Root Vegetables Gratin

I love making vegetable gratins. You can layer flavors with different vegetables and liquids of your choosing and they meld into something magical. You can use all one type of vegetable and one type of liquid, or mix up any combination of vegetables and liquids that you like for your own unique dish.

Cooking something ‘au gratin’ is a generic term that means; baked or broiled in a shallow dish. I’m pretty sure too there is an assumption that there will be a crunchy crust on top.

I like to make this root vegetable gratin at least one or two days before I am serving it, which works out great for Holiday meals. If you make it ahead and cook it until it is ‘just done’, let it cool and then refrigerate it until the day you are serving it the gratin will have time to soak up a lot of the liquid and plump the vegetables with all that goodness.

You can make it the day you are serving it. It will be delicious but it will be more soupy than if it is left to sort itself out in a refrigerator for a day or two. The added bonus of making it ahead is that you have a beautiful dish already made that just needs to be heated up, leaving you free for other things.

Basic vegetable gratin ingredients and method.

  • Olive oil
  • 1 or 2 onions, leeks and or fennel sliced thin about 2 cups
  • 3 pounds total root vegetables potatoes, celery root, rutabagas, carrots, turnips peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups total of any or all of cream (see note below), milk, chicken or vegetable stock. I start with 2 1/2 cups of liquid and add more when the I put everything in the casserole dish if I need more.
  • 1-2 cups grated gruyere cheese (optional)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs like thyme, sage or oregano (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs or panko (optional) mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter or oil. I didn’t use any this time, my vegetables will be crunchy on top and soft inside the casserole.

Method-Heat your oven to 375°F. Butter a deep baking dish that will hold all your vegetables. A 9 X 13 dish is usually big enough for this amount of vegetables. I used an 9 X 9 inch dish that is pretty deep. You can adjust the amount of vegetables and liquid to whatever size pan you have. This is a very forgiving method of cooking.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large deep sauté pan over medium heat and add the onions and fennel if using. Cook until they are tender, about 10 minutes.

When the onions and fennel (if you are using it) are tender, in the largest bowl you own, combine the onion mixture with the other vegetables and 2 1/2 cups of whatever liquid you are using with about 1 scant tablespoon kosher salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper.

Mix it up really well, I use my hands. The vegetables stick together so separate them and let the liquid and cheese and onions make friends with all the root vegetables.

Pour mixture into a buttered dish and sort of organize it and smoosh it down a little. Now decide if you need more liquid. The liquid should be just below the vegetables. Add more if you need to.

If you are using breadcrumbs, mix them with butter or oil until evenly coated and distribute evenly over the top of the dish. I didn’t use breadcrumbs this time.

Bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours uncovered (I like to put any casserole on a baking tray incase anything spills over in the oven, you decide if you need to do that or not),  check the vegetables to make sure they are really tender when stabbed with a small knife and the top is browned and bubbly. Over done is better than underdone. This is just done at this point I would cook it another 1/2 hour if I was serving it right away or turn on the broiler and brown it up more. But this is fine for finishing later.

If you are serving it out of the oven let it set for 15 minutes at room temperature and serve hot. If you are making this for serving later, cover it and put it in the refrigerator.

On the day you are eating the gratin pull it out of the refrigerator at least one hour before you put it in the oven. Putting a cold ceramic or glass dish in a hot oven isn’t a good idea. Preheat the oven to 375F  and reheat it until it is brown to your liking. This picture is taken while the gratin was in the oven, the oven light makes it look yellow.

I took the picture of the gratin just out of the oven, then we all stood around and ate most of the crunchy top vegetables on top before dinner :-)

Note– Like I said, gratins are very forgiving. You can use all cream and have a very luxurious dish. I love using all cream with potatoes and celeriac. It makes a gorgeous holiday side dish . You can use all stock and have a light dish highlighting all the vegetables. Today I used a little cream, like 1/2 cup and the rest milk. If I needed more liquid I was going to make some vegetable stock from the bouillon base and top it off. I didn’t need it though and to be honest; I wanted to use up the milk to make room in the refrigerator for other stuff otherwise I probably would have used some stock.

Posted in 2021, Potatoes, Recipes, Rutabagas | Leave a comment

CSA Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love making dishes with vegetables I grew or got from my CSA share.

I thought I would pull together some Thanksgiving worthy dishes from our archives to maybe inspire you to cook with your local seasonal food.

My extended family is 1/2 vegetarians and 1/2 omnivores so we need two main dishes. I always cook a turkey for omnivores. One year for the vegetarians I made this pumpkin macaroni and cheese and everyone loved it. This cabbage panade has also been a big hit at our Thanksgiving table. Both these main dishes are rich enough and substantial enough to stand along side the rest of the Thanksgiving side dishes.

I have never blogged on this fun dish but I have made it for our vegetarian holiday meal several times and can highly recommend it. Pumpkin stuffed with everything good.

I almost always make a mixed root vegetable mash using whatever root vegetables I have in the refrigerator.  This makes me so happy.

Another really great potato dish that goes well with Thanksgiving food is this mashed potato and roasted green chili dish. If you have some green chilies frozen from this summer maybe trot them out this week!

I feel like you really need a hearty green salad to cut the rich food. This kale salad is perfect for Thanksgiving and rounds out any vegetarian main dish perfectly. I am saving my braising mix from last week to make it for our thanksgiving dinner. You could use collards or spinach, or a mix of any greens you like. This dish travels well and is fine served at room temperature.

This beet dish is so good with potatoes, can be made well ahead and brings some much needed acidity to the meal.

This celery salad would be great for non-cranberry lovers. Like cranberries, it will cut the richness of the rest of the meal. Bonus, it’s a pretty dish.

This Brussels sprout dish would be festive also. Sub cabbage or collards for the Brussels sprouts if you like.

Any roasted vegetable is welcome at Thanksgiving. This roasted cauliflower with the pumpkin macaroni and cheese will knock your socks off!  Roasted kohlrabi or parsnips are delicious too. These roasted Hakurei turnips are probably the most made dish on this website, everyone loves them.

Any roasted vegetable dish can be made ahead of time and quickly rewarmed.

Finally dessert. This parsnip cake is so delicious and feels like a hug from Mother Earth to me. Kai wanted it for her wedding cake but our parsnips weren’t ready, that’s how special this cake is.

This skillet apple crisp is a perfect end of a big meal, and if you want a classic ‘pumpkin’ dessert-here you go! Use any squash or pumpkin you like.

I have so much to be thankful for; abundant food, friends and family, health, furry friends, a home. And each of you, who give a local family farm your love and support.

Thank you friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2021 | Leave a comment

Winter CSA Week 5

Hello CSA Members!

Happy Thanksgiving! We’re going to try to bring you all sorts of classic veggies for your holiday table this week.

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 5 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

Butternut Squash1

CHOICE: Spinach OR Arugula OR Braising Mix
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Choi
CHOICE: Beets OR Hakurei Turnips OR Purpletop Turnips
CHOICE: Potatoes OR Rutabaga
CHOICE: Carrots OR Parsnips
CHOICE: Garlic OR Parsley
Butternut Squash
Onion

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
None for the Winter Season

FRUIT SHARE
None for the Winter Season

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Leave a comment

Winter CSA Week 4

Hello CSA Members!

It got COLD today! We spent this week harvesting as much as we possibly could and covering all our tender crops with extra protection. See you at pick up tomorrow!

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 4 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

Hakurei Turnips

Baby Carrots
Hakurei Turnips
CHOICE: Kohlrabi OR Beets OR Potatoes
CHOICE: Garlic OR Parsley OR Celery
CHOICE: Spinach OR Braising Mix
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Choi
Pie Pumpkin

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
None for the Winter Season

FRUIT SHARE
None for the Winter Season

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Leave a comment

Winter Minestrone Soup

This is one of those ‘clean out your vegetable drawer’ meals and a testament to the adage that what grows together tastes great together.

I accidentally deleted the photo of the vegetables I used to make this before I chopped them up. It kind of doesn’t matter because you can use any of your CSA vegetables you have and a few pantry items you probably have too. You need 4 to 5 cups of cut up vegetables. I had lots of leeks, celery, parsnips, carrots, kale and a kohlrabi. Celery root, onions, potatoes, rutabagas and any leafy greens would work too.

I peeled and cut vegetables until I had 4 cups and then I added the kale to make a heaping 5ish cups of vegetables.

Winter Minestrone Soup

  • 4 to 5 cups winter vegetables washed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups navy or cannellini beans and broth if homemade. 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed if you are using canned beans.
  • 1 15 oz can of tomatoes and their juice. I canned my tomatoes, that is why they are in a jar. Store bought is fine.
  • 2 cups of water
  • optional 1/2 cup pasta
  • Croutons, parmesan cheese and olive oil for garnish

In a large pot heat a few tablespoons of oil and add all the vegetables, except leafy greens, and a few pinches of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Add one cup of water and let that simmer for about 10 minutes and the vegetables are about 1/2 way cooked-tender but not all the way soft.

Add the tomatoes, leafy greens if you are using them and beans.

Stir and decide if you need more water. I added another cup of water.

If you are adding the pasta, bring the soup to a low boil and add the pasta now and cook until it is done.

Taste and see if it needs any salt and add a few good grinds of pepper.

That’s it. This is a quick satisfying meal loaded with tons of CSA goodness and love.

I like to serve this topped with croutons, parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Hearty and delicious.

Have a great week.

Mo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2021, Recipes, Soups | 1 Comment

Brothy Simmered Beans

I love making beans from scratch. Canned beans are ok, fine even for some things but slow simmered homemade beans are just so much better.

It’s all about the broth with homemade. Canned bean water is not good-ever.

There are probably as many ways to cook beans as there are bean varieties. I make pinto beans in my pressure cooker because I almost always want to mash them into refried beans and I find the pressure cooker cooks them quickly and just fine but I end up with broken beans, which I don’t mind for refried beans.

I like to slow simmer beans on the stove when I want a rich broth and intact beans. That is what I am making today.

To make delicious beans  you don’t need much more than beans and salt and maybe an onion. I added a few more ingredients because I had them from our CSA share this week.

One pound of beans makes about 6 cups of cooked beans. Cooked beans keep in the refrigerator for at least a week and can be used to make so many quick meals like greens and beans or quick soups, or make some toast and spoon some beans and broth on it, add an egg! If you don’t think you will use all of them in a week or so freeze them, they freeze beautifully.

Soak or not to soak beans? I soak if I remember, I just cook the beans a little longer if I didn’t remember to soak them. The beans I am cooking today were soaked for about 6 hours.

After soaking your beans you want to drain the soaking water and start with fresh water. There is a protein called lectin on the skin of legumes, lectin is why some people can’t digest beans very well. Lectin is water soluble and you want to get rid of it, so rinse and drain your soaked beans. You can read more about it here if you want. If you didn’t soak them just rinse them really well.

I used;

  • 1 pound of cannellini beans, you can use any type you like.
  • 1 onion-a large carrot-a couple stalks of celery-a few garlic cloves.
  • Optional-parmesan rinds (adds great flavor) olive oil
  • Salt

Now put your beans in a large pot and cover them in fresh water and bring that to a low boil for about 10 to 15 minutes. The beans will foam, I don’t know why but they all do.

Skim off the foam and add your vegetables and parmesan rids if you are using them.  I added a couple of bay leaves too.

How long it takes to cook beans is anyone’s guess. It depends on how old the beans are, how big they are and probably other things. It takes as long as it takes, I’d say usually 1 to 3 hours. Leave them on low making sure to check that the beans are always covered with an inch or two of water. Add more hot water as needed.

After an hour of simmering I add a couple of teaspoons of salt and some olive oil. The beans are just starting to get soft. I am guessing these will need an other hour or two. I added more hot water and I’ll just leave them simmering and check back in an hour or so.

OK. It’s been another hour and they are almost done. The parmesan rinds have melted and you can see the beans are much bigger and the vegetables are breaking down. At this point taste a couple beans. These are really soft and just a little ‘grainy’. “Grainy’ tells me they are just about done. They are done when the beans are creamy not grainy. I’ll leave these another 1/2 hour.  The broth is so so good.

Now I have beautiful beans and broth for several meals. I’ll start with just beans and broth.

I hope you are enjoying your winter vegetables. I know I am.

Mo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Miscellany, Recipes, Soups | 1 Comment

Winter CSA Week 3

Hello CSA Members!

What a mild autumn we’re having! We’re excited to bring you another week of fresh greens and veggies. We’re going to start digging into our winter squash storage this week, hoping to bring you all a delicious spaghetti squash each.

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 3 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Onions
CHOICE: Garlic OR Parsley OR Celery
CHOICE: Brussels OR Kohlrabi OR Rutabaga
CHOICE: Baby Carrots OR Parsnips
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Bok Choi
CHOICE: Spinach OR Arugula
Spaghetti Squash

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
None for the Winter Season

FRUIT SHARE
None for the Winter Season

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on Winter CSA Week 3

Mashed Root Vegetables

In the Fall when vegetables like rutabagas, parsnips, purple top turnips, and celery root (aka celeriac) start showing up in our CSA share it’s the first time some people have seen these and of course they want to know what to do with them. I always say the same thing; anything you can do with a potato you can do with any root vegetable and, they are all interchangeable. Not only are they interchangeable they are so interesting and delicious together, mix and match any and all you have.  Baked, mashed, roasted, au gratin, scalloped, and grilled you can do it all with any of them.

Today I was making some mashed potatoes and I had some parsnips, celery root, carrots and a rutabaga so I am making a mixed root vegetable mash instead of just plain mashed potatoes.

Peel and cut up whatever vegetables you are using. I didn’t peel my potatoes or carrots but I did peel everything else.

Put the peeled and diced vegetables in some salted water.  Bring that to a low boil and cook until the vegetables are very tender. I cooked mine about for about 25 minutes. I added some pepper and herbs too. Celery root floats, weird huh?

Drain the cooked vegetables and fish out any herbs if you added them.

I was making this for a simple weeknight meal so I wanted to keep it light so I used milk and some olive oil. If I was making this for Christmas or Thanksgiving I would use heavy cream and lots of butter. The cream and butter make it fluffier.

I just eyeball the amounts and err on the side of less because I can always add more.

Milk and olive oil in the pan, oh, I rinsed out the pan.

Add the veg back and mash and taste to see if you want more salt or olive oil or butter if you are using that.

I like my mash a little lumpy. Keep mashing if you like yours lump free.

That’s it. So easy and quick and deliciously earthy and complex compared to just plain mashed potatoes.

So good. Enjoy your winter vegetables.

Mo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2021, Rutabagas, Sunchokes, Turnips | Comments Off on Mashed Root Vegetables

Braised Brussels Sprouts and Leeks

I love braising vegetables. It is a simple mostly hands off preparation method.  My favorite part of braising vegetables is that you get a bonus sauce or glaze that elevates the dish beyond roasting or steaming.

This dish is good hot or room temperature and travels perfectly so this would be a good vegetable dish to bring to a friends house for Hannukah or Thanksgiving, but it’s simple enough for a weeknight meal.

Here is what you need.

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine-I used vermouth
1 cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 to 1 cup of leeks or shallots or onions
2 tablespoons heavy cream-optional. I wasn’t going t use it then in the end I added a little.
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Those cubes on the dish are frozen chicken stock. I make and freeze it in small portions so I can use what I need. Use what you have.

Wash trim and cut the Brussels sprouts in half and cut up your leek or onion.

Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet with a medium heat. I used my biggest skillet, it’s 12 inches, put the Brussels sprouts cut side down in the pan, they all fit in my skillet. If yours is smaller you might need to do 2 batches to brown them.

Let those brown and cook without moving them for about 5 minutes. Then add the leeks, wine, stock and salt and pepper and give it a stir and cover it and let is gently simmer for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes they look like this. A lot of the liquid is magically absorbed and the sprouts are soft but still pretty firm, not crunchy.  You could stop here and they would be delicious.

I scooped out my sprouts and was left with this much liquid. I added a little Dijon and just a splash of cream. You could use sour cream or butter, or nothing.

I stirred that up and let it reduce just a little and added my sprouts back to mix it all up to get that sauce in all the nooks and crannies.

We happened to be having cod and rice for dinner the night I made this, so we had this for our vegetable and you know what? It was unbelievably good. The strong flavors of the sprouts and mustard were perfect with the cod and rice and there was just enough sauce to not overwhelm the plate.

Anyway….

I have a couple other braising recipes here you might want to check out and this Brussels sprout salad recipe that I love too.

Have a great week. I hope you are enjoying these great winter vegetables.

Mo

 

 

 

Posted in Miscellany, Recipes | Comments Off on Braised Brussels Sprouts and Leeks

Winter CSA Week 2

Hello CSA Members!

It’s supposed to get cold this week so we’re clearing the fields for you! We’re going to have some brussel sprouts, the last bit of fennel, and the rest of our summer leeks coming this week, along with other fall staples.

Here is what we *hope* to bring you for Week 2 of our Winter CSA:

REGULAR SHARE

Leeks

Leeks

Baby Carrots
Leeks
Garlic
CHOICE: Potatoes OR Turnips
CHOICE: Brussel Sprouts OR Kohlrabi
CHOICE: Fennel OR Celery OR Parsley
CHOICE: Spinach OR Arugula
CHOICE: Kale OR Collards OR Chard OR Bok Choi

LARGE SHARE ADDITIONS
None for the Winter Season

FRUIT SHARE
None for the Winter Season

Posted in 2021, Farm, Newsletter | Comments Off on Winter CSA Week 2