End-of-the-Season Recipes


It’s the end of the growing season, but it isn’t quite time to rest.  With the bulk of our harvest frozen, canned, dried, and fermented, it’s time to deal with the left overs: the harvest that didn’t get processed during the peak of the season.  Though these “ugly” fruits and veggies are now gaining recognition in the mainstream (not everything comes out looking perfect!), they’ve always been part of harvesting and cooking for home gardeners.  I have fun examining the motley selection of veggies occupying my kitchen counters and refrigerator space, determining how they could be combined in delicious ways.  It takes some creativity at this time of year!

Sometimes end-of-season produce is a bit worse for the wear.  This weekend I prepared several gallons of sauerkraut from some cabbages that were admittedly acting as slug hotels in the garden.  After removing the holey outer leaves, however, wonderful fall sweetened crisp cabbage was revealed.  Yum!


It is also an important time of year to monitor harvest stores in the basement and attic.  Any veggies that show sign of rot or discoloration should be used first.  As last night’s dinner highlighted, blemished squash, onions, and other veggies are often perfectly delicious.   They don’t stay good for long, however, so it’s good to enjoy them right away while they’re still tasty.

Butternut squash

Thankfully, some plants are happy to be outside in the frost and colder weather.  Most of the brassicas: kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, get sweeter and more tender after it has frosted.  For now I’ll happily leave them outside and will be ready to enjoy them when I see counters and fridge shelves empty and need to go get vegetables in order to prepare for our next meal.

Find great recipes for fall harvest from some of my previous blog posts:  Sauerkraut, pumpkin, chard, winter squash, frost sweetened kale, and Brussels sprouts.  Enjoy!


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October in the Garden


Autumn breakfast treat: chai, cider donut, and cinnamon apples

Fall is certainly in the air.  Colors have changed dramatically in the last week, and we are now in peak foliage in the Champlain Valley.  According to our climate zone, we were supposed to get a frost by October 1st.  However, the end of the growing season has been unusually long and the garden is still going strong.

We are learning more about our property’s micro climate and have been surprised to have escaped several frosts that nipped our nearby neighbors.  Last Friday temperatures were projected to dip below freezing, so we did a big harvest and covered up the plants we wanted to save.  The next morning revealed a frost so light that even the basil was spared.  Our airy southern sloping garden seems to keep frost from forming on the plants when temperatures hover around freezing!  Though I am excited for the ongoing bounty, I’m also starting to feel tired and ready for the growing season to come to an end.


Big pre-frost harvest – so many watermelons, peppers, and butternut squashes this year!


We escaped another frost! Blankets drying and garden still going strong.

Foliage isn’t waiting around for freezing temperatures.  In the past week, trees in our area have turned dramatically.  The hills are tinged with reds, oranges and yellows.  Forest walks are stunning and smell richly of fallen leaves.  Vibrant colors surround us.


Sugar maple beauty: from green to red in a week.


Our house peeks through the foliage – the view as I make the final decent down Mt. Philo.


A few fall forest scenes.


Mid-October pesto and veggies!

In the kitchen, it seems like it is still August.  We continue to have bountiful peppers, broccoli, beans, leafy greens, tomatoes, and fruit to play with.  We certainly got our fill this season.  Soon we will transition to winter jackets, squash, parsnips, and frost-sweetened kale and Brussels sprouts.  I’m ready!

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Fun Fancy Finger Food

Making fancy appetizers can be a fun and beautiful way of highlighting delicious local harvest.  The best part is that beauty often comes with simplicity when highlighting fresh vegetables and fruits.  Here are a few recipes I’ve tried recently:


Caprese Skewers: Halve cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls.  Skewer a basil leaf between piece of tomato and a piece of mozzarella.  Ta da!


Cantaloupe and Parmesan: The easiest of the bunch – this is more of a pairing than a recipe.  Lay out bite size pieces of cantaloupe and place thin slices of a hard cheese like parmesan on top. Skewer with a toothpick if desired.


home-made-icing-piping-bagCucumber Bites: Mix equal parts chèvre and sour cream, and mix in a dash of garlic powder, salt, and enough dried dill weed to speckle the mixture with green throughout.  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least half an hour before mixing again and tasting.  Adjust garlic, salt, and dill to taste.  Splash in a bit of lemon juice and/or add lemon zest if desired.  Spoon entire mixture into a icing piping bag (or one corner of a ziplock, twist tie shut, then cut off tip).  Slice cucumber into rounds.  Pipe dip on top of each cucumber slice.  Garnish with fresh parsley or dill.



Mint, Feta, Watermelon Cubes: Cube watermelon, slice solid feta into thin square pieces, and separate fresh mint leaves from stalk.  Arrange watermelon cubes on your serving platter, place a piece of feta and mint leaf on top of both, and skewer each tower with a tooth pick.  A beautiful flavor-packed end-of-summer treat!

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September in the Garden


fruits-of-septemberSeptember is, quite literally, a fruitful month in Vermont gardens.  Melons finish their journey to ripeness, apples and pears are ready in orchards, fall raspberry canes bow with the weight of fruit, and tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants continue to mature in gardens.  In our sunny southern sloping garden, we’re excited to be growing these heat-loving treats so successfully.  It is also a time for preservation as we prepare for impending frost.  Vegetables like kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and green beans can be blanched and frozen.  Ingredients for salsa, tomatoes, pesto, hot sauce, and apple sauce are all ready to be harvested and canned.  Almost any vegetable or fruit from the garden can be pickled.

Here are a selection of some of my favorite recipes that may help inspire you to enjoy the bounty September has to offer:


Salsa – Our basic recipe and ideas for inventive iterations.


This most delicious way to highlight cherry tomatoes.


Pan Seared Eggplant, which would be great with Dukkah sprinkled liberally on top.


Flourless chocolate cake, featured annually in our household smothered in fall raspberries.


Pesto – consider swapping another nut or seed for pine nuts, another cheese for parmesan, or another herb for basil.  So many opportunities for great flavored sauces!


Pickles and fermented veggies – The idea I always fall back on at the end of the day.  Almost any favorite vegetable or fruit can be pickled.  However (even more beneficially) wilty, less favorite, or overly abundant things can be pickled with equal success.

Wishing you a happy harvest season!

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Vermont Tree Goods



I’m excited to be writing to announce a new job!  I admittedly have been working at Vermont Tree Goods for a few months.   Between this transition, several summer weddings to attend, and lots + lots of gardening, I’m just now sitting down to make the official announcement.  My hopes for this professional transition is to have a job that leaves me with energy to cook, garden, and go on outdoor adventures when I’m not at work.  So far so good!




Vermont Tree Goods mills planks and creates furniture from trees that have reached the end of their growing years. Through the transformation into furniture these magnificent beings extend their legacy by living on in homes and businesses.  Large old trees really do make spectacular slabs, which make beautiful table tops and other furniture.
My role at this new Bristol, VT business is to do pretty much everything that doesn’t have to do with sawing wood or building furniture.  It’s really nice to be working for a dynamic new business selling such high quality products with a spirit of environmentalism at its core. Check out the website: www.vermonttreegoods.com to see photos and learn more about the company and follow us on your favorite social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest) to stay in touch.


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If you know of anyone who might be interested in our work, please help spread the word!  If you’re in Bristol, stop by to visit me Tuesday-Friday 11am-5pm (call ahead: (802) 453 – 4544 to confirm I’m working).  The showroom is also open 11am-5pm on Saturdays.








MCT101e white windows
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Fresh-from-the-Garden Spring Rolls

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to dive into a multi-step recipe.  Summer days are often quite full of activity.  But summer is also the time when beautiful fresh ingredients abound.   Spring rolls to the rescue!  All you need to do ahead of time is keep a package of thin rice-paper spring roll wrappers on hand.  Follow the directions on the package, adding whatever fresh herbs and veggies are in season to make a beautiful but easy meal.  It can be fun to lay out the different ingredient choices and have each person make their own.  After ingredients are prepped, it only takes a minute or two for assembly.


Delicious ingredient options:

-Any fresh herbs on hand: I love thai basil, regular basil, cilantro, mint, scallions, and parsley.

-Edible flower petals: It never hurts to add extra color inside and out!

-Thinly sliced veggies: really this can be any veggie you like eating raw.  Be conservative in your amounts – it is easy to be tempted to over-stuff your rolls.

-Protein and fat: A great way to use leftovers!  Sliced avocados, already cooked fish, pulled or ground meat, tofu (see below), toasted sesame seeds, strips of omelet, or bits or sausage or bacon turn your spring rolls into a satisfying and complete meal.

-Pickles: I prefer the garlicy gingery spark of kimchi in my spring rolls, but really any freshly fermented veggie will do.

-Leftovers: Do you have small amounts of cooked veggies, meat, or beans left over from a previous meal?  Include them in your ingredient offerings.

-Sauce: Dipping sauce is what really makes spring rolls so yummy.  The simplest option is a mixture of whatever of the following items you like and have on hand: soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, hot sauce, miso, olive oil and/or sesame oil.  Be sure to include at least one salty ingredient, something sour, and an oil.  I like to mix in a generous dollop of peanut butter for a wonderful peanut dipping sauce.

Thinking ahead?  Marinate some tofu. This is great to do in the morning before going to work.  Drain tofu and put into a container with soy sauce, rice vinegar, grated ginger, grated garlic, and sesame oil and shake gently.  Smear with a thin layer of miso paste and leave to marinate during the day. You can also give the same treatment to shredded carrots or sliced cucumbers for some yummy quick pickles.


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Summery Garden Recipes


I’ll admit it: I’m not a recipe follower.  My approach in the kitchen is to start with whatever item we have in abundance, add spices or flavorings that we didn’t just eat in the past few meals, taste, adjust, and enjoy.

This leads to a broad diversity of results that carry us through weeks of enjoyable seasonal meals.  But sometimes I feel the need to switch things up.  To try something new.  Or to use some new combination of flavors I just wouldn’t have thought of when trying to pull together a quick dinner from scratch.

Sometimes, especially starting around August, I also start to feel overwhelmed by the abundance of certain veggies and tired of my standard way of preparing them.  Bring on the recipes!

Here are a few ideas we’ve enjoyed this summer:


Beet Risotto: Crafted by a friend and creative chef, this fun combination, enhanced by a generous amount of lemon zest, was a great way to enjoy our first true harvest of beets.  Check out her other recipes if you ever need in-season inspiration!



Raw Kale Salad: I was doubtful at first – I don’t love raw kale or dishes without enough sour, salt, and fat to balance out kale’s strong bitter green roughage.  It turns out the trick is in fine cutting and dressing ahead of time.  Yum!


Rainbow pizza: When I saw this online in January, I immediately thought: “I can’t wait to try this in August!”  If the cauliflower crust in this recipe intimidates you, try it with a regular crust.


Zucchini Fritters: After inventing a handful of variations on meals featuring zucchini and summer squash, I was excited to find this one to add to my repertoire.

Homemade fudgesicles: Ok, we didn’t grow any of the ingredients in this one.  AND, we ate them all without taking a picture.  BUT, it is a simple recipe with relatively whole foods and very delicious results!  I especially appreciated how the subtle sourness of the yogurt enhanced the overall flavor of these delicious cold treats.

Be sure to send your favorite summer veggie recipes my way, I’m always in need of new ideas!

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