Week 18

Our last planting of sunflowers is blooming this week, providing one final burst of summer amidst the autumn foliage. Other than the sunflowers, the farm is fully in fall mode, and my dinner table is certainly reaping the benefits! This is in part because I start to have more time to cook and fully enjoy the food we grow. But another part of my love of cooking during this time of year stems from my love of fall veggies. I associate fall with some of my favorite dishes like squash raviolis, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, dumplings, root veggie casseroles, Asian-inspired stir fries, squash curries, and all manners of soup. This time of year I find myself scouring my cookbooks and favorite cooking websites for inspiration and new ideas. I've been particularly excited about our beautiful spinach crop this fall and last weekend discovered a new (to me) preparation: spinach pesto! The spinach is especially sweet after the multiple frosts we've had. I've used it on top of homemade squash ravioli, but I bet it would be delicious on chicken or potatoes too!

In the CSA:
  • Sugar Dumpling squash - Don't be misled by appearances - this squash looks decorative, but it is edible, and as the name indicates, it's nice and sweet! I love to cut in half and roast these before stuffing with rice or quinoa, sauteed veggies plus a few dried cranberries and/or goat cheese.
  • Hakurei turnips - These tender salad turnips that many enjoyed during the spring are back this week.
  • Fennel - The bulbs are small, but they're still great for roasting or shaving on top of salads
  • Daikon radish - This giant radish packs a spicy punch. I like to pickle them with carrots and ginger.
  • Winter squash - butternut, buttercup and acorn
  • Beets - mixed Chioggia, Red Ace and Golden
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes - Kennebec and Red Gold
  • Leeks
  • Scallions
  • Colored Peppers - two more frosts over the weekend appear to have finished off the sweet Italian peppers, so this is likely the last week.
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Baby Bok Choi
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce - limited this week as our final lettuce plantings are slow to mature in the shorter, cool days
  • Salnova
  • Cherriette radishes

CSA Pick-Your-Own:
  • Sunflowers - this variety is called buttercream
  • Herbs: Cilantro, Parsley, Thyme and Oregano

In the store:
Everything available in the CSA will also be available in the store, as well as pie pumpkins, red kuri squash and Happy Rich mini broccoli. We will also have Jack-O'-Lanterns grown by Bill Kenney down the road from us.

Spinach Pesto
from chow.com
I didn't use any lemon, used about 1/2 the pine nuts called for, and probably doubled the garlic!
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce), plus more for serving
  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place half of the spinach and all of the pine nuts and garlic in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, until coarsely chopped, about 10 (1-second) pulses. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining spinach and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 20 (1-second) pulses, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the measured Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, measured salt, and measured pepper and process until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the motor running, slowly pour in the oil and process until a smooth paste forms, about 30 seconds. Serve on top of pasta (or whatever else sounds good to you!)