Friday, September 23, 2011

Fall Update

Late Summer Harvest

The night-time temperatures continue to drop and I'm sure before long, the first hard frost will nip everything lovely in our garden, so it fills me with joy to take my big bowl out into the garden and nab everything harvestable. Many of these will be canned (like Elderberry Syrup) or Diced Tomatoes. Many will get enjoyed (like the strawberries, thank you Ever-Bearing Strawberries!) and some will be put to good use in quick breads and cakes (thank you, ever producing zucchini).

In last week's CSA pick-up, we took the plunge and grabbed an eggplant. We don't normally cook it, so it was a fun experiment and while many recipes call for more than one eggplant, this one fit the bill and gave us more reasons to use up the garden harvest while rejoicing in exotic flavours:

Baingan Bharta
I followed the exact recipe here at All Recipes and was really pleased with how it turned out.

The second recipe is full of fall flavours and I was able to pressure can some for the winter, leaving my deep freeze for the larger cuts of local meat we intend to buy and store.

Autumn Harvest Soup
Inspired and Adapted from Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup at Dates and Quinces.

3 cups cleaned and chopped carrots
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 tsp oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 head of local garlic, roasted (for tips on roasting and a fantastic mustard recipe, go here)
1 apple, cored and chopped (peel on)
3 cups water
4 cups chicken stock
1 tsp Madras curry powder
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: sour cream or yogurt

1. Over medium heat, warm oil and sautee onions until softened. Add in curry powder and toast flavours for about a minute.
2. Add in water, stock, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic and apple and reduce heat to low. Cover and stir occasionally, about 45 minutes - 1 hour.
3. Let cool and puree in batches (or use an immersion blender) and add in remaining spices and seasoning. Serve with dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The End of the Summer

Not like there really was a summer. We're only now coming into some beautiful weather and you know, I'm completely OK with that. Fall is my favourite season and enjoying sunny days with moderate temperatures is ideal. Plus, I'm huge and heat isn't agreeing with me, so double bonus.

Fall is also the signal of all the nesty things I need to do, like get a whack of soups, stews, chilis, sauces and more frozen and ready for baby-crazy-hectic-welcoming-company chaos that begins about 8 weeks. In the meantime, I'll happily start cleaning up the garden, freezing and drying what I can in prepration for winter.
I received a lovely little virtual award from Adventures in Dinner, which was a really kind gesture and I thank her. I have continiously enjoyed reading her blog posts and found them inspiring as she tackles leftovers, a toddler and home renovation. Her honesty is refreshing and she is such a likeable blogger!

This award is a kind of fun chain thing, because after accepting the award, you thank the giver (You rock, Jane!) and link them back to your post. You then share seven things about yourself:

  1. I have had all sorts of odd jobs - retail jobs, administrative jobs, restaurant jobs, house cleaning jobs, gardening jobs, make-your-own-job jobs and more. I like contributing and if there are no jobs available, I try to figure something out.
  2. I'm a Trekkie, but a particular one. I'm especially fond of Star Trek Voyager and TNG. I was reluctant at first and before long, I was sucked in and now, I watch it almost nightly while I have my pre-bedtime nap.
  3. I met Jeff during our undergrad at Carleton University, in Ottawa. He got liquored up at a free wine and cheese reception our department was hosting and got the nerve to ask me to dinner and the symphony. He could have been a chimp and I would have said yes. Luckily, he wasn't a chimp and we had an incredible 8 hour date. We never looked back.
  4. I'm a perpetual student and really, really need to finish the last two credits of my Masters (and you know....stop having babies so I can finish!)
  5. I'm not a very creative cook. I like recipes and structure and only when I'm comfortable will I branch out and experiment. I wish I took more risks in the kitchen.
  6. I'd much rather concentrate my gardening efforts into a vegetable garden then a flower garden.
  7. As I'm typing this, a neighbour is jogging by my place and I'm reminded how much I hate running. I wish I could run, but it feels like torture and the only way you'll catch me running is if I'm being chased or you've offered me some really tempting food and I'm anxious to get there fast.
Here's the extra fun part, where I get to take 10 new blogs I really enjoy and hopefully introduce you to some gems you may or may not have discovered: From Maggie's Farm, Northwest Edible Life, Toronto Tastings and My Mom's a Nerd.


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