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Late Summer Gatherings

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I love this time of year because of the abundance of vegetables in the garden. I feel the rush of fall coming on and the need to prepare for colder weather by gathering, freezing, roasting, and drying. During the cold winter months I’m always grateful that I took time to prepare vegetables so that  I can savor the warm flavors of summer once again.

Here are some suggestions and recipes for this month’s eating…

food prep

1. Make your favorite Pestos

Pestos can be made from many different herbs and ingredients. The key is to have fresh herbs, a good olive oil, cloves of garlic, and then you can add to this basic mix.

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My favorite for freezing is a basic “Pistou”, which is basil with garlic and olive oil and salt only. Once I blend it all together in the food processor, I like to freeze it this way in small plastic bags that I lay flat in the freezer, and break off pieces for soups and sauces when needed. You can always add the nuts and cheese later.

Some common blends are;

-basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese

-parsley, garlic, walnuts

-cilantro, lime, garlic, cayenne pepper

-add in some mint to the parsley or basil mix

-cilantro, parsley, jalapeno pepper, fresh ginger

-add in some olives to the basil or parsley mix

basil plant

2. Ratatouille

This is an excellent stew to make and freeze, then take out in the winter and cook with chicken or beef in a big pot.

1 large Eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise

4 onions, sliced

4 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped

2 zucchini cut lengthwise and sliced ½”thick

3-4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet red or green peppers, seeded and sliced

1 lb. tomatoes, canned or fresh, seeded, peeled and diced

1 Bay leaf

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

serves 6

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil a cookie sheet and place eggplant, inside down, on the sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until soft.  Prepare other vegetables.

Heat oil over medium-low heat in a heavy-bottomed, preferably earthenware, casserole or a sauté pan and gently sauté onions and garlic until onion is tender.  Add sweet peppers and sauté for a few minutes.  Add zucchini and sauté a few minutes until soft.

Add tomatoes and herbs, stir together, then place in a casserole.

Remove eggplant from oven, let cool a few minutes then dice.  Add to the casserole and stir everything together.

Put casserole in the oven and bake, covered for 30 minutes.  Remove cover and bake another 20 minutes.

Add salt to taste and plenty of freshly ground pepper.  You may also want to add more herbs or a bit of cayenne pepper.

Serve hot or cold.  Top with goat cheese or parmesan.  Serve over rice or polenta or even in a sandwich.  It is even better the next day reheated.

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3. Chicken Stew with Olives

For your next chicken dinner;

Use our pastured chicken from Shady Acres and rub the legs and thighs, or breast with Calicutt’s Chipotle Chile spice Blend.Let sit for 10 minutes or so.

Brown on all sides in a pan with some olive oil. Remove from the pan and saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Put the chicken back in the pan and cook until done. Serve this over spaghetti squash that has been rubbed with olive oil, and roasted (cut in half) with garlic cloves.

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4. It’s pumpkin and squash season and this delicious muffin recipe is gluten free and moist as can be. Use Calicutt’s Spice Blend and Blind Spot Nutbutter for the best flavor.

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 Pumpkin Maple Muffins

1 ¼ cups Almond Flour

¼ cup Coconut Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder, aluminum free

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons Calicutt’s Autumn Harvest Spice blend Blend

½ teaspoon Sea Salt

½ cup Organic Pumpkin, pureed

3 large Eggs (preferably pastured)

1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract

2 tablespoons Coconut Oil (or butter), melted

cup Pure Maple Syrup

3 tablespoons Blind Spot’s” Nutn but Nuts” nutbutter

cup Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, 60% or higher

Heat oven to 350℉.

Coat muffin tins with coconut oil or use paper muffin cups. Sift the dry ingredients (flour through salt), together in a large

bowl. Combine all the wet ingredients (pumpkin through peanut butter) in a small bowl and beat well. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon batter evenly into tins. Place 1 chocolate chip on top of each muffin. Bake for 20 minutes on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool on rack.

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