As I sat down to write this month’s Post Produce post, a pot of cooked-down tomatoes was cooling on the stove. I’ll mill the tomatoes, cook the sauce a bit more to thicken it, and can it to use later in spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, taco sauce, curry, or some other delectable.
With the end of summer in Central Pennsylvania, my small kitchen garden is being overly optimistic. So much is growing strong, and I can’t keep up with the harvest. As I sit down to write this month’s Post Produce post, a pot of tomatoes cools on the stove; it’s ready for the food mill and I’ll can it as sauce later today.
For dinner last night, I cooked up a pan of rice and barley seasoned with tomatoes, peppers, and basil from my garden as well as onions from the farmers’ market. I’ve a large bowl of tomatoes ripening, and more on the plants wanting to come inside. There are peppers on almost every plant on my deck and in the main planting bed as well. I’ve poblanos, bells, and jalapenos, many finally turning red as the nights get cooler.
Both the climbing beans and the bush beans continue to produce. Some are losing nutritional value in my refrigerator, though I continue to blanch and freeze as I harvest new ones.
The photos show what I’m consuming from my garden. I hope you’ll Post Produce today to celebrate (and show off) what you’re harvesting to eat. After you post come back here and use the Linky widget below to link back to your post. I look forward to seeing what my fellow bloggers are enjoying from their gardens as autumn begins.
I planted about 86 tomato plants in my small kitchen garden this year. Despite some early blight and the recent appearance of late blight, there are plenty of tomatoes still to harvest. Tomatoes that mature on short days with cool nights are less flavorful than hot-season tomatoes. I’m happy to make sauce from whatever I harvest near the end of the growing season.
Last night’s dinner included pan-boiled rice. This is a great one-skillet dish to accompany grilled chicken, beef, or pork: In 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sauté a medium onion and a sweet pepper, diced (the pepper I used appears in a photo below). Add a cup and a half of long-grained rice (I used a mixture of long-grained and basmati), and stir it to coat it with oil. Cook the rice and vegetables for about 5 minutes, then deglaze the pan with ¼ cup of wine. Let that cook as you cut up two or three medium tomatoes and add them to the pan. Stir everything together, add 3 cups of chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, and float a generous bundle of chopped herbs on top. I used a huge wad of basil tonight, but use oregano, thyme, basil, cayenne, pepper—whatever floats your boat. Cover the skillet and set the temperature to medium-low, and let it simmer until the rice is tender—about 15 minutes. I finish mine by adding ¼ pound of cheese, letting it melt, and then stirring it in. Tonight I used provolone and some grated parmesan. Other nights I used cheddar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Oh, for tonight’s batch, I cooked up a quarter cup of barley in a separate pot, and stirred it into the rice when I added the chicken stock. The texture of long-grained rice, basmati, and barley is novel and quite pleasant.
The dining room table is my loading dock for canned goods. I accumulate 36 or more jars of produce during the week and finally sit down to label them on the weekend. Then I lug them to the billiards room. The stack next to the pool table is large, but so far I haven’t put many jars on the storage shelves; I’ll have time for that when the garden stops producing.
At this time of year, some of the most important produce from my small kitchen garden is seeds from the vegetables and fruits I eat. I’ve collected seeds from six types of tomatoes and two types of peppers—my poblano plants produced pleasingly prodigiously. Soon, I’ll harvest butternut squash and neck pumpkins and will save seeds from them as well.
The poblanos are gorgeous this year! I started them from seeds of plants I grew last season and will be happy to start the next generation in February. I grew all the poblanos in containers so they’re a bit smaller than commercially-grown peppers but they’ve put on a terrific show on my deck. This pepper came off the plant, posed for the photo, and went into my skillet in the span of about ten minutes.
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