The garden is eerily quiet now, following the butchering of the pigs on Sunday.
It was a solemn, somewhat teary morning, but Tom and I were both very proud of how our kids handled the affair. We had all grown a bit attached to the porcine members of the farmyard, but we talked a bit about choosing to eat animals that have been given a good life, with grass (and watermelon and tomatoes and donuts) to eat and room to run about and kick up their heels in piggie glee versus using our dollars to support inhumane practices of factory farms.
Simon, at one point, went crying back into the house with his grandma. Grandma told us later, though, that he was crying because he heard the butcher say that because of the size at which we chose to butcher the pigs, “We probably weren’t going to get thick bacon.” Not sure if this means that the boy’s motto in life is, “Spare a life, if no bacon is the reward.”
The garden isn’t quieting down in just the decibel level sense. The plants that have sustained us all season (and the farmers) are waning. While the harvest was still abundant this week, but the frost predicted for the end of this week will definitely strip the remaining life from all too much. I am ready for fall. I vow to do a much better job of tucking the garden beds in for the winter this year — amending them with manure and compost and pulling the 1,000s of feet of irrigation lines before they freeze.
All this to say, the end is coming, whether we like it or not!
This week, though, we will still enjoy a hearty basket:
- carrots – (don’t you just want to warm up the house by drizzling these with olive oil and honey, a hit of sage, then roasting them at 400 degrees in the oven? Puree leftovers into soup…)
- eggplant (For those of you who have not already received one. The rest of you will get little yellow and green striped tender Delicata squash.)
- green beans
- kale, Dinosaur/Lancinato
- kale, Russian Curly
- napa cabbage
- onions, Red Cabernet
- peppers, sweet
- peppers, hot
- tomatoes, heirloom mix + grape + cherry
- watermelon, Sugar Baby
- winter squash: mix of acorn, buttercup, delicata, and spaghetti
This week I’m sharing some recipes with you that you will probably recognize from newsletters past. I am inviting you, for a season wrap-up, to submit some of your favorite recipes that you have enjoyed with Echo Bend produce this season. Email them to me, or post as a comment, and I’ll compile them into a “Benders Potluck File” for next week.
The first recipe below is a favorite of Echo Bender, Diana Fairbanks. Thanks, Diana!
(I’m thinking you could substitute kale for the chard and fresh tomatoes for the canned in this recipe.)
Black Bean Chili with Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 1/2 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled butternut squash
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3 cups (packed) coarsely chopped Swiss chard leaves (from 1 small bunch)
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until tender and golden, about 9 minutes. Add squash; stir 2 minutes. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Stir in beans, broth, and tomatoes with juices; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in chard; simmer until chard is tender but still bright green, about 4 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle chili into bowls and serve.
Bon Appétit Test Kitchen
Echo Bend Thai Squash
oil or butter
3 cups diced onions
1/4 cup grated ginger
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 hot peppers (fresh or dried), minced
1 can coconut milk
2-3 T minced fresh basil (Thai basil preferred)
6 cups (butternut) squash, in 3/4 inch cubes
eggplant — optional: throw some cubed eggplant in
Heat oil in large skillet; add onions, ginger, garlic, and peppers (and eggplant, if using). Cook over low heat until tender. Add coconut milk and basil; cook until thickened.Boil squash in 4 cups water for 12-15 minutes. Drain; combine with other ingredients and serve. Makes 12 servings.
(I often cut this recipe in half, depending on amount of squash I feel like cubing. You can also just microwave cubed squash, covered, until tender.)
Orecchiette with Pumpkin, Pecans, and Shallot Sage Brown Butter
5-6 ounces orecchiette pasta
6 T butter
3 T finely chopped shallots
2 t. minced garlic
2T minced fresh sage
3 cups cubed, cooked pumpkin, butternut, or other winter squash
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans (toast at 350 degrees, 6-10 minutes)
freshly grated parmesan
Cook pasta in salted water until tender. Meanwhile, heat butter over medium flame in large skillet. Add shallots, garlic, and sage; cook until butter just begins to brown. Reduce heat to low and stir in pumpkin. Add salt and pepper. Drain pasta; toss with pumpkin and pecans. Serve immediately with freshly ground Permesan. Serves 4-6.
Corn Bread and Pine Nut-Stuffed Acorn Squash
8 very small acorn squash or other very small winter squash
1 c. finely chopped red onion
6 T butter, divided
1 c. finely chopped sweet red or green pepper
4 c. stale corn bread in 1″ cubes
6 T pine nuts
3 T chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper
3-6 T apple cider
Heat oven to 350. Cut thin slice off bottom of each squash, so it can stand up. Cut off quarter of ea. squash from top, scoop out seeds and membranes. Place squash top side down in baking dish. Add water to depth of 1/4″. Cover with foil; bake until tender, 45-60 minutes. Discard water. Melt 3T butter in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until nearly tender. Add sweet peppers and cook 3-4 minutes. Cruble corn bread; combine with cooked veggies, pine nuts, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in just enough cider to moisten stuffing. Fill squash cavities with stuffing. Melt remaining 3 T butter, drizzle over stuffing. Place in baking dish and bake about 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings.