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You want lean bacon for this without too much smoke on it. You could use pancetta as well. The bacon should be fairly thickly sliced. If it is really smoky, cut it and drop it into boiling water for 10 seconds, then pat dry.

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I love gratins. I like to experiment with various ingredients and see how well they go together. Knowing that celeriac and potatoes go well as a mash, I was pretty sure this would work well also. It sure does. This light version of a gratin does not use cream or cheese.

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Maple syrup makes everything taste better it seems, and bacon can improve just about anything (except chocolate, but that’s another story), just as a good balsamic vinegar can. In combination, even those who think they loathe Brussels sprouts may be converted. Here, a small amount of vinegar is used as a contrast, so use the good stuff you have stashed in the back of the cupboard.

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INGREDIENTS:

3 – 4 quarts water
2 1 pint Brussels sprouts (10 to 12 ounces)
tablespoons salt, plus two more 

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So simple, and yet so flavorful. This is one of those things where the whole is so much greater than the parts. Do not try doing this in a food processor. It will simply be a mess. From this basic recipe there are many other directions you can go. Use Meyer lemon and or orange zest. Add lime to it and use cilantro.

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The silky texture of escarole always seems at such odds with its bitter flavor. Adding a little sugar and caramelizing it until on the border of burnt both tames and points out the bitter quality of this vegetable, and the addition of sweet/tart fruit and vinegar made from the fruit amplifies this idea. This dish goes well with meats with mild roast chicken or fatty pork chops with a nice crust for textural contrasts. It would also be a nice complement to kasha with braised mushrooms or even fried eggs.

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Minestrone is part of the “Cucina Povera” school of Italian cooking. “Povera” and poverty share roots, so this is a soup that is usually made of what is on hand, and recipes vary widely. Here is one based on my college days.

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A festival of flavors for the face. Sweet, earthy, tart, pungent, freshly herbaceous, it really is a party of tastes. Making the gremolata the day before makes this dish pretty simple to put together.

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This mélange could be used as a stuffing for poultry, Portobello mushrooms, or Delicata squash, a filling for pasta or chard leaves, or just served as a side. Add grains to it for a heartier dish, or top with pine nuts for elegance.

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Here is a sauce that feels rich in the mouth and has big flavors. The texture of the sauce comes from the squash and onions, and there is no cream in it. This sauce was devised for topping red beets, but it would be fine for fish, chicken, or even pork. It would also be nice on pasta as a fun twist on the classic Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter Sauce (see recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli on site). Stuff ravioli with chard and cheese, or add ground turkey or pork, and top with the sauce.

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This is a colorful dish with an interplay of textures and contrasts of flavors to add interest. The sauce is sweet and provides high notes, the cabbage is the mid-range and provides sweet and earthy, where the beets are mostly low range and have earthy notes tinged with a mellow sweetness. The vinegar the beets are drizzled with after roasting adds balance. Be sure to cook the cabbage just long enough render it tender, but still possessing some crunch.

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1210141809aSavoy spinach has a slightly more robust flavor than the flat kind, is well suited to cooking. However, the folds mean you need to be more attentive to washing it. Not a big deal really. Just use a large bowl to swish the leaves around in, then lift them from the water into a colander. Repeat as needed. To check that, look at the bottom of the rinse bowl for dirt, and bite a piece. That should let you know.

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With roasted beets in the refrigerator, you always have a dish waiting to happen. Here, roasted Chioggias are given a North African or Turkish treatment. For the recipe, the beets are cut into batons just because, but if you already have them in wedges, no worries.

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If you have the marmalade ready to go in the refrigerator, this is a quick and simple dish to prepare. The flavor of the crust is nice, but if you put it on a couple days ahead of time and let the chicken “marinate” in the refrigerator, the flavor will permeate the chicken. Since you have carrots in the marmalade, serving carrots alongside the chicken makes a nice pairing.

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Although it says marmalade, there really is no citrus peel here, it is just that the carrot shreds look like orange zest. Use this to top fish, pork chops, or chicken roasted with a fennel coriander seed crust (see the recipe). You want to have your Ben-Riner or mandolin handy for this recipe to make things easier, but a sharp knife can do the trick as well. The best pan for this recipe is a “chef’s pan”.

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Finding different ways to use celery leaves besides sticking them in stock is a “chef thing”. Here is a dual recipe. Chopped, it makes a condiment to be used as you might Salsa Verde. Chopped finer in food processor you get a pesto like paste that can be used on pasta, or on slabs of cheese or smeared onto things. For pasta, try it with something like bucatini or try a whole grain noodle with a little more chew and deeper flavor. Barilla makes a “Plus” line that is made with spelt and barley, chickpeas and lentils, as well as semolina, that has a nice flavor that would go well with this recipe. Try it on fish or poultry-it would go well with turkey for instance. Use as a smear for the white meat or use on sandwiches of leftovers later.

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The pesto is on quotations because you can just toss a handful of basil and garlic into a blender and then add almonds for a quick pesto-ish mélange rather than making a full on batch of pesto. If you wanted to, you could toss in flat leaf parsley with the basil to stretch it, or you can even use pesto from a jar. You would still need to add almonds for the flavor they impart. This is here to use up the last of the season basil you might have in the garden, or in the refrigerator.

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I tend to think of this as Christmas Salad. Not because of when it is served, but because of the reds and greens of its colors and the jewel-like look of the pieces. This would be a good “company” salad as you can cut all the components except the avocado in advance. Then it is just a matter of assembling it at the last moment. This salad is a study in contrasts of colors and textures, and is fun to eat. If cutting lots of cubes seems like too much work, see Chef’s Notes for an easy variation.

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Although I usually wouldn’t use chard raw, kale salad got me wondering. If the chard is very tender and the leaves are smaller, they are perfect for this. If they are larger and thicker, and eating some raw makes your teeth feel sort of furry, wait for another time to make this. Serve this as a salad on its own or as a side to cider braised pork chops, ham steak, or sausages.

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A variation on a theme, this soup is made easier by simply roasting the squash and scooping out the flesh rather than peeling and cutting and cooking it. It is a fairly simple dish, and is smooth enough to serve in cups to be sipped if you wish, or you could add substance to it by adding shrimp and/or some rice-even easier if you have some left over in the refrigerator. This soup can be made thicker and then double as a sauce for fish or on noodles with peppers and shrimp added to them.

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This is a twist of another tuna salad recipe, which happens to use the more familiar red globe radishes. Here, black radish fills in for celery and adds a bit of contrast with its mild horseradish-like bite. You could use this tuna salad for a straight-up sandwich, but here it is paired with lettuce and tomatoes and slices of baguette for a build-your-own affair.

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This will fill the kitchen with all sorts of wonderful aromas.

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A medley of textures and flavors, this dish has a nice amount of bitter and tart to offset the sweet elements, keeping it light. This recipe would work well on the Thanksgiving table. If you do not have dates, apples work also. See Chef’s Notes.

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This recipe is for a condiment made of Corno de Toro and Hungarian peppers, but you could use other types if you wish. Use this to top sandwiches, grilled meats or fish such as swordfish or halibut, or on sausages.

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A basic pasta dish with a fresh tomato sauce, but here the squash stands in for the noodles. You want to use your widest pan for this as too much moisture-like you can get from crowding the squash-can render the squash soupy rather than into “pasta” like strands.

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This is the basic technique for spaghetti squash. Using spaghetti squash typically entails two cooking steps. The first is where the squash is actually cooked, and the next is where the “spaghetti” part gets seasoned in a secondary cooking with other ingredients. This is the technique for the primary step, where the squash is cooked and separated into the strands that give the squash its name. From here, you can do all sorts of things to season the squash. Just remember not to over-cook it, and give it lots of room in the pan and minimal moisture to keep it from getting mushy. Also, I find using an oil sprayer really helps ensure an even coat of oil without having really soggy spots or dry spots, which can affect the end results.

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ketchupThis recipe is from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Using “paste” tomatoes such as San Marzanos are ideal because of their low moisture levels. Quickly blanching the tomatoes (boiling them until the skins split then transferring them into ice water) helps to remove the skin efficiently. A quick squeeze of the peeled tomatoes can release most seeds. Processing with a food mill can help remove any skins or seeds you didn’t catch and will give the ketchup the right consistency. This homemade ketchup tastes divine and has quite a bit less sugar and salt than the store-bought kinds.

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This is a bare bones simple White Balsamic dressing for when you want the flavors of the salad to stand out.

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A light and satisfying dish that goes well with lighter flavored proteins, or pairs well with beans and light grains such as rice or quinoa.

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For this salad, a tender lettuce like Butter or Oakleaf is the perfect contrast to the dense beets and crunchy quickles. If you can’t find small red onions for your quickles, go with shallots instead. Although very simple, this salad is so satisfying with the range of textures and flavors. Also, the beets and quickles can be done days ahead, along with the dressing.

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When you join our CSA, you sign up with the farm to receive a share of the harvest during our 36 week season from mid-March to mid-November. In return, you get a weekly box of organic vegetables and fruit (and optional flowers) delivered straight from our farm to a pick-up site in your neighborhood.

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