Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Fennel

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The most winterific green there is: Brussels Sprouts. Everyone knows it.

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Late in our CSA season we tend to get a bunch of rooty vegetables like fennel and heartier greens like brussels sprouts.

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An easy and tasty fallback cold night dinner is to roast them both up together. Slice the fennel, then cut the stems off the sprouts, and cut them in halves or thirds. Throw both the sprouts and fennel in a pan with sliced shallots, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Roast the combo at 375°.

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You’ll know it’s done by the heavenly aroma, but it should take about 35-40 minutes. The sprouts will be soft and there should be some crispy bits (which are the pieces you should hog for yourself).

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Serve next to something grainy with lemon, herbs and garlic, and remember winter won’t last forever and that brussels sprouts make your insides warmer. Enjoy!

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Fare Thee Well, Winter 2014.

The-Day-After-Tomorrow-PSIt’s been a long, cold winter, completely void of writing as our CSA has been inexistent. But after a treacherous and interminable winter, SPRING appears to have arrived. The city is lighting up – both literally and figuratively – New York’s farmin’ cityfolk are back, and ahh, the season has sprung…

In memorandum of the painful winter we’ve endured, I’ve put together a small list of things that will no doubt go remembered (or more likely forgotten) from Winter 2014:

  • Alternate parking in NYC was suspended for a whopping 22 days in a row this year.
  • We ran out of Velveeta. Which is fine, so long as we don’t suffer a national shortage of Spam.
  • People literally skied to work.
  • Our new mayor brought shame to his family’s name by eating a slice with a knife and fork.
  • House of Cards took over our lives, for the second time.
  • While in the Northeast we could seriously have used some of Sriracha’s heat, Southern California apparently had had enough.
  • We passed a farm bill, and the reaction fluctuated around “meh“.
  • For the 29th consecutive year I successfully avoided the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  This year, Guinness joined me.
  • On Evan and my second wedding anniversary there was a snowstorm so big they closed down all the restaurants at 7pm, so we ate ravioli and went to bed at 9.
  • The most publicized traffic jam in the history of the Tristate area gave us our yearly dose of New Jersey political corruption.
  • A mouse infestation forced New Yorkers back into the Dark Ages when the cafe that invented the cronut was shut down for a weekend.  Never has a donut seemed so unimaginative.
  • And Pharrell made us all feel pretty lousy for feeling “just okay”.

No doubt spring will bring its own series of less than notable events. But that is all for now.

Canned Laughter

Canning!Our CSA share has been positively monumental lately. So much so, that we’ve had too many tomatoes and peaches than we know what to do with. Winter, however, will not be quite so flush. Thus, we recently decided to start canning.

We’ve fantasized about canning our CSA share extras for the last few years, but the combination of our small kitchen and the daunting prospects of sterilization have always scared us off. This year we got the canning-mojo, and have since been canning up a storm. We mentioned in our post Ten Things To Do With Tomatoes that we’ve begun these procedures and that we’ve been tom-loaded, so we started with tomatoes, and have yet to stop.

Though we’ll go over some basics, if you need a more in-depth primer on how to proceed, check here.

Step 1. Sterilization

The number-one rule is to keep everything clean.  Start by cleaning your jars and lids well and then put them in a pot of boiling water.  We just leave them there until it’s time to fill them. They clank around a lot to let you know they’re getting nice and sterile.

Sterilizing Cans

Step 2. Prepare food

Doing tomatoes is really straightforward, and it’s the same for peaches. You don’t want the skins of either fruit, so drop them in boiling water for about a minute, then put them in an ice bath, after which the peels just fall away when you rub on them a little. Do this a few at a time and then place them in a colander above a bowl to save the juice. Once they’re all peeled, remove the core and cut into quarters.

Step 3. Can

Stuffing Those Toms InCarefully remove the sterilized jars and start adding the tomatoes, leaving about 1/2″ at the top (the “head space”). Use the reserved juices to cover the tomatoes, and remove as much air as possible by prodding with a chopstick or wood spoon.  Screw on the lids and “process” by placing the closed jars back in the boiling water for about 45 minutes to one hour (depending a bit on the size of the jar). Then just take out the jars and let stand for a few hours without moving them. The lids should make a very satisfying pop to let you know they’ve fully sealed.

Boiling CansThose are the basics!

We got a little fancy and roasted some tomatoes with garlic for some (mid-winter) summery sauces, which smelled heavenly.

Tomatoes with Garlic and Basil and Rosemary

Roasted Tomatoes

IMG_6429As we all know, peaches – much like tomatoes – become a sad-hybrid-pretend-fruit in the supermarket come late fall/early winter. Seriously, they taste like mealy soap. To combat this conundrum, we (mere days after tomato canning) canned a combination of yellow, white and donut peaches, which promises to be a heavenly treat come the frost.

Canning Peaches

And now we’re ready! We can pack up away and hibernate, not to be seen again until April or so. Our pantry (aka NYC closet) is stacked.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned Peaches

NYC Pantries (Closets)

Next up, apples.