The gorgeous weather we enjoyed in September has spilled over into the first week of October.   The rock-n-roll and jazz-funk of Summer has been replaced  with more sedate classical music for company as I harvest late season tomatoes, peppers, fennel, kale, beets, carrots and raspberries.  Ah, the raspberries.  This is the first full year of production for our Fall bearing “Heritage” raspberries.  What a pleasant surprise; tasty and prolific.  One twenty five foot bed has yielded somewhere in the neighborhood of two gallons of berries.  We are about to process our third batch of jam.  We have frozen raspberry sauce and three quart containers of berries for later use.  We are eating fresh berries daily on yogurt, over chocolate ice cream, in raspberry swirl brownies, etc.  Life is good.

THE HARVEST BASKET IN THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER

THE HARVEST BASKET IN THE FIRST WEEK OF OCTOBER

 

Tomato Season Winds Down

I have been gradually reducing the tomato plant population over the last couple of weeks, harvesting both ripe and green tomatoes and pulling plants.  Our kitchen windows are lined with fruit in various stages of ripeness; trophies of another successful season.  It won’t be long before those tomatoes are replaced with Christmas decorations.

A WINDOW DECORATED WITH RIPENING TOMATOES

A WINDOW DECORATED WITH RIPENING TOMATOES

A few Words About Kale

Over the Summer months we don’t tend to eat much kale.  We use it mostly in  juice making and treats for the chickens.  Now that fall is here, we will begin using it in soups and stews.  Right now, we have four plants in the garden;  two Russian Kale and two Tuscan or Dinosaur Kale.  These plants have been in the ground since early May.  They’re not pretty but still producing.

A BIG UGLY TUSCAN KALE PLANT

A BIG UGLY TUSCAN KALE PLANT

A Soup Comes Together

Chicken Soup with Beans and Kale

I’ve been retired now for about a year and a half and since then have been gradually taking on more of the cooking duties.  One of my favorite cooking projects is soup.  As with most of my soups, this one started with a roasted chicken.  Last Sunday, I prepared a “Beer Can” chicken in our Weber kettle grill using a spice rub recipe from “Weber’s Big Book of Grilling“.  After our meal, I removed the remaining meat from the carcass and used the bones to make stock.

GREG'S GARDEN PARTY CHICKEN SOUP WITH BEANS AND KALE

A NICE HOT BOWL OF GREG’S CHICKEN SOUP WITH BEANS AND KALE

In addition, I had some leftover “Vermont Cranberry” beans I had slow cookedfor chili.  Stock, chicken meat, beans;  time to make some soup.  To me, classic soup starts with the trinity of onion, celery and carrots.  I finely chopped one large onion, two stalks of celery and two large carrots; then sauteed them in olive oil.  I added six cups of stock, two cups of chicken, two cups of cooked “Cranberry beans”,  four “Tuscan Kale” leaves shredded, a tablespoon of fresh thyme, a two cup bag of chopped plum tomatoes from the freezer and salt and pepper to taste.  Everything except the chicken and celery came from the garden, which made this an act of love. The smokiness of the chicken stock and the texture of the beans helped to make this soup one to remember.  Catherine loved it.

All the best,

Greg