Butternut Squash soup

Kürbissuppe – German squash soup

A simple soup, perfect for a rainy winter day. The German variation includes apples, parsnips and carrots to enhance the character of the butternut squash. Your recent winter CSA share included some yummy root veggies along with the butternut squash, potatoes and Fuji Apples. We decided to cook them up and turn them into a creamy, velvety comforting soup.

Recipe by: Mirinda @ Boistfort Valley Farm

 

INGREDIENTS
3 medium Butternut Squash
2 Fuji Apples
4 large Parsnips
4 large Carrots
3 large Fingerling Potatoes
1 white Onion
1/4 cup Butter
1 quart Vegetable Broth
2 cups Half & Half
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder
salt to taste

 

  1.  Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2.  Cut your squash down the center and remove seeds. Place face down onto a large baking sheet.
  3. Peel carrots and parsnips and remove the tops. Place on baking sheet along with your squash and put into your oven. Allow to cook for approximately 30-45 minutes (until your parsnips and carrots have a golden, roasted look) Remove your carrots and parsnips and set aside. Place your squash back into the oven for another 30-40 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Peel and chop your onion and apples and add to a stockpot along with your butter on medium-low heat. Allow to cook until the onions are clear.
  5. Peel and chop your potatoes and add to your stockpot along with your roasted carrots, parsnips and vegetable broth. Cover and let simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.
  6. At this point, your squash should be done cooking. Remove from your oven and set aside to cool.
  7. When your carrots, taters and those other tasty ingredients in the stock pot are tender, remove from heat and place ingredients into a blender. Puree until smooth and pour back into your stock pot. (You can also use an immersion blender if your prefer)
  8. Remove the flesh away from the skin of the squash and place in your blender along with the half & half. Puree until smooth and add to your stock pot. Return to the stove and allow to simmer on low and stir well.
  9. Add your ginger, curry and salt to the pot.
  10. Your soup is ready to eat! Grab a bowl and dig in!
Vodka Kale Risotto

Vodka Kale Risotto & Acorn Squash

What do you get when two Russians and two Italians walk into a bar? Vodka Kale Risotto. We spun your traditional Risotto by adding vodka and a delicious stinky Italian cheese, Gorgonzola. They’re BFF’s and play well with Russian Kale. In your recent Winter CSA share, we threw in some wonderful kale, garlic and some acorn squash – all of which was used to make this nice little dinner recipe. Don’t forget to serve it with a nice martini, stirred not shaken with 2 olives. (Yes, I said stirred.)

“Happiness is…finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry.” ~Johnny Carson

You may be telling yourself, “But I can’t make risotto! I’ve heard of chef Gordan Ramsay teleporting directly to people’s kitchens across the globe to swear profusely at them for $!*#ing up his beloved dish.” I cannot confirm nor deny that Gordan Ramsay will swear at you for messing up the risotto but making it is quite easy once you get your technique down. What the heck is risotto exactly? Creamy Italian rice. Simple right? It’s first cooked in a fat (butter and olive oil for this recipe) and cooked slowly, stirring constantly over a period of time in order to release the natural starch from the rice, called amylopectin. FOOD SCIENCE! Once the rice becomes al dente (we’ll get to that part later) we add the cheese to create the yummy deliciousness that is a signature feature of risotto. Still confused? Don’t worry, I’ve given a step-by-step process below on how to make the perfect risotto, every time. Hooray! Lets get started…

Recipe by: Mirinda @ Boistfort Valley Farm

 

RISOTTO INGREDIENTS
serves 6-8
2 cups Italian arborio rice
1 1/4 cups Italian Gorgonzola cheese (packed and cubed)
1 cup Russian Vodka
1 1/2 cups Russian Red Kale
8 cups of good quality Vegetable Broth (or chicken)
1 small Onion (finely minced)
2-3 cloves of chopped Garlic
8 Tbsp of Butter (good quality pasture raised)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
———
ACORN SQUASH INGREDIENTS
1 large or 2 medium acorn squash
2-3 Tbsp of chili infused Olive Oil
2 Tbsp of dried Oregano
1 Tbsp Paprika
Salt and Pepper to taste

 

The first rule of risotto making is to prepare your Mise en place. Which is the French term for “putting in place”, as in set up. Risotto requires constant attention otherwise you can potentially ruin it. So, get everything and I mean everything ready to go and give yourself a nice 20-30 minutes of one-on-one time with your trusty stove top. Scared yet? No? Okay, now we can start.

Vodka Kale Risotto

Lets get started.

  1.  Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2.  Prepare all of the following risotto ingredients. Cube and pack 1 1/2 cups of Gorgonzola cheese. Finely mince your onion and set aside. Smash and chop your garlic cloves and set aside. Chop up your kale and set aside.
  3. For your vegetable broth, place in a separate stock pot and heat to a medium temperature. This is a key step and remember to always keep your broth at the same temperature that you cook your rice. Let this get to temperature while we take care of some other stuff.
  4. Onto the Acorn Squash… Cut your squash in half, lengthwise and clean out the seeds and goop with a metal spoon. After your squash is cleaned, slice it into 1″ pieces and arrange on a baking sheet.

    It looks so pretty doesn't it?

    Does it look pretty? DOES IT?!

  5. Lightly drizzle your squash with the chili infused olive oil. Sprinkle the dried oregano and paprika on your squash and add a a little salt and pepper to taste. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until fork tender. (This should take about as long as it will take to cook the risotto)
  6. Lets get back to the main dish. In a large saute pan (preferably something with a thick bottom so you don’t burn the rice) heat your butter and olive oil on medium/low heat. Using a really good quality butter will make a huge difference in how your risotto tastes (in my personal opinion) so stick with a good pasture butter like Kerrygold, Organic Valley or some nice homemade butter from your local farm.
  7. Add your rice and minced onions and cook (stirring frequently) until the rice is transparent and very lightly toasted. This should take around 3-4 minutes.

    Here's your butter, oil, onions and rice begging to be cooked.

    Here’s your butter, oil, onions and rice begging to be cooked.

  8. Now we add the vodka and chopped garlic. Gently stir the rice, vodka and garlic until the booze is well absorbed by the rice.

    Let the rice absorb all of the vodka before adding your broth.

    Let the rice absorb all of the vodka before adding your broth.

  9. At this point, we begin adding the broth. TWO ladles at a time. Add two ladles of broth  the dried oregano, 1/2 tsp of pepper and STIR your risotto constantly until the broth has been absorbed. If you’re arm gets tired, you can always take a quick.  Once that happens, you can add two more ladles of broth and repeat. Risotto is made by adding broth slowly over a period of time. Adding too much liquid at one time can make your risotto turn out runny. Be patient young padawan.
  10. Open up your oven and check on your squash. Is it done? Good. Now remove it and set aside. Dinner is almost ready!

    Halfway there. Your risotto should start taking on it's creamy character.

    Halfway there. Your risotto should start taking on it’s creamy character.

  11. Now here’s the tricky part. Just because we have 8 cups of broth in that separate pan does not mean you’ll always use up the entire pot of broth. It’s always good to have a little too much broth leftover than not enough broth when you’re learning this dish. Good judgement comes into play at this stage. As you’re stirring (you didn’t forget the part about stirring constantly right?) give your risotto a little taste. Does it need salt? Add a little. How close is it to being al dente? What the heck does al dente mean? This is where we use the smear test. Here’s a great link you can use as a guide.
  12. Using the smear test link above – when your rice starts to look like the piece on the lower left, add your chopped kale. Now you can start adding your broth ONE ladle full at a time. Don’t forget to stir!
  13. Check your rice again. Does it look like the lower middle piece in the photo of the link I provided you? Yes? GOOD! Now you’re al dente. Remove from the heat and add your Gorgonzola cheese. Stirring well until all of the cheese has melted and is incorporated into the dish. The final product should look creamy and firm but not runny.
  14. Serve your risotto with the yummy squash you just pulled out of the oven and dust with a little paprika. Congratulations, you just made risotto! Enjoy!
Brie and Pear croissant

Brie and Pear Croissant

I had the pear dream again. Intensely slicing a ripe, juicy pear and savoring each delectable bite. Yes. I think I’m insane. Wait. No. I’m thinking of Scott Thompson in an episode of Kids in the Hall from 1989. Never mind, lets get back to the recipe. Pears paired with Brie paired with arugula and pear vinaigrette. What can I say, you can’t really go overboard with the pear puns. In your first winter CSA shipment, we sent you some nice red pears from Eastern Washington and lunchtime is a great please to incorporate them. Pears and Brie go together like… pears and brie of course!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 Red Pear
2 Small Croissants
Brie
Chopped fresh sage
Orange infused olive oil
Your mission if you cheese to accept it.

Your mission if you cheese to accept it.

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees or use your trusty toaster oven (That’s all I did)
  2.  Slice your croissants in half and place on a small baking sheet. Slice 1/2 of a pear into 1/8th” slices and last but not least, slice up some of your brie into 1/4″ slices.
  3.  Lightly drizzle the orange infused olive oil onto your sliced croissants (about 1tsp worth) then arrange your pears and cheese onto the bread. Lightly top with a little fresh sage.
  4. Pop the tray in your oven (or toaster over) for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melty. Serve with an Arugula salad with Citrus Pear Vinaigrette. For the vinaigrette recipe, please CLICK HERE.
    brie2

    Almost there…

    Recipe by: Mirinda @ Boistfort Valley Farm
potato leek soup

Potato Leek Soup

If you give a mouse a few leeks and potatoes, he’s going to make some soup. If he makes some soup, you’re certainly going to have a mess to clean up. As the winter solstice has passed and the sun (hopefully) makes it’s triumphant return, we can keep our bellies full with some amazing recipes from our winter crops. In your December Holiday CSA share, you received a few leeks and root veggies to play with, include those wonderful yellow potatoes. There’s a plethora of things we can make with leeks and potatoes but potato leek soup is undeniably one of our favorites, so please enjoy this variation on a French classic!

-Mirinda

Ingredients

4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
4 Large Leeks
4 Cloves of Garlic
2 lbs Yellow Chieftan Potatoes
6 cups Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup White Wine
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp White Pepper
Chopped Parsley (or chives) and Creme Fraiche

1 Bouquet Garni wrapped in cheesecloth
(2 Sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 bay leaves, 3 sage leaves, 15 black peppercorns)

Recipe by: Mirinda @ Boistfort Valley Farm

 

  1.  Remove the outer layer and cut your leeks in half, lengthwise. Rinse each of them by pulling apart all of the layers under cold water. Rinse these very well since leeks can hide lots of little dirty surprises inside. It’s the beauty of organic produce.potato_leek8
  2.  Peel and smash your garlic cloves. Then, peel and quarter your potatoes (don’t forget to give these a bath either).
  3. To begin making your soup, melt your butter in a large soup pot and add your chopped leeks and garlic.potato_leek7
  4. Add your 1/2 cup of wine to the pot and Cook your leeks on medium heat until they are soft and wilted. This should take around 10-15 minutes -be careful not to brown them. When these are done, they should look like the photo below.potato_leek5
  5. At this stage, add your potatoes, vegetable broth and bouquet garni wrapped in cheesecloth. You can also use the old leek wrapping method which I didn’t employ this time around. Not sure what this means? Check out how to make a bouquet garni from Williams Sonoma.potato_leek4
  6. Bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for around 15- 20 minutes or until your potatoes are nice and tender.
  7. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. Purée your soup in a batches in your trusty blender or you can use an immersion blender. I’m taking the blender route with this one. Blend your soup until it’s nice and smooth and return it to the pot.potato_leek3potato_leek2
  8. At this point, add your cup of heavy cream, salt and pepper to the mix. Bring your soup back to a simmer and adjust the seasoning to however you like. Serve hot and garnish with a little creme fraiche, parsley or chives. We used the Italian Parsley from our winter CSA box and a little creme fraiche. Only because we like to say creme fraiche. Creme fraiche!
Accordion Potatoes

Caramelized Shallot and Aged Gouda Accordion Potatoes

In your December holiday box this week we included lots of goodies including a few that were used in this recipe. (Yellow chieftain potatoes, Shallots and Italian parsley). Here’s a little something different than your run-of-mill baked spud – we caramelized the shallots and added some smokey flavor profiles to please your palate.

A wise man once said,

I like baked potatoes. I don’t have a microwave oven, and it takes forever to bake a potato in a conventional oven. Sometimes I’ll just throw one in there, even if I don’t want one, because by the time it’s done, who knows?

I suppose this recipe wasn’t what comedian Mitch Hedberg was intending on making when he ranted about the cooking time of everyone’s beloved baked potatoes. Hopefully he would approve.  Enjoy!

– Mirinda

 

Ingredients

3 Yellow Potatoes
3 Large Shallots
3/4 cup Aged Gouda
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Sugar
2 Tbsp White Wine
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Butter
Salt to taste
Chopped Italian parsley for garnish
Recipe by: Mirinda @ Boistfort Valley Farm

 

 potato1potato2potato3potato4

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make deep cuts into each potato, around 1/4 inch apart without cutting through the entire spud. Lightly rub each potato with olive oil and salt.
  2. Sprinkle the smoked paprika throughout the inside of your cuts. Arrange potatoes, cut sides down, in a small baking dish.
  3. Cover dish with foil and bake until potatoes are tender or on the verge of being completely done (about 40 minutes – you’ll need to flip these over at the end of this stage0
  4.  While you’re waiting for these darn things to cook, now is the time to start on your shallots. Gently peel and slice these tear-jerkers to around 1/4 thick. You should have around 1 cup worth of shallots when you’re done.
  5.  In a small saute pan, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and begin to heat on a low/medium setting and add your shallots and the teaspoon of butter. The goal is to cook these puppies slow and low so if you think your stove is a little too hot, your best bet is to turn it down to avoid burning your shallots.
  6. Continue to cook on low for around 20 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown and begin sticking to your pan a little. At this stage, add the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to aid in the caramelization process.
  7. Once your shallots really begin to look golden and delicious, add a tablespoon or two of white wine and deglaze those suckers. Yummmmmmmy. If you’re shallots finish prior to the stage of flipping your potatoes, just remove them from the heat and set aside. We’ll get back to those later.
  8. After your potatoes have been cooking around 40 minutes (or when they are close to being done) remove them from the oven and over. Begin adding your aged gouda between all of those little cuts you made in the potatoes. Reserve around 1/4 cup of cheese for later.
  9. Put your spuds back into the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until they’re done.
  10. Remove from oven and top with the leftover cheese, caramelized shallots and freshly chopped parsley. Bon Appétit!

 

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Oven-Roasted Carrots and Kale

This hearty side dish makes a sweet and savory alternative to the more traditional Thanksgiving turkey accompaniments.

Ingredients:
-6 medium carrots, sliced
-1 bunch kale, shredded
-1 yellow onion, chopped
-2 garlic cloves, crushed
-2 Tbsp olive oil
-1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
-Salt & Pepper to taste

Process:
In a medium pan, saute garlic and onion in olive oil until tender. Add shredded kale and continue to cook until wilted. Stir in thyme leaves, salt and pepper.

Arrange carrot medallions in a greased 2-quart casserole dish. Cover with sauteed onions, garlic and kale mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until carrots are softened.
(Serves 6-8)

Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Emily @ Boistfort Valley Farm