This 2016 Winter CSA season, on top of all those veggies in your share, we are including one “value-added” item from a local producer at every pickup. This week, we’d like to highlight our special guest, Ithaca Soy and the item the item they are contributing to our CSA, Tofu Kan. About Ithaca Soy: We can’t even remember when we became friends with Adam Potenza, the owner of Ithaca Soy, but his company’s tofu has fed our addiction for years! Adam grew up working on his dad Tony’s soybean farm, which also happens to be the first organic farm EVER in New York State! Now, all these years later, Potenza Organic Farms is the exclusive supplier of Ithaca Soy’s soy. Adam exemplifies what it means to run a local business, and he’s one of the only handmade tofu producers in the state. About Tofu Kan: Tofu Kan is an original Ithaca Soy creation – baked, marinated tofu that comes ready to eat, with little-to-no preparation involved. Simply slice it thinly and layer it onto deli sandwiches, cube it and sprinkle it on top of salads and soups, mix it into a stir fry, or warm it up and serve it as a main course. Adam’s Recommendations: Start with a good sourdough bread and add Tofu Kan, thinly sliced onion, lettuce, and stone ground mustard. Slice thinly and sauté or fry in a heavy pan. Then add to peanut lime noodles! Cube and lightly cover in chili powder, smoked paprika and olive oil (or any oil). Bake on a baking sheet with parchment paper at 300º for 25-30 minutes. This gives a good mock-meat taste and you can add it to anything from chili to fried rice.
I think I fall into that unusual category of people who are crazy about Brussels sprouts. You could put a giant bowl of them in front of me and every last one would be gone within minutes. I hear that this is not the norm, though. If you find yourself with some Brussels sprouts on your hands and aren’t quite sure what to do with them, here are a few tips to help you through the preparation process: Storage: If you’re in possession of a stalk or 2 of Brussels sprouts but know you won’t be cooking them for a little while, leave them on the stalk and refrigerate them. If space is an issue, trim them off the stalk and store them, uncovered, in a bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them. The outer layer will shrivel, and you’ll need to peel it off and discard it before preparing the sprouts, but they will still be crisp and yummy! Sprouts keep in the fridge for several weeks, if handled properly. Preparation: Trim Brussels sprouts off stalk, and cut off stem flush at base of each sprout. Before going any further, soak Brussels sprouts in warm water for 10 minutes. This will release any dirt and little unwanted critters that might be lurking around the top layers. Once soaking is complete, drain and rinse as usual. Discard any withered layers and trim off damaged areas before cooking. If cooking Brussels sprouts whole, cut a small X in the top (not the stem side). This will help the sprouts to cook through more evenly. Alternatively, cut sprouts in half, or in quarters if larger, to allow for quicker cooking while still keeping the layers of the sprout intact. Recipe Inspiration: My favorite way to cook Brussels Sprouts is actually to shred them by slicing them thinly with a knife. I caramelize some minced Shallots in a skillet with Bacon Grease, add the shredded Sprouts, a splash of Apple Cider to round out the flavor, and Salt and Pepper to taste. Sauté until they’re just wilted and voila! Simple, flavorful, and delicious! *Image courtesy of: http://www.taylorfarms.com/products/classic-vegetables/brussels-sprouts/.
Leeks are often known as the “soup onion” because of their mildness. They provide a perfect for complement to the more complex flavors of many dishes, such as soups, quiches, and gratins, without being overpowering. If you’ve never prepared leeks before, we have a few suggestions to make the process fast and easy. Because leeks, by nature, are layered vegetables that grows in the ground, they tend to collect dirt and grit that needs to be removed before being consumed. Here are a few tips to get them squeaky clean and ready to be cooked: Begin by chopping off the darker green leaves of the leek. While these sections can be used to flavor stocks, they are too tough to eat. Set the white and pale green portions aside. If using a recipe that only calls for the leeks to be halved, slice them in half lengthwise and hold each half under cold running water. Use your fingers to move the layers around a bit, allowing the water to move through them and flush out any grit. If using a recipe that calls for chopped leeks, halve them lengthwise, and then slice them up. Dunk them in a large bowl of cold water and use your hands to agitate them in the water so that any grit is dislodged. Pour into a strainer or colander to drain, and then rinse once more under cold running water to flush out any last bits of grit. Cook according to your recipe of choice and enjoy! *Image courtesy of: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_clean_leeks/.
This soup is a take on traditional Potato Leek Soup. I use ham stock instead of chicken, because it’s flavor complements the potatoes and cream so nicely. The buttermilk adds a tanginess that makes this soup stand out from other versions in complexity. For a vegetarian version, simply substitute vegetable stock in place of the meat stock. Potato Leek Soup By Holly Rodricks Makes 4-6 servings. Ingredients: 3 Leeks (white and pale green parts only), rinsed, halved, and sliced 3-4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter 2 large Potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced thinly 1 quart Ham Stock (Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock may be substituted.) 1 Bay Leaf 1/4 tsp. dried Lemon Thyme (Use regular Thyme, if Lemon is not available) 1/2 tsp. ground White Pepper 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg 1/2 cup Heavy Cream 1 cup Buttermilk Salt to taste Instructions: Melt Butter in skillet or large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add Leeks and caramelize, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes until soft, sweet, and translucent. (The goal here is to cook over a low enough heat that the Leeks and Butter do not brown/discolor.) While Leeks are caramelizing, bring Stock to a boil in a large stock pot. Add sliced Potatoes, Bay Leaf, Thyme, White Pepper, and Nutmeg. Reduce heat to simmer. Add caramelized Leeks. Allow soup to simmer, covered, until potatoes are tender and falling apart when mixed. Remove soup from heat and Salt to taste. Add Cream and Buttermilk. Use immersion blender to mix and liquefy. Serve hot with a fresh crust of buttered bread.
This recipe started out as a way to use up some extra carrots, but it has turned into a trusty base, with the sesame and honey glaze providing a wonderfully warm and bright taste that compliments just about any winter vegetable that has a little natural sweetness. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding/substituting butternut or acorn squash, beets, or turnips, but be sure to adjust the cooking time to accommodate the changes. Sesame and Honey-Glazed Winter Vegetables by Holly Rodricks Makes 4 side servings. Ingredients: 1 bunch Carrots, sliced thickly 1 small Winter Squash, chopped into large chunks (Good options are Butternut or Acorn Squash.) 2 cloves Garlic, minced 1 tbsp. Sesame Oil 1 tbsp Coconut Oil* 1 tbsp. Honey 1/2 tsp. Sesame Seeds Salt and Pepper to taste Instructions: Heat Oils in skillet over medium heat. Add Garlic and Sesame Seeds, and cook for approximately 1 minute. Add Carrots, Squash, Salt, Pepper, and Honey. Mix until vegetables are evenly coated. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Vegetables should begin to sear slightly. When vegetables are soft, add additional Salt and Pepper to taste, as needed. Serve hot!
A friend recently tried this out this Food Network recipe and let me try it, and it was so unique that I just had to share. A bright start to the winter, and one that perfectly highlights this week’s Winter CSA partnership with our friends at Food and Ferments. Enjoy! Turkey Sausage with Fennel Sauerkraut By Valerie Bertinelli, of Valerie’s Home Cooking Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 1 tbsp. Olive Oil 1 1/2 lbs hot or mild (or a combination) Italian Turkey Sausages – about 6 (Other kinds of sausage can be substituted.) 1 1/2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter 1/4 tsp. Caraway Seeds 1 large Fennel Bulb, trimmed, quartered, and thinly sliced 1 tbsp. Fennel fronds, for garnish 1 Gala Apple, cored and thinly sliced 1 lb. Sauerkraut, drained well Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste Instructions: Heat Oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Sausages and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 6 to 8 minutes. Add splash of Water, cover, and cook until the sausages are just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plate to cool. Once cooled, slice into 2-inch pieces and reserve. Reduce heat to medium and add Butter and Caraway Seeds, stirring until the butter is melted. Add Fennel and Apple and stir until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add Sauerkraut and Sausage pieces and cook, stirring, until the Sauerkraut is hot, about 3 minutes. Season with Salt and Pepper and garnish with Fennel Fronds. Image courtesy of: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/valerie-bertinelli/turkey-sausage-with-fennel-sauerkraut.html.