Week 23: Waiting for Mr. Jack

Greetings Folks!
It sure doesn't feel like it, but there are only two more weeks left in the summer CSA program!  Holy Canoli!  Usually this time of year we are sleeping in a little more, bundling up for some chilly work while we wait for plants to thaw out for harvest. Cooler temps look like they might actually come upon us starting Thursday.  With lows in the 30s, we most likely will get the first frost of the season on the farm. This is all good news as we have had folks asking for cool weather crops such as parsnips that do not get delicious without a few good frosts on them.  Right now they are just sitting in the ground, waiting for Mr. Jack to visit.  

Hoop houses! (Photo by Claire Burnett)

Hoop houses! (Photo by Claire Burnett)

This is the last week for tomatoes on the farm as we will be moving the protective tunnels over winter crops today.  It must look like quite a sight for someone driving by...watching people pushing a giant hoop house on wheels across a field...but what an innovation in sustainable agriculture!  These tunnels will passively protect our winter crops from the elements for months at a time with NO extra heat and, because they are mobile, they will add the equivalent of two extra months to the year. Very cool.
In addition to the wonderful broccoli at the stand this week, we will welcome back its slower but equally tasty cousin cauliflower.  Totally worth the wait in culinary quality, it is such a cool weather treat.  Skip the veg crudite and go straight to roasting, souping, mashing or steaking with this stuff.  One of my favorites is cauliflower blue cheese soup from MACSAC.  Saute some leeks in butter, add cauliflower and some veg stock and let simmer 15-20 minutes until tender as Linyl Richee.  Puree with an emulsion blender (if you don't have one of these, spend the 35$ it is so worth it).  Add some half and half, a bit of terragon, the blue cheese and simmer for another 3-4 minutes and serve.  Not in the mood for dairy?  Try some chicory soup (see recipe below)!

Photo by Claire Burnett 

Photo by Claire Burnett 

Radicchio is back at the stand and it really adds a beautiful color to any soup or salad.  Not only that, but those vegetables that are on the more bitter side also happen to have  nutrients are in shorter supply in our traditional American diet.  Turns out after we transitioned from hunter gatherer to agriculturists, we started loosing nutrition from our food because we selected for the sweetest flavors, leaving the wild, bitter tasting foods out of our diet. Not to say we should go back to a hunter gatherer life,  but embracing those bitter foods may add some missing nutrients back into our diets.   
For those of you who will be joining us for the Winter CSA this year, consider adding a coffee subscription to your Wednesday night pick-up!  Peritus Coffee will be at Equinox on Wednesdays and there is nothing like trying new varieties picked by a coffee professional and roasted to perfection to warm up your winter mornings.  Not only that, but you are supporting a local roaster in the process.  Here is a link to their offerings: https://www.perituscoffee.com/new-coffee-subscriptions-for-your-native-hill-winter-csa-pick-ups/.  Please contact Quinn or Whitney for more info!

See you all real soon!

This Week's Harvest: 



Head Lettuce
Sweet Peppers
Winter Squash

Chicory Soup

Photo Credit: Cookbooks 101

Photo Credit: Cookbooks 101

7 tablespoons | 105 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving.
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced.
2 cups | 8 oz | 225 g diced celery
Fine-grain sea salt
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
7 cups | 1.65 L water
3 cups | 15 oz | 425 g cooked barley
1 large dried ancho chile
1 large clove garlic, smashed
1 small whole preserved lemon, rinsed, seeded, and minced.
3 cups | 4 oz | 115 g chicory, cut into 11/2-inch | 4cm pieces.
Crème fraîche, chopped cilantro, and/or chopped chives, to serve.

To a large pot over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the onion, celery, and 21/2 teaspoons of salt. Stir frequently for 5 to 10 minutes, until the onions and celery are soft but not browned. Add the bay, thyme, and water and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender. Stir in the cooked barley. Continue to simmer for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, until the starchy barley has slightly thickened the broth. Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Taste again for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

While the soup is simmering, make a lemon-chile relish. Start by removing the stem, ribs, and seeds from the chile. Chop the chile into very small, irregular crumbles. You want bits that are not uniform, to lend a rustic quality to the final result. In a small pot over medium heat, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the chile crumbles, and garlic. Tilt the pan so that the oil pools, toasting the chile, but taking care not to burn the garlic. After about 5 minutes the chile should be somewhat softened and its flavor will have infused the oil. Remove the pan from the heat, smash up the garlic pieces, and stir in the preserved lemon.

To serve, toss the chicory with a small splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Ladle soup into individual bowls then top with the dressed chicory. Add small spoonfuls of lemon-ancho relish, dabs of crème fraîche, and lots of chopped cilantro and chives.

Serves 4-6

From 101 Cookbooks