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The First Muse Newsletter - Week 15, September 11
Written by Calliope Pappadakis   
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 00:00

Good Morning,

SnapsBrrr! The thermometer on the porch read 44 degrees at 7am - that's only 12 degrees from freezing! I am usually outside by 7:30 on Tuesdays, but today I had to wait for the sun to warm the high tunnel before I could cut flowers. I don't think we'll have flowers too much longer with these night time temperatures. In fact, all of the flowers fit into one 5-gallon bucket today. Plants are slowing, browning, and bowing to the earth as the cold months approach us. This is also the last week for tomatoes, I think; it was a scant harvest and the plants are looking tired and ready for the compost pile.


Featured item this week, just in time for the cooler weather: Kabocha Squash, a Japanese winter squash that if you don't have time to prepare in the near future, will be happy sitting on your table as an autumnal decoration for the next couple of months. You may be tempted to use it only as a decoration because it is so pretty, but be sure you make plans to cook and eat it - this variety of Kabocha is wonderful, and richer and sweeter than Butternut Squash. Here are just a few of the many recipes for Kabocha that we think sound interesting:

Balsamic Roasted Kabocha Squash
Sweet & Spicy Roasted Kabocha Squash
Kabocha Squash Soup
Roasted Kabocha Squash with Kale
Mathieu Palombino’s Roasted Kabocha Squash with Parmesan
Thai Red Curry with Kabocha

Giant Red MustardAnother featured item this week is a mustard greens blend: Giant Red Mustard, a spicy and colorful Japanese mustard green that I first met in Maui on a Permaculture Farm; in the basket it is accompanied by its rowdy sister Ruby Streaks Mustard. This week we added the greens, garlic (8 cloves!) jalapenos, rosemary, and tomatoes to this Turkey Soup Recipe. In lieu of the turkey, we used pork sausage from Blue Rooster Farm. Keep in mind that cooking the mustard greens removes most of their heat, so if you want a wasabi/horseradish bite, add the raw, tender greens to your salad. I'd like to try these homemade pizzas with the Mustard greens, too.

If you haven't cooked yours yet, here's one of my favorite ways to enjoy radicchio: Radicchio, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette. Sometimes we have it with Brie instead of Blue or apple instead of pear. And always with roasted walnuts or pecans. It's a welcome fresh treat in November.

Coming soon: buttercrunch lettuce, parsnips, carrots, and turnips!

In light of the seasonal shift, the praying mantises have set up cocoons around the high tunnel. I inadvertently brushed my hand over a freshly spun cocoon clinging to a parsnip stalk and squealed with delight. I'm thrilled that several of the mantises from the spring hatching in the cucumbers stayed the duration of the hot season and have now gifted us with offspring for next year.

Enjoy the seasonal shift and have a great week!

--Calliope & Jim