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Garlic cloves shoved into a grid in the prepped bed

Garlic cloves shoved into a grid in the prepped bed

Two days ago, I planted half of the hardneck garlic I intend to put in this year. I had chosen a bed that hadn’t held any last season and yanked out the desiccated tomato plants (we picked our last green ones, which are turning red on the porch as I write, about five days ago) and the defunct peppers. Loosened the soil with a fork, weeded what needed to be weeded and planted the cloves that I’d chosen from among the largest bulbs I’d grown this past year.

Since I first learned about hardneck garlic from Colchester CSA manager and grower, Theresa Mycek, probably ten years ago, and started planting it in my own garden, I’ve come to depend on it. Hardneck garlic is terrific because it’s delicious, beautiful (those tall green tops with the curlicue scapes are such a nice visual counterpoint to the clumpy greens and beans), and like a culinary Double-mint gum: it’s two, two, two garlics in one.

The first one is the scape.

Scapes before clipping off arrowhead tip

Scapes before clipping off arrowhead tip

Wait; let me back up a little. First, sometime in late-October through November, you sit outside on a nice autumn day, separate garlic bulbs into cloves and plant the cloves about 8 inches apart – I plant in a grid, others do it in rows – in a prepared bed. Tuck them in gently beneath straw or some other light but effective mulch. In spring when the earth wakes up, the green shoots start coming through the mulch. In about May, you notice that the shoots have grown rather tall – knee high at least. In maybe mid-June, when the tall stiff shoots have continued to grow and are now curled around themselves a bit (i.e. turned into true scapes), you clip or break them off – it’s kinda like asparagus; you snap them where they are happy to be snapped – bring them in and cook them any one of a number of ways. We sometimes tempura them, or grill them for a great snack/ hors d’oeuvre/side dish, chop them into omelets, sauté them with other veggies, quick-pickle them in the fridge in a vinegar-and-herb-and-peppercorn bath or hang them by the kitchen door to ward off vampires. Whatever.

Hardneck bulbs - notice the central hard neck

Hardneck bulbs – notice the central hard neck

 

Siberian, Russian Giant, Music and Keith's Garlic cloves

Siberian, Russian Giant, Music and Keith’s Garlic cloves

In July-ish, when the green tops have browned and died back sufficiently, you dig – or pull, depending on how soft the bed is – the now cloved-up bulbs, wipe off the earth, and hang them up to dry. (I clump them in bunches of about 6-8 bulbs and hang them on the back porch). Then you use them. They go into the spaghetti sauce I can during tomato-and-pepper harvest, into chicken cacciatore (which is ONLY truly delicious when made in season with fresh garlic, fresh basil and fresh parsley plucked only a few minutes before chopping into the red-wine-soaked braising liquid), into the oven to spread on homemade bread with good olive oil, into salad dressings, well, you get the idea. But if you’ve planned right and the fates have shined on you and your little bed of hardneck garlic, you will also have enough to save, separate into cloves and plant to continue the whole cycle. The miracle of gardening and life perpetuating itself.

This year, I prepped one bed, but the second bed I wanted to plant was a knotted thicket of wire grass, wild aster, which has determined root systems, and the bind weed just to put a topping on it all. My husband volunteered to dig it all for me, bless him, so this afternoon I’m going to sit outside with the dog, separate six more garlic bulbs into cloves and plant that bed.

garlic-in-misty-garden

Scapes beginning in late April-May

When I’m in prayer position on my knees stuffing the cloves – or anything for that matter – into the ground, I think about a little garden plaque a friend gave me years ago that said: Who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see believes in God. It’s an acknowledgement that while we can become really good gardeners, we are all at the mercy of so many other elements in life beyond our own control. But I have faith. And I keep on planting.

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Bad photo of stocked pantry

Darkish photo of stocked pantry

One of the reasons I love to can is the bounty you end up with in the dead of winter. As long as there are jars of last year’s produce safely tucked away on the pantry shelves, I feel safe (smug even) when the weatherman starts talking about Snowmageddon and urges everyone to rush out to stores. I must admit, I made sure the wine and chocolate were sufficient to a few days’ cabin fever – but otherwise, we were pretty much good to go with what I had stockpiled from last year’s garden.

I know a lot of people don’t can tomatoes – they freeze them instead. But I do both – partly for space (only so much on the pantry shelves, only so much in the freezer) and partly for flavor and convenience of use. I like the flavor of canned tomatoes and you don’t have to thaw them. I can quart and pint jars of tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, salsa V-8 (or my equivalent) and Bloody Mary mix, which is just as delicious in soup as in vodka.

Pantry produce for the soup pot

Pantry produce for the soup pot

There are pickled dilly green beans, which are nice when someone stops in for cocktails – also one of the imperatives when someone slogs through snow or mud to come visit because they’re going nuts at home after several days of shoveling. There are also dried herbs – oregano is particularly easy as is thyme and they taste so much fresher and more flavorful if you do it yourself – and dried beans – calypso beans and tiger’s eye, which I particularly like. (My husband very sweetly shells them out in the evening in late fall).

Sauteed leeks, onions and celery for tomato white wine soup

Sauteed leeks, onions and celery for tomato white wine soup

To complement these home-grown and home-canned things, I stock other dried peas, beans and lentils and tins of things like sardines and tuna, chipotle peppers, and anchovies.There are jars of bread and butter pickles (which is lovely on a tuna melt to say nothing of with chicken sausage or turkey sandwiches or just out of the jar for a sweet-sour snack), pickled lemon peppers for adding to virtually anything needing a little kick, and lemon peppers in sherry for black bean soup, curried red pepper jelly (a great hostess gift when you’re rushing out the door to a party your forgot you were invited to) and great on goat cheese and crackers or mixed into venison stew. There’s raspberry jam, raspberry shrub and raspberry vinegar.  Tomato bullion, a spicy mix of tomatoes, onions, black pepper, a little brown sugar and celery seed is called Ma Comp’s Soup Seasoning in Maryland’s Way Cookbook. A couple of tablespoons in a mug of hot water is a delicious and quick mid-morning pick-me-up.

Tomato white wine soup about to simmer

Tomato white wine soup about to simmer

I freeze a lot of things too, and not just the things that aren’t safe to can in a water bath. Last year I had plenty of tomatoes and peppers and so sautéed a kind of quick sofrito, a tomato-pepper-onion seasoning you can pull out and throw into a frying pan full of chicken or chorizo and rice with a little white wine and have supper in no time flat. I also did something I saw on TV years ago – put about four large tomatoes and one big onion into a Dutch oven with about 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter and let the whole thing simmer on the lowest possible heat until it’s all soft. Maybe 35 minutes. Puree it, cool it and stick it in the freezer in a quart bag or container. Pull it out to make a quick vodka sauce for pasta, or in my case, use it as the very quick base for red pepper soup. I happened to find three beautiful fresh red peppers (when I went back out to the grocery story AFTER everyone had picked the shelves pretty clean), chopped them up, threw them with three cloves of chopped garlic into a pot of that tomato-onion-butter base along with a chicken bullion cube and voila! Soup!

Tomato-and-onion soup base

Tomato-and-onion soup base

Why am I gloating? (AM I gloating?  I like to think of it as encouragement). Because NOW is the best time to start planning what you can plant to have a full pantry next winter, when Snowmageddon 2017 comes. The seed catalogues are here now, you can look with starry-eyed wonder at the perfect garden that you will plant (in your dreams), and you might be looking around your pantry – or whatever shelves or storage you have for what they could hold. (Marisa in Philly keeps hers in the closet along with her shoes).

Having a stocked pantry, or closet or whatever is like money in the bank.

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Gadzukes zucchini in garden

Gadzukes zucchini in garden

This is for Bonnie, who asked for the recipe after I mentioned it on Midday with Dan Rodricks a couple of days ago.  sorry I don’t have a picture of the finished product for you, (I’m currently thinking about ice latte for breakfast), but if I did, it would be little pancake-y things browned with the shredded green rinds of the zukes apparent throughout and dolloped with a bit of creamy adobo sauce.  Hope this helps, Bonnie!

 https://www.facebook.com/dan.rodricks.1/posts/10152552014109435?comment_id=10152554651949435&offset=0&total_comments=13

Zucchini Latkes with Chipotle Sauce

2 medium zucchini, grated

¼ cup grated onion

2 serrano peppers, finely chopped (seeds removed if you like less heat)

¼ cup finely chopped sweet pepper

1 cup fresh chopped herbs, any you fancy- I usually use lots of lime basil, lemon basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, a little dill and a single sage leaf

1 tblsp Adobo seasoning

freshly ground pepper

1-2 tsp chili powder

½ tsp cumin

1-2 tsp paprika (Spanish, sweet, or smoked paprika are all nice in this)

1/3 cup flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 large or 2 small eggs

For sauce:

Mix ½ cup mayonnaise with 2-3 finely chopped tinned chipotles in adobo sauce (along with some of the adobo sauce), a squeeze of tomato paste from the tube or a teaspoon of tomato paste from a tin, and the juice of half a lime.

3 tblsp canola or other frying oil.

Chop herbs and peppers and grate the onion then grate the zucchini last to keep it from getting watery. Mix the vegetables, herbs, and seasonings together. Add the flour and baking powder with a fork to mix it well, but quickly so you don’t build up the gluten in the flour. Beat eggs a little (like for scrambled) then add and mix in so you have something like a thick, veg-filled batter. Heat oil until shimmering hot in a frying pan. (I use my grandmother’s old iron skillet). With a dessert spoon or tablespoon, carefully add a big mound of zucchini batter to the pan, and gently pat it down into a pancake. Repeat. Fry on medium-high heat until golden brown on one side and starting to puff, flip over and cook until puffed and golden brown on the second side. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve with a dollop of sauce on top.

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Peas ready to harvest

Peas ready to harvest

I love peas. I enjoy frozen peas steamed barely warm or thawed and sprinkled into salads, but I especially love fresh peas plucked from their tendrilled vines, shelled and popped almost immediately into a steamer on top of a couple of lettuce leaves. Cooked until they are bright green and barely tender, then bathed in butter or maybe lemon juice and pepper for those who shun butter, it’s a little bit of culinary heaven. Peas are early-season veggies that flag and turn starchy (blah-tasting is the technical term) as soon as hot summer arrives, so there is a seasonal window during which to plant for decent harvest. Depending on variety, they need anywhere from 54 days to 72 days give or take to go from seed to plate. The rule of thumb here in Maryland was: Plant peas on St Patrick’s Day. Which in more ordinary years should get you safely through from poking those wrinkled little rounds in the ground until you’re blissfully scooping up warm spoonfuls at the dinner table.

Shelling peas

Shelling peas

Yet unless the conditions are right, you’ll be wasting both your seed and your time if you only plant by date.  Peas will rot instead of germinate if the soil is too wet and cold (below 48F or so; some say 45F but that’s not been my experience), as it has been this year.* I’ve agonized over when to plant peas. Finally, this year, I started some in a flat and will transplant them into the garden when the weather settles down some. I’ve got a small back yard greenhouse, which I love, but you don’t need one to start plants indoors. There are back-posts in this blog that will give you plenty of good advice on how to do it at home without one. Before the greenhouse, (which saves me all kinds of money on anti-depressants), I used to start them in the kitchen and guestroom, both of which face south, and rig up some overhead full-spectrum lights to supplement the sometimes meager sunlight. Pea plants are sturdy little things and are as easy to transplant from a flat of individual cells (so the roots don’t tangle together) as lettuce, kale, and other early season veggies. The garden centers have got their seeds in now, so browsing and imagining is fun (for some people it’s clothes or shoes, for me it’s seeds and food). A visit to your favorite garden center makes a lovely Saturday’s project – get seeds and maybe a bloom or two for spiritual uplift, chat with friendly souls there about growing things, get home and plant the seeds in flats under lights, then relax and feel good about the cycle of life.

Peas seeded 3/12/14 and 3/22/14 just poking thru

Peas seeded 3/12/14 and 3/22/14 just poking thru

Once in the garden, peas (Pisum sativum), fix nitrogen to their roots, so they require little if any nitrogen fertilizer, which tends to produce foliage at the expense of fruit. They also come out of the garden early enough that you can plant a second crop of summer somethings where they’ve vacated, which makes them a great use of space. You can also seed some into a container at the back door – they’re really pretty climbing up a trellis and they make great snacks right out of the pod. Replace the pea plants in June or so with something like a pepper plant and a couple of different basils and maybe a thyme for jerk chicken on the grill.   * Even if it the weather conditions are perfect for planting peas, if you have blackbirds and robins around, you might want to consider planting them in a meandering stream rather than a regimented row. Blackbirds and robins are marvels at discerning patterns, and once they see you put them in the ground – and believe me, they watch, especially in years like this when food is more difficult to come by – they can come down and Hoover up each seed, leaving little holes as evidence of their theft. Row cover immediately after planting also helps to thwart the birds.

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Aji Limon in sherry-NOT a science experiment

Aji Limon in sherry-NOT a science experiment

It may look like a science experiment but it’s actually a jar of lemon peppers  (aji limon Capsicum baccatum)– some ripe, some not so much – that I preserved in sherry last fall. The jar sits at the back of the fridge where the peppers are easy to pull out and add to all kinds of things: Thai shrimp soup, quesadillas, stews, whatever.

Today, I dropped two into the black bean soup I’m making. They add just the right amount of heat (about 2 large or 3 small for a 4-quart pot of soup usually does it for me and my heat-sensitive friends; my husband and when he’s here, our son, usually add more heat via a sprinkling of the dried aji limons we keep in a jar in the pantry).

Jarred abundance including dried aji limon

Jarred abundance including dried aji limon

The sherry-filled jar of lemon peppers is only one of a collection of jars and freezer bags of stuff that I put by from last year’s garden. It’s a treasure trove that in winter makes it possible to create an actual meal with little actual work. Yes, it’s plenty of work in the summer and early fall, but once it’s done you can sit back and bask in all that preserved glory.

On winter days, especially during days with the kind of bone-cracking cold that the Polar Express (yes, I know, VORtex) treated us to recently, soups and stews are what’s for dinner. Putting together something warm, delicious and nourishing inside of 15 minutes simply by opening jars and bags and whatnot from what you’ve produced yourself (along with Mother Nature, of course) is incredibly satisfying, to say nothing of economical. And it lets you dump things together, cover the pot, and go sit under the quilt on the sofa in front of the fire with a book or the news while you’re waiting for it to cook. (Or in our case, it lets you suit up, walk the dog, then haul in the wood for that fire, but never mind. It’s always something.).

Simmering bean soup with everything dumped in

Simmering bean soup with everything dumped in

While it’s great to have a store of homemade condiments, ingredients, and cooking sauces that you’ve made yourself, it’s also important to know what exactly you’ll actually use so you don’t end up with wastage.  Took me a while.

Years ago, I got so carried away with the garden and fruit trees’ abundance combined with the plethora of recipes available, that I ended up with stacks of stuff moldering on the cellar shelves for ages. I canned everything I could get my hands on, (and envisioned my children eating all of it – Hah!). I hauled the filled jars down there, then, years later when the moisture had attacked the lids (and then the stuff inside), I hauled them back up again to dump the contents of the jars, one by one, onto the compost heap. Wasteful of time, energy and produce.

Over the years, I’ve learned. I now keep tabs on what we and those we love will actually not only eat, but also enjoy. Hence: spaghetti sauce, salsa, jarred tomatoes and home-made V-8, but not green tomato mincemeat or tomato marmalade; strawberry jam with walnuts and Cointreau but not rhubarb chutney; only two quarts of pickled jalapenos, not ten; two pints of pickled watermelon rind, not four quarts.

Being more circumspect about what and how much I put up doesn’t mean I don’t still experiment.  So many recipes, so little time. Year before last, I canned harrissa, a tomato-and chili-based condiment for Morrocan-y things, the recipe for which I found in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. I put up ten half-pints and only used two here at home. Fortunately, our son used one to make wild goose stew from the Canada geese his father shoots, and loved it. So, I gave him all of the remaining jars. I didn’t put up any harissa this year, but plan to make more this fall, using both the Ball recipe and an alternative one that I found in a magazine. Something new and different.

Black bean soup awaiting cheese, sour cream, pesto, whatever

Black bean soup awaiting cheese, sour cream, pesto, whatever

Having stuff like this in the cabinet and freezer feels unbearably virtuous. But for those for whom a smug sense of virtue doesn’t quite do it, (and heaven knows that only goes so far), the more important part of the exercise is what you end up with. Healthy, economical comfort food in no time flat.

Black Bean Soup

2 quarts of turkey stock (made from the remains of the Thanksgiving turkey and frozen – or 2 quarts of chicken stock)

3 tins of black beans (organic if possible)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic (cut from the hardneck that are hanging on the porch and are already starting to send up green shoots way too soon; what’s THAT about?!)

I chopped sweet pepper, or about a cup of frozen chopped sweet pepper from your freezer

1 pint of salsa

2 or three hot peppers –whatever you’ve got

1 tblsp smoked paprika

2 tblsp Worcestershire sauce

a sploosh of sherry (about ¼ cup) if you want

salt and pepper

In a heavy pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil until the onion is clear-ish. Add the peppers and sauté for another few minutes. Add stock (doesn’t have to be completely thawed), beans and everything else. Cover and simmer for about an hour. Serve with cheese on top or some fresh cilantro or maybe a dab of cilantro pesto or basil pesto (we make it during herb season and freeze it in little packets of plastic wrap) or a dollop of sour cream or all of the above if you’re feeling in need of major indulgence. It’s winter. Why not?

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I’ve done it again. Or rather, I’ve not done it – AGAIN! Taken pictures of food. We grow, harvest, cook and eat, but always, in the midst of wine and men and women, and laughter and conversation, I forget to get the digital camera out and record it for posterity, or at least for Grow It Eat It. Sorry. HOWEVER, I do have a great recipe to share that I made from our compost-heap-produced heirloom French cheese pumpkins (blog post 10/2/13):

Unknown Pumpkin Brluee Pie. Ive got a link incorporated, so you can get a visual (which is actually very similar to what would have been our visual had I had the camera and just a little less chardonnay).

http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/bruleed-bourbon-maple-pumpkin-pie

The recipe that the link links to is bruleed pumpkin bourbon maple pie, which is slightly different from what I made, but I’ve noted what I did below. In any case, it’s really all very easy, and such fun – candlelight, good company (audience) and a Bernz-o-matic blow torch – what more can you ask from Thanksgiving dinner?

Some of the Pumpkin Harvest

Some of the Pumpkin Harvest

The pie (as I do it) starts with an heirloom French cheese pumpkin (Curcurbita moschata). Cut one in half, which, depending on size, usually requires a hefty knife and some elbow grease  (be careful, you have to be patient and keep working it side to side to get all the way through without slipping and cutting off vital bits of yourself). Scoop out the seeds, which you can save and replant next year or put in the compost for a shot at next year’s serendipitous growth. Turn the halves cut-side down to on a high-sided baking sheet (there will be a fair amount of moisture sloshing around when it’s finished cooking and you don’t want it sloshing all over the bottom of the oven).  Roast at 350F for anywhere from 50 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on size. It should be soft to the touch. Cool enough to handle and scoop out all of the flesh into a sieve over a bowl to let it drain. (Have a cup of tea or read a magazine for about 15 minutes while it’s doing this). Once the roasted pulp has drained, put it into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Or you can use elbow grease again and do it by hand with a masher followed by a whip as though you were whipping cream to get the pulp really smooth. Then use the pulp as you would canned pumpkin. This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not nearly so labor intensive as all these words make it sound and the result is MUCH more flavorful than canned. Working time is about 15 minutes total.).

 Now for the recipe:

 You can easily use the recipe in the link. I only use it as a guide and make alterations. For example, I don’t do chocolate crust, which sounds revolting to me (but maybe that’s just me), and instead pre-bake a regular pie crust so it will be completely crispy and done all the way through instead of doughy-and-disgustingly uncooked on the bottom, which is what usually happens when you throw pumpkin filling into an uncooked shell.

 For The Filling: Mix 1 ½ cups of the roasted pureed pumpkin with 3 eggs,  ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp powdered ginger and about ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ cup bourbon, and about ¼ cup whipping cream. I throw it all into the food processor, which makes it easy and you don’t even have to clean the machine between pureeing the pumpkin and mixing the filling.  Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake at 325 for nearly an hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (as you do with custard).

 Now for the fun part:

Spread about 1/3-1/2 cup demerara sugar evenly overtop the slightly cooled pie (give it about 30-45 minutes out of the oven).  Then take the pie and the Bernz-o-matic, which you entrust to a reliable (sober) person to the table. In my case, our sober reliable person was our grown son who promised not to brulee anything besides the pie (and didn’t).

 To Brulee:

Light the Bernz-o-matice, adjust to medium low, and pass the flame over the sugar. Don’t let it linger too long on one spot and continue until the entire top is a melted and has turned into a crusted golden-bronze glaze of sugar. Dramatic and delicious. Cut with a sharp knife and serve with whipped cream. Ooohs and aaahs ensue.

And it all started from the lowly compost.

Cheese Pumpkin beneath a pine tree

Cheese Pumpkin beneath a pine tree

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Pumpkin Vines in the Compost

Pumpkin Vines in the Compost

I love compost. I do. It’s rich, dark, earthy-smelling and gives me a sense of being part of the cycle of life. It’s a great addition to the garden beds, but it’s also, often, another inadvertent growing medium – as it was for us this summer.

Last fall, I bought two Long Island Cheese pumpkins (Curcurbita moschata) aka Cinderella pumpkins. They are good keepers, especially if you manage to keep them in a steadily cool place – not quite as good as those rock-hard Blue Hubbards, which I’ve had last nearly nine months and still going strong when I finally took a hatchet to them to cook. Even so, cheese pumpkins in a cool place are usually good keepers — they not only last, but retain a big percentage of their glorious nutrients for months.

I made pumpkin butter out of one of the two cheese pumpkins in December last year and gave some to Dave, who gave me his aunt’s recipe. The other pumpkin, which stayed on a shelf in the cool porch just outside the kitchen, I enjoyed just looking at each time I came in. It was beautiful, smooth-skinned, a lovely peachy orange, and shaped like Cinderella’s coach. Decorative.

Cheese Pumpkin beneath a pine tree

Cheese Pumpkin beneath a pine tree

The day I planned to cook it though, I went to pick it up and discovered it had been quietly decomposing from the bottom up.  Ick. I slid it onto a cookie sheet, walked it out to the compost heap on one side of the yard, laid it down gently and forgot about it. Until about June, when I noticed that a few squash plants had started themselves there. I was hoping the vines would turn out to be an Iranian squash and maybe a long-necked pumpkin, both of which I had grown the year before from seed I had saved from those varieties I had bought from a farmer the year before that. But whatever.

I let the plants go; the vines got mowed around – the mower having to take a wider and wider swathe as they spread out into our yard and into the corn field on the other side of the fence – and I watched as the blossoms started along who knows how many plants.

In August, we began to see the fruits. No Iranian squash, which are great, by the way, sweet, flavorful, long keepers, or long-necked pumpkins, which are like giant butternuts, but there were cute little cheese pumpkins dotted here and there among the leaves, some hidden, some proudly showing. Lovely. When we really began to look toward harvest, we discovered the largest one wrapped around a corn stalk in the field beyond our fence. I called Andy, the farmer whose corn it was, to find out when he was combining, (that’s COMbining) and that set the September 20 harvest date for that one.

Some of the Pumpkin Harvest

Some of the Pumpkin Harvest

So far, I’ve cut nine cheese pumpkins of various sizes, given two away, and have got a bunch of  little guys still growing. Fun. And delicious. Soup – curried, or spiced with tomatoes and poblanos, or pumpkin vegetable with garbanzos and smoked paprika and cilantro — pie, muffins, pumpkin spice cake, and of course, pumpkin butter.

Pumpkin Butter

1 cheese pumpkin (or any other dry-fleshed squash)

1 c. maple syrup

¼ cup apple juice

juice and zest of a lemon

1 tblsp ginger, or fresh-grated ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

dahs of salt

Cut one cheese pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds (and save them to plant next year), and roast the halves on a cookie sheet  at 350F until you can easily scoop out the flesh (about 40 minutes, depending on the size of the squash). Let cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and add with the other ingredients to an enameled iron pot (which distributes the heat evenly and is easier to keep the pumpkin butter from sticking, but a stainless pot will do just as well if you stand there and watch it).  Cook on medium-low heat, stirring frequently about 15-20 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated and the butter is smooth. (You may need to run a hand blender through it to get it smooth). Jar it and refrigerate.  If you put this in a sterilized jar with a sterilized lid and refrigerate it, the lid will probably draw and will keep the butter happily usable for months.  Otherwise, you’re probably looking at a week, maybe two.

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