Friday, October 4, 2002
Bringing in the crops at harvest-time
Cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, basil and broccoli are just a few of the vegetables still doing well in our backyard gardens or on the Foss Farm garden plots. If we can believe the weatherman, there should be warm days ahead with no sign of frost in the immediate future.
Marjorie Johnson, a local backyard gardener with two extra plots on Foss Farm, was asked about this year's growing season. "It was hot and dry," she was quick to emphasize. "If you could get enough water to the heat-loving vegetables tomatoes, peppers, basil, zucchini and winter squash they did well." However, she reported that her onions were tiny, her cabbage was small and her corn dried up. As for her cucumbers, they were bitter when there was no rain, but sweet after a rainfall.
Returning to the topic of water, Johnson talked about her soaker-hose that was for use in her backyard garden. Since she was concerned about taking water from the well on her property, she was reluctant to water much. However, down at Foss Farm where her squash was located near the water pump, it did well. On the other hand, her corn, which was far from the pump, didn't get enough water.
John Lee, manager of the Allandale Farm on the Boston/Brookline line, had this to say about his farming experience over the summer.
"At our farm, we actually had a better-than-average summer in large part due to a lot of work that we did on our irrigation technology over the past three years. We have never had a better tomato crop. The hot, dry weather helped reduce disease pressure, and the work done by IPM specialists and bio-control companies has meant that we were able to not only be organic, but produce a bumper crop of high-quality fruit. However, pressure from residential Canada goose populations, and an increasing urban deer herd really hurt our greens and pumpkin crops."
So here we are at that special time of year when out of the garden comes the produce that we have labored over throughout the summer months, now ready to be used in one of those favorite fall recipes stashed away under that section in our recipe box titled: Vegetables.
As Carlisle gardeners harvest these vegetables, staff and friends here at the Mosquito are eager to share some of their favorite recipes which celebrate the end of this bountiful growing season.
1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 qt. chicken stock
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 T. olive oil
2 t. fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 t. curry powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. hot pepper flakes (optional)
juice of 1 lemon (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil the squash in the chicken stock until squash is soft, about 30 minutes. Stock should just cover the squash.
2. Saute the garlic and onion in the oil. When the onions begin to soften add the ginger, curry, turmeric and hot pepper. Continue cooking until the onions are soft.
3. Using a food processor or blender, puree the squash with the stock and lemon juice. Add the onion mixture and blend it in.
4. Return the soup to the pot and reheat before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve with hearty whole wheat bread.
Brussels Sprouts and Red Pepper
1 lb. brussels sprouts
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1/2 t. sesame seeds
1 red pepper
2 T. salt
4 qt. water
1. Cut red pepper in thin strips.
2. Sauté onions, crushed garlic and red pepper in olive oil until golden brown.
3. Quarter brussels sprouts (or halve if they are small) and blanch in rapidly boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain sprouts, then add them and the sesame seeds to the onion mixture. Sauté for 2 minutes.
Cucumber and Tomato Relish with Lemon Juice
1 medium-sized cucumber
1 medium-sized tomato
1 t. salt
1/8 to 1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
1 t. roasted, ground cumin seeds
1 to 1 1/2 T.lemon juice
2 T. minced cilantro leaves
1. Peel cucumber and dice finely (1/4-inch cubes).
2. No need to peel tomato, but dice as finely as cucumber.
3. Combine all ingredients in serving bowl. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. To serve, bring the bowl to the table. This relish can be eaten with nearly all Indian food and other spicy dishes.
Chilled Green Beans with Yogurt and Dill
1 lb. green beans
1/4 t. salt
1/2 T. white horseradish
1 T. lime juice
1/2 t. dill weed
1/2 t. brown sugar
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1. Trim green beans.
2. Put 1 inch of water into a large saucepan. Set a vegetable steamer in the saucepan and bring water to a boil. Add beans, cover pan and steam beans until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove beans from pan and refresh them under cold running water to arrest cooking and preserve color. When the beans are cool, drain thoroughly and place in a bowl. Sprinkle salt over beans and toss well.
3. In a small bowl, stir together horseradish and lime (or lemon) juice. Add dill, brown sugar, black pepper to taste and yogurt and blend well. Add beans and toss to coat them. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
4. At serving time, garnish with tomato cut into wedges.
6 large ears corn, husked
5 T. olive oil
1 T. finely chopped garlic
1/2 c. (packed) thinly sliced fresh basil
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 T. balsamic vinegar
This colorful and simple salad features three of my favorite summer foods, and even though the calendar says it's fall, local farm stands are still selling corn, tomatoes and basil.
1. Using a large knife, cut corn from cob.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium to high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add corn and sauté until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add half of the basil.
4. Transfer corn mixture to a large bowl. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, 3 tablespoons oil and remaining basil. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Cover and chill for 3 hours or up to 8 hours.
Roasted Green and Yellow Beans
1 1/4 lb. beans (green & yellow)
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1 t. dried basil
1/4 t. fresh ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine oils and spices, toss over beans to coat thoroughly
3. Spread beans in single layer on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Serve immediately. Beans will be slightly browned and quite crunchy to eat.
(This is a Mills family favorite - it makes colorful, crunchy beans.)
Baked Squash and Apples
1 medium (2 lb.) butternut squash
2-3 large apples
1 to 2 t. lemon juice
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 c. raisins
1. Wash apples and peel squash.
2. Remove seeds and cut both into 1-inch cubes.
3. Place squash and apples in a large covered casserole.
4. Sprinkle with lemon juice, brown sugar, raisins and spices.
5. Mix gently to distribute.
6. Bake covered at 350 degrees for one hour or until squash is tender.
Broccoli, Italian style
1 lb. broccoli, trimmed
3 T. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
freshly ground pepper
chopped fresh parsley
1. Break the broccoli into small florets and cut the stems into small pieces. Boil gently in salted water for 5-6 minutes. The pieces must be slightly under-cooked. Drain well.
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add garlic and let it brown, then add the broccoli and cook 5 minutes.
3. Add pepper and salt to taste, and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
Eggplant with Lamb
3 large eggplants
1/4 c. olive oil
1 large onion, sliced wafer thin
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 lb. ground lean lamb (pork or beef may be used)
freshly ground black pepper
2 c. chopped skinned tomatoes
3 T. tomato paste
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 t. dried
2 T. chopped parsley
1 t. oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 t. allspice
1 t. sugar, if desired
1/4 c. buttered breadcrumbs
1. Do not peel eggplant. Slice off the upper third of each eggplant. Scoop out all the flesh. Keep the three larger shells for stuffing. Sprinkle the scooped-out portion and interior of eggplant shell with salt and allow to drain.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Heat the oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until the onion is wilted. Add lamb, stirring to break up pieces, and cook until meat loses red color. Add salt, pepper, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, parsley, oregano, bay leaf and allspice. Add the scooped-out eggplant and sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
4. Fill the eggplant cases with the mixture, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and place in baking dish. Bake until eggplant shell is soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Divide each eggplant in half and serve one-half per person.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito