Wrapping Up…

As autumn sets in around the farm, everyone and everything is preparing for winter. Tomato stakes are coming down, eggplants & peppers are sending out their last push, and the farm interns are saying their good-byes. This season is ending, and it is time for us to move on to our next adventure.

With that exciting, slightly nerve-racking thought, I’ve found comfort in root vegetables. Wrapped up in many different ways (or served on gluten-free bread, but that didn’t seem appropriate for this post…).

These wraps are not your average vegan/gf wrap, I’d like to think. Restaurants try to “make it work” by throwing on some lettuce, tomato, maybe some sauteed onions & peppers – regardless of the season. I usually have to request some pesto and “any other vegetables you are willing to throw on.” So I make my wraps as complete as possible: legumes, nuts/seeds, and chock-full of vegetables.

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First up: Collard Wrap with Groundnuts and Roots

I chopped up some carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips, and braised them in a little vegetable broth. Then I added a peanut-coconut-ginger sauce, and a huge handful of parsley. That got piled onto a huge collard leaf atop some raw red peppers, and with a big handful of basil cabbage slaw on top of that. Very satisfying.

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Next up: Chard Wrap with Spicy Eggplant & Slaw

This was a collaborative wrap between me and another intern, Jeremy. I made baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant, garlic, tahini, parsley, lemon juice), and a quick “slaw” (kohlrabi, carrots, peppers in a lemon vinaigrette). Jeremy made his famous spicy eggplant with dill, and a delightfully hot sauce to pour atop everything. I’ll have to tell him to post his recipe, because I certainly couldn’t do it justice.

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And last but not least, Cabbage Rolls with Moroccan Spiced Roots & Tahini Ginger Dressing

Chop up as many root vegetables as you can get your hands on into thin strips. I used carrots, parsnips, jerusalem artichokes, potatoes, white yams and sweet potatoes. Roast them with a little olive oil, salt & pepper until soft. Let cool, and mix with chopped cilantro, parsley and mint. Lots of it.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Mix together tahini, tamari, ginger, garlic, scallions, a hot pepper or two, a bit of sesame oil, some rice wine vinegar and water to achieve your viscosity of choice.

Now get your cabbage ready to roll. Remove outer leaves, cut out the core, and steam until leaves soften, and peel off. Put a handful of root veggies in the center, top with some toasted pumpkin seeds, and roll like a Chipotle burrito. After you’ve got ’em all rolled, steam them for another few minutes to seal and heat through. Serve with dipping sauce, and be prepared for people to want seconds.

And that, my friends, is a wrap.

The Healing Power of Soup

The arrival of fall, and thus, the arrival of soup. Fall, with its chilly mornings and evenings, crisp breeze, and subtleties, is a time of transition. A time of preparation for the winter ahead. Warming, soothing, nourishing foods bring us a sense of stability and groundedness. No wonder soup is a staple of nearly every culture. With a few fresh (or properly stored) ingredients, you can sit back, relax, reflect, and rejuvenate yourself with a nice bowl of soup. Here’s my simple, time-tested, mother-taught, farmer-approved recipe:

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The possibilities are endless! And you can have a great soup in 20 minutes! I tend to find that flavors tend to develop with more time simmering or simply sitting overnight – but can’t deny the value of a quick soup. Busy schedule, unexpected guests, a bunch of hungry farmers at lunch.

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It was harvest day,my turn to make lunch, and I couldn’t choose just one vegetable from our bounty…so I picked six. Onion, garlic, celery, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato. And with a few modifications to the recipe pictured, I had broccoli “cheese” soup in bowls with roasted peppers and a salad of fresh greens, carrots, beets and turnips in under an hour.

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Two great things about this particular soup:

1) Broccoli – an amazing source of vitamins and minerals that support the immune system and heart, produce energy and fight free radicals.

2) Nutritional yeast – a complete source of protein and full of B-complex vitamins, this nutty, cheesy delight is found in any health food store, and can be easily added to soups, sauces, salad dressing, or anywhere cheese might be desired.

I’ll have to do another post on root vegetables to discuss all their nutritional wonders. I’ve already talked about the multitude of ways to use them. But for now, just know to eat ’em up! The season is upon us!