Our recent hard freeze has certainly changed the harvests coming in from the garden. The summer veggies are all gone, and replacing them are things that can take a bit of cold. Like daikon radishes, for instance. I brought a few in last week for salads and perhaps a stir fry. They also keep well in the refrigerator crisper drawer. I’ve really come to appreciate these giants of the radish family.
Carrots also came in from the cold last week. The variety in the below photo is Cordoba, which gets about 6-7″ long and does well in heavier soils. The tops of these were dinner for the local deer one night. At least they left the bottoms for us! Some went into a side dish along with potatoes and cabbage, and the rest went into soup.
My wife and I have been fighting a cold bug for a few days now. With that in mind, and with the colder weather, soup has been on the menu several times lately. Last week I made two soups, one a mushroom soup and the other vegetable soup. The mushroom and barley soup used mostly store-bought things like fresh and dried mushrooms, but did use some fresh chives and sage I got from the herb garden plus a little sliced garlic. The recipe called for sour cream but I thought the soup had plenty of flavor without it so I left it out.
The vegetable soup had lots of goodies from our garden though, including some of my frozen soup mix (containing cabbage, zucchini and green beans) plus frozen tomatoes and potatoes from storage. I also used a couple of the Cordoba carrots, plus some Jacob’s Cattle beans I had cooked up from last year’s harvest. I can see more soup in my future this week as the Polar Vortex comes to visit us.
And for me, vegetable soup calls for some good crusty homemade bread. I wasn’t too sick to whip up a batch of my 1-2-3 Sourdough Bread. I’m still getting the hang of this recipe though. Last time I baked a loaf I had a minor blowout because I didn’t slash the dough deeply enough before baking. So, this time I thought I had done a better job, but the bread still had a major blowout in the middle! I need to remind myself, once again, this bread gets a tremendous oven spring, and needs to be deeply scored before baking. It was totally edible however, and made a great accompaniment to the vegetable soup.
Before my head stopped up, and while I still had my full sense of taste and smell, I baked up one of the Thai Rai Kaw Tok winter squash. I cut some of it into wedges, then tossed it with a little olive oil and salt and roasted until tender. The rest I left in bigger chunks and baked without seasoning. This squash had a rich, full, and somewhat spicy flavor, with a nicely dense flesh. It cooked up to a deep orange color too. The skin was also tender enough to eat, much like a Delicata skin. This one is definitely a keeper.
I pureed the bigger pieces, and used some of the puree to whip up a batch of Maple Pumpkin Custard. The rich flavor and orange color really came through in the custard. I can see some of this winding up in a pumpkin pie before long. A curried squash soup also sounds good to me.
About three weeks ago I started some seeds for spinach, lettuce and an Asian green called mizspoona. I got them transplanted last week, and I’ll let them grow a bit before setting out. Some of them are destined for a cold frame bed, and the rest will go in the greenhouse beds. You can already see some red in the leaves of the Red Sails lettuce in the below photo.
I also need to sow a little bit of arugula, mizuna and komatsuna for late winter/early spring greens. They won’t do much growing in the cold winter greenhouse or cold frame now, but they will take off in February when the days start getting longer again and give us some early greens while we wait for spring to officially arrive. And speaking of the greenhouse, I still have one cucumber hanging on. I didn’t have much hopes of it making an edible cuke, but it is surprising me. I know I could eat one more homegrown cucumber regardless of the size, so I will let it go a bit longer. I don’t need the space yet anyway, at least not until the winter seedlings are a bit bigger.
That’s a look at what’s going on around here in early November. To see what others are harvesting and cooking from the garden, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays. And as always, thanks to Daphne for hosting this event every Monday!