Conserving and Preserving, and duck and Goi An

I've had a busy morning.

Today is the last delivery of the season for our CSA.

As usually happens, there were leftover veggies, which, though we leave them out all night, technically become ours after 7 PM if not picked up.

For some reason, this week there were 4 additional boxes of veggies. That's a lot of veggies.

I'm going to bet (or hope) that our basement is cool enough to store all the apples, squash, potatoes, parsnips, and beets that I lugged down there this morning, rendering it a root cellar.

But nothing preserves food like cooking and freezing it, so I had at it this morning.

Knowing I was using the oven (to make duck confit, for cassoulet), I took the opportunity to prepare some beets as well.

I cleaned them and wrapped them in foil, threw in some oil, S and P, and a couple of cloves of garlic and placed two packages on a baking sheet.

I also roasted some potatoes.

I used the potatoes to make gnocchi.

I passed the peeled potatoes through a food mill, and mixed in just enough flour to make an easy-handling dough. I rolled the dough into snakes, and cut the snakes into 1" long gnocchi.

I froze the gnocchi on a baking sheet, then placed the frozen gnocchi into a freezer bag. I may make a gnocchi appetizer for Thanksgiving... we'll see. I know Susan's mother Elvira would greatly appreciate it. If I do, I'll either make a ragu or perhaps a sage cream sauce. Or perhaps I could make a sauce out of all the Kale that's now in my freezer, with bechamel maybe? Hmm... decisions.

I had pounds of Jurassic-looking kale. After cutting out the ribs and soaking it I cooked it in two big batches in our largest stockpot. It steamed mostly, with about a cup of water and some salt in the bottom of the pot. After it wilted I cooked it down a bit and now have 3 gallon bags in the freezer, joining corn, green beans, shredded beets (for rosti), sauteed greens....

The kale ribs joined the potato and beet skins in our composter. Next year they'll nourish the soil in our little backyard, perhaps helping us grow plump tomatoes and fragrant Thai basil, cilantro, and mint for my Goi An-- a Vietnamese cabbage salad that we've become addicted to. (Thankfully I have plenty of cabbage for that now!)

Goi An

For dressing, combine 1/4 cup of Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce with 1/4 cup of lime juice, a chopped shallot or two, a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, and some grated ginger. Add some ground pepper and a teaspoon of sesame oil and mix. Add some chili flakes if you're feeling adventurous or out of control.

For salad, chop up a small head of cabbage. Add a grated carrot and some chopped cilantro, thai basil (or regular basil) and mint. Finish with some chopped roasted unsalted peanuts.

You can add shredded chicken meat if you like.

It's tasty. Addictive. And good for you.