Yesterday was the Head of the Charles Regatta here in Boston and my 16 year old-daughter participated with her high school’s girls varsity Eight. They did great and qualified for next year’s event but the conditions were rough. It was very cold (40s), with a light drizzle at the beginning of their race and the wind was fierce. Our family spent most of the day outside and we all felt this weather called for soup for dinner. So, I made the first butternut squash soup of the season. I like to roast the squash at 425 for about 45 minutes depending on the size (I typically add fresh herbs at this step, this time it was sage and rosemary from my porch kitchen garden). In the meantime, I saute an onion in butter in the Dutch oven. I then add the roasted squash and saute for a couple of minutes, add water (or veggie broth) and simmer for 15 minutes. I then puree it and add a cup of milk and more water to make it the desired consistency and season with salt and pepper. I like to serve it with a spoonful of grated Parmesan on top and fried sage leaves (optional) and with fresh crusty bread on the side (yesterday’s sourdough bread was from Tatte). Yum!

Somehow I managed to not take a picture of the finished product but here are some of the process:

Squash is roasted cut side down at 425 F. (The smaller squash on the side was the one from my garden. It was very tasty.)Post-roasting, nicely caramelized.

Planting Garlic

I planted my garlic today after putting in a few hours of community work in the garden. I planted two rows of hardneck (Red Russian) and 3 rows of softnecks (Transsylvania), 7 cloves per row. This is the earliest ever I planted garlic. Normally I wait until the first week of November. But we already had two nights of light frost and the weather the next two weeks looks good (50s and 60s), so the garlic should be able to set some nice roots before winter is here for good.

Today’s harvest: a couple of carrots, parsley, the last two hot peppers, a tiny butternut squash (the foliage was already damaged by frost), and the last dahlia. I pulled all the tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, nasturtiums and beans and semi-cleaned the plot to get it ready for planting garlic. I still need to do more weeding, pull the dahlia tubers and will need to get hay to mulch the plot.

Rainbow chard

Brussels sprouts

Mustard greens and baby kale (and weeds)

Frost Warning

Temperatures tonight are supposed to reach 31 degrees. I harvested most of the rest of my tender vegetables tonight: chard, last (green) tomatoes, two last cucumbers, hot peppers, two small eggplants. Still growing: carrots, radishes, leeks, fall greens, arugula, kale, chard, butternut squash.

The last dahlias of the season (perhaps).

I still need to plant garlic, dig up my dahlia tubers and clean my plot to get it ready for the winter. Hopefully I will get to it this weekend or next week.

City Natives October Harvest

My share today: Ping Tung eggplant, rutabaga, flat parsley, red Russian kale, jalapeno and ghost peppers (not pictured: tons of Thai basil).

I spent some time at City Natives this chilly early fall morning, harvesting most of the produce and cleaning out all the raised vegetable beds. The beds will be demolished and the entire garden will be restructured and rearranged. We hauled in hot peppers, eggplant, rutabagas, red Russian kale and parsley, and there was still a ton of callaloo and hot peppers left in the ground for a later harvest, both of them in the ground-level beds.

Edit (a few days after the harvest): Here is what I did with the vegetables in the kitchen. I cubed and roasted the rutabaga in olive oil in the oven for an hour at 400F, and finished it with a couple of tablespoons of butter and fresh parsley from the back porch. This made a very tasty side dish. I turned the parsley into chimichurri, which was served as a condiment to potato wedges and alongside sauteed chicken breasts. The kale became kale pesto, which was served over fettuccine. I also used the kale pesto as a condiment for sandwiches, which were piled with harissa-roasted green beans and a fried egg. I used the eggplants to make this delicious Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, which I served over rice. The hot peppers went into a big pot of black bean chili. No complaints from the family.