As all of you wonderful friends and followers will know, I have completely failed at keeping up this blog during the late summer. Truth be told, I failed at keeping up with most things during that time, with the unique exception of harvesting my super prolific beans, tomatoes and summer squash at least three times a week. Now autumn has finally come to Oregon, and while most non-born-and-raised Oregonians are groaning and pouting about the rain, I wake up with a big smile on my face every day. This is my season! The leaves are changing, the mist is hanging in the dells and valleys, my neighbors’ porches (and my own!) are adorned with pumpkins, and the bean and summer squash plants have been exhausted. This is the time for big, warm, filling dinners with friends, baking everything I’ve been craving all summer, making cozy soups, and finally having the time to sip creamy chai tea or cinnamon-sprinkled coffee while I curl up with a good book. That’s right folks, the end is in sight for this farmer. Of course this time of year is not without its stresses as well. Questions are looming, such as how best to rest my land over the winter, which markets to apply to for next season, when to work the ground before it gets too wet, how to sell off the remainder of my produce now that my last market is over, and how my landlord’s changing plans will affect my production next year. But in the meantime, I’ve finally found the time to cook again, so I’ve got a terrific backlog of recipes and cooking ideas for you all!
Last week I called my friend-family together for an impromptu fall celebratory feast. The weather was perfect: misty and damp. I had a pile of vegetables left over from the market and begging to be used. Here is the menu:
Appetizer: Baba Ghanoush, made with beautiful Prosperosa eggplants from the farm
1st Course: Julia Child’s classic Leek and Potato Soup, recipe to follow
Main Course: Pot Roast
Eggplant Parmesan, with Nubia eggplants from the farm
Roasted Caramelized Root Vegetables, including turnips, carrots and rutabega from the farm
Roasted Squash with Sage Brown Butter, using Delicata squash from the farm
Dessert: Apple Pie with a cheddar cheese pastry crust (nothing from the farm here, but absolutely delicious nonetheless! If you are as fascinated as I am by anything encased in pastry, then you must find the cookbook Pie by Angela Boggiano. Every recipe I have tried has been amazing, and I drool just thinking about those I have yet to make!)
As promised, I will now recount Julia Child’s super simple recipe for Leek and Potato Soup, which can be found in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, vol. 1. In fact, this recipe is the first recipe of the first chapter of the first volume of this masterpiece. That should impart to you how wonderful and important it is to have this little number in your arsenal. This recipe is flexible, and you won’t believe how good it tastes after you see how simple it is to make!
3-4 cups (about 1 lb) peeled potatoes, diced – I prefer red potatoes
3 cups (1 lb) thinly sliced leeks, including the tender green parts
2 quarts of water
1 tsp salt
4-6 Tbsp heavy cream (when I don’t have it in the house I use half and half)
Simmer the vegetables, water, and salt together, partially covered, for 40-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Mash the potatoes with a pastry cutter or pass the soup through a food mill. Many times Leek and Potato soup is served pureed, but I love to have the little leek pieces in there, so sometimes, I don’t even mash the potatoes, just leave them whole. Season your soup to taste. When ready to serve, reheat the soup to a simmer, pull off the heat and stir in the cream. If you would like, garnish with minced parsley or chives. Voila! The ultimate comfort food!
Markets may be over for the season, but you can still find Ravenhill Farm produce at Nostrana, OHSU cafes, and possibly a winter market tba! Keep up to date on farm antics, updates, and recipes on the facebook page, and for even more recipe ideas find me on Pinterest!