30th Harvest Week <> November 19 - 25, 2001

Hoo-boy, what am I gonna do next week when the CSA season ends? Live Earth Farm deserves a well-earned break, but I'll be going into box-withdrawal nevertheless! First though I must come up with the final recipes for the season. Lori Zink of Willow Glen got wind that we'd have potatoes this week (after a bit of a hiatus), and requested a recipe for Colcannon, an Irish potato dish with cabbage or kale. And although we won't have pumpkins in our last share, it seemed fitting to conclude with this Turkey-alternative stuffed-pumpkin recipe faxed to me by John Maschino of Watsonville (it does use lots of other box ingredients though).

Colcannon (the Kale version)
from Jane Brody's Good Food Book

1 lb. potatoes, washed but not peeled
1 lg. bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed and shredded (see note below for cabbage version)
1 lg. onion, chopped
1/4 C milk
1 tbsp. butter
3 oz. sharp Cheddar or other hard cheese, coarsely grated, divided
Freshly ground black pepper, and salt

Boil potatoes in lightly salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain (reserve cooking liquid) and set aside to cool some. Boil kale and onion in potato water, adding more water if needed, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside. Peel (if you like) and mash potatoes with milk and butter, then stir in kale and onions. Mix two-thirds of the cheese with the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Before serving, heat it through in a moderately hot oven (btwn. 350 and 475 degrees – temp. not critical) until cheese on top has browned slightly.

Note: this recipe can also be made with green cabbage instead of kale. Simply substitute shredded cabbage (about 4 cups) for the kale.

Stuffed Pumpkin

Ingredient quantities are entirely contingent on how big a pumpkin you're stuffing. This recipe is otherwise very flexible, with a few caveats noted by John and his wife Wendy, from their 15 years of making this for Thanksgiving!

<>One 'Sugar Pie' or other flavorful cooking pumpkin;
<>Crumbled, dried whole-wheat bread (with a little leftover cornbread if you have it), and cooked brown rice, in 2-to-1 proportions bread-to-rice (John says to rinse the cooked rice well or it gets gummy);
<>Diced cooked potatoes, with skin;
<>Diced raw onion, celery and apple;
<>Grated (or chopped) carrots;
<>Cut up dried fruit 'sweetmeats' such as prunes, apricots, raisins and cranberries;
<>Salt, pepper, basil, savory and oregano, celery seed and sage, to taste (be careful with the sage – a little goes a long way, and too much can ruin the dish. Just a pinch of dried sage is best);
<>Several cloves of garlic, chopped;
<>Vegetable broth and melted butter;
<>Additional optional ingredients: water chestnuts, mushrooms, and walnuts

Cut top off pumpkin, in a somewhat jagged shape so the 'lid' will fit better after baking. Scrape out all the strings and seeds from the interior, saving the seeds to toast if you like. Set pumpkin aside until ready to stuff.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the broth and melted butter. Moisten ingredients with broth and butter, using your hands to toss, until stuffing is lightly moist to the touch, but not wet. (Add more liquid or bread crumbs if your mixture is too dry or too wet respectively.) Taste for seasoning.

Pack stuffing loosely into pumpkin and replace lid. Place stuffed pumpkin in a greased baking pan. A pan with a good rim is necessary, as the pumpkin can exude juices when cooking.

Bake for several hours at 300 degrees. Pumpkin is done when it is browned and slightly deflated-looking on the outside, and stuffing is hot all the way through.

John says that the stuffed pumpkin is quite fragile when cooked, so use extreme caution if you plan on transferring it from its baking pan to any kind of a serving dish! It is best served right from the pan it was cooked in.

Remember when you go to dish that each serving should include a goodly spoonful of the cooked pumpkin flesh along with the stuffing!

Remember also that you can just as easily stuff several small pumpkins as you can one big one.

John recommends serving this with a good cranberry sauce of some sort.

I myself would open a nice, buttery bottle of chardonnay to go with!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!


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