Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Sifting

Hello from the farm,

We are still here, and not much worse for the wear.  A nice locust tree which hosted our Great Northern Owl box is now leaning at a 30 degree angle, so we'll relocate the nesting box.  It did have a nest inside but we don't know if it belonged to an owl, squirrel, or other bird.  Our Indian corn, the nicest looking corn we've had in twelve years of growing here, is now plastered flat to the ground, as are the sunflowers and the sunflower house.  What's the upside?  The sunflowers and corn are more difficult to harvest, but probably not much is lost.
sunflowers flattened

Seeing Triple: An Impromptu Farm Manager Reunion

On Friday, we had an unexpected reunion as Paul Martin and Peter Emerson both dropped in without knowing the other was stopping by.It was great to catch up and reminisce.  Much has changed over the twelve seasons that we have been farming, but the concept and vision is the same.  Pictured above:
From right:
 Paul Martin, 2000 pioneering farm manager
Peter Emerson 2001-2005 farm manager
Scott Breneman 2006-present farm manager

 Serving Suggestions for the Harvest as we transition into Fall Crops: 

butternut squash:  these are great roasted, combined with apple, maple syrup, brown sugar. See instructions and recipe below--it really is simple to roast squash whole.
potatoes: these potatoes have great flavor: bake, boil, olive oil and parsley potato salad and much more.
sweet peppers:  these are fading away, enjoy.  so many shapes and colors when ripe.  They are easy to freeze, halve, core and freeze on a baking tray, then put into freezer bags.
eggplant: Italian or Asian type, they are the same in use and taste and come in stunning colors.  great on the grill with soy sauce and oil brushed on.
sweet onions: mild, yummy--salads, burgers, cuke and tomato salad, carmelize
tomatoes: definitely slowing down.   tomato cucumber salad, anything and everything
carrots:  we are nearing the end of the carrots, it's been a good harvest. eat fresh, roast in oven, boil and add maple syrup and butter.
garlic: great in everything--except cake and ice cream, and even then.... ;-)
scallions: use in salad, or anywhere onions are appreciated.
cilantro: excellent on a ham sandwich, salsa, salad, liverwurst sandwich and on and on...


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: about 90 minutes

1 butternut squash, washed under running water

Turn the oven to 425F. There's no need to wait for the oven to preheat, put the squash on a baking sheet or in an oven-safe pan of some sort and put it straight in. Wait awhile, the house is going to start smelling really really good. (You might want to rustle up some snacks because the cowboy and cowkids are gonna be hungry.) A medium-size squash, less than two pounds, took an even 90 minutes, a larger one might take longer.

That's it. Really! That is IT! Well, okay, so you also need to slice it open and scoop out the seeds and peel off the skin. Then that's it!

18oz butternut squash yields 9oz roasted squash
34oz butternut squash yields 19oz
44oz butternut squash yields 24oz
7oz = 1 cup packed cooked squash

This means that, roughly, a two-pound squash will yield one pound of cooked squash. Good to know!

 Do use a baking sheet or something to protect your oven, some times the squash oozes a bit of sugary juice.
 Nope, I didn't prick the squash before roasting. And I've done it twice six times now, once in 2006 and again in 2011 and not a single squash blew up. So given that, I'm sticking with the no-prick roasting. Breaking the skin will let moisture out and some of the sugars will seep out and burn, like they often do when you roast the squash cut-side down.
 While you're roasting one, roast two or three. The Recipe Box for winter squash recipes is filled with squash recipes that call for cooked squash. They're marked with this little icon, , cool, eh?
 I haven't figured out why (and wonder if it's just the difference between one squash and another) but some times the squash comes out just like we want and think of as perfect: cooked through, smooth and sweet, meaty and moist. But some times the squash comes out almost wet and watery, some times it comes out dry and fibrous. I've had this happen with three different squash cooked the same length of time at the same time. Ideas, anyone?

Such familiar ingredients (butternut squash, apples, maple syrup and warm fall spices) somehow create unexpected layers of flavor and color. One of the prettiest dishes to ever hit a table, yes?! so festive for special occasions like Thanksgiving but simple enough for weekend suppers too.

No comments: