Fresh & New: Oct 16-22

Alex Jones, Farmstand Product Manager

If I had to eat one food every day for the rest of my life with no negative consequences, it would surely be some type of pasta, probably mac 'n' cheese, quite possibly this butternut squash mac recipe (which you can make with most of our winter squashes, from buttercup to baby blue hubbard -- just not spaghetti squash). Serve with some sauteed greens like red baby bok choy, braised scarlet and gold turnips, or a salad of celery and fennel.

Speaking of comfort food, allow me to engage in some real talk about flavored cheeses. While they might make a delicious snack, mac, or grilled cheese, they're not often considered "artisan." However, our cheese case has some amazing cheeses flavored with spices, herbs, and locally grown and foraged produce: Calkins Creamery's Vampire Slayer is a black-wax cheddar with punch of garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.Cherry Grove Farm's Full Nettle Jack plays on the trope of nettles as a traditional rennet in the cheesemaking process and has a pleasantly herbaceous note. Keswick Creamery's super-spicyDragon's Breath amps up creamy pepper jack with jalapeno, habanero, and birds-eye chiles, andConebella Farm's Bay Cheddar is an umami lover's dream. Try one of these varieties on your next cheese plate, melted with bechamel and noodles, or in your favorite cheese ball recipe. (You do have a favorite cheese ball recipe, don't you?)

In terms of (somewhat) lighter fare, I'm craving this maple bacon Brussels sprouts salad with Asian pears recommended by Operations Manager Anne -- you can make it vegan or vegetarian omitting or swapping out the cheese and bacon -- I can see Shellbark Sharp 2 Chevre crumbles, spiced and roasted sweet potato cubes, or shredded purple carrots tasting great and looking amazing in this dish. Keep the pears in, though -- they add sweetness and crunch, and it's a perfect use forSubarashii Kudamono's pale golden AsaJu pears, which come into season for a short time (now!) each year.

Finally, a tip for Brussels sprouts: here's a great way to put those outer leaves, the ones you need to trim off before roasting or shredding your sprouts. Make chips! Reminiscent of kale chips, oiling, salting, and roasting these outer leaves makes for a sturdier chip that can stand up to a bit more browning in the oven. Plus, the sweeter flavors of these leaves mean more caramelization. Just be sure to keep an eye on them when they're in the oven, because they'll quickly go from perfectly roasted to overdone.

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