Kids are back in school, spiders are busier by night, the days are becoming more compressed between sunrise and sunset. The evening temperatures perhaps have us thinking about wrapping up in comfortable sweaters while considering our evening meals with a bit more contemplation. Carrots, eggplant, sweet tomatoes, peppers, squash- all add up to stew accompanied by fat biscuits or crusty bread. For added flavor to compliment the mix of crops mentioned- garlic, basil, thyme, rosemary and tarragon if you're considering placing that stew over the top in terms of a wow! taste.
The summer is drawing to a close, and perhaps a few folks like me are ready for it to cool down, to no longer insist that we carry an umbrella wherever we go. AAAHHH, yes-September is whispering it's sweet sentiments to me already. In the garden, waiting for the changes soon to come are lettuces not quite at their peak of flavor, though the cool nights will bring about such sweetness! And the spinach will be ready by mid September as will the radishes and beets and sweet dumpling squash. The fall garden is one to be savored- it is this farmer's dream come true- less weeding, virtually no bugs munching at my mercy, and the sun's rays are more warming, less heat intensive- feels like a comforting blanket wrapped around my shoulders. This- a second spring - beckons us to look upon the crops with new eyes- see the bold orange of the pumpkins, view the deeper greens in the leaf, savor the sight of fields aplenty. It is all good and hearty and right that we embrace this time as it embraces us with a gentleness that awakens our senses to the beauty abounding in everything.
Recipe~(adapted,changed and completely rearranged)
Garden Patch Stew
4 Medium sized Tomatoes, chopped
(or 1 can Italian style tomatoes)
4 Medium potatoes, cut into chunks
4 Medium carrots, cut into 1/2 in. chunks
2 Medium Eggplants, peeled and chunked
2 med to small squash, peeled and chunked
1 Large onion, cut into chunks
2-3 cloves of Garlic
1 can chicken broth(for healthier, less sodium overload- use your own homemade chicken or vegetable stock)
Fresh Thyme(1-2 TBS.)
Fresh Rosemary(2 sprigs or more....)
salt to taste
3 TBS cornstarch
3 TBS water
In dutch oven, cook down a bit the tomatoes, add broth, add potatoes,carrots,squash,onions- turn to a boil then simmer into almost tender(about 12-15 minutes)- add eggplant and now cook everything until tender(6-8 minutes more).
Add spices and garlic, stew until the smell arrives and says yes, this is good!(from 4-8 minutes)
In a small bowl mix corn starch with cold water well, add to stew, increase heat just until thickening begins, lower heat until thickening levels out, stirring with some constancy, but be gentle. If your stew appears still too thin, repeat the cornstarch step, adding just a bit until the correct consistency is arrived at.
(For a heartier stew, brown chicken, beef or whatever you prefer before the tomato step, adding all the ingredients on top of the meat.)
Serve this with crusty bread and a salad. Follow up with apple crisp. Invite me over.
(***all of the bold ingredients can be found at market.)
See you at the market!