And what a beautiful fall morning it was here in our Front Range home. Cool mornings invigorate the work on the farm while the breezy, sunny afternoons lend themselves more to whistling while we busily bring in food from the fields. Save for a couple of wet, cold days, September and October provide the best weather to work on the farm and so far, this year has been no exception. This week has us topping brussel sprouts to encourage them to size up, harvesting fall cabbage and winter squash, putting up onions, deconstructing caterpillar tunnels only to re-erect them over the fall season crops and of course, bringing in the full monty of late summer/early fall crops fom the field.
The fall has more to offer than just wonderful weather. It is the perfect overlapping season when warm season crops blend seamlessly into cool weather crops, when you finally want to turn your oven on again, when the nights creep in earlier and there is seemingly more time to cook. Instead of the smell of the grill, neighborhoods are permeating with the rich aromas of roasted tomatoes, simmering stews, and wood smoke. On the menu in our house this week is stove top ratatouille, roasted cherry tomatoes with swiss chard and butter beans, beet risotto, arugula salad with apples, walnuts and maple balsamic dressing, and fish tacos with fresh tomatillo salsa. Don’t forget dessert of local cantaloupe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream…hello local creamsicle. Also, we will have 20 lb boxes of field tomatoes at market this Saturday, so if you want to make sauce or stewed tomatoes or frozen tomatoes, or whatever with tomatoes...now is the time! 20lb for $20!
This Week's Harvest
Tomatoes (all kinds!)
Dragon Tongue Beans
Zucchini and Summer Squash
Easy Stove Top Ratatouille
1/3 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 small-ish zucchini, peeled and diced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, peeled, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, whole smashed
a herb bouquet with thyme, rosemary, and oregano
salt and pepper to taste
a few leaves of basil thinly sliced for garnish
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet. Add the onion and cook over love heat, stirring to avoid browning, about 10 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Next, add the bell pepper and again cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Finally add the zucchini, tomato and salt, stir to combine then add the garlic and herb bouquet. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. If the ratatouille is very soupy you can take them lid off for the last 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic and herb bouquet before serving. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Dish up and top with fresh basil. Ratatouille is best served with a thick hunk of crusty bread.