food for thought
full share: grapefruit, salad mix, carrots, wildflower honey, potatoes, butternut squash, onions, and garlic!
partial share: grapefruit, salad mix, carrots, and honey!
veg of the week
Ozette fingerling potatoes: Solanum tuberosum subsp. Andigena
Fingerlings are the general name for any heritage variety of potatoes that are harvested as small, stubby tubers. The variety we are receiving this week is called Ozette: it is commonly regarded as the oldest North American variety and has been grown by the Makah Nation people for generations, but only came available to small farmers in the US in the 1980’s. They are on Slow Food’s Arc of Taste for delicious foods in danger of extinction. Ozettes have an earthy, nutty flavor that gives them a reputation as the “best tasting fingerling”. They are most commonly found in home gardens for personal use, at farmers markets and through CSAs, as the commercial potato industry has decreed them as having a “very poor grade out”, meaning that an Ozette plant will produce tubers of very different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, the commercial market does not appreciate vegetables’ naturally occurring diversity!
These potatoes are easy to save for your own garden. Save a few in a cool dry place (where they won’t freeze). In the spring, cut the wrinkled potatoes into 1 inch pieces, each with an “eye” or sprout. Plant them in full sun in compost-enriched soil and each piece will grow into a potato plant that will produce many pounds of potatoes!
Uses: Ozettes are most commonly served boiled, fried or roasted, and they develop a smooth buttery flavor. Toss with olive oil and roast with other root vegetables and winter squash; boil for a potato salad, or cut lengthwise, roast and dip in your favorite creamy sauce – or just sprinkle with salt and pepper because these delicious potatoes can hold their own! PS: not that you would anyway, but the skin is thin enough that you don’t need to peel these potatoes.
Nutrition: Potatoes are actually fairly nutritious before we laden them with fatty sauces. Fingerlings are fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free, and are an excellent source of vitamin C.
To store: Keep these tender potatoes in the refrigerator or root cellar and they’ll last at least a month.
This week you’ll notice the “lactofermentation experiment” out for display on top of the cooler. While I wish my son would have thought of this for his science fair experiment, instead we get to reap the benefits of comparing three different methods of lactofermentation: saltwater brine, whey, and fermentation culture. Vegetables naturally contain lactobacillus, and our main priority when fermenting is to promote the growth of that good bacteria while limiting the growth of the “bad” bacteria. We do this by adding salt (a preservative), more lactobacillus (optional, but this is what the culture and whey are for), and capping with an airlock to keep out the oxygen that feeds the bad bacteria that would result in mold.
Because we had plenty of Valentine radishes leftover from last week, these became our vegetable of choice. I began by washing and then chopping them. I could have also sliced them, but was missing part of my food processor. I didn’t peel them, just cut off the stem and root ends and then chopped them into rough 1-1 1/2″ pieces.
I stuffed the radish pieces into half gallon jars, with layers of chopped green onion and garlic. You can see the beautiful green, white and pink colors of the radishes.
I topped them with saltwater liquid, roughly 1 tablespoon of salt for each cup of tepid water, let dissolve and poured over the veggies, leaving an inch of head-space. To one of the jars’ liquid was added the packet of fermentation culture; to another was added four tablespoons of whey.
You can see that the jar with whey is a little milky, which is how my whey turned out. My internet research this morning verified that it’s completely usable, but could be run through a dishtowel (I used cheesecloth) to reduce the presence of milk solids, which will therefore help the whey last longer in the fridge. I’ll do this final step later, as whey is useful for soaking grains, beans, and making fermented sauces and dressings.
Finally, I topped the jars with Pickle Pros, a brand of airlock produced in Chino Valley by Homesteader Supply. These kind folks also supplied the fermentation culture. You should buy stuff from them.
Now we wait until next week, when we’ll be able to sample and compare our batches of lactofermented radishes!
For more info on the difference between these methods of lactofermentation, check out
by Alex Deck
I just got back from an amazing block coarse I did for school in India. Below is a section of a blog post I did for the course. If you’re still interested after reading please follow the link to read the entire post.
About three years ago I heard about a festival in India called the Kumbha Mela. This festival happens once every three years, each year at one of four different cities along the Ganga River. The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela happens every twelve years near the city of Allahabad. Here the three great holy rivers of India come to a meeting place: the Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati. Indian legend goes that one of the Devas (demigods) was flying through the air on the way back to heaven with a pot of the nectar of immortality, Amrita. He was attacked mid flight by demons and ended up spilling a few drops of amrita. A few of these drops fell in the water at the confluence of these three rivers, called the Sangam. Some believe that by bathing in the water at the Sangam they will attain freedom from the necessity of reincarnation.
Others view this meeting point as a representation of the spiritual eye and the three rivers as a representation of the three spiritual pathways in the spine. These pathways are called the Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. Ida and Pingala on either side of the Sushumna represent the Ganga and Yamuna. These two pathways are less subtle and easier to concentrate on. The meditator focuses on these currents in order to find the more subtle Sushumna, represented by Saraswati. The Saraswati river makes it’s appearance at the Sangam by bubbling up from the ground. Legend has it that Saraswati was cursed to flow underground because she was making too much noise. When one jumps in the Sangam he could say that he is swimming in the Spiritual Eye of the World.
fingerling potatoes with aioli
adapted from the food network
- 2 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, unpeeled
- kosher salt
For the Aioli:
- 1 slice bread, crust removed
- 2 T Champagne or white wine vinegar
- 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/2 t grated lemon zest
- 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 t saffron threads
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 C good olive oil
- chives, chopped
Rinse the potatoes and put them in a large saucepan. Cover them with cold water, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are just tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander and place a kitchen towel on top, allowing them to steam for 5 to 10 minutes.
For the aioli, tear the slice of bread into pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the vinegar over the bread, and set aside for 5 minutes.
Place the garlic cloves, egg yolks, zest, juice, saffron, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the bread, and puree into a paste. With the processor running, slowly pour the oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until it is the consistency of thick sour cream. Place in a serving bowl.
Slice the potatoes in half and place them on a serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and decorate with the chopped chives. Serve with the aioli.
bacon and fingerling potato phylo pizza
adapted from ross sveback
makes 6 pizzas
- 1 – 16 oz package phyllo dough thawed in refrigerator
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 lb thick-cut bacon
- 1 lb fingerling potatoes – cooked and sliced
- 1/4 C minced onion
- 1 T fresh thyme
- 5 oz shredded Asiago, Parmesan & Romano cheeses
- fresh ground sea salt & pepper to taste
Dice bacon and fry until crisp, removing bacon and placing onto paper towels to drain. In a medium bowl, combine red onion, thyme, cheese and bacon, then set aside.
warm winter salad with roasted butternut squash and fingerling potatoes
adapted from gluten free goddess
1 1/2 to 2 lbs fingerlings, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
half a butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
another drizzle of olive oil
drizzle of balsamic vinegar