Hello, friends. We hope all is well with you. It’s actually been so wet on the farm lately that we’ve run out of things to do. Or, at least after weeding our forthcoming salad greens again, we’ve run out of things we can do until it dries out some more. So yesterday we decided to pack up the dogs and go for a nice hike at nearby Rocks State Park in Harford County. Deer Creek was higher than it’s been since at least Hurricane Floyd. Baloo looked old climbing the rocks. Joanna is still scared of heights. And Rosie looked entirely too confident for her own good. The views were spectacular as ever though. Add to that a clear forecast likely to start drying out the fields, and we’re doing out best to beat the late season blues.
what we’re eating
We eat a lot of chili, especially this time of year. In fact, we’ll even be entering Baltimore Chilibrew XII in a couple of weeks. Everyone seems to have an opinion on chili. For the record, in our household, chili is made with beans or meat, but never both; we do include tomatoes, specifically roasted tomatoes; and while Wendy’s chili may be served with cheese, we prefer ours with sour cream. That said, what all chili needs is chiles. The more varieties, the better for achieving a deeper and more complex flavor. Our “mole” pepper mix is perfect for this, especially when first roasted for 4-6 hours at 225F. You then either blend them together with garlic and onions (or shallots) and water until smooth, or freeze them just as they are for use later.
On a different but equally autumnal note, we’ll be trying out something totally new this week: a raw butternut squash salad. While this might sound like some next level Mr. Autumn Man masochism, we have it on good authority that it’s shockingly good, especially if dressed up with ginger, dried fruit, and nuts. The key, as with any off-beat salads is to make sure you get the squash as thin and delicate as possible. Mark Bittman marinates his in acid to tenderize, while Joshua McFadden prefers to just toss in brown butter and go. Here’s the recipe we’ll be following:
½ C yellow raisins
1 T fresh ginger, grated or minced
¼ C white wine vinegar
1 lb hard squash, peeled, and shredded into thin slices with peeler
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp chile pepper, minced
salt and pepper
¼ cup brown butter
3 T olive oil
1 T dried mint (or 1/4 C fresh)
1 C toasted walnuts
2-3 leaves sage (optional)
Soak raisins in vinegar while you shave the squash into slices. Mix the squash, vinegar, shallots, chile, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Separately, brown butter in a pan with sage (optional).
Pour warm brown butter over bowl. Add olive oil, mint, and pecans, toss, and serve immediately.
Let us know what you think and happy eating!