Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leeky Onion Soup


We're seeing some chillier nights here lately, so I decided to make a pot of my Leeky onion soup. It's a pretty simple concoction, but oh so yummy. Use whatever veggies you have on hand.. the more that's added, the better the pot.
What I like about leeks is that there is very little waste and they are just so tasty from tip to tail. For this soup I use almost the whole leek and save the darker tips to add to another dish.

   Leeky Onion Soup

 6-8 mid size leeks, cleaned thoroughly & chopped
2 large onions, sliced
2 shallots, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 zucchini, cubed
1/2 bunch Italian kale, chopped
3 carrots, cleand & cut
4 scallions, diced
1 summer squash, cubed
7-8 potatoes, peeled & cubed ( I used red & white New potatoes and Yukons)
1/4 stick unsalted butter
2 cans low salt chicken or vegetable stock
low fat milk or light cream
sea salt &  ground pepper to taste

Saute cut leeks, onions, shallots, & garlic in butter about 5-6 minutes. Rinse and cut up all your vegetables. Add to the pot with 2 cans chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a low boil and cook until vegetables are just tender. Remove cover and cool for 10 minutes. Pour vegetable mixture into Cuisinart or blender & give it a whirl until just smooth. Return it to your pot & add low fat milk (not much) or if you must.. light cream! Season to taste. Serve with Syrian bread triangles, or nice crusty bread, Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Garden tidbits

 Mid October and only a light frost here so far.  Everyone is saying it's been their best garden season in a long time.  Dry, hot summer days with lots of watering this year.  We were rewarded with a glorious harvest.  Today after I finished cleaning out the seasonal beds, I picked the last of my hot peppers for some hot pepper jelly, along with a basket of beets to be pickled, some leeks for a yummy leeky onion soup and planted my garlic for next season.  Mid-October is the best time to sow garlic cloves.  Plant one clove, point side up  two inches deep and six inches apart.  Mulch with salt marsh hay or straw or even leaves.  Roots will be established before hard freeze and the tops will be one of the first things that will push through the mulch in the Spring.

The brussell sprouts are filling out nicely--but they'll remain until Thanksgiving before I'll harvest them.  It's rather fun to pick these little gems even if they are covered in a light blanket of snow.. which we can easily see here in southern Maine by the time the holidays roll around.  We've been eating broccoli since mid-June and never before have we had eggplants, peppers and tomatoes by mid-July since we lived in New Hampshire.  What a year to remember after two very rainy summers here in Maine.

The herbs have all been harvested and dried for winter meals, and some blended for my morning tea and the rest infused or tinctured to be formulated into herbal soaps and healing balms.  It was a great growing season for herbs here.  Fall is also the time to harvest Echinacea - cone flower- roots.  Plants should be at least three years old.  Dig up the plant roots and scrub it off.  Slice the root thinly and tincture it in 100 proof alcohol.  I typically use vodka for it's milder taste.  Put the slices of root into a dark glass apothocary jar and cover completely with liquid.  Cover, label and date the jar and store in a dark cupboard.  Remember to give the jar a turn every week or so.  Be sure the liquid always covers the roots, adding more if neccessary.  After about six weeks, you can strain out the plant material and bottle up the liquid to use when you feel the verge of winter colds or flu.  Take about 10-20 drops in juice, water or hot tea, four to five times a day. Many folks swear by this infusion during the dreary winter months to assist in alleviating those awful winter bugs that are hard to escape. Til next thyme-happy gardening!