Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fall/Winter CSA Week 11 and Mustard Green Pesto

Alas, again I have neglected my blog. It is December and it is busy, but maybe it's not what you think.
Every year when December rolls around, November even, the world goes crazy. And I just get turned off.
Black Monday there, is now supposedly Black Monday here. Then there is Cyber Monday, and oh yes, Red Thursday. Are you kidding? Why don't we give every single day of the week a colour and another excuse to shop.
The more stores roll out this stuff, the more I just want to stay away from them.
Honestly, who needs all this stuff? All this "stuff" has created so many problems, from people who live in poverty making it, or die trying to, to the mess it makes of our air, our land and our waters.
Messing up Mother Earth seems totally at odds with what Christmas is all about, or was all about.

No, I haven't been shopping. And really over the last week I haven't contemplated the garden, or the seeds or anything a whole lot because of a sad situation in our family, the passing of my girls' grandma.
Things happen quickly, and then when you have a moment you sit and reflect on memories and different times. Such has been my week. I've been lost in my past, emerging now to a bit of a changed world in our family.

When I wander around my garden and hoop houses, I see everything is a bit confused. Today was quite mild, but the damage of very chilly night shows in the remaining veg in the garden. The mangels which characteristically push themselves out of the ground to some degree, looked great when I pulled them, but clearly as I pushed my finger against them to check firmness, they were all lost. Boo. They had been frozen solid, then thawed...then no good.
The carrots are still good, and I picked some kale outside, actually a good bit, herbs too. The jerusalem artichokes are still good and came up on my shovel caked in mud.

The vast majority of produce now though is being picked fresh from my hoophouse, or from storage inside.
It has been chilly and cloudy though and there hasn't been a whole lot of growth in the greens in the hoophouses. I cover them up at night and pull off the cover in the morning. Today the sun did shine bright and i'm hoping for much, much more of that. Tomorrow though, they are calling for rain.
Then back to the chill.
Of course, you can never depend on the weather, and that is indeed exactly what growers depend on. It makes perfect sense of course to depend on something that can't be depended on and that is surely why there is such a mad rush of folks wishing to become farmers.
Baskets today had a good variety of mustard greens, jerusalem artichokes, carrots or beets, leeks, garlic, pac choi, sage, rosemary, thyme  and preserves.
There are lots of recipes on my blog about ideas for these veggies. One thing I have tried recently is switching up the traditional "Leek and Potato Soup" and turning it into "Leek and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup". Same recipe and just a straight substitution of the potatoes.
This recipe that I posted pretty much a year ago is a little different idea for the mustard greens.
The recipe is from Bon Appetit.

Mustard Green Pesto Pasta with Mushrooms



  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups (loosely packed) coarsely chopped mustard greens


  • 8 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound fusilli (spiral-shaped pasta) or rotelle
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated smoked mozzarella cheese (about 2 ounces)



  • Blend 1/2 cup oil, pecans, and garlic in processor until finely chopped. Add vinegar, then Parmesan; process to blend. Add mustard greens alternately with remaining 1/3 cup oil in 2 additions each; puree until almost smooth. Season pesto with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before using.


  • Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sage and sauté just until mushrooms wilt, about 3 minutes. Add wine and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return pasta to pot. Add pesto and mushrooms; toss to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with smoked mozzarella cheese and serve.

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