Things are slowing down a bit now. With all of my big little garden harvested (except a few root crops), and canned, frozen, pickled, fermented or otherwise processed, it must be time to return to the BLOG.
A very long time ago my medicine woman said to me, “make a plan, and make God laugh”. I thought this was a Lakota proverb, however it seems many cultures believe this is true. My garden “plan” was revised many times this year and I understand this is not atypical. In the past we may have planted a few peppers and tomatoes, but this year was quite different. If one person can make this much food in one year, there is no reason anyone on this planet should be hungry. Ever.
A few of the things I learned will help me in the future. The first of all being ~ predict the unpredictable. Birds will somehow manage to peck food guarded behind wire cages, deer and free-range cattle will squeeze through the tiniest opening (or make their own) in your fence to get to your goodies, earwigs are the devil, and squirrels. . . . little bitch ass squirrels. I used to think they were cute. Now I’ve learned, not so much. . .
I don’t mind sharing, really I don’t, but squirrels are wasters. A deer or a cow will eat a cabbage the size of a beach ball and not spare a nibble. Not that this makes me happy by any means, but I’d rather my hard work be fully appreciated than not. When a squirrel visits the garden they meander about freely tasting this and that as if it were an open air buffet. Nosh, nosh, nibble, nosh, tomato, lettuce, cukes. . . and each with just a tiny bit removed. Then tossed aside to wilt and wither in the sun. And they’re fast too! One day lovely veggies abound, next day ransacked by vermin.
Another thing I learned this year is how to deal with abundance. I had so much I was able to share with friends, and preserve many things for later. There was far too much squash, corn, onion, carrots, cabbage etc. to eat fresh. It was time to learn more than just canning basics. For the first time ever I made jellies, jams, syrups, and compotes. We have around 20 gallons of grape juice put up also. One of the things I had an abundance of was chard. It is good to juice, add to soups, and eat fresh in salads, however with so much you tend to get tired of it. We had much.
In Farmer Dale’s booth at the Main St. Market, I met an elderly Jewish lady as I passed out Yes on #37 campaign materials. Chard came up in the conversation and I mentioned I had so much I didn’t know what to do with it all. She gave me a recipe to try, and now I wish I had more chard. I added a couple of things, but it is basically the same as this wonderful “Baleboosteh” told it to me. It’s so simple, I hope you all enjoy.
In a large skillet, add a small amount of oil and saute a large onion, finely minced.
Add 8 large cloves of garlic, pressed or minced and 3-4 medium potatoes, diced into cubes.
When the potatoes are al dente, (do not over cook) add an amount of overripe tomatoes approximately equal to the amount of potatoes in the pan. You can push the tomato through a sieve if you wish. Make sure to remove the stem and if you wish the skin also.
To this add enough chopped chard to equal around 4 cups. Cover pan and wilt greens. Uncover stir, add small amount of salt and pepper to taste, one tiny pinch of sugar, blend and serve hot. So easy and so good. Great Autumn dish to warm the tummy.
This has become a very popular meal in my house and when you try it I think you will see why. Among some of the things we have added to this dish for variation include small amounts of mushrooms, bell pepper or celery. I think next time we’ll make it with black beans and chilies.
Just made myself hungry.