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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Bottom of the Box

It is Friday, and we still have a ton of food left from our CSA this week. We ate take-out on Tuesday and I made a pizza last night, which does not use up very many vegetables. Going into the weekend, we had 9 radishes, 3 acorn squash, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, apples, and rainbow chard. As it is getting cooler outside, there is less to do on the farm, so us interns have been moved to a 4 day a week schedule. Today, the only thing I have going on is an interview for a lab tech position at UNM (I really want this job, cross your fingers!) and the first session of a 3 day yoga workshop starting this evening. My interview was 30 minutes long via skype, and so the rest of the day has been left to cook up veggies from my CSA box. I decided to make a radish/tofu cream cheese dip and acorn squash soup.  Both recipes ended up being very easy and quick, and have been some of the tastiest things I have made in a long time; I think the soup got the most enthusiastic response from Jamie my food has ever received. Jamie declared the soup as the best squash soup he ever tried and even suggested I give the recipe to his mom.

I started with the radish and tofu cream cheese spread for an early afternoon snack. I put 7 cloves of garlic in the food processor with a splash of olive oil and minced the garlic. I threw in 5 of the gorgeous easter-egg radishes we are growing at the farm, and minced those, too. Lastly, I dumped in a whole container of Trader Joe's "not cream cheese" and pulsed the processor until it was blended and creamy. The spread is actually as pretty as it is delicious. It has a light lavender color and specks of red and purple. The flavor is strong, savory, and zingy. I toasted two pieces of rye bread from Sage bakery, a local bakery that supplies bread for the CSA, and generously applied the radish spread on the toast. Jamie and I each had a slice. And then I toasted two more pieces of bread and we each had another slice. I almost wish I had a party or a potluck to go to so I could show off how simple and delicious this recipe is, but I'm also a little glad I get to keep it at home.

Next, I started work on the acorn squash soup. I based the recipe on the one showcased here:, but as always, I made some changes based on what I had available and how spicy I like my food.

My ingredient list:
3 small acorn squash
salt, pepper
olive oil
2 red gala apples, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. allspice
2 vegetable bullion cubes
4 cups water

I used larger quantities of all the spices than in the original recipe because I really like food with bold flavors. I used the two red apples because that is what I had. I eliminated the shallot and red onion because I did not have them. Otherwise, I essentially followed the original recipe.

First, I cut the acorn squash in half, scooped out all the seeds and stringiness, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I put foil over the baking sheet because it was suggested and I assumed the squash must leak a fair bit when they are baking, making the sheet difficult to clean (this was not actually the case, the foil could have been saved). I baked the squash for 50 min. at 400F. In the meantime, I chopped the carrots, apples, and onion and put them in a large soup pot with olive oil. When the acorn squash was done, I scraped the squash from the skin with a spoon and put it to the side. It was time for my interview at that point, so I had to take a break. Skype interviews are really hard! Even harder than I thought they would be. I was nervous and excited and feeling a little crazy after the interview, but I got back to the soup. I cooked the carrots, onion, and apples over medium heat until they started to soften and then added 4 cups of water, 2 veggie bullion cubes, all the spices, and the squash. I brought the mixture to a boil and then lowered to a simmer and held it there for about twenty minutes. I, unfortunately, do not have a sweet immersion blender, so I put the soup in my food processor in two batches. We ate the first batch for a late lunch and put the second batch in the fridge. This recipe was surprisingly quick and easy and results were really amazing. If you are wondering what to do with winter squash in your CSA box, I highly recommend this soup recipe!

I met these sweet goats at the Los Poblanos North Valley farm this week. It made me want goats of my own even more! I keep daydreaming about homemade goat feta.