Tricolour Eggs (one dozen) – Our happy hens lay some fantastic eggs. With bright yolks and firm whites, these eggs are sure to impress.

Salad Mix - lettuce, baby kale, mizuna, and tatsoi

Arugula – full grown but incredibly tender

Red Russian Kale - This was grown by our friends at Sage Mountain Farm in Anza, California. These leaves are perfect for a quick saute or a gentle braise.

Genovese Basil – The leaves are tender enough to be used as a salad green.

Baby Beet Greens – We refer to this as “summer spinach”. Tender and sweet enough to be eaten in a salad, these are nothing like the greens attached to beetroot.

French Breakfast and Cherry Belle Radishes – A vibrant red skin and a snow-white flesh make these attractive options for appetizers and as additions to salads.

Summer Squash – Yellow crooknecks that are extremely abundant!

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – These sweet yellow jewels came from our friends at Sage Mountain Farm in Anza, California.

Slicing Cucumbers – Sumter and Marketmore are dependable varieties that exude the fresh aroma of cucumbers whenever they are sliced.

See you next week and stay tuned for a Tule Peak Recipe!