This is a busy time of year at the farm, especially when we hit mid-September and haven’t had a frost. Frost wipes out most summer crops – tomatoes, beans, peppers, eggplant, cukes, zukes, corn. Basil is actually our field thermometer. It will turn black within about 6 hours of daybreak if the temps have dipped below 36 or so. I guess we’ll see in a few hours, but a frost wasn’t forecast for last night, and although it WAS chilly and the heat DID go on, it wasn’t quite that frosty.
However… at this time, winter squash is also ready, as are parsnips, rutabagas, celery root, spinach, pumpkins, cabbage and fall greens. The brussels sprouts are getting bigger day by day.
Or do I indulge the carefree whims of my summer palate and whip up a caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil? The grilled peppers and onions and eggplant and zucchini that I so lovingly pile on freshly baked focaccia? How do I say no???
And what about saving all those wonderful flavors to enjoy during the doldrums of a long, cold winter? Where do I find the time, now that EVERYTHING for storage needs to come out of the fields and the markets are crazy busy and my darling boy is in school and needs a regular schedule with dinner and homework and baths, like, every night? It’s my personal hell. Because I’m not real good with restraint.
I pour this ‘pesto’ into 1/2 cup plastic storage containers and freeze it, leaving one in the fridge at all times. I absolutely love it with eggs – as Heidi Swanson recommends in her recipe from her very popular blog.
I make a frittata with provolone cheese, then spread with this cilantro sauce and place in a warm corn tortilla. I also use the sauce with poached eggs on a bed of (don’t gag) brown rice with fresh avocado chunks, salt and pepper. It sounds awful, but it’s so good and freakin’ healthy!
It may not be enough to get me through the entire winter, but the few things I made this week will at least give me a taste of the fantastic things we grew this summer. I always regret not making the time to get more things canned or frozen because they are fresh and available and such a money-saver. Someday, I say. Someday I’ll set aside a month of Sundays and channel my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder and fill my pantry with homegrown foods to nourish us, both body and soul, all winter long.