Rain, it is such an incredible relief, deep sigh. We have had a wet and wonderful week here in the hollow, one full of fall work, indoors and out. The transition in the high tunnel is nearly complete, with two full beds of lettuce planted. There is nothing like the hope of winter salads to motivate me and now, aside from one last bed of eggplant and peppers alongside the nearly mature ginger crop, the high tunnels look ready for the late season.
Early in the week we took one last trip to Crossville TN to the Crossville Tile Outlet. The final touches are being done to our certified kitchen. The flooring phase has been a challenge. I can run a farm, raise a family and make a pretty good corn bread for a Yankee, but choosing tile, ouch. This kitchen renovation process that began a full year ago almost to the day is nearly done and we are quite thrilled The plumbing done, the flooring freshly finished, now we just need to await one last visit with our plumber to install sinks and fixtures and we might just be good to go.
With abundant fall crops being solidly rained upon even as I write this, a certified commercial kitchen on the brink of completion, I feel quite content right now. Fall is here and I welcome the season, my favorite, wholeheartedly. I know our first frost is near, so I encourage you all to enjoy the taste of basil and the beauty of the zinnias. It won’t be long now when the tastes and sights of the summer are truly a thing of the past and we will quickly look ahead to the next. For now, I will savor another batch of pesto pasta while I gaze upon the changing colors in the woods. The beauty of autumn indeed. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.
Fall week 2 in your basket:
Thai Spicy Eggplant with Sweet Basil from vegetarian times
1 cup jasmine rice
2 Tbs. peanut or vegetable oil
½ to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper, or to taste
3 baby eggplants, cubed into bite-sized chunks
1 medium-sized onion, diced
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs. white vinegar
3 Tbs. dark soy sauce, such as tamari
2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Cook jasmine rice according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet or wok-shaped pan over high heat. Add oil and crushed red pepper, and let sizzle for 10 to 15 seconds. Add eggplant, and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more. Add vinegar and soy sauce. Sprinkle with sugar, and toss for 1 or 2 minutes longer.
Remove pan from heat, add basil leaves and toss to combine with eggplant. Serve over hot cooked rice.
Arugula Tatsoi Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts
1 bunch tatsoi, chopped
1 bunch of arugula, chopped
1⁄4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon yellow miso
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or agave
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, mix together the greens and the dressing; season with salt and pepper
Basil Arugula Pesto
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
1 cup (loosely packed) fresh arugula
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lukewarm water
Place 1/2 cup oil and next 6 ingredients in processor. Process to thick paste. With motor running, add remaining 1/4 cup oil and 2 tablespoons water to processor. Blend until smooth. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Pour thin layer of oil over pesto; cover and chill.)
Top with the toasted hazelnuts and serve immediately.