Who’s in the Garden and What’s Coming Out

Mabel & Emmet

Some delightful young friends of mine came over for an afternoon of scarecrow making. Emmet and Mabel both live on nearby farms and it’s always a treat to spend time with them. They have great imaginations and love to be silly, this adds a lot of fun and good energy to my day. Here are a couple of folks who magically appeared from some handy frames Rick had built and a trip to the Goodwill.

Meet Lady Elephant and Mr. Ben, as christened by Emmett and Mabel

Things are really winding down in the gardens. Rick has finished this year’s inventory of the nursery and continues to collect seed and prepare any plants and gardens for winter. Each day, we look hoping to find just one more plant in flower….not really wanting to let go of the season, I guess. The Toad Lily continues to bloom and some fall crocuses line the path along the grape arbor. Our color now is dependent on the foliage of Japanese maples, Fothergilla, Rhododendron dauricum, Stewartias, and Enkianthus, along with the native species of trees that surround the farm.

The very last haul of vegetables is making its way in from the garden: winter squash curing in the greenhouse, potatoes dug, carrots, beets, turnips and cabbages, covered and temporarily resting in the workshop until they are ready to be brought in. Kale and swiss chard are still holding their own in the garden, and piles of leeks are being harvested and washed, used and stored. Leeks being a favorite allium of ours, we always grow an abundance of them, King Richard being our most dependable variety. The gentle flavor of leeks are added to most all of our favorite autumn dishes.

A quick meal featuring sautéed leeks, herbs, roasted red peppers and gruyere cheese find their way into a galette…along with a cabbage salad or fresh greens, this rounds out a meal/

Here’s a quick recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375

For the crust:
1-1/2 cups flour ( I often use a mixture of whole wheat and white)
½ tsp salt
8 oz. of cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup finely ground walnuts
Approximately 1/3 cup cold buttermilk or ice water

Pulse walnuts in food processor until finely ground. Combine in a large bowl with flour(s) and salt. Mix in butter….as you would to make pastry or pie dough, and then add the cold buttermilk or ice water. Just enough liquid to form a dough. Set in the fridge for about 1hour. Later roll this out onto a large cookie sheet, approximately 10-12 inches in diameter.

For the filling

4or 5 large leeks, washed, ends trimmed
Handful of chopped fresh herbs, your choice
2-3 tbls Butter
½ cup of roasted red peppers, cut into irregular strips
1 cup Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded

Slice leeks into thin discs, melt butter in large skillet, add leeks and cook until soft. When cooked through, add herbs. Turn off stove, set aside as you roll out dough. Once dough is rolled and ready, spread leek/herb mixture over dough, leaving about a 1 inch border all the way around. Spread gruyere cheese evenly over leek mixture. Arrange roasted red pepper evenly on top .

Now fold 1 inch border in towards middle of galette, forming about an inch or so crust.

Bake in preheated oven, set at 375 for about 35-40 minutes.

We often experiment with the ingredients we put into galettes…along with the leeks and gruyere cheese and roasted peppers, we may also spread a layer of cooked and mashed winter squash (most likely baked with garlic and sage) on the bottom of dough (first layer). Pretty yummy!

We know we are running out of time to finish up with fall tasks and winter will soon be upon us. We are all enjoying the beautiful and warm fall days we have been having and continue to make the most of each one. Hope you are enjoying your autumn days as well!

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