Summer is on her way out, leaving with a kiss on the sumac at the edge of a field. In this area the end of summer feels like a too-quickly-over visit with a good friend -and winter can feel like a bleak and monotonous norm. But summer has a round-trip ticket, and personally, I love winter. I think everyone enjoys the in-between: this final display of sweet smelling surrender from leaves that have been drinking in the summer light like a milkshake through a straw.
This time of year is the time for apple cider, and jumping in leaf piles and harvest parties. It is also the time of year for acquaintances to ask me questions like, “I suppose you must be just about done with things out at the farm?” I have gotten this question every year I’ve worked out here -and every year I explain how many (so many) storage crops we grow and how tall the stacks of pallet boxes get stacked in the cooler and root cellar.
We are standing at the edge of the season, and there is so much work to be done in just a few short weeks. I do love the Summer CSA harvest, and the people it brings out to the farm. But I’ve gotten so that I also enjoy the 3-4 week long carousel ride made up of trailers full of produce and washer equipment and, well those two things I guess.
I hope you all enjoy these last tastes of summer, and some of fall. I know I will -and I’ll be eating a lot of leeks too.
For the farm crew,
P.S. If you signed up to get pumpkins, they will be at your site, enjoy!
P.P.S. Return your share boxes -thanks!
In your share today:
- Greens Mix
- Green Cabbage
- Greens mix
- Yellow Onions
- Green peppers
- French Fingerling potatoes
- Sunshine and Delicata Squash
Leek toasts with blue cheese
(This toast idea seems great, but I’m mostly including this recipe as a way to make use of a lot of leeks at once -try it on or in all your meals this week.)
- 1 1/2 pounds leeks (about 3 big leeks), lengthwise and white and pale green parts sliced 1/4-inch thick (about 3 generous cups of slices)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing toasts
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 medium-sized or 12 baguette-sized 1/2-inch slices of bread of your choice (I used a light sourdough)
- 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (a soft or crumbly goat cheese would also work)
- Few drops of lemon juice (optional)
Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add leeks and use your hands to pump them up and down in the water a bit, separating the rings and letting the dirt and grit fall to the bottom. Transfer to a dish or plate for a minute; no need to dry them.
Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium. Once hot, add butter and olive oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add the leek slices, still wet. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook leeks for 25 minutes, stirring them occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.
While leeks cook, brush bread slices with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Run under broiler until lightly toasted. You may either spread the cheese you’re using on now, while the toasts are hot, or sprinkle it on at the end. Divide leeks among toasts. Sprinkle with cheese, if you haven’t spread it underneath. Add a few drops of lemon juice, if desired. Eat at once or gently rewarm a bit later.
Pureed Winter Squash Soup With Ginger
- 1 tablespoon canola or rice bran oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 pounds peeled winter squash
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 6 ½ cups water, chicken stock or vegetable stock
- ⅓ cup rice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon ginger juice (made by grating a teaspoon of fresh ginger, wrapping in cheesecloth and squeezing the cheesecloth)
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ lime
- 4 to 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the winter squash, garlic and minced ginger and cook, stirring, until the mixture smells fragrant, about 1 minute
Add the water or stock, the rice and salt to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the squash is very tender
Using a hand blender, or in batches in a regular blender, purée the soup. If using a regular blender, cover the top with a towel pulled down tight, rather than airtight with the lid. Return to the pot and heat through. Stir in the ginger juice, taste and season with salt and pepper. If desired, thin out with a little more water or stock
Ladle the soup into bowls and add a tablespoon of yogurt (more to taste), then slowly swirl the yogurt into the soup with a spoon. Squeeze a few drops of lime juice onto each serving and sprinkle with whisper of nutmeg