Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Banana Squash Salad

Among the impressive array of winter squash on display at Sweetwater Farm's pumpkin day a couple of weeks ago were the hefty, peach colored banana squash pictured on the lower right above. Erica explained that while these massive specimens don't make good supplies for the Good Food Easy CSA, they are cherished by Creswell's chef Heidi Tunnell of Heidi Tunnell Catering Company. Apparently she shaves them raw on salads and uses them to make ice cream.

So at this time of year, when standard school children are replaces with Jedi knights and Hogwarts witches, try transforming your standard salad with shaved winter squash. It looks deceptively like mango and tastes like the sweetest of carrots. Happy Halloween!

Banana Squash Salad
4 handful mixed salad greens
a small fraction of a banana squash (use the rest for soup, curry, or pie)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste

Wash and dry your greens and put them in a salad bowl. Cut off a small part of your squash. Cut away the skin and use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to cut thin strips. Whist together the remaining ingredients into a dressing. Pour the dressing over the greens and squash and toss to dress. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Kale Florentine

Yesterday was a brilliantly sunny fall day, perfect for tromping around Sweetwater Farm on their pumpkin day. We got to see the last of their summer harvest that supplied the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers market all season long, and the preparation for their winter crops that will continue to supply their Good Food Easy CSA

We're so thankful for all the Sunday mornings that the Fairmount Market farmers got up early over the summer to set up the market. This morning, we indulged in a leisurely breakfast of eggs florentine, made with local creamed kale on top of Eugene City Bakery English muffins and accompanied by Fair Valley Farm bacon. I hope all the farmers enjoyed a leisurely Sunday morning as well.

Kale Florentine
serves 4
2 bunches kale
2 shallots
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup heavy cream
8 eggs
4 English muffins

1. Set a pot of salted water to boil. Rinse the kale leaves and cut out the hard stems. Chop the leaves coarsely. When the water comes to a boil, blanch the kale leaves for one minute. Then drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out the moisture from the leaves and chop finely.

2. Peel and finely chop the shallots. Heat a large, wide skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the butter and once it has melted and started to foam, add the shallots. Cook the shallots until glassy. Add the chopped kale and a generous pinch of salt and saute for a minute or two. Now add the cream, stir well, bring to a low simmer, and lower the heat. Crack the eggs directly over the creamed kale. Cover and cook for about five minutes, until the achieve your desired degree of hardness. When the eggs are done, remove from the heat.

3. Toast the English muffins. Butter them and top with creamed kale and eggs. Enjoy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ginger Squash Scones

This Sunday will be the last regularly scheduled Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market of the season, but stay tuned for some additional markets around the beginning of November and just before Thanksgiving, to coincide with Fair Valley Farm CSA pick ups. On October 6th, you can look forward to the following offerings from Sweetwater Farm, Fair Valley Farm, and Tiger Lily Art Company:

tomatillos (make some smokey tomatillo salsa to last you through the winter)
heirloom tomatoes, romas, and tomato deals: 10 lbs/$18, $20 lbs/$30 (makes some sauce)
watermelon, honeydew melons, cantaloupes, and other heirloom melons
Bartlett pears (delicious on pizza or in pancakes)
Akane apples and Asian pears from SLO Farm (make apple sauce)
A wide selection of winter squash (make these ginger squash scones)
corn, green beans and yellow wax beans (make a savory corn pudding)
pepperoncini, poblanos, red hot cherries, anaheim chiles, and assorted pepper bargain bags
eggplants, fresh spring garlic, and onions (make baba ganoush)
cucumbers and zucchini (make some tsukemono pickles)
carrots, cabbage, kohlrabi, and celery (preserve some kimichi)
French sorrel and cutting celery (great as a pesto for soup)
new potatoes and beets (make some mashed potatoes)
fresh herbs including dill, parsley, basil, and cilantro 
bietola, kale, chard, and a variety of lettuces (make lettuce wraps)
dried beans and grains from Camus Country Mill (make teff grain muffins)
jams, salsa, and pickles from Sweet Creek Foods
pastured chickens from Fair Valley Farm (cook up a pot of Pueblan chicken tinga)
floral arrangements from Tiger Lily Art Company

If, in a couple of weeks, you are missing the market, you can see more of your favorite farmers at Sweetwater's Pumpkin Day on Saturday Oct. 19, 10 am-2 pm at the farm (83036 Weiss Rd. Creswell, OR 97426). There will be farm tours and pumpkins for sale, but don't be fooled by these orange gourds that Erica gave our kids. Despite their pumpkin-like appearance, these imposters are actually crazy giant overgrown summer squash! 

On this last market of the season, be sure to pick up a selection of real winter squash (pie pumpkins, butternut, acorn, delicata) to store in you cellar for future winter soups, curries, and pies. With my latest batch of roasted squash, I made these delectable scones, studded with candied ginger. Sized as mini-scones, and they were the perfect midday snacks for the whole family to keep us going through the greying days.

Ginger Squash Scones
makes 8 regular or 16 mini-scones
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat flour such as Red Fife from Lonesome Whistle Farm
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup roasted squash puree
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon candied ginger, chopped into small pieces

1. To prepare the roasted squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds (save them for roasting, if you feel industrious).  Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet and roast until soft, about 30 minutes. Scoop out the squash from the skin and mash with a potato masher. Use 1/2 cup for this recipe and save the rest for soup or more scones (it freezes well).

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, place the dry ingredients and the chopped sage, and pulse to combine.

3. Add the butter, and pulse about 10 or so times. You want to retain some small pieces of butter. Transfer the flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.

4. In a large measuring cup, place the squash, egg and buttermilk. Mix well. Pour into flour mixture. With a dinner fork, fold the wet into the dry as you gradually turn the bowl. When dough begins to gather, use a plastic bowl scraper to gently knead the dough into a ball shape.

5. Transfer the dough ball to a floured board. Gently pat into a 6” circle, or for mini-scones, make two smaller circles of dough. Sprinkle with the chopped candied ginger. If the dough feels sticky, chill it for about 15 minutes in the freezer or longer in the refrigerator. With a pastry scraper or large chef’s knife, cut each disc into 8 triangles.

6. Optional (but recommended by mrslarkin): place the scones on a wax paper-lined sheet pan and freeze until solid. Once they are frozen, you can store them in a plastic freezer bag for several weeks.

7. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place frozen scones on a parchment-lined sheet pan, about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 18 minutes for mini-scones or 20 - 25 minutes for regular sized scones, turning the pan halfway through. They are done when a wooden skewer comes out clean. Enjoy.