Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Fall is definitely here! When I go out into the garden in the morning, I've had to wear a sweater. A sweater! And when Scotty and I went apple picking yesterday, it was jackets, hats, and scarves! And mitts! There's no denying it now. It also seemed as though it was going to start sprinkling today...soon, I think, very soon.

So we came home and made these pumpkin muffins and baked apples. The muffins have been on my 'to do list' since I first saw them, and I'm so glad we finally dived in! They were so easy to make, and so yummy to eat. A dozen big muffins will get us through the week, I'm sure of it!

Baked apples are such a great treat. They feel so naughty, like the filling of an apple pie, but they are just so tame in reality. Peel and cut up 10 apples. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (not a lot! they just need a hint of the sweetness!) and lay the pieces into a casserole dish. Pour a cup of water into the dish. Bake at 325 for 1/2 hour or so, until they are fork tender. Bob's your uncle!

I ate my slices warm. Tommy and Scotty ate theirs covered in vanilla ice cream. It was a perfect treat for after dinner tonight, when it was cold outside and we were cozy inside.

I'm getting very close to pulling the green tomatoes from the garden, and seeing if they won't turn red on the counter. So many green tomatoes! But it's just not hot enough. About a week ago, I tried tarping it, to create a makeshift greenhouse, which has kept them from turning into ice cubes but still didn't make the heat necessary to turn them.

It sounds ridiculous, but I'm also thinking about next spring's garden! It's really just such a short time away... by February I'll need to plant seeds for starts, by March I'll need to prep the soil, and I'd like to have the garden itself started by April. February is only 4 months away!

One thing I'm thinking a lot about is how to stagger the plantings, so the harvests are also staggered.

I thought about it a lot last week, when I was plowing through 8 eggplants.

You can grill eggplant, and there's always eggplant parm. But by far, my favorite and most easiest recipe for eggplant is as a component of roasted veggies.

Roasted Veggies:
2 eggplants, cut into cubes
1 red onion, cut into wedges
some mushrooms
1 large red pepper, cut into strips
1 yellow crookneck squash, or a zucchini, but the yellow squash was from the garden so that's what went in, cut into pieces
Anais (also called fennel) bulb ~ I just slice the bulb thinly. A smallish bulb will make two batches

Throw everything into a dutch oven, toss with extra virgin olive oil. Add 2 teaspoons of dried basil or oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a sprinkle of fresh pepper. Toss to coat. Add at least 5 cloves of garlic, crushed/diced/however you like it. Toss to coat.

Put the whole thing in the oven at 425 degrees fahrenheit and let it cook for 45 minutes. (I poke my head in there and mix it around, once or twice.)

I ate this with whole wheat pasta, plain with parmesan cheese, and on grilled bread as a sort of poorman's panini. This batch only lasts about 3 days, but I wouldn't recommend cooking more than that at once, or the veggies won't feel fresh.

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