It’s been rainy and windy and cold all day. There’s a possibility of snow in the forecast tonight, but not necessarily a hard frost. Everything but the carrots, a few rogue onions, a couple of leeks, some broccoli florets and the tiny cabbage heads that grew outside of the main heads are still outside. A bit of cold weather will only sweeten them.
The beets are pulled and packed unwashed into plastic bags to go into the root cellar. I’ll roast some and pickle the rest. All but one big cabbage will go in the root cellar – I’ll make sauerkraut with that one. Kohlrabi fills one vegetable bin. I’ll peel it, cube it, then blanch and freeze it to puree later.
I pickled seven pints of beans, and blanched and froze more green beans, eggplant, zucchini, green peppers, celery, poblano peppers, corn on the cob, tomatoes, tomatillos, and broccoli.
Onions and garlic have cured and formed their dry skins. They sit in baskets or hang in the basement. Next to them are fourteen – fourteen! – butternut squashes. One plant produced seventeen total. I baked one up a while back, and gave two away.
I chopped green basil, purple basil and parsley in the food processor and froze it all in ice cube trays, easy to plunk a fragrant cube into sauces, make a quick pesto, etc. Sage, oregano, cat mint and more parsley dried in bunches hanging on the clothesline and then I crumbled them into mason jars for later use. I’m hoping there’s still time to dig up the rosemary plant and bring it inside for the winter.
The last of the fresh eggplant and zucchini went into ratatouille today, along with onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes, all from the garden. I love ratatouille, especially since I cheat when I make it. Rather than roasting everything separately, I cook the onions, smashed garlic cloves, and peppers in the bottom of a Dutch oven. When they begin to soften I add cubes of zucchini, then a few minutes later cubes of eggplant. Each time I add a vegetable I drizzle the layer with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Finally I stir it all up and put a layer of fresh tomatoes on top. More olive oil, more salt. Then I stick the whole shebang in a 300 degree oven for the afternoon. I stir it every hour or so. Everything cooks down by half, still with plenty of structure, glossy and sleek and tasty as the dickens. You can toss in some chopped basil or parsley at the end to give it some extra zip.
Oh, and proportions? Start with equal amounts of everything (except garlic, of course). I really like eggplant this way, so I usually double the amount – but you’ll have your own preferences.