Week 25 from Valley Flora

  • Beets
  • Green Cabbage
  • Celeriac
  • Yellow Onions
  • Butternut Squash
  • Hakurei Turnips
  • Head Lettuce
  • Radicchio - Chioggia type (variegated or classic red)

I think the overwhelming theme of this week's harvest basket is "food that stores forever." Or, almost forever. Pretty much the only things that need to be eaten this week are the radicchio and the lettuce, and even the radicchio will keep for a couple weeks in your fridge. As for the rest of it, no worries if you're not hungry! Cut the tops off your turnips and store them refrigerated in a plastic bag for weeks. Same goes for the celeriac - you might find it in the back of your fridge in February and it'll be the perfect thing for an impromptu winter soup. The green cabbage is a storage type that'll hold for a couple months in the fridge, no problemo. And the butternut and onions have a great shelf life on your counter, unrefrigerated.

If you're wondering what in the world to do with celeriac (the hairy, knobby, round root in your tote this week), check out this eclectic collection of recipes: https://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/15-best-celeriac-recipes-article

If you don't want to get fancy, celeriac is always a wonderful base note in soup, any soup.

And this week is your second chance to fall in love with radicchio. This is the recipe - from a restaurant called Nostrana in Portland - that made me happy to bid lettuce farewell in November and start filling my salad bowl enthusiastically with radicchio each night instead:

Remember, if you're averse to anything bitter but want to make salad with it, the trick is to soak your radicchio in cold water for 10 minutes. Cut it up into ribbons or wedges and submerge it in a bowl of cold water while you're prepping other things in the kitchen. Spin dry and voila, you probably couldn't tell the difference between the radicchio and lettuce in a blind taste test. I have a farmer friend near Portland who sells radicchio at the farmers market. Sales were slow at first, but then he started calling it "winter lettuce" and people couldn't get enough of it. Paradigm shift? Savvy marketing ploy? Whatever, it worked :)

Also, a quick note on the recipe above. I make my own croutons with the butt ends of Farmstead Bread, but I don't bother with the butter and herbs in this recipe because it's often one too many steps on a busy weeknight. Instead, I just toss my cubed bread with some olive oil, salt and pepper, spread them on a small tray and pop into the toaster oven at 375 until lightly browned. 

Send me your stories of falling in love with radicchio if you have any. There's nothing like a good love story, especially when it involves vegetables.