We've got the greenhouse two-thirds glazed and we've put to bed three-quarters of our vegetable beds. But the first snow has fallen, which sends a little sense of urgency our way to finish our tasks before winter sets in. The farm is so peaceful now, with all of our winter greens growing under greenhouse plastic low tunnels. It's quite a sight to see fall kale with absolutely no insects. Some flowers are still holding onto life. Our Brussels sprouts (those that weren't eaten earlier in the season by the groundhog) are really sprouting.
Trailer full of wood chip mulch
But we're still working away - Seneca helped me mulch the fruit garden this morning, only in exchange for a ride in the trailer.
Ingredients: collard greens, shallots, garlic, bacon, pine nuts, hot pepper flakes, white wine, tomatoes, broth or water, parmesan, linguine (or other pasta)
Preparing: Chop the bacon (about 1/2 lb) and cook in heavy-bottomed pan. Remove and drain on paper towel. Toast pine nuts (about 1/4 cup) in the bacon fat. Remove and drain on paper towel. Mince 4-6 shallots and 4-8 cloves of garlic and cook in bacon fat along with a pinch or two of red hot pepper flakes. After the shallots have turned golden, pour in a big splash of white wine and some chopped tomatoes and cook down. Chop about 2-3 pounds of collards (de-stem and chop coarsely). Throw the collards into the pan and stir until slightly wilted but still bright green. Add 1-2 cups broth or water, cover, and let simmer about 15-20 minutes.
Eating: Stir your favorite cooked pasta (we use linguine, fettuccine or
bucatini) into the collard sauce. Place in bowls, add bacon pieces and
pine nuts, and top with shaved parmesan and a squeeze of fresh lemon
Dish history: We showcased this dish at a special supper on the farm, trying to convert everyone into collard-lovers. I think it worked. This dish is delicious in the summer (sub the chopped tomatoes in the sauce for fresh cherry tomatoes as a garnish) or fall (canned tomatoes work well).
Ingredients: tomatillos, garlic, scallions, jalapeno, cilantro, red wine vinegar, salt
Preparing: Clean the tomatillos and leave whole, peel the garlic, de-stem the jalapeno (and de-membrane if you don't like things spicy) and chop the scallions to pieces a few inches long. Put all of these vegetables into a wide-bottomed pan on the stovetop and roast for 10-15 minutes with no oil or water, shaking the pan occasionally (I'm sure grilling would have a similar effect). The veggies should turn brown/black in spots, taking on a deeper, sweeter flavor. Once roasted, throw them all in a food processor, along with some cilantro sprigs, a tablespoon or two of red wine vinegar and a pinch or two of salt, depending on your taste. Blend well.
Eating: Serve with tortilla chips. Or spread in a quesadilla or on a taco or other Mexican treat.
Dish history: The end of the season always brings us hundreds of tomatillos that had fallen from the plants during fall bed preparation. They last a long time in the fridge, so you can make fresh batches of this salsa recipe for several weeks into the fall.
Bring to a boil a half vinegar/half water solution with some sugar,
salt (I use 1 cup water to 1 cup vinegar to 1 tablespoons sugar to a
huge pinch of salt) and some spices (e.g., coriander seeds, bay leaf,
red hot pepper flakes, whole cloves, allspice). Meanwhile, clean and
cut your fresh vegetables (e.g., radishes, green beans, cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, fennel, beets, jalapenos, etc.) to desired pickle size and fill a sterilized jar with them and a
garlic clove or two, some herbs (e.g., thyme sprigs, dill, shiso leaves)
and more spices, if desired. Once the vinegar solution has boiled, pour it
over the vegetables and fill it about 1/4 inch from the top. Seal the
jar. You can either store the jars as (a) refrigerator pickles (allow the jars to cool and then leave in the refrigerator for at least a
week to pickle nicely) or (b) processed pickles (while the jars are still hot put in a boiling water bath for at least 10 minutes, depending on the size of your jar - or see this website for some basic instructions on canning).
Eating: This is one of our go-to snacks we put out with cocktails.
Dish history: This is based off of an Alice Waters simple recipe. We love radish and jalapeno refrigerator pickles the best.
Ingredients: oats, water or milk, butter, salt, extra stir-ins (brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, fruit, buttermilk)
Preparing: Melt 2 tbsp. butter. Mix in 1 cup oats w/ 1 tsp. salt. Cook 5-8 minutes. Add 4 cups of water or milk or a combo, bring to a boil and then simmer gently, covered, for about 15-20 minutes. Stir in your favorite additions.
Dish history: Our farmer friend, PJD, grew hull-less oats this season. The oat itself looks quite different from the oats we're used to, resembling farro or wheatberry. So we washed it, dried it, and ground it so you can make a creamy, delicious oatmeal. Thanks to PJD for this recipe.