Friday, October 12, 2012

Peak Fall Foliage is Coming Up!

Within the next few weeks, peak foliage in Connecticut will roll through the state from north to south, (check out CT DEEP's interactive foliage map here) and that means cold weather is on its way.  In fact, that cold weather is closer than you might think.  According to the National Weather Service, the first freeze of the season is happening overnight tonight.  I know I'm going to go out and pick the last of my peppers before the sun sets, but what I haven't decided yet is what I'm going to do with them.  Sounds like I'm in need of either some food preservation techniques, or a good recipe, right?

For the last year or so we have been sharing guidelines for winter food storage, recipes for cooking fall and winter foods, and farming and gardening tips for the off-season in the Winter Food Project section of our Gleanings eNewsletter.  With winter literally on our doorstep, now's a perfect time to start reviewing our enewsletter archive and our Winter Food Project webpage to refresh your memory about all the information that's available.

Below are some of the recipes we've featured in Gleanings.  Try making one this weekend with some of your harvest, or from food you purchased at a local fall event.

Have a bountiful weekend!

Winter Food Project Gleanings Recipes
  • From the 2012 Getting Started in Organic Farming Conference:
    • Holcomb Farm CSA Coleslaw
      If you are longing for some warm weather foods as winter drags on, this is a great way to use winter foods to make a traditional summer favorite.
      Holcomb Farm's winter CSA provides all the vegetables for the slaw.

      -organic oil
      -white wine vinegar
      -salt and pepper to taste

      Grate or chop all ingredients and combine in a large bowl.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.
    • Hearty Veggie Soup - VEGAN
For a traditional winter dish, you can't go wrong with this one. The version we had at the conference had homegrown organic veggies.
-kidney beans

Chop up ingredients as finely or coarsely as you want and combine in a large soup pot. Cook on medium heat until all the veggies are tender and have released juice - you can always add some vegetable stock if you want a thinner soup.
  • Dutch Kale Dish - From Johan van Achterberg, a longtime farmer and board member from Easton. He wrote that this was the way his mother made kale.
-Peel and boil 4 good size potatoes for mashing with some butter and milk; add salt before cooking.
-Remove the leaf part from the kale stem (about 12 stems) and shred the greens. Cook the greens for about 15 to 20 minutes so it is tender.
-After draining the water add the kale to the mashed potatoes; mix well and season to taste.
-For real flavor fry bacon, cut into small pieces and add the bacon and some fat to the mix.
-Ring Belogna (PA Dutch) or sliced Kilbasa are a great supplement.
-For the best flavor kale should not be used until it has had some frost.
For this recipe, be sure to wash the kale well - dirt and grit hides in the leaves. Chop the kale finely to avoid floppiness in the potatoes, and avoid over mixing the kale into the potatoes as that will add a green tinge to the dish. You can use either peeled or unpeeled potatoes for this recipe.

-3 lbs potatoes, cut into large chunks
-sea salt
-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped
-1/2+ cup warm milk or cream
-freshly ground black pepper
-5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
-1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (opt)
-fried shallots, for garnish (opt)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, a big pinch of salt, and saute just until tender - about a minute. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Slowly stir in the milk a few big splashes at a time. You are after a thick creamy texture, so if your potatoes are on the dry side keep adding milk until the texture is right. Season with salt and pepper.

Dump the kale on top of the potatoes and give a quick stir. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center of the potatoes, and pour the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with the scallions, Parmesan cheese, and shallots.

Serves 6.
4 pounds            Jerusalem Artichokes, washes & scrubbed, diced 2 inches
1 pound              Leeks, white and light green part only
8 cloves              Garlic, Roasted
1/4 cup               Olive oil
1 quart               Vegetable stock
2 Tbl.                 Thyme, fresh
2 cups                2% low-fat milk
As needed          Salt, kosher and fresh cracked peppercorns
1. Split the leeks lengthwise and wash well to remove all sand and grit. Slice them thinly.
2. Sweat the leeks in the olive oil without browning them.
3. Add the Jerusalem Artichokes, roasted garlic, thyme and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer.
4. Simmer until the Jerusalem Artichokes are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
5. Purée the soup in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender; season with salt and pepper.  Add milk and return to low simmer to heat through for 5 minutes.
6. Serve hot or chilled.
Yield: 4 quarts
  • Deb's Dried Apples - From the CT NOFA Office Manager Deb Legge

    Slice your favorite unpeeled apples into 16 slices. (One of those corer/slicer gadgets makes the job go a lot more quickly.) Sprinkle with a small amount of lemon juice, if available. For seasoning, use a mix of mostly cinnamon, with a bit of nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves to your preference. Arrange in a single layer in each dehydrator rack and dry for 20-24 hours. Store in glass jars.

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