Sunday September 23, 2012

Fall has officially arrived. I sit here wrapped in a blanket, fingers and toes slightly stiff with cold, wondering how much longer I can go without a morning fire to take the chill off. I like to challenge myself to see if I can make it to October…last year I succeeded. It helps when the days are sunny and warm, as today promises to be. But, we shall see.

I do adore autumn with all the comforts that it holds. Hot mugs of mint tea warming chilled fingers, blazing fires, warm blankets, crunchy leaves, warm days followed by cool nights (perfect for hubby snuggling). I can sum fall up in one word ~ cozy. Cozy. Cozy.

It is a bittersweet farewell for me though, I do so love the long days of summer, the nightly chorus of the peepers, windows flung wide and garden fresh veggies. Oh, and walking barefoot in the grass, I shall miss that most of all I think. Lucky for me I get to do it all over again in about 6 months. ;)

From this...
Right now we are pulling squash and beans from the garden with wild glee. Jordan harvests huge pots of green beans almost daily and we’re valiantly struggling to keep up with them all. I am now nearly (quite happily) drowning in garden fresh beans and have blanched and frozen bags and bags with more to come. Until this year I've never enjoyed the super healthy green bean, in fact, eating them was often met with mild to moderate distaste. I've discovered that it’s a simple a matter of retraining my taste buds to accept a new flavor, even one previously despised. So far I've met with complete success… except when it comes to cooked peas. I’m still working on that one, I'll keep you posted. ;)

To this!! 
Herbed Green Beans
6 cups green beans
½ - 1 cup water
1 teaspoon parsley
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 onion, diced
Olive oil

In olive oil sauté onion until soft. Add green beans, spices and water, stirring well to combine. Cover and let cook until beans are soft, adding more water if necessary and stirring occasionally. Once beans are soft add in 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil, stir to combine, leave on burner, but turn off heat and let sit for another 5 minutes or so. Serve hot. These are heavy duty on flavor, just they way we like them. If subtle is more your taste you may want to scale back on the herbs a wee bit.

Hanging out on the vine...
On its way to my belly...
Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
1 onion, diced
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon parsley
Olive oil

Pierce the skin of the squash with a fork several times and place on a baking sheet in the oven at 400. Cook for about an hour and rotate squash in the oven. It should be aromatic at this point and usually starting to leak a bit of fluid from the holes. After another 20 mintues I usually take out the squash and pierce it with a fork to test the softness. At this point I can only tell you it’s been much trial and error to discover the ‘right’ softeness for me! I prefer my squash still a bit ‘crunchy’, versus mushy, a soft, yet slightly firm feel is when I know my squash is done. Put it aside to cool for 10 mintues or so. At this point cut off the top of the squash and slice down the middle, being careful of the hot steam. Scoop out the seeds and compost. Scrape out the squash, separate strands with a fork and place in a bowl

In olive oil sauté onion until soft. Once soft add in garlic, parsley and water enough to combine ingredients well. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes to combine flavors nicely

Add onions to squash and mix well with 1 tablespoon or 2 of olive oil. Serve hot

Ripe for the picking...

Tasty deliciousness!!
Roasted Butternut Squash
1 butternnut, seeded and cubed
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Prepare butternut squash. In a small bowl add spices to melted coconut oil and mix well. Pour over squash and stir well to coat. Pour squash onto baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown, stirring regularly

I feel a bit like this fat, happy skunk right now, minus the strong and unpleasant odor... I hope. ;) Every autumn my body starts to respond to some silent signals that only it can hear. I eat more and I sleep more as if in preparation for a hibernation that never comes.

This little critter lives underneath the goat shed/chicken coop. He's quite helpful at keeping lawn killing grubs under control. He shows no fear of us and waddles away quite placidly whenever we approach. Lately he's taken to raiding the chicken food in preparation for winter. That little dude doesn't know how lucky he is, feasting on organic chicken pellets. 
All of the recipes shared today are created from goodies harvested from the garden. It may be my last garden post for the 2012 growing season, so here are some farewell photos...

Farewell Summer 2012...

Have a lovely day Friends.