Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A New Season in Earnest

This was a propitious week for us, the beginning of our winter CSA subscription. The first box from Even' Star Organic Farm in Lexington Park, MD arrived on Thursday.

Inside the box were some lovely Beauregard sweet potatoes along with one very long Courge de Longue squash (very much like a butternut squash), some arugula, ancho and Peachy Mama peppers, French breakfast radishes, heirloom eggplants and one dozen brown eggs from farmer Bretts Grohsgal's pastured hens.

This year we are splitting the subscription with our friends Helen and Jeff. There's just too much vegetable matter in each week's delivery for our small family to manage. In the deepest part of winter, we will be seeing tons of greens: kales, collards, mustards. We love our greens, but we can only eat so many at a time.

Things will be a bit different this year because of the prolonged drought that plagued our part of the country. Brett announced that he was accepting no more winter subscribers because he spent much of his summer running irrigation pipes around the farm. At one point, he was sucking mud off the bottom of his holding ponds.

In the most recent of his regular e-mails to subscribers (always newsy, written with flair and well worth the price of admission), Brett reports that many of his winter crops--rutabagas, turnips, collards and kales--were destroyed, either by lack of rain or by starving grasshoppers.

What did survive were sweet potatoes--lots of sweet potatoes. Last week Brett and his wife Christine held their annual fall bash for subscribers. This consists of several dozen families driving their automobiles into a parking area in the fields and feasting on a groaning buffet of exotic dishes such as venison posole, prepared by Brett--a former chef--in huge pots. Conveniently, there is also a keg of cold beer.

Many of the guests take a tour around the farm conducted by Brett while the kids chase through the nearby woods hunting for Halloween candy on a specially designated trail. Then there's a bonfire and subscribers are invited to pitch tents anywhere they please and spend the night gazing at a sky brilliantly lit with stars, especially the Orion constellation for which the winter subscription is named.

As we arrived, I couldn't help noticing huge piles of sweet potatoes outside the farm house, surrounded by empty milk crates where workers obviously had been seated recently sorting through the crop. Being in our fourth year of the subscription now, I surmise that we'll be seeing quite a few sweet potatoes in our box in the coming weeks.

Got any recipes for sweet potatoes you'd like to share?


belmontmedina said...

Turkey and sweet potato croquettes with cranberry apple salsa. Mmmmm

Amanda said...

I just made a great salad from The Passionate Vegetarian, my favorite cookbook. You dice sweet potatoes, toss them with a little soy sauce and olive oil, and spread out the pieces on a cookie sheet. Roast at 400 degrees for around 15 minutes. Then toss them with a mix of lettuces, including something more on the bitter side (I used a mix of butter lettuce + arugula), as well as diced gala apple and something crunchy - I used sesame seeds, but toasted pumpkin seeds were suggested. Then toss the salad with a honey/red wine vinaigrette. Really delicious.

Diana Dyer, MS, RD said...

Here's a great recipe for Sweet Potato Burritos from my web site www.CancerRD.com
Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Sweet Potato Burritos

(Adapted and reprinted with permission from the website BeanBible.com.)

I recently tried Sweet Potato Burritos in a restaurant and was horrified with the amount of cheese and sour cream used (i.e., smothered!). In addition, they even seemed to have been deep-fried to make it worse. I tried making up a recipe on my own at home, which was a total FLOP. However, I recently found this recipe on the internet, which I immediately knew would be wonderful.

I love recipes that combine so many aspects of healthful eating - the beans, onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, along with the spices and mustard all contain cancer-fighting molecules. At most, some fresh fruit and maybe a great beer are all you need to complete the meal. Enjoy, enjoy!

* 3 tsp. canola or olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, minced (do this 10 minutes prior to sautéing)
* 6 cups canned kidney beans, drained (or black beans)
* 1 to 1-1/2 cups water
* 3 Tbsp chili powder
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 4 teaspoons prepared mustard
* 1 pinch cayene pepper (optional, to taste)
* 3 Tbsp soy sauce
* 4 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
* 12 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed (be sure to use fresh ones so they will roll up without cracking)
* 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I use cheddar soycheese)
* sour cream (optional as a garnish - can use low/no-fat version)
* green onions, chopped (as garnish)
* salsa (as garnish)
* guacamole (as a garnish - much healthier than using sour cream!)


* Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in medium skillet until soft.
* Stir in the beans, then mash them a bit. Stir water into the mixture gradually and continue heating until warm. Stir in the spices, mustard, and soy sauce after removing from heat.
* Spread the bean mixture and the mashed sweet potatoes evenly onto the warm flour tortillas. Add cheese. Form into burritos by folding the tortillas.
* Spray baking dish with cooking oil. Cover burritos with foil so they don't dry out. Bake for 12 minutes.

Servings: Makes 12 generous burritos.

Can be wrapped with foil or wax paper and frozen individually and then reheated in the microwave (remove the foil if used) for use as a quick meal in the future.

Ed Bruske said...

bm, I really like the sound of your menu.

amanda, the salad you describe is right on. I make a salad like that with toasted pecans and an orange-maple dressing. A great way to serve sweet potatoes.

Dr. Dyer, the burritos sound terrific. Thanks for sending the recipe. I'm always looking for ways to combine several super-healthy food ingredients. I'll bet the kids in my food appreciation classes would love making that.