The coming winter will soon find itself in my firm mental embrace and me swathed in layers of materials designed to evade its cold clutches.
But til then, fall is rockin’ the food kasbah. Listen up!
Rainy Saturdays are the best time to visit the Madison Farmers Market. My eyes were relieved to see no more than 2, possibly 1, strollers around the entire Capitol Square! Our haul included 1 medium buttercup squash ($4), 3 small spaghetti squash ($2), a vege-fractal broccoli romano (broccoli romanesco if you’re Americani or simply anywhere but Roma) ($4), one 4-pound, local, antibiotic-free chicken carcass ($12) and one Chai-der from Espresso Royale ($3ish). Yes, that last one is a mix of chai and cider. You need it inside of you. Oh! And the best farmers market find was a Hen of the Woods mushroom, ½ pound at $6 a pound. Local food proprietors claim that this is their season to flourish. A fantastic risotto was made with the chickeny hen and a few shitakes for good measure. The next day found the chicken (roasted), buttercup squash (also roasted) and broccoli romano (sautéed in butter) in tonight’s dinner, inspired by this bitchin’ recipe and wine suggestion compliments of the Willy Street Coop and Star Liquor.
Want to try: “cheddar” cauliflower. It’s orange cauliflower. I uncertain if its taste varies from the uncolored counterpart. It may be a well-engineered Sconnie food ploy… Please advise if you have insight.
As climatical greyness encroaches, I’m picking through what remains of my backyard and community gardens. A multitude of baby kale spurred a stem-in roasted kale chip experiment. Tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, cumin and salt and baked at 400F for about 12 minutes, the stem added structural integrity to the wee leaves. Do it! A bunch of purple kale and a generous half cup of Thai basil remain for the backyard haul, in addition to a few green-and-yellow, tiger-striped heirloom tomatoes that escaped the clutches of squirrels who eat one bite and leave the rest to rot. Squirrels …
A jog past the community garden Sunday yielded a cup of Brussels sprouts, a few nearly-ripe San Martino tomatoes and last fresh raspberries I’ll pull from that and surrounding plots this season. The former were toted home in an unused doggie bag donated by a kindly passerby. After a season of mythically proportioned weeds, I’ve decided to give the bit of land another go. A season of late planting and unexpectedly draining travel messed up my gardening groove. And a new job. That’ll do it! I’ll garden more prioritiously next year. The satisfaction of preparing and digesting nourishment from plants coaxed out of the earth with nature’s permission is incomparable.
As the summer slides into fall, I look forward to clearing my plots of the detritus of plants that were born and flowered that year. I’m grateful for the opportunity to interact with nature on a more intimate level next year, with a more knowledgeable, understanding care and respect. With a better idea of what to expect.
TL;DR: Squash is brilliant, as will be what lies ahead.