Monday, January 3, 2011

Turning into the New Year

Happy New Year
From the People and Critters of Buckwheat Blossom Farm

The days have shifted to host a little more sunlight, if slightly, as they pass... the chickens sense the optimism and have started to lay more eggs. The sheep have given up on seeing green grass again and settle into the routine of feeding on hay twice daily, chewing cud to pass the time otherwise. The pigs are gone; the last of the lambs gone. The horses have a bit of ease until winter logging starts. They have the excitement of mealtime, scratching on young trees, and the occasional horse-drama they create amongst themselves. Oh yes, and then there was the other day, when Ruth un-intentionally terrified Millie, our youngest mare, with her snowman! Ruth had the kindness and good sense to stand in front of her new snowman, blocking it from Millie's view, so the large and frightened horse could brave walking past to get to her water trough.

“An old barn owl is the only one awake to greet the January of another year. No, here are the deer, come silently to the barnyard for a bit of salt and a little left-over hay. And the quiet fox is making certain the chickens are safe in bed this New Year’s Eve.”

-from The Year at Maple Hill Farm

December 21 Winter Pantry CSA Share:

golden turnips
winter squash: sunshine & sweet dumpling
Brussels sprouts
fermented pickles
frozen green beans
frozen tomatoes
dried dill

January 4 Winter Pantry CSA Share:

winter squash: acorn
dilly beans
frozen summer squash
frozen corn

Jeff recently reported that a few folks at farmers' market claimed to be sick of winter squash... WHAT!? All year I look forward to the cool days of autumn that bring me winter squash, and I never tire of the sweet orange flesh. So, here are some squash ideas to keep you feasting as happily as me: acorn squash is great cut in half, stuffed (grains, apples, nuts, ground meat, anything...) and baked, squash is wonderful with black beans in burritos, used instead of pumpkin in pie, as a filling for enchiladas, in sweet breads, in lasagna, in a sweet-style chili with cinnamon, or, in one of our family's favorites, the galette:

Winter Squash Galette
- Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone; serves 6

Yeasted tart dough, with olive oil or butter, or galette dough
2 1/2 pounds winter squash, such as butternut
1 small head garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 Tbs. olive oil, plus extra for the squash
1 onion, finely diced
12 fresh age leaves, chopped, or 2 tsp. dried
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino or Parmesan (I often leave this out, and it is still great!)
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 egg, beaten

Make the dough. Pre-heat the oven to 375. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, and brush the cut surface with oil. Stuff the garlic into the cavities and place the squash cut side down on a sheet pan. Bake until the flesh is tender, about 40 minutes. Scoop out the squash and squeeze the garlic cloves. Mash them together with a fork until fairly smooth, leaving some texture.
Warm 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sage and cook until the onion is soft and beginning to color, about 12 minutes. Add it to the squash along with the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roll out the dough into a 14 inch circle and spread the filling over it, leaving a border of 2 inches or more. Pleat the dough over the filling, the galette will be partially or completely covered, almost like a two crust pie. Brush the edges with beaten egg. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes.

Galette Dough:
2 cups all-purpose or whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. sugar
12 Tbs. cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water as needed
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a bowl. Cut in the butter by hand or using a mixer with a paddle attachment, leaving some pea-sized chunks. Sprinkle the ice water over the top by the tablespoon and toss it with the flour mixture until you can bring the dough together into a ball. Press it into a disk and refrigerate for 15 minutes if the butter feels soft.

Happy Eating,