by Laurel Blomquist, Head Gardener | Fall is officially in full swing, and the sheer variety of vegetables may have some of you scratching your heads. This post was so popular during the summer that I thought I would do it again for fall.
The first thing I would do is check to see which vegetables are going to spoil first, and eat those right away. Much of the share this week is root vegetables, so that is good news because they will store. However, there are quite a few greens in the share too, and they have a much shorter shelf life. I would start by making Chef Tenaglia’s “Beans and Greens” and use up 2 bunches of green or red mustard and the green tops of my white turnips, as well as a shallot. That would be enough for a double batch, which could be a side dish at lunch or dinner all week.
The salad mix is the next most vulnerable item, so I would make salads all week with my favorite topping, white turnips. They have a texture similar to radishes, without the spicy bite. They are also perfect for dipping into hummus or your favorite dip. Simply slice and salt, and you’re done! You can also saute them in butter with their greens. Mini sweet peppers would be another good salad topping, as they are so sweet they need no preparation other than de-seeding.
Next I would try to use the lettuce head. If I picked up a red leaf lettuce, I would use it on sandwiches or use it to wrap grilled steak, chicken, or pork, a la Korean galbi. If I chose the green romaine, I would grill it briefly before drizzling it with an herb vinaigrette or caesar dressing.
As a side dish for my meats, I would make my recipe of the week, “Braised Parsnips & Celeriac” which comes to us from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2018. It uses shallots, thyme, celeriac, parsnips, and a little parsley. It also contains two more favorite fall flavors: cranberries and apple cider. This is sure to be a winner at the fall dinner table.
I like my probiotics in the morning, so I would chop up the daikon radish and add it to the batch of kimchi that I started 3 weeks ago. Each week, I salt the daikon for 1 hour and then add it to last week’s batch to kickstart the fermentation process. I add a little more ginger, garlic, and hot pepper to adjust the seasonings, wait 2-3 days, and put it back in the refrigerator. I eat it at all stages of fermentation, but I particularly like it nice and sour.
For my last taste of summer, I would fry up some green tomatoes, grill the eggplant and sweet peppers, and serve it all over a creamy, cheesy polenta. This comfort food is sure to please on these chilly fall evenings.
The best food to make this time of year is soup, and I’ve got a lot of ingredients to potentially work with here: cabbage, potatoes, parsnip, leeks, turnips, squash, onions, celeriac, and beets. I’m partial to borscht, so I would make “Hearty Beet Stew” from Cooking for Hormone Balance, which uses onion, parsnip, leek, cabbage, beets, and dill.
That leaves me with half a cabbage, potatoes, another leek, the squash, and turnips. I would throw them into a slow cooker with a seared piece of beef brisket or pork shoulder, cover with stock made from all the scraps of the vegetables I’ve been eating, turn it on low, and come home to a nice stew.
I hope this gives you some seasonal cooking inspiration as we head into fall with gusto. How are you going to use your share?
Laurel Blomquist oversees 11 acres of organic vegetables, fruit, cover crops and herbs at Gwenyn Hill Farm.