Dear friends of WE Cooperative,

As of December 2013, our Community Supported Agriculture program has been permanently suspended.

We regret that we will not be continuing our veggie and goods subscription service.

If you were a 2013 subscriber and have questions about your account please contact Colleen Logan at colleen @ wecooperative.com.

We hope you will continue to support the vibrant, local, organic food movement, to teach your children about the importance of knowing where the food comes from and how it is grown, and of course to honor our local farmers and farmworkers.

Your friends,

WE Cooperative Monterey Bay

 

With today’s box, the season comes to a close. Boo! It’s been a great season – full of fresh fruits and vegetables from Fogline Farm and a wide array of goods from local producers including Monterey Bay Salt CompanyCountry Flat Farm, Coke Farm, Belle Farms, Far West Fungi, Carmel Valley Glassware, and more!

However you celebrate the holidays, we hope that the end of 2013 is full of many gatherings with family, friends, good food, and fun libations. Cheers!

The contents for today’s boxes are listed below. Bear in mind that there may be some variation in the boxes – and we’re not sure what will appear in the chica boxes versus the grande…but, rest assured, whatever is in your box will be fresh, organically-grown, and delicious!

Fruits and Veggies: chard, rapini, lettuce, kale, sage, rosemary, parsley, carrots, baby spinach, butternut squash, broccoli, and potatoes

Goods: Surprise! Who doesn’t love a surprise?!?

And here are a few suggestions of what you might do with your farm-fresh goodies and goods… [Click on the title to go to the recipe post.]

Herbs are culinary fairy dust

Use more of them – and less salt – to season your dishes!

Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon

Salmon en Croute – with Chard

 

I love the addition of slightly wilted greens to fresh salmon in this elegant dish that’s perfect for a holiday table.

  • Pâte Brisée (chilled)
  • 2 C chard, chiffonade
  • 1 T crushed garlic
  • salmon filets
  • sea salt flakes
  • fennel pollen
  • 1 egg, beaten

 

In a large flat bottom pan, quickly saute the chard and crushed garlic until just barely wilted. Roll out your Pâte Brisée to the length of your salmon, plus 2 inches on each end. On a piece of parchment paper, lay your chard to the length that you need for your salmon. Lay the salmon, skin side up, on top of the chard. Gently fold the dough over to form an envelope – first the long side, then the ends. Press the seams together gently.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll the salmon so that the seam side is down. Then brush the top with an egg wash. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and fennel pollen.

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 35-40 minutes…until the crust is browned and crisp to the touch.

Let the Salmon en Croute cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve hot.

 

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I really wanted to call this a butternut squash ‘bisque’; that sounds more sexy than squash ‘soup’. But then I did some reading and realized that you can’t categorize something as a bisque unless it has fish stock as its base. So…this is fenneled butternut squash soup made with squash puree. Feel free to make it with pumpkin – or whatever squash you have on-hand.

  • 1 C diced bacon
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 6 C pumpkin or squash puree
  • 10 C organic chicken stock
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 t fennel seeds
  • freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  • persimmons, peeled and julienned for garnish

In a souppot, cook the bacon pieces until they begin to brown but are not crispy. Add the fennel and garlic and cook until the fennel begins to caramelize. Add the squash, chicken stock, fennel seeds and orange juice. Simmer until the soup begins to thicken. Stir in lemon juice, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with julienned persimmons.

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Looking at the list of veggies in our boxes this week from Fogline Farm, I immediately started humming Scarborough Faire…

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme;

Remember me to one who lives there,

For once she was a true lover of mine.

Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme…well, we aren’t getting the thyme. But everything else.

Fresh herbs are akin to culinary fairy dust. They add that delightful je ne sais quois to dishes, adding dimension and freshness. I think if more people used herbs liberally, they could get away with so much less salt in their food. 

How do you use fresh herbs? I’ll be mincing parsley for a gremolata to go with our braised beef brisket with roasted grapes on Thursday, folding fresh rosemary into rustic smashed potatoes, and floating crisped sage leaves on top of a vegetable-matzo ball soup. I can’t wait to showcase some of our Fogline goodies on my Thanksgiving table.

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From Planting to Plating

I’m not sure if the leeks we’re getting this week are ones we planted back then, or a few generation gone by. But when we put them on our table this week, we’ll definitely be talking about how they looked when we planted them…and how big they grew to make it onto our plates. Can’t wait! That connection – from plant to plate – is one of the main reasons that I support a CSA each season.

With today’s box, the countdown begins. Only one more CSA boxes after that. Boo!

The contents for today’s boxes are listed below. Bear in mind that there may be some variation in the boxes – and we’re not sure what will appear in the chica boxes versus the grande…but, rest assured, whatever is in your box will be fresh, organically-grown, and delicious!

Fruits and Veggies: lettuce, greens, bok choi, leeks, fennel, sugar pie pumpkins, sage, carrots, rapini, and potatoes

Goods: lemons from Eichorn’s Country Flat Farm in Big Sur and raw organic almonds from Kashiwase Farms in Winton

And here are a few suggestions of what you might do with your farm-fresh goodies and goods… [Click on the title to go to the recipe post.]

Sweet’N'Sour Braised Leeks

Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Oven-Roasted Broccoli (use your rapini for this!)

 

One of the great things about being part of a CSA is that the subscribing members are connected to the providing farm for the entire season – and maybe longer! Before our season even started members were invited to visit Fogline Farm in Soquel. We toured the farm, we picnicked, and – most importantly – we helped to put some plants in the ground.

We planted cauliflower…

And we planted leeks that day…

It was exhausting!

But what we learned – and how connected to the farm and the food we became – was priceless. I’m not sure if the leeks we’re getting this week are ones we planted back then, or a few generation gone by. But when we put them on our table this week, we’ll definitely be talking about how they looked when we planted them…and how big they grew to make it onto our plates. Can’t wait! That connection – from plant to plate – is one of the main reasons that I support a CSA each season.

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Though I originally made this with broccoli, I will definitely be giving the broccoli rabe/rapini this treatment this week. It’s so easy and so delicious!

Oven-Roasted Broccoli or Broccoli Rabe

  • 1 bunch broccoli or broccoli rabe, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 C panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 C shredded Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375F. Cut the broccoli into bite size pieces. Trim the dark green from the stalk and cut into thick, round slices. Place the broccoli into a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread the panko into a 13 by 9-inch metal sheet pan and place into the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the panko from the oven and add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Toss to combine. Return the mixture to the cake pan, place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender, 15-20 more minutes. Remove from the oven, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.
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One morning when we were at the market, my 11-year-old asked if I could make a pumpkin pie. I agreed. And he handed me a Japanese kabocha squash. Can you use this? Okay. I roasted it and made pumpkin puree. This week, in our CSA boxes, you might get a sugar pie pumpkin. Making a pumpkin pie from scratch is a great autumn afternoon activity…and it will taste amazing!

The Crust

  • 2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 C butter

Mix the flour, ground almonds, sugar and salt; rub in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in 1 teaspoon of water with a fork until the mixture forms a ball. Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper. Press gently into a pie pan. Chill in the freezer until ready to bake. 

The Pie

  • 3 C pumpkin puree
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup ginger syrup
  • 3 T organic brown sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground cloves
  • ground nutmeg
  • pure vanilla extract

Just a note, my 9-year-ols is a spice fiend…and he doesn’t measure. He just adds spices until it smells the way that he wants. So, I’m not going to hazard a guess as to what he used. Give it a try!

Whisk all of that together and place in the crust. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour or until the filling is set. It will be firm to the touch and the crust will be lightly browned.

Let it cool slightly before slicing. Serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.

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For me sweet and sour go together like peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, or chocolate and hazelnuts. You get the idea. Flavor marriages made in heaven. This dish – braised leeks – has sweetness from raisins, zip from vinegar, and a mysterious smokiness from bacon. It’s bright and tasty; it comes together very quickly. I served this with some honey-glazed short ribs and it was lovely. I will definitely be making this again soon. Sweet and sour. Bliss.

  •  splash of olive oil
  • 2 slices of thick-cut apple-wood smoked bacon
  • 2 medium organic leeks, white and light green part cut in half, washed well; then sliced in about 3/4″ pieces
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 t herbes de Provence, rubbed in the palms of hands
  • 1/2 C organic raisins
  • 1 large or 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 T butter
  •  1/2 C organic chicken stock
  • 2 T pear balsamic vinegar
  • fresh parsley and reserved green scallion tops, finely chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, turning, until crisp, about 6-7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Let cool and then coarsely crumble.

Add leeks to bacon drippings in skillet, sprinkle with some salt, a few grinds of pepper and the herbes de Provence. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are lightly browned and beginning to soften, about 8 minutes.

Reduce heat to low; add shallots, chopped white part of scallions, raisins and butter. Saute, stirring often, until the shallots are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock to the skillet; increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for a few minutes, until stock has evaporated.

Stir in vinegar and bacon crumbles; taste and season with more salt and black pepper, if needed; sprinkle with chopped parsley and reserved scallion green tops. Serve warm and enjoy!

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