edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Curry Up, Make Your Fall Veggies October 16, 2011

Filed under: Eats — edamomie @ 3:41 pm
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E: Eats

Last Thursday, my last installment of veggies from our CSA (Hay River Farms in WI) arrived, heavier than ever. A dark green pumpkin to which the kids frowned upon and more squash, bringing our total to 14. Last week I took care of the bunches of swiss chard in a time-consuming Martha quiche that no one in the family but me really liked. Next week, we’ll tackle the turnips.

 

Squash Detail

Squash Detail

Today, I was going with an old recipe standby that Cheryl, a friend of my mother-in-law’s, entered as page number one in my wedding recipe binder: Curried Squash Soup. The kids were disinterested in helping beyond the carving out of the squash seeds from the cooked halves. Ava, my 8 year-old, agreed that at least she could contribute some time to the task.

 

Then I was on my own. With the oven at 350 the six medium squash, halved, cooked for 50 minutes while I went for a quick fall run. I left the kitchen-vigilant Calvin, my 6 year-old, in charge of overseeing the squash. After I took them out and let them cool, I scraped out the squash from the skin in one very large bowl. From there, I immediately pureed the squash in very small batches in my mini food processor. (Note: Christmas List for this year to include some new appliances!) Several messy minutes later, I had about 12 cups of squash.

 

Big Green Pumpkin & Heart-shaped Squash

Big Green Pumpkin & Heart-shaped Squash

The recipe called for four pounds of it, which after a Google search I equated to mean 8 cups. Since I had 12, I increased the recipe by half – -always a questionable move. I added too much butter as a result, but passed on some of the cream. Modifications are the mark of a talented chef, right?

 

Despite doing several things not quite right (which is a great reason to make soup – see the movie Ratauoille), the soup tasted pretty darn good. Ava tried some and liked it. Calvin held off, watching me partake in it with his srunched up nose. Yes, there is grass (chives) dashed on the top. I thought that might intrigue him, but no.

 

Curried Squash Soup

Curried Squash Soup

Plenty of time to warm up to the soup though… seeing as though I now have about 18 cups of it. I’ll freeze it in smaller containers for winter consumption. Thanks to farmer Mike of Hay River Farms for three and a half months of fresh veggies and a lot a new experiments in the kitchen. If anyone knows what to do with turnips, drop me a line.

 

Curried Squash Soup

 

4 pounds of butternut squash (about 2 large), halved, seeded
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onion
5 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon allspice
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup half & half
1/4 cup chopped chives

 

Preheat oven to 350. Place squash cut side down on baking sheet. Bake until soft, about 50 minutes. Scoop out the squash pulp, discard skin.

 

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, curry and allspice and saute until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer 1/4 cup of onion mixture, 1/4 of squash and 1 cup of stock to blender. puree. Pour into heavy large saucepan. Puree remaining onion mixture, squash and stock in blender in three more batches. Add to saucepan. Add half & half to saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving. Mix chives into soup.

 

Flower Box Burnout Alternative July 20, 2011

A: Activities

Task #1: Watering

Task #1: Watering

After flower-box burnout several summers running, I opted not to plant any type of living thing this summer in a garden, flower box or other. For some, this is unfathomable. For me, it’s being realistic. And ironically  since I’ve let go of abundant garden dreams, two other opportunities have come my way.
 

The first is the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) I just joined. Our family now gets a weekly delivery from Hay River Farms in Wisconsin. Second is the community garden  – Bethany Gardens – my son’s school started this past winter (indoors) and spring (planting outdoors). Our family can sign up for times to help with gardening tasks per the direction of a master gardener. For now, I like to think I’m working backwards a bit and maybe someday I will have the tools and experience to have my own successful garden.

Towering Tomatoes

Towering Tomatoes


 

Through the CSA we get about 20 different items a week, about half of them are known. Most are a variation of a well-known veggie. Take for example the yellow cucumbers, golden beets and red garlic. With each delivery, an email lists the items, some simple ways to prep them and links to a video Farmer Jim creates each week. Jim is living the dream from Farm to Table as they say. Recently we received some good tips on how to best store the veggies (the highly scientific spritz of water, insert into fridge) and dismantle the veggie box for reuse.  In the first three weeks, I’ve used about 75% of the box. I plan to improve on this.
 

The school-based community supported garden is in Richfield. Child garden labor is cheap, textural (water and dirt make mud after all) and couldn’t be more rewarding for the students at Augsburg Park Montessori School (AMPS).  The kids agree on what to plant and all pitch in daily during the school year in gardening activities, in the early phases, just observing and talking the plants into growing in their indoor greenhouse stand. At age 6, my son has totally surpassed my gardening abilities.
 

On a high heat-index July eve, we took our list of four to-dos from Megan, the master gardener, fetched our gardening gloves (mine looked to be in very good condition) and headed to the garden. We arrived later than we planned on purpose, due to the heat. Quite honestly, we only got the watering done. Then I had a meeting at the school. So I guess technically I only rolled out the garden hose and turned on the water. Calvin, my son, took care of the rest. He also told me all about composting and was eager to check out what was in the bin.

Churning the Compost

Churning the Compost


 

He hadn’t been back to his school since May, so he was pretty elated to see the tomato plants towering over him. He recalled planting melon and pumpkins. There were peas, the beginnings of corn and basil that I could safely id. I know the other families had worked hard to get it to this point. At any rate, Calvin’s anticipation of gardening and excitement upon seeing the fruits of his labor was inspiration enough for me. We need to return in cooler temps to finish items #2-4. Calvin did comment, disappointment in his voice, “Wow, Mom, we really didn’t do much gardening.”
 

Possibly the convergence of the CSA and CSG will max out my gardening and culinary capabilities, which I’d be okay with. At least my kids will have some knowledge and experience in both areas. And going forward, I’d have them to share in the work and enjoy rewards. Or take the blame for a bad crop. I hope they’re taking good notes.

 

 
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