Heatwave and Drought

The country is experiencing record drought conditions… the likes of which have not been seen since the 1950s.


Source: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2012/07/0228.xml

Here in New England, we haven't seen rain for weeks now, either. But this is pretty typical for us (and reading my old posts, I see I post regularly in July lamenting the arid conditions).  As a home gardener, I can still water; but farmers are seeing all sorts of restrictions.

I posted these tips last year, and they are still relavent now. 

Here are five tips to help protect your garden from the dry spell.

1.    Water the garden after 5pm.   This will give the soil (and plant roots) a chance to absorb the water before the sun hits it and starts to evaporate.  Do not water your garden during the middle of the day.  Water droplets on the leaves will cause reflection from the sun and burn the plants.

2.    Water the soil, not the plant.   You may even want to consider buying a soaker hose.  These are black mesh hoses that snake around the garden to make watering easier.

3.    Water for longer than you think necessary.  There have been many times when I’ve watered my garden, and then gone back 10 minutes later to discover the wet earth is not even a centimeter deep.  With the soil as dry as it is, you’ll need to water longer to penetrate the layers of earth and get to the plant roots.

4.    Weed.  The weeds want water just as much as the plants.  But you don’t want your weeds competing for this precious commodity.  Getting rid of them helps ensure that your prized plants won’t have to fight as hard for the water they need.

5.    Container plants do not hold water as well as plants directly in the earth.  Consider moving these pots to the shade during peak-sun hours.

How do you help your garden survive dry spells?


The Quintessence of Gentlemanly Beverages

I love reading old cookbooks… From a dusty relic dating back to the 1930's: This is poetry masquerading as a recipe.

My Dear General:

Your letter requesting my formula for mixing Mint Juleps leaves me in the same position in which Captain Barder found himself when asked how he was able to carve the image of an elephant from a block of wood. He replied that it was a simple process consisting merely in whittling off the part that didn’t look like an elephant.

The preparation of the quintessence of gentlemanly beverages can be describe only in like terms. A mint julep is not the product of a formula. It is a ceremony and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion. It is a rite that must not be entrusted to a novice, a statistician nor a Yankee. It is a heritage of the old South, an emblem of hospitality and a vehicle in which noble minds can travel together upon the flower-strewn paths of happy and congenial thought.

So far as the mere mechanics of the operation are concerned, the procedure, stripped of its ceremonial embellishments, can be described as follows:

Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wild flowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breeze. Gather the sweetest and tenderest shoots and gently carry them home. Go to the sideboard and select a decanter of finest Bourbon, distilled by a master hand, mellow with age yet still vigorous and inspiring, an ancestral sugar bowl, a row of silver goblets, some spoons and some ice and you are ready to start.

In a canvas bag, pound twice as much ice as you think you will need, make it fine as snow, keep it dry and do not allow it to degenerate into slush.

In each goblet, put a slightly heaping teaspoonful of granulated sugar, barely cover this with spring water and slightly bruise one mint leaf into this, leaving a spoon in the goblet. Then pour elixir from the decanter until the goblets are about one-fourth full. Fill the goblets with snowy ice, sprinkling in a small amount of sugar as you fill. Wipe the outside of the goblets dry and embellish copiously with mint.

The come the important and delicate operation of frosting. By proper manipulation of the spoon, the ingredients are circulated and blended until Nature, wishing to take a further hand and add another of its beautiful phenomena, encrusts the whole in a glistening coat of white frost. Thus harmoniously blended by the deft touches of a skilled hand, you have a beverage appropriate for honorable men and beautiful women.

When all is ready, assemble your guests on the porch or in the garden, where the aroma of the juleps will rise Heavenward and make the birds sing. Propose a worthy toast, bury your nose in the mint, inhale a deep breath of its fragrance and sip the nectar of the Gods.

Being overcome by thirst, I can write no further

Sincerely S. B. Buckner
Fort George Meade, MD
March 30, 1937

Exciting News: Michelle Obama Cites Us!

Front-Cover-2012-for-Email-Michelle Obama cites us! Yes, it's true! Known to the press corps as FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States), Mrs. Obama has just published her new book entitled American Grown. It stresses healthy eating and home-grown food. In her bibliography she lists 20 books used as resources. Yep, you guessed it. One of them is The Farmer's Kitchen by Brett Grohsgal and me. We're not only excited, but deeply honored.

And to celebrate, we're offering $5 off the price of The Farmer's Kitchen. Just enter in discount code: UYPASQVX.


The Farmer’s Kitchen: A Give-away

Life’s been busy here at Grow. Cook. Eat. World Headquarters.  Between writing business plans for local farmers, starting an investment club, organizing the local chapter of Slow Money, and managing my garden, Brett and I rereleased The Farmer’s Kitchen.  The new edition has a dozen new recipes and a new index that organizes the recipes by ingredient and by course.

And we continue to get great press:  The Farmer's Kitchen is mentioned in Northern Virgina Magazine next to Thomas Keller's “Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide” as a great book to find inspiration for cooking with your CSA. We're honored to keep such company!  In September, we’ll be mentioned in Consumer Reports guide to shopping at Farmer’s Markets.

But with all this great news comes a little dark spot. I have 7 copies of the old edition left in my inventory.  And I’ll be giving them away all this week over on our Facebook page.  Be sure to check out our posts and like them to be entered to win your own copy. 

Longevity Noodles: A wish for a long and happy life.

Longveity noodlesAt birthdays, New Year’s and other milestones that mark time, the Chinese have many recipes to bring luck and prosperity… and as I thought about what to make for a Chinese-American friend’s baby shower, I looked to the Chinese tradition for ideas. 

I couldn’t help myself to take a play on “Bun in the Oven” to make char sui bao: roast pork buns.

Long strands of noodles symbolize long life.  Their length represents the wish for a long and happy life.  American spaghetti is not considered long enough, so try to find the Chinese egg noodles, alternatively, you can make your own from scratch.

In order to preserve the wish and symbolisms, it’s important to not cut the noodles when cooking or eating them; instead chew on the noodles when they are inside the mouth.  What a great excuse to slurp your noodles.

Longevity Noodles
Adapted from The Chinese Kitchen by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

½ pound fresh egg noodles (available at Russo’s)

Chicken + Marinade
½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp shao-hsing wine or dry sherry
¾ tsp. corn starch
½ tsp soy sauce
Fresh ground white pepper

Mix together to marinate.

2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp distilled vinegar
1 tsp shao-hsing wine or dry sherry
1 ½ tsp corn starch
1 cup chicken stock or broth

Mix together and set aside

1 tbs or more of plain (canola or peanut) oil
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
¼ pound snow peas, stringed and julienned
3 fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced
2 scallions, julienned
¼ cup bamboo shoots

1.    Boil noodles for 1 minute in salted boiling water (if using fresh Chinese egg noodles, otherwise, cook 1 minute less than package instructions).  Drain well, and set aside.
2.    Mix chicken with marinade ingredients
3.    Combine ingredients for the sauce
4.    Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat.  Add oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the chicken and cook for 2 – 3 minutes, or until it starts to lose it’s pink color.  Remove from pan and set aside. 
5.    To the same pan, return to high heat and add a little more oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the ginger and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.  Add the noodles, snow peas, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts. Toss to coat and add sauce and chicken.
6.    Continue cooking until sauce thickens.
7.    Stir in scallions and serve.

The Great Cambridge Cook-Off

Chocolate mille fuille
It all started with an innocent Facebook post: “Eat your heart out, Julia Shanks.”

My friend Dave had made a soup he was exceptionally proud of, and wanted to share a photo with me.  Somehow his words got minced, and friends assumed he challenged me to a cook-off.

Dave accepted the challenge. Or I did? However it happened we decided to face off on April Fool’s Day.
Julia - Dave Cook-Off

The rules were set: We each prepared a three-course meal featuring common ingredients: goat cheese for the appetizer, pork for the entrée and strawberries for dessert.

The judging was fierce, and I just barely eeked out a win.  What put me over the top was my dessert: Chocolate Mille Fuille with Chocolate Mousse and Minted Berries.

Chocolate Mille Fuille
15 sheets of filo dough
1 ½ tbs.  cocoa powder
1 ½  cup sugar
1 cup melted butter

¼ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 egg
7 oz. heavy cream
10 oz. melted chocolate

1 qt strawberries
1 tbs. freshly chopped mint
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ cup sugar, or to taste

1.    For the filo sheets.  Lay them out, and keep them covered with a damp towel at all times to keep them from drying out.  Take one sheet at a time.  Cut it in half.  Brush it with melted butter and sprinkle cocoa powder and sugar on top.  Fold into quarters and place on a buttered cookie sheet.  Repeat this process until you have 30 squares.  Bake for 10 minutes at 425, or until golden brown.

2.    For the filling:  Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl, and place over simmering water. Stir until sugar dissolves and the temperature is approximately 110 degrees.  Remove from heat and whip  until mixture is cold.   In a separate bowl, whip cream until soft peaks.  Fold cream into egg mixture.   Gradually stir chocolate into base.

3.    Wash strawberries.  Cut into quarters.  Toss with mint, vanilla and sugar.

4.    To assemble: Put a chocolate filo square on a plate.  Put a spoon of custard in the middle and top with another filo square.  Garnish with strawberries.

25 Tips for Going Local without Going Crazy

No matter where you live, eating seasonally and locally offers a different way of thinking about food. While some areas of the country are relatively blessed to have locally grown fruits and vegetables for longer seasons, such as California and Florida, even these regions still have strong seasonality as to when each type of produce is at its best.

Locally sourced and seasonally raised foods taste better. They spend more time in the fields ripening – developing sweetness and flavor – because they don’t need to be picked under-ripe for shipping thousands of miles away. Picking under-ripe vegetables also reduces the nutritional value. Farmers can grow more diverse varieties, bred for quality and flavor rather than long shelf life. And though a region may experience a drought or unusually cold weather for a season, the fruits and vegetables still grow at their optimal time, ensuring the best possible taste. Picking under-ripe vegetables reduces the nutritional value.

Buying local also benefits the environment and economy. When we reduce our “food miles,” the distance our foods travel from farm to table, we reduce our carbon footprint – the impact of transportation, refrigeration and packaging needed to carry produce around the country. With each local food purchase, you ensure that more of your food dollars go to the farmer and local economy in the form of revenue and taxes. Buying
local food keeps your dollars circulating in your own community. In Massachusetts alone (where I live), if every household purchased just $12 worth of farm products for eight weeks (basically the summer season), over $200 million would be reinvested in our local farmland.

Here are 25 tips for eating local without going crazy.

Out and About

1.    Shop at the Farmers’ Markets
This is the most obvious… the farmers’ market is the best place to find local foods.  Here in Boston, you can find year-round markets.  The summer months are brimming with greens, tomatoes, melons and other veggies.  And the winter is bright too – with green house veggies, storage roots, and plenty of meats, dairy and grains.

2.    Circulate the Farmers’ Market before you buy
Cooking with what’s available locally requires a little more flexibility.  When you get to the market, look around and see what’s available.   This will help inspire ideas of what you can prepare.

3.    Shop at your local grocery store
Getting to the farmers’ market isn’t always possible.  Schedules with work and kids can get in the way.  You can still support the local economy, if not by purchasing local food, by purchasing at local markets.  You are still keeping more of your food dollars in the local economy.

4.    Eat in restaurants that support local agriculture
Now-a-days, more and more restaurants are supporting local farmers.   Check out The Chefs Collaborative website for restaurants that support local ag.

5.    Store your produce well
Often times, it seems that produce from the grocery store only lasts a few days before it wilts and rots.  Properly stored, you’ll have more time to use everything you buy.  You’ll be making fewer trips to the market, and spend less.

6.    Purchase through an aggregator.
In the Boston area, we have Boston Organics and Farmers to You. Both deliver farm-fresh produce, on a schedule, and reduce the hassle of shopping.

On a budget

7.    Eat the whole vegetable
Don’t throw away the beet tops or radish tops.  They are great in soups and stews.

8.    Subscribe to a CSA
Probably the most economical way to get the freshest produce available.  For about $25/week, you will get a variety of what’s in season.  Find a CSA on the Local Harvest website.

9.    Cook at home
You know where your food is coming from and it’s cheaper

10.    Avoid processed foods
There is nothing local (nor sustainable) about high-fructose corn-syrup.  If you want prepared foods, buy what is made in the grocery store, instead of a plant out in the middle of nowhere.

11.    Ask for seconds 
Locally grown produce, from small production farmers, tend to have more lumps, bumps and bruises. It still tastes great, even if it doesn’t look perfect.  Farmers’ will often discount the “seconds.”

12.    Get to know your farmer
They can help you figure out what’s most economical and best tasting. They can also offer tips on how to cook up the lesser know items.

13.    Learn to cook with cheaper cuts of meat
Free range meat is more expensive, there’s no way around that.  But you can stretch your food dollars by buying the less expensive cuts. They tend to have more flavor, but also require special attention when cooking.  Ask your farmer the best way to cook each cut.  Some are better for stewing. Others are good grilled after a good, tenderizing marinade.

14.    Volunteer
Either at the farmers market or at the farm.  You can get the best, freshest food, for the cost of a few hours of your time.


15.    Can sauces, pickles and tomatoes
Produce is cheapest (and of course most flavorful) when it’s in season.  Take advantage and stock up.  Preserving food by canning is a great way to extend the tomato season, and create your own specialty pickles. 

16.    Freeze herbs,  corn and leafy greens
Some items freeze better than canning.  Herbs should be washed and dried well before freezing.  Leafy greens should be cooked.  Corn can be frozen cooked or raw.

17.    Buy in bulk
And freeze.  You can usually get a discount, and you can have your favorite foods year round.

18.    Eat nutrient dense food, you’ll need less food
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve felt hungry even when I don’t need food.  Just as often (and probably more), I’m hungry for nutrients.  When I eat nutrient dense food like legumes or kale, I feel sated quicker and eat less.

19.    Cook enough for left-overs
Cooking at home is the best way to ensure you know where all your food is coming from.  But cooking 3 meals a day is laborious… and honestly… who has the time?  Cooking enough to have left-overs takes only a few minutes more and can save hours every week.

Keeping it Interesting in Winter and year-round

20.    Use Condiments
Espeically in the winter time, root vegetables and grains can get a little dull. Spice up your meals with chutneys and other condiments.  Most grocers will carry a stash of locally sourced jams, pickles and other condiments.  Have fun!

21.    Experiment with new recipes
Of course, my cookbook is a great source for new recipes.  And there are plenty of recipes out there.  Rutabagas and kale don’t have to be boring.

22.    Compost
Get a second life out of our food scraps. By composting, you are creating soil to put back into the eco-system.  Better still, you will become more aware of what you are wasting.  It can help you become a more conscious shopper, cook and eater.

23.    Start an herb garden
For the same price as a package of fresh herbs, you can buy an herb plant (and use your compost to fertilize it). A little bit of fresh thyme or basil will brighten up any dish.

24.    Purchase seasonally
Food tastes best in season, has the best nutrition and is the most cost effective.  Learn what’s seasonal in your area.   To learn about what's in season in your area, go here.

25.    Think beyond produce
With the exception of folks living in California and Florida, it’s hard to eat 100% local, year-round.  But you can do better if you think beyond produce.  Meats, grains and dairy are all available locally and year-round.  Do what you can.

Giving Back

During this "season of giving," many people donate money (or a percentage of sales) to non-profit organizations that work towards benefiting our communities and environment.  Here are two amazing organizations that I support with my time throughout the year, and with year-end contributions:

Future Chefs
Future Chefs helps urban teens grow and develop through education and by connecting them to employment in the food service industry.  There is fantastic mentorship and support from chefs and other industry professionals across the city. This year Future Chefs was named one of the top five social innovators in Boston.    I am an advisory board member, and clearly an avid fan.

Funding comes to Future Chefs from some of the Boston's major philanthropic institutions as well as individuals interested in youth development. This need never ceases, and in 2012 Future Chefs is opening a teaching and kitchen space in the South End that will allow them to reach many more potential culinary stars out there. We will be celebrating this new space in the New Year with a variety of activities and would love to see you there.

No matter what the size, your contribution will help make this next step possible, and continue the success of this wonderful program. To donate, click here.

Slow Money
Slow Money is a non-profit dedicated to steering new sources of capital to local food systems, empowering individual investors to reconnect with their local economies and building an entirely new financial sector — the nurture capital industry.  It is based in the principal that we can enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; by moving away from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration.

Slow Money is creating opportunities to connect entrepreneurs and investors.  Guided by the principal that we must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered; and connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

You don't have to think of yourself as an investor or be a revolutionary to support Slow Money. You just have to believe that millions of small financial acts-small donations, small investments, small acts of bringing money back down to earth-can add up to big change. Change in our local food systems. Change in our national food system. Change in our economy.

By joining us, you help support our work with local chapters emerging around the country (I am the head of the Boston chapter), our national gatherings and our ability to share Slow Money's vision of investing as if food, farms and fertility mattered.   Half of every dollar you pay in dues will be shared with the local Slow Money chapter of your choice. In Greater Boston, that money supports the events we organize, such as Fundraising 101 and The Entrepreneur Showcase.  In the future, we are helping members organize investment clubs and offering panel discussions about sustainable food systems. 

What non-profit and charities do you support?

Fundraising for Slow Money

At the Slow Money National Gathering last month, I gave a Fundraising 101 presentation that covered the basics of business planning and financial projections required when seeking investors or loans.  One of the first questions asked was, “How does Slow Money business planning differ from regular business planning?” The answer is, “Not much.”

The nature of the “Slow Money” enterprises may differ from other ventures in that they are focused on local, sustainable food systems.  However, the business planning process stays the same.  No matter the enterprise, you need to tell a compelling story:  

  • Why the world/community needs your business, and what problem(s) are you solving.
  • Why you are the person to lead this venture to success.
  • Demonstrate that you will be good steward of the invsestors money.  And finally,
  • Show that you will provide a return on the investment you receive. 

Where Slow Money investment differs is that the ROI does not have to be solely financial.   Slow Money Investors see the benefit of the “social” return – knowing that they are supporting the local community, preserving our land and our food systems. 

Slow Money ventures have an eye on social returns, but that does not mean their plans have no monetary benefit.  Here are examples of exciting new businesses that offer social and financial returns:

Stock Boxes
Across the U.S. a growing number of people live in food deserts, which means they don’t have access to healthy and affordable food within walking or biking distance of their home.  Stockbox Grocers responds to this need with a miniature grocery that’s tucked inside a reclaimed shipping container and placed into the parking lot of an existing business. We innovate on the espresso stand model to build stores throughout urban communities, and provide fresh produce and grocery staples to those who currently without access to good food, where they live. 

Stockbox Grocers is a convenient miniature market that is tucked inside a reclaimed shipping container and placed into the parking lot of an existing business or organization. 

Imagine dozens of these stores, located throughout urban food deserts and within walking distance of home, work, and school.   The stores are small and they are designed to offer the essential grocery items and fresh produce communities need to get through the week.

Stockbox Grocers are working to fix the grocery gap.

Bovinity Health

Of the 9 million conventional dairy cows in the United States, 90% are reflexively administered antibiotics by farmers into the udder when they are finished lactation. About 4 million of the total 18 million (22%) dairy cows, heifers and calves are treated with antibiotics for other infectious problems. 

Yet of 250,000 Certified Organic dairy cows (~ 3% of US herd), not one organic cow in production has been treated with antibiotics for the same problems, due to the prohibition of antibiotics.  Thus, infectious disease is being successfully treated without antibiotics!

Plasma Gold is derived only from certified organic cattle in a process identical to that which the Red Cross uses with people. This is a pharmaceutical, natural product with no further processing needed. 

Phyto-Mast® is a dual purpose product for both lactation and dry cow use. They have 3 clinical trials completed by university research teams in the US showing the safety and benefits of using Phyto-Mast®. 

Phyto-Biotic is a potent antibacterial plant tincture which can be administered orally or intravenously.

Farmland LP

Farmland LP acquires conventional farmland and converts it into certified organic, sustainable farmland. Our investors benefit from the security of owning farmland while participating in the growth and profitability of the organic market.

Farmland LP, a U.S. private equity fund, was created to deliver superior returns for its investors by acquiring conventional farmland and converting it to high-value organic farmland using sustainable agriculture best-practices.

Sales of organic goods in the U.S. have grown 20% per year since 1990, and now exceed $24 billion growing at nearly $5 billion per year. And although many organic foods receive a price premium of 50% to 200%, the limit to market growth is supply.

Only 0.5% of U.S. farmland is certified organic, increasing at 8.5% per year. Farmers face barriers of cost, knowledge, time, and effort in converting from conventional to organic, including the three-year organic transition and certification process. 

Farmland LP provides its investors with the security of owning low-risk farmland while benefiting from the value added by converting to organic farmland. Learn more or contact us for additional information.

Farmland LP acquires conventional farmland and convert it into certified organic farmland.   They enable the highest long-term land productivity by utilizing sustainability best-practice crop and animal rotations. They maximize cash returns by renting,risk sharing, or directly operating the land.

What types of return do you provide your investors? Need help answering that question? Please call or  email.

Volunteerism (Recipe: Butternut Squash Puree with Roasted Hake and Port Reduction)


Much of what grows in my garden are annuals… that means the plants have a one season life cycle.  Basil, for example, gets planted every spring and then dies off in October.  The only way basil will get planted again in my garden is if I intentionally do so.  Unless, I let the plant go to seed.

Most plants go through the same life cycle.  The seeds sprout leaves, and then generate flowers which produce the fruit. The fruit has seeds… and if they are harvested, the seeds can be saved to be replanted the next season.

I have this cycle going on in my garden in a rather informal process.  The birds eat the spent sunflowers, scattering the seeds around the garden.  The following spring, little sunflowers sprouts pop up everywhere.  I gather them and then replant them where I want.  The same thing happens with the lettuces and even tomatoes.

I’ve learned to recognize many plants by the first few leaves that emerge from the ground, and distinguish them from the weeds – which get plucked and composted.  

Every once in a while, seedlings emerge that I’m unsure of. I let them grow out to see what happens.   This year, the questionable seedlings turned into squash.  I recognized the leaves, but the subsequent flowers suggested that it was a different variety than I had planted in years past.  The plant grew, squash pushed out the flowers and grew. 

I still had no idea what variety I had.  I harvested a pale green squash with white streaks.  It looked like it could be a zucchini, but the texture was very dense and unappetizing.

And while I wondered what variety of squash I had, I was also curious to know where the seed has come from.  I had never planted any variety before other than zucchini.  Was it a cross pollination of cucumbers and zucchini in past years?  Had the seed come from the compost bin? Or maybe from a neighbor’s garden?

I was nonplused by the first squash. I decided to let the rest go…  Though I didn’t dig out the plant… the vines continued to grow and circle around the tomato plants into the driveway.  After 3 months of watching the plant meander, I realized I had butternut squash!

Perhaps the best thing about this discovery was that one plant yielded 3 – 4 squash (and I probably would have gotten more if I had been more careful).  A far better yield than the zucchini I intentionally planted – 20 seeds produced 2 fruit.  Yes, that’s right, just 2… hardly worth the space devoted. 

Pan Roasted Hake with Squash Puree and Port Reduction

1 butternut squash
1 apple
1 onion
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
4 – 6 oz. hake filets
¼ cup chick pea flour
1 tablespoon plain oil.
1 shallot
1 cup ruby port
½ cup chicken stock
Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

1.    Cut squash in half, lengthwise.  Put on a cookie sheet, cut side down with 1 cup of water.  Bake in 350F oven for 30 minutes or until tender.
2.    Meanwhile, peel and slice the onion and apple.  Melt butter in a skillet.   Add the onions and apples and cook over medium heat until soft.  Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the chicken broth to deglaze the pan.
3.    When squash is tender, remove and discard the seeds.  Spoon out the pulp and add to the apple mix.  Puree in a food processor with ½ of the cream.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Set aside in a warm spot.
4.    Season hake file with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Dust with chick pea flour.
5.    Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add oil.  Sear fish until golden brown.  Flip and continue cooking for 2 minutes, or until cooked through. 
6.    Remove fish from pan.  To the pan add the shallots, and then the port.  Reduce the port by ¾ and then add the chicken stock and remaining cream.  Reduce until thick.  Season sauce with salt and lemon juice

From the garden: butternut squash, kale, garlic