...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Settling into Fall

LeFort Urban Homestead booth at Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope
Anna and Annie
I survived the weekend!  It was a wild ride preparing for the aforementioned events of this past weekend, but I made it and had a blast.  The dinner for Anna Lappe on Friday night was great fun.  Many friends and acquaintances attended so it felt like a big dinner party.  Got to meet Anna afterwards and she was fantastic (hopefully she'll send me a pic of us that I can post.)  Saturday I made a presentation about our urban homestead at the Nourishing Community, Creating Sustainability festival then headed down to Miller Park to exhibit at Farm Aid 25: Growing Hope.  When the Farm Aid staff first contacted me about setting up a booth I wondered how they had found me.  Apparently more people than I thought are paying attention to my blog.  I thank you ALL and I want to say hello and welcome to all the new people I met and spoke to yesterday at the booth.

So now I can exhale.  Ben and I both had big events on Saturday, plans we'd been working on for months. Today there wasn't a to-do list on my desk; there wasn't a schedule hanging over my head.  It was a pure Sunday where we could slowly wake up, maybe snuggle with Vera, make breakfast and relax with our coffee and tea after our first meal.  Ah.  I have a couple more classes and small events this fall, but otherwise I'm preparing to settle into the cooler weather, make a big pot of soup or chili every Sunday (bringing back "Souper Sunday!"), pick up some knitting projects, and hopefully catch up on some reading.  I won't go so far as to completely hibernate, but I will definitely slow down.  Before that totally unfolds, there is still a lot to harvest from the garden (turnips, beets, rutabagas, eggplant, dried beans, broccoli, luffa, herbs, greens, leeks, kohlrabi, radishes, kale, etc.)

I'm going to try to sneak one more late summer recipe in here.  If you still have tomatoes and zucchini, then this one's for you.  I tried it last week as a soup then by week's end it had evolved into a pasta sauce.

Bisque of Mediterranean Vegetables (a.k.a. Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta Sauce)
Serves 6 as a soup, 8 as a sauce

3 T. grapeseed oil
1 medium eggplant, sliced
1/2 red onion, peeled and quartered
6 ripe tomatoes, halved
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
6 medium zucchini, halved
1/2 lb. potatoes, small dice
1/2 bulb fresh fennel, small dice (can also sub. the fronds from one head of fennel, chop coarsely)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. allspice
Vegetable stock to cover vegetables
Fennel fronds, to garnish
Plain whole milk yogurt, to garnish

Heat the oil in a small stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add all vegetables and saute until soft.  Add allspice and mix to combine.  Add stock and cook a few minutes longer.  Puree in a blender or food processor.  Garnish with fronds and dollop of yogurt.  Alternatively enjoy over pasta--add some Italian sausage if you like (the fennel seeds in the sausage go very well with the fennel in the sauce).

Spiced Apples
Apples from the Sucharda family apple tree
Last week I also preserved the rest of the apples I'll put up this year.  The impetus for that was my display at Farm Aid, but last Sunday a bunch of apples almost, literally, fell into my lap when we attended a 1st birthday party and they said they weren't going to pick apples from their backyard tree this year.  I made a batch of apple chutney as well as a small batch of spiced apples.  The spiced apples were of the variety they used to serve us in grade school on our lunch trays--reddish-purple rings of apples with hints of cinnamon and cloves.  Only these weren't red-colored; I didn't feel it was prudent to put food coloring and red hots into my apples as the recipe called.  Knowing these two ingredients we not pertinent to the safety of the canned product, I left them out.  Actually, I tried to add fresh beet juice to the mix for red color.  By the time it cooked down, the color had faded, though the flavor is still reminiscent of the lunchroom at Crestwood Elementary school.

It's quiet around here today--Ben and Vera went to the Brady Street Pet Parade--so I'm taking advantage.  Hoping to unpack from the weekend then spend some time refamiliarizing myself with my own kitchen and fridge (yay, fridge cleaning time--as you know I honestly love that task!)

Once again, welcome to any new followers and thanks to all the loyal readers.

1 comment:

  1. Oh the apples were a lucky find! Congrats on a great showing on Farm Aid, the display was wonderful.