Thursday, October 10, 2019

Putting the Garden To Bed and Harvest Recipe

The garden is 'put to bed'
Fall is in the air... the evenings are cool and there are patches of frost in the yard come morning. The garlic is planted and mulched with my new experiment of using a compressed, chopped straw bale.  It is the beautiful golden colored mulch on the back bed, second from the left. Another experiment was to amend my garden soil with the addition of local horse manure on top of all the beds without winter crops. Once the rains wet the manure and soil, these beds will be covered with black plastic through the winter, then turned over in the Spring before planting. The carrots are still covered with Remay to protect from carrot rust flies, and will remain that way until the end of October. The strawberries have been cut down and mulched with the new chopped straw at ground level then a light layer of maple leaves. The winter cabbage and kale have been mulched and the large Lennox cabbages that were planted earlier have been picked. The largest weighing in at almost nine pounds... that's a lot of cabbage!!
Lennox Organic Cabbage
I have covered the garden walk ways with cardboard to keep the weeds down. Our climate is warm enough to keep some weeds growing almost year round. By Spring they can really take off before I start spending time in the garden to keep them under control. I tried this last year and it was great! Once I started working in the garden, I had to just put time into the beds and planting rather than weeding ... my least favorite job anyway. 

Thanksgiving this weekend marks the last big Saturday Market and Apple Fest on Denman Island. I wanted to share a hearty, thick 'Cabbage and Beet Borscht' recipe I've been working on. It makes a big pot and is a great addition to feed a crowd or fill your freezer with individual serving containers for the cold weather that is on its way. If you don't have the ingredients in your garden they will be available through our wonderful, dedicated, local farmers this Saturday. See you at the Market!

BEET AND CABBAGE BORSCHT      Yield: 10-12 servings
This soup is thick with seasonal, hearty vegetables ... it is Paleo friendly and Night-Shade Free.

4-6 fresh beets (about 1-1/2 pounds) unpeeled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. coarse salt
3 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced crosswise
2 large onions, cut in half, then quarters and thinly sliced
1 leek, cut in half lengthwise then thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 carrots, sliced into coins 
1/2 head green cabbage, cored, cut into 1" wedges and shredded
1/2 lb. green beans, tips removed and cut into 1" pieces, optional 
Beet and Cabbage Borscht
4 parsley sprigs, minced
3 tsp. dried thyme leaves
3 bay leaves
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
12 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar 
Freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. minced fresh dill   
Sour cream or Greek yogurt for serving
Red Wine or Balsamic Vinegar for serving 

In a large saucepan, cover the beets with cold water by 1 inch. Stir in 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 2 Tbsp coarse salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer covered, until very tender, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool and slip the skins off the beets. Dice beets and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onions, leek, garlic and carrots and cook covered, stirring occasionally until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook stirring until wilted.

To the pot add beets, beans, minced parsley, thyme, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar and stock. Bring to a boil stirring often, lower heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes to marry the flavors.

Stir in the 1/4 cup of red wine or balsamic vinegar, 2-3 teaspoons salt and season with pepper to taste. Remove about a third of the soup and puree it in a blender, then add back to the pot.

To serve, divide among warm soup bowls, top with dollops of sour cream and a sprinkle of minced dill. Serve with additional vinegar at the table.

Until next time... Happy Thanksgiving and Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae
Recipe by Sally Rae