Patchwork Green is a hillside and ridgetop farm overlooking the beautiful Canoe Creek Valley several miles north of Decorah, Iowa. Our family grows five acres of vegetables on a farm near Decorah, Iowa. We grow a wide variety of high quality, chemical-free vegetables using sustainable techniques.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Final Patchwork Green Market for the Year

Don't miss your last chance for Patchwork Green vegetables this year! There is an indoor farmers' market at the Fairgrounds on Saturday from 9:00-Noon. We have a few storage crops left to offer: squash, potatoes (red, white, yellow and blue), carrots, rutabaga, cabbage (green and Napa), onions (red). Next week, we'll shut down the coolers, save a few flats of produce for ourselves for the winter, and take the remainder to the food pantry.

Many of you pledged $50 or more for a pantry share this year, and between your contributions and ours, we have so far been able to bring $1470 worth of fresh produce to the First Lutheran Church Food Pantry since June. That total is up several hundred dollars from last year. The volunteers at the pantry say that there are more and more people using the pantry, and that they really appreciate the fresh produce. It was nice for my girls to help me bring in tubs of lettuces and cabbages the week before Thanksgiving, and to get a 'behind-the-scenes' look at the operation. We plan to make one more delivery next week. Thank you for helping provide fresh vegetables to folks with limited incomes!

We got the garlic patch mulched, finally. Thanks for all the donations of bagged leaves! We had plenty for this year, and made a nice pile for mulching jobs next year. We covered the leaf mulch with straw, and are hoping for some snow cover to keep it all in place before the wind blows the mulch to Allamakee County!

We got a new issue of Taproot Magazine in the mail this week, and it included a few winter squash recipes. In an effort to try something new for dinner, I made the following squash casserole recipe last night. Is is very hardy, a bit sweet, and was a very good winter comfort food. We served it with a green salad, and would recommend rolls or maybe a side of broccoli. I also thought that the recipe could use some green - maybe chopped kale or parsley.

Squash Casserole by Ashley English

2 medium-size winter squash
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 colored bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1# lean ground beef
2 T maple syrup (if your squash is sweet, you may want to skip this)
2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
8 eggs
1/4 cup half and half
1 stick softened butter
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Roast the squash until soft, then let cool. Scoop out the flesh and mash in a bowl with a potato masher, then mash in the stick of butter. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute the onion and bell pepper in olive oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the onion starts to brown a bit around the edges. Add the minced garlic, and saute for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the vegetable mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the ground beef to the pan and return it to the heat. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until fully browned. Stir in the vegetable mixture, maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt, cumin, allspice, coriander, thyme, nutmeg and ground cloves. Stir and cook for two minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and set aside. Whisk the eggs in a medium mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the half and half; whisk until fully blended. Add to the bowl containing the mashed squash, along with the meat mixture and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Stir. Pour the mixture into a buttered 9" X 13" baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. Place the baking dish on the middle oven rack and bake at 375 for 1 hour. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.