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End of Season Comforts

You Can Grow That!

It is the start of what is forecast to be a cloudy, cool, rainy week. Yes, the dahlias and zinnias still bloom, and there is new lettuce and chard to be harvested in the vegetable garden. But although treasures still await harvest in the garden, and there are garlic and Cool-Wave Pansies to plant, it’s time to acknowledge that it’s almost October and the growing season is at an end.

So let’s celebrate! Yes, it’s reason number I-don’t-know-what to be thankful for having a vegetable garden. What’s for dinner on a cool, wet, late-September evening? Lamb shanks cooked with tomatoes, peppers, leeks and garlic; roasted potatoes and butternut squash with leeks; chard sautéed with garlic; apple and fig crisp. All but the lamb and apples came from the garden.

A Harvest Meal
(The proportions aren’t that critical – don’t worry about measuring, just do it.)

Lamb Shanks
Brown lamb in a sauté pan and then put it in a roasting dish. Chop leeks, garlic, and red or green peppers and sauté in the oil left from browning the garlic. When the veggies are soft add about four cups chopped tomatoes or frozen/canned tomatoes. Cook for about fifteen to twenty minutes with a cup or two of dry white wine. Pour over the lamb shanks and cover. Bake at 350 for three to four hours, making sure that the liquid doesn’t dry up too much…add wine, stock or tomato as needed.

Potatoes & Squash
Chop potatoes and butternut squash into cubes. Chop onions or leeks and toss all together with some olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and smoked paprika if you have some. Cook at 350 for about 35 or 40 minutes.

Chard
Wash the chard and roughly cut into ribbons. Put olive oil in a sauté pan and add some chopped garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle add the chard and cover the pan, turning the heat down so that the garlic cooks but doesn’t brown. Cook for about ten minutes – add salt and pepper to taste.

Apple Fig Crisp
Slice up apples and fresh figs if you have them (I used four Honey Crisp apples and 8 fresh figs) and squeeze the juice of one ripe lemon over these slices. Drizzle three tablespoons of maple syrup over these and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and toss. Topping was 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup brown sugar. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup melted butter combined. Put the topping over the fruit and bake about 40 to 50 minutes until browned and bubbling on the edges. Feel free to “fudge” the ingredients and amounts.

The lamb has been cooking for 3 hours - time to prepare the squash and potatoes!

Dinner is served.

And the apple/fig crisp awaits for dessert.

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