Local Food Hub:
Shallots (Field's Edge--Floyd County)
Kabocha squash (Spring Hollow Farm--Buckingham County)
Gold Rush apples (Saunder's Brother's Orchard--Nelson County)
Bow Tide Farms:
From The Moosewood Restaurant Table cookbook by The Moosewood Collective; modified for kabocha and arugula
Squash Polenta with Mushroom and Arugula Stew
1 cup cornmeal (Try our local yellow cornmeal by Woodson's Mill in this recipe!)
1 TSP salt
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups pureed cooked kabocha squash (To bake, heat oven to 350 F and cut kabocha squash in half and remove seeds; cook for 25-30 minutes or until you can easily pierce the squash with a fork. Scoop squash from skin and blend until smooth)
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano OR Parmesan cheese
2 cups diced onions
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced (about 1 1/4 cup)
3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 LBs mushrooms (8 to 10 cups chopped)
1 TSP dried thyme
1/2 cup red wine or marsala
1 TBSP soy sauce
2 cups arugula
*You can use coarse or fine cornmeal for the polenta but the cooking times will vary significantly depending on the grind (15 to 35 minutes).*
**Choose a variety of mushrooms. Stay with about 1/2 LB portabella mushrooms for meatiness and bulk, and then choose a pound of mushrooms such as shiitake, morels, oyster mushrooms, or golden trumpets, or wild or exotic varieties. Or just use the more economical cremini or white button mushrooms, which also work fine in this stew. **
Make the polenta: In a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan, stir together the cornmeal, salt, and cold water. Bring to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to a simmer. If the polenta starts spitting, lower the heat or loosely cover the pan. Stir the polenta every few minutes to prevent sticking, and cook until it is soft and thick, pulls away from the sides of the pot when stirred, and tastes done. Depending on the grind and the kind of cornmeal, you might need to add a little more water, and the simmering time can range between 15 and 30 minutes. Add the pureed squash and stir to incorporate. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
Make the stew: In a stew pot on medium heat, warm the oil and cook the onions and bell peppers for about 5 minutes. Gently wipe off any grit clinging to the mushrooms with a soft brush or a damp towel; avoid immersing or rinsing them in water. Chop the portabellas into 1-inch pieces. Cut other mushrooms lengthwise into halves or quarters. Separate oyster mushrooms or other mushrooms that grow in clumps into smaller bunches. Add the tougher mushrooms, like portabellas, porcini, cremini, or shiitake to the onions and peppers in the stew pot and stir to coat with oil. After 4 to 5 minutes, add the more tender mushrooms and the thyme and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine and soy sauce, stir in the arugula, and cook for a couple of minutes more, until the arugula has wilted. Season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
To serve, spoon polenta into individual wide, shallow bowls and top with stew.
From Bon Appetit, September 2018; modified for shallots
Warm Eggplant Salad with Walnuts
¾ cup walnuts
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Medium eggplants halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 2" sections
Shallots, very thinly sliced
1½ cups mint leaves, torn if large
2 Tbsp. date syrup
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darker, 8–10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop; set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, cinnamon, red pepper, and 1 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl.
Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high. Add eggplant and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 7–9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer eggplant to bowl with dressing, leaving any oil in pan behind; discard oil. Add shallot, mint, and three-quarters of reserved walnuts to bowl. Season with salt and toss to combine.
Transfer eggplant salad to a platter. Drizzle with date syrup, then top with remaining walnuts.