Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SCVWD CSA October 24

George & Company

What's in the Box

Beets, Popcorn, Ireland Creek Annie Beans, Winter Luxury Pumpkins, Ornamental Edible Squash, Valencia Winter Melon, Rugoso di Cosenza Melon, Tomatoes, Peppers - Bells, Anaheims, Habaneros, and Anchos, and Eggplant.

This week's special gift:  Apple Butter


Yes that was rain,  and we all know what rain means, the end of CSA season.  So for the SCVWD folks, next week will be your last week of the season.  If you folks at People and Planet are sneak reading, this, I believe we may have at least one or two extra weeks in November left.  Last year the SCVWD folks got to go a little longer, so we'll switch it up.

Broccoli, Cauliflower & Cabbage
If you don't normally get a box next week and you want one, please let me know.

And with the change of seasons, means the end of the tomatoes.  If any more are produced, it will take longer than a week.

During the season I made you folks a lot of dried and canned goods, and we'll see some of those next week, along with all the good greens that are coming up.

Over at Smitten Kitchen she was cooking up a Farro (Emmer) Squash Salad and it's pretty yummy.  Since you all have your pepita pumpkins and will probably be cutting them soon for Halloween, I figured this is a good time to pass this recipe on.  Emmer is available at that organic grocery store in Felton.  Hopefully, we'll have it next year.  They also have it at Whole Paycheck and some other specialty groceries.  That said, I never ever use "pearled farro".  I always buy the whole thing and just cook it longer.  All the nutrients are in the outer bit. 

Corn drying for corn meal
Butternut Salad with Farro, Pepitas and Ricotta Salata
Serves 4 to 6, generously
Like most salads, this recipe works well as a template, meaning that many of the ingredients can be replaced with likeminded ones with little trouble. You can use other winter squashes in the place of the butternut (or even sweet potatoes), the farro could be replaced with barley, freekeh or another grain of your choice. The red onion could be shallots. The pepitas could be another toasted nut, roughly chopped and the ricotta salata could be feta or soft bits of goat cheese. The sherry vinegar could be a white wine vinegar.
The pearling process removes the inedible hull that surrounds the wheat, and farro is generally sold either pearled, semi-pearled or regular. The pearled will take the shortest time to cook. If you’re not sure what you have, just use the cooking directions on the package. Below, I have the cooking times/process for semi-pearled.
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
5 to 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup semi-pearled farro (see Note up top)
1/3 cup toasted pepitas (I used, and love, the salted ones)
3 ounces ricotta salata or another salty cheese, crumbled or coarsely grated (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

Bouquet of Amaranth for the Birthday King
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel squash, then halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Cut squash into approximately 3/4-inch chunks. Coat one large or two small baking sheets with 2 tablespoons oil total. Spread squash out in single layer on sheet. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until pieces are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Set aside to cool slightly.
While squash is roasting, cook farro in a large pot of simmering salted water until the grains are tender but chewy, about 30 minutes. (Since there are so many varieties of farro, however, if your package suggests otherwise, it’s best to defer to its cooking suggestion.) Drain and cool slightly.
While squash is roasting and farro is simmering, in a small bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, water, 1/2 teaspoon table salt and granulated sugar until sugar and salt dissolve. Stir in onion; it will barely be covered by vinegar mixture but don’t worry. Cover and set in fridge until needed; 30 minutes is ideal but less time will still make a lovely, lightly pickled onion.
In a large bowl, mix together butternut squash, farro, red onion and its vinegar brine, the crumbled cheese and pepitas. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, use the 4th one only if needed. Taste and adjust seasonings. Eat now or later. Salad keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

And speaking of the Smitten Kitchen they have the best birthday cake recipe ever.  I know because I'm practicing for a certain person who's going to turn the big Five O on October 27.  If you see Leo about, wish him a happy day.   And, there will be cake!

Check out the butterflies

Rugoso di Cosenza Melon

This is the yellow melon in your box.  This is a melon that is very rare here.  Inside it's creamy, sweet and white, outside it's yellow.  Cosenza is a province of Calabria in the boot section of Italy.  It has a similar climate to this region of California.  At the confluence of 2 rivers, it still has one of the largest riverside farmer's markets.  This is one of their heirloom melons.  It's ready to eat today, but will keep for a bit longer as well.    This is a canary type melon

Valencia Winter Melon

Many catalogs say that this melon originated in Italy.  This melon will keep all the way till Christmas....well if you can wait that long.  It has a hard green outer shell and is pale creamy and sweet inside.  Both of these melons are from the inodorus group.  Melons will last longest kept cool and with humidity.  Those of you in the mountains, well you live in the perfect climate to keep melons.

Beautiful Orb Spider in the Carrot Patch
Melons (Cucumis melo) predominantly originated from the desertland savanna regions of Africa and southwestern Asia and include cultivated, feral and wild populations. Wild strains occur in Africa from south of the Sahara to the Transvaal in South Africa and in Southwest Asia ranging from Asia Minor to Afghanistan. Melons are thought to come from Africa because there are wild forms there, though the earliest references to melons are from China. In the 11th century the Chinese began growing cantaloupes and honeydews that originated in western Asia. The name cantaloupe is mentioned as having originated from the city of Cantaluppi in Italy or from the estate and castle of Cantalupo, also in Italy.  Since Italy is close to Africa, it makes sense that melons traveled through Italy on their way around the globe.   

In their text, the followers of Mohammed, wrote that eating a melon produces a thousand good works.  I think then I have promoted at least that many with the amount of melons I grew this year! 

Have a great week. 

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