It’s pepper season here at HA, with both hot and sweet varieties making appearances in the harvest basket. I’ve been eagerly waiting to get enough ripe hot ones to make hot sauce, and last Friday was the day. In the below photo there’s several varieties. The red ones are Joe’s Long Cayenne, Maule’s Red Hot and Cayennetta. There’s two Aji Golden at the top, and the orange ones at the bottom are Hot Happy Yummy.
It was a little less than a pound of peppers all told. I split them up and used some for a batch of No Rooster Chili Garlic Sauce, and the rest for Basic Fermented Hot Sauce. I have plenty of the fermented hot sauce left from last year that’s still tasty, but I was out of the chili garlic sauce and ready to make a fresh batch. I enjoy making hot sauces, and when you use a mix of homegrown peppers you can control the heat level as well as the flavor profile. It will be a couple of weeks before the fermented hot sauce is ready, but the chili garlic sauce was destined for a baked potato I had last night for dinner.
The sweet peppers coming in were a mix of Jimmy Nardello, Orange Blaze and Glow. Glow is a small orange bell type that’s not as orange as Orange Blaze but is a tad bigger. Both the orange ones did well here last year, and Jimmy is always a favorite.
We grill quite a few of the Jimmy Nardello peppers. That treatment really seems to bring out the flavor, and it makes a quick and easy side dish. The below photo shows them joining up with ravioli topped with ‘butternut’ sauce. I whipped up the sauce using frozen Violina Rugosa squash puree from last year. First I cooked a little chopped onion in olive oil until soft, then added a bit of sliced garlic along with the winter squash puree. I cooked it just long enough for the flavors to meld, then I threw in few leaves of finely chopped sage before serving. The ravioli was stuffed with cheese and spinach and came from a recent trip to Costco. We’ve made ravioli before but it is a lot of work, and I can’t honestly say our homemade version was any better than the store-bought.
I harvested several of the Italian eggplants last week, enough to make a main course dish with them. I wanted to combine them with quinoa and loosely followed a recipe I found online that mixed the eggplant with quinoa, spinach and feta cheese. I have no photos of the dish but did get the eggplant to pose for me before it was cubed and roasted in the oven. It’s either Nadia or Galine or a mix of both varieties. Both do well for me, and I can’t hardly tell the difference in them, so I need to choose one and drop the other from my growing list.
Most of the tomatoes have slowed to a halt but a few of the cherry types are still producing. It’s mostly Mexico Midget in the below photo, with a few Sun Golds mixed in. The o/p Mexico Midget is still producing while the hybrid Super Sweet 100 is not doing much. That has been noted for next year’s planning, and Mexico Midget may well be the only red cherry type I grow. The larger Juliet and Golden Rave tomatoes are still producing here too.
Those tomatoes joined up with the newly rejuvenated pole beans when I made a batch of Green Bean and Bulgur Salad with Walnuts. I love this salad and it made a nice side dish with roasted chicken (which also came from Costco). I can barely buy a raw chicken for $4.99 but for that much this one came already cooked!
I made a batch of pita bread last week to replenish our supply we usually keep in the freezer. I try and plan it so we can enjoy some of the pitas while they are fresh, and this time they are going to serve as a crust for pizza tonight. I made one batch of Whole Grain Spelt Pita Bread and one of Whole Wheat Sourdough. We tend to use these more like flat bread than pocket bread, so I typically roll them out as large as I can. I made the whole wheat ones out of freshly ground White Sonora wheat, and this heirloom soft wheat variety was a joy to roll out for the flat bread. I need to make some flour tortillas with it some day.
The winter squash vines continue to bloom and set fruit. That’s a pair of Seminole in the below photo. I only got one of them last year, but it was so tasty I am really looking forward to however many we get this year. I am careful not to count my squashes too soon, because there are just too many things that can go wrong when it comes to gardening! At least these two are hanging on the inside of the garden fence, where hungry critters can’t get to them.
And I am breaking in the new compost bins (aka the Brown Gold Roadster) with a hot steamy pile of compost. The temp in the middle of the pile has gotten up to 145°F in less than a week. I layered freshly pulled weeds with the partially composted organic material from the old bins, and it heated right on up. I may turn it over into the 2nd bin in a few days if I have the energy, and then again I might not. It will likely be ready to use by next spring whether I mess with it or not, so perhaps you can guess which course of action will likely be taken! At any rate, the pile is hot, and that is sweet to me.
To hear what other gardeners are doing right, and see some of the fruits of their labors, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.