It's Meatless Monday time! Closing in on the end of the year, many CSA boxes are filled with an abundance of late fall and winter vegetables. People are continuously surprised when I tell them that our CSA continues well into December. It seems that many Midwestern gardeners don't think about, or don't consider, late fall/early winter vegetables when planning their gardens. Most tend to focus primarily on spring and summer vegetables because late season veggies are not as familiar, and aren't a staple on the dinner table.
Late season vegetable harvests include an abundance of root vegetables, and more hardy types of greens such as a variety of kales, spinach and cabbage. Some of the veggies found in our December CSA box:
Kale - Cabbage - Sweet Potato - Turnip - Parsnip - Celeriac - Sunchoke - Onion - Radish - Squash - Beet
It has been quite an experience cooking and tasting some of these veggies that we were unfamiliar with, and has left us feeling like maybe we've been missing out on some great winter vegetable treats.
Beauty Heart Radish - white on the outside, red on the inside. Aren't they festive looking?!
Root veggies, grown underground, can store for an extended amount of time, and are more hardy than the seasonal vegetables of spring and summer. T and I have a theory that if we were to talk to some of the older generations, we might find that these vegetables used to be a much more common find on the dinner table. Before grocery stores became mainstream, and people started moving from rural to urban areas, many people planted their own vegetables to help sustain their families throughout the winter. The idea of having out-of-season vegetables readily available during the winter months was non-existant.
While I have nothing against being able to get tomatoes and zucchini in the middle of winter, it has changed the way we eat, and some of the yummiest late season vegetables and recipes have been left to collect dust - literally. If you've ever bought some of these less common root veggies, you will notice that they come with a heavy dose of wax covering. Not exactly what most cooks are looking for when buying fresh produce!
|Recipe adapted from palate/palette/plate|
RADISH & KALE FRITTATA | Yield: 6 servings | Total Time: 35 min.
1 medium bunch kale, sliced, thick stems removed
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
5-6 medium radishes, thinly sliced (1-1 1/2 C)
1/2 C buttermilk
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 C crumbled feta cheese
1/3 C fresh basil, finely chopped
NOTE: I used Beauty Heart Radishes, which are larger than the standard radish, but any type radish is fine. Use a mandolin to get perfectly thin slices.
TOMATO BASIL SALSA
2 medium tomatoes, diced (1-1/2 C)
1/3 C basil, finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Turn on oven broiler. Heat oil in a medium oven-proof skillet over medium. Add kale and onion, saute for 3 min. until softened. Add sliced radish and continue cooking for a few minutes until warmed through. (Radishes should still be mostly crisp.)
In a separate bowl, whisk 8 eggs with buttermilk, basil, feta, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Pour into skillet and stir to allow the eggs to go over and around the veggies. Cover and continue cooking on stovetop for about 5 minutes, or until crust forms around the edges and the eggs are nearly set.
Transfer the skillet (removing the lid), to the oven, and broil 6-8 minutes until the eggs puff up and the top turns to golden brown.
Meanwhile, mix together the tomato basil salsa.
After 6-8 minutes, remove skillet from the oven and cool briefly. Cut into wedges, and serve warm with fresh tomato-basil salsa.
Not all CSAs have such a long season. Many end in October. T & I were lucky to find one that is well established and has a very long growing season. On that note, if you are in the La Crosse/Madison/Twin Cities area and want to check out a CSA for next year, I would highly recommend Harmony Valley Farm.