It’s been a rough week – Judi’s father had a horrific accident at the farm and is hospitalized with many broken bones, a punctured lung……and many more problems.  Your basket reflects the week’s chaos, since it was prepared by one person instead of two.  Translation:  you’re rinsing your own lettuce, because I ran out of time!

The head lettuce is coming to you with roots on, which kept it in good condition after it came out of the ground.   It’s from our friend Elaine at Everblossom Farm, since our fall lettuce isn’t as far along.

Two squash – the one that’s more orange is a butternut, and the other – which is marked, since I’m guessing some people might be unfamiliar with it – is a spaghetti squash.  Both will keep for a long time (months) so if you can’t deal with them this week, no worries, just keep them at room temperature.

You can cook either one in the oven, in the microwave, or even in a slow cooker, and the first thing you’ll get when you Google “how to cook a spaghetti squash” will give you a lot of details.  Here’s the basics:  the things have tough rinds, which makes cooking them whole a plus, becaue you can more easily cut them after they’re cooked.  To do so, you MUST first pierce them several times with a fork.  If you do not, you will learn firsthand the number of square inches that an exploded squash can coat in your oven.  For whole squash, about an hour at 375  – you’ll want them to be fork-tender.  Be careful when you remove them from the oven and cut them open, because they’ll be very, very hot.

Both contain some seeds inside, which you’d want to scoop out.  The butternut is then ready to eat (try a little cinnamon and just a bit of butter) and the spaghetti squash will have strands, which you will separate with a fork.  These can be topped with anything you’d put on pasta: tomato sauce, pesto, or just a little olive oil and parmesan.

If you halve them before cooking, you can drop the baking time to about 35 minutes at 375.  Grease a pan and place the halves cut-side down.

Butternuts make great soup, they’ve excellent mashed, and have many, many other uses.  My favorite is to cut the squash up before cooking (it seems to work best when I cut rings, then slice off the rind) cut into chunks, toss with olive oil and garlic, and roast at 450 for about 15-20 minutes, until tender.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and a little bit of balsamic vinegar.

The soap sample is from Diane Wiest at Brushwood Farm, who makes incredible goat’s milk soaps using the traditional methods and local ingredients.  Information about her website is on the label. Our family’s been using Diane’s soaps for years, and we can report that they last a long, long time, and never make your skin feel dry.  Diane will have a booth with all of her products at the Apple Festival in New Cumberland on September 25.

We have jalapenos in this week’s basket, and the Thursday Beans will get the sweet Jimmy Nardello peppers that were in last week’s Friday baskets.  The jalapenos are mild-medium hot, and are very good in salsa.  Because Judi’s been unable to pick this week, we aren’t including many tomatoes in this basket, so if you’d like to make salsa, stick the jalapenos in the fridge until next week.

The Dickinson College Farm helped us out with carrots and the butternuts, and Totem Pole Farm picked the jalapenos for us.  Thanks to all of our farmer friends who helped us with a difficult week at Cool Beans!

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