Wrapping Up Your Holiday Favorites
Happy Holidays and a Healthy New Year Food Adventurers!
Our season is sadly coming to a close. The local vegetable journey is pausing for the next few months, as we, like the farms, lie dormant for the winter. We have so enjoyed spending our afternoons with you, dear Shareholder - testing melons, swapping recipes, and inspecting eggplant for extra appendages. We've loved hearing about the results of your kitchen experiments and enjoying the eye candy of them on social media (photos courtesy shareholders Christina and Case).
It has been nothing short of a delicious growing season. We can't wait to see you again in June! We're already busy behind the scenes planning for shares and stops, making lists, checking them twice, doing the work to ensure everyone has the access to fresh, local food they deserve. Bring your appetite for culinary adventuring, social justice, and all your friends! Even better, give the gift of City Fresh this holiday season. Help your family and neighbors discover healthy eating with a side of social responsibility. You can entice them at your holiday dinners when you serve up the transformed contents of this last amazing share of 2015.
For this holiday share, I felt sure you'd be ringing in these last days with all manner of smashed potatoes, braised kale, and roast winter squash, as is customary for hearty winter fair. We've got all the coziest necessities to help out with just that plan of attack! But if you'd like to branch out a bit, I've come up with some favorite holiday recipes that make lively meals for folks with the kind of moxie I know you to posses.
Maybe warm your guests up with a roast beet and chèvre crostini hors d'oeuvre, for starters. Topped with alfalfa sprouts and a bit of mandarin orange, these alarmingly simple treats will thrill even your most milquetoast guests and relatives.
Roast Beet and Chèvre Crostini
Cut greens and ends of roots from beets. Scrub well, wrap in aluminum foil envelope, and bake at 375° for 50 minutes or until tender; cool. Unwrap, peel away skin, and cut into 1/4" thick slices.
Stir 5 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper in a bowl, then toss beet slices in mixture.
Spread chèvre onto toasted 1/4" thick baguette slices. Remove beets from marinade and arrange on top. Garnish with alfalfa sprouts and mandarin orange slices. Serve. Bask in the glory of your mad entertaining skills.
Despite an unseasonably temperate autumn, we seem to have had enough frosty days to please the Brussels sprouts and they're rolling their way to you now. Brussels sprouts are one of my absolute favorite dishes to enjoy at holiday dinners. Growing up, we always steamed and buttered them, which was adequate, but not spectacular. Put enough butter on anything and you can probably make it palatable. They were never really my favorite though. Certainly more flavorful than many of their brassica cousins - like the bland white cabbage, for instance - Brussels sprouts steamed are still nothing to write home about. Which is why the thing to do is to pan fry them with balsamic vinegar! When I discovered this recipe, I was converted from a bland, mostly secular occasional user to a Brussels sprout evangelist.
Fantastic Brussels Sprouts
This recipe is based off the sprouts served at Michael Symon's Lolita in Tremont, but we've found that we get a pretty awesome result with way less effort than their recipe.
Amounts all to preference. Quarter or halve sprouts, dependent on size. Heat olive oil in a skillet (I prefer cast iron). Add 2 cloves minced garlic, then sprouts. Cook on medium heat, turning periodically, until they begin to brown. Add chopped walnuts. Season with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, a slight drizzle of honey, and cracked black pepper (optional). Continue to cook until the sprouts are tender and some are a bit blistered. Serve while hot.
Every December, I make use of all the City Fresh winter squash I've been accumulating by making up a few batches of "pumpkin" cinnamon rolls for our family to enjoy on Christmas morning. I'll usually make them the week before and freeze them to save on time and that way I can gift a batch to friends or neighbors for their holiday too. Christmas Eve, I put them in the fridge, and before stockings are opened, I pull them out to let them rise once more. Then, while we're all still cozy in new pajamas and slippers and the kids try out all their new gear, we have ooey gooey icing coated cinnamon rolls with coffee in front of the fire.
Winter Squash Cinnamon Rolls
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup warm water (more or less depending on humidity and amount of squash, start with smaller amount and add more after flours are in)
We hope you've enjoyed the season as much as we have. Stay warm and see you next Spring!
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Pureed contents of 1 roasted pie pumpkin or other winter squash (about 1 cup, okay if more)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup soft butter
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, optional
3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
In a large bowl, add warm water and yeast. Allow to proof, about five minutes. Add all other ingredients at once. May be mixed by hand or in a mixer. Knead until smooth. May be sticky, but as long as it holds together, it's fine. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise 1-1/2 hours. Gently deflate the dough and roll out on a slightly greased work surface to a roughly 14"x22" rectangular shape.
In a smaller second bowl, mix 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Spread this mixture evenly across the dough. You can also add nuts or dried cranberries or raisins or candied ginger along with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Starting at one skinny end, roll the dough together all the way to the other end, until you have a log. Slice this evenly into 9 rolls. Place these in a greased pan (9" cake rounds work, as do 9"x9" pans). At this point you can freeze for storage if desired, in which case you'll want to allow to come to room temperature before the next step. Allow to rise again for 30 minutes prior to baking at 375°F for 25 to 30 minutes.
While the rolls bake, Mix
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon soft butter
1-1/2 tablespoons milk (or enough to make a "drizzlable" glaze)
Spoon this mixture over the rolls while still hot so it melts and drips between the rolls. Serve while still melty!
Peace and veggies,
Anna Kiss Mauser-Martinez