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Autumnal Abundance

Farms harvest the hardy and substantial fall crops.

As the New England harvest season begins to slowly ebb, the farm stands transition from a vibrant abundance and diversity of items to hardy and substantial crops such as winter squash, kale, and Brussels sprouts. 

Those with CSA (community supported agriculture) shares are getting the last of their weekly loads. These final weeks will include additional hardy fall staples like greens, eggplant, potatoes, celeriac, leeks, peppers, turnips and rutabagas, and carrots, plus veggies that have been cured for storage like garlic and onions. If you missed the opportunity to join a CSA this past season, now might be a good time to contact the local CSA farms to find out about next summer. Typically farmers will reach out to their current members first, but will almost always have space available for new members. This has a list of local CSAs in and around Concord.

As the bundles from the CSA swallow all the available space in your refrigerator, it becomes a personal challenge to make a meal that incorporates as many items as possible — large (kale or chard bunches) or small (garlic) — without short-changing or obfuscating any. Even then, cooks will use a recipe as a launch pad to experiment and include a few fresh items that will enhance the meal.  

Tofu and Mushroom Marsala

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers

With the addition of leeks and carrots, plus some more oregano, this lovely dish bursting with rich flavors is visually appealing. The Marsala hints at sophistication, but don’t be fooled — this is a sumptuous down-home stew.

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 leeks, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups marsala wine

16 ounces firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 14.5-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper

In a pot on medium heat, cook the garlic in the oil just until it sizzles, then add the bell peppers, leeks, carrots, oregano, and salt.

Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and the tofu and cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes to reduce the wine. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook on medium-high heat for another 5-8 minutes, until mushrooms just begin to soften. Add the basil and salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve over flavorful basmati rice and with alongside. 

The Moosewood recipe aptly recommends a crusty bread to soak up the broth.  It takes a little advance planning, but virtually no work to make Mark Bittman’s No-Knead Bread to go along with this dish. Enjoy!

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