It's well into autumn here. We've had a little snow already. That only makes it more satisfying to still be eating out of our garden.
It was a little melancholy yesterday afternoon, to wander out to the garden, picking up a few stray groundfall apples from way high up in the tree, farther than our ladders would reach, and then to catch sight of the empty chicken pen. Our girls have gone to their winter home. We no longer have an imperative that drives us outside twice a day whether we feel like it or no. But there is still Tuscan kale in the garden, looking for all the world like miniature palm trees, clearly enjoying the chilly weather, and next to them the colorful rainbow chard. A little ways away the leeks stand, green bits akimbo, in a disheveled looking row. I tucked a good bit of hay around them yesterday, to keep the worst of the chill away from them. They'll be fine in their hay blanket for several weeks more at least. I counted 14 of them, and picked a fat one out for our dinner. I also snipped off a generous bunch of only lightly munched upon Tuscan kale leaves.
Inside, I blanched the kale to remove a few caterpillars and detritus, and rinsed it well. Then I began a pasta sauce based on sliced garlic sauteed in a little olive oil along with that fat leek, finely sliced up. While those softened in the oil, I finely diced the kale. That was then added to the garlic and leek with a jar of the roasted tomato sauce I canned this summer. -Four homegrown ingredients at the heart of our meal. When all sauce ingredients were warmed through, I added white pepper, salt, and about a cup of heavy cream. That simmered and reduced slightly as the pasta cooked. Once the fusilli were at the al dente point, and sauced with this vegetarian sauce, I added a generous handful of grated parmesan cheese.
It tasted quite good. As always, even better than a tasty meal is a tasty meal produced in large part from our own labors. We didn't produce all the ingredients ourselves, but we know we cut our food miles significantly by growing what we eat and eating what we grow.
Other harvest meals:
Peanut Noodles with Garden Vegetables
Egg & Chard Curry
Pumpkin-Sage Penne Pasta
Kale & Barley Soup
Vegetable Soup with Lamb Stock
Carrot and Chili Pepper Escabeche
Garlic Scape Carbonara