What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Last of the Summer Garden

It’s between seasons, as far as the garden goes. We had a very light frost a few nights ago and may have another one tonight. For the most part, he last of the summer garden was picked, just in case. There are tomatoes, albeit smaller and fewer. We picked lots of peppers: bell, banana, pablano, Thai hots, jalapeno, habanero and cayenne as well as eggplant of which there are four varieties. Here is a picture of our last (final?) summer garden picking.

Everything else is too far gone or I choose to ignore it. We’ve had enough. Chestnuts and walnuts are falling and we are trying to figure out what to do with chestnuts, other than cut them out. We actually brought home a chestnut roaster that rested against my in-law's fireplace for years as an ornament to our home and roasted chestnuts on an open fire. They were okay. We picked basil and lemon verbena and will get the fresh ginger root and lemon grass before a hard frost.

So far, we have dried (dehydrated) some apples, peppers, tomatoes, our best seedless muscadine grape, lemon verbena and basil. We also made chili oil and basil oil.

We are always late putting in every season’s garden. Some of the greens are looking big enough to start picking. We have many varieties of lettuce as well as spinach, kale, turnips, collards, broccoli, rapini and baby pak choi.

It is inevitable that I get hungry for the season’s food before it is producing. Maybe it is because we plant it and I get it in my mind. I don’t know, but I start eating fall food before it feels like fall; especially this fall. We are still so warm yet I feel like eating stews and soups and the like.

So what’s cooking in Carolina? Tonight we had fajitas with fresh tomatoes, fresh salsa and lettuce. Last night we had my version of Chicken Vesuvius, clearly a fall dish. The previous night we had hummus, babaganoush (made w/fresh eggplant), and tzaiki (fresh dill) with Pita and pork souvlaki, a Greek salad, spanikopita, and a pasta salad (orzo, olives, roasted peppers, green onions, thyme, parsley, sherry vinegar and olive oil). We had pasta fajole although I really have not gotten into the beans yet in spite of the fact I am a big fan. Since it had very little fresh-from-the-garden ingredients, I think of it as a fall meal as well. We’ve had Italian Wedding Soup with mixed greens from the garden and both pozole and chili to use some of the peppers.

We are so ready for the cooler weather and everything that goes with it, especially if it brings rain. We’ll cook another chili rellenos (a real treat, since we really limit the amount of fried foods), pickle jalapenos, make a hot sauce (sweet-n-heat), freeze roasted peppers and bell pepper, and make more something w/eggplant. We made several batches of hot pepper jelly. If you have never had it, it is wonderful with crème cheese on crackers.

Next up? What we’re doing with grapes! Come back and see what we've been doing! It has been fun!

Eat well, have fun and send us a note! We love hearing from you!
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