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Whistle stop

October 3, 2010

Winter is coming. I know this because:

1. The heat has been on for several days.
2. Today’s high temperature was 50F.
3. The landscaping trucks now have snow plow services signs stuck magnetically to their sides.
4. I got an email this morning from my CSA announcing that this is the last week. And since I split and my week was last week, no more CSA for me.
5. We have a frost warning tonight and it appears we’ll be having several more this week.
6. Halloween stores are sprouting in every empty storefront. And thanks to the economy, there are a lot of empty storefronts.

AJ and I went to the one that has set up shop where Pier 1 used to be to look for a costume. He’s been bugging me about it for a week. This is the most interested in Halloween I’ve ever seen him. I’ve been lobbying against store-bought costumes. Yesterday I took him to a local thrift store to see if we could find something inspiring. We didn’t, although we did find a couple of books for a quarter apiece (a biography of Babe Ruth and a Garfield comic book) and I may go back to see if the $40 1950s Swedish modern console dresser is still there, even though I have no idea where I would put it. But today we were looking for something to do while Mr. Spy was scouting at a football game of a team we’ll play in a couple of weeks. We looked at a lot of costumes, but AJ had already decided he wanted to be Death. He found a black robe and hood with black mesh for a face and scythe for almost exactly our costume budget, so we bought them. He wore the hood all the way home.

We stopped by a new park that opened Friday built on two lakes formed by a former quarry. There were boats of fishermen everywhere. They wanted us to pay to look around, so we just drove through. We’ll go back by bike sometime and explore for free. By next summer, there will be a beach there. A beach we can bike to. Pretty exciting.

In light of the forecast and the CSA farm report, this afternoon, I began packing up the garden. I emptied out the cucumber baskets, harvested most of the lettuce and chard and some of the broccoli. I pulled up all the remaining carrots and beets, the rest of the peppers and tomatoes, and whatever beans I could find. I cut the tomatoes to the ground. I’ll bring the herbs, which are potted, in for the night.

My kitchen is full of vegetables. I have a pot of chicken parts and vegetable bits on the stove for stock. And I’ve sliced up three green tomatoes to fry up for dinner. They are sizzling on the stove right now.

I’ve never made fried green tomatoes before. I’ve eaten them — crispy, golden, delicious — dipped in Tabasco at a restaurant that used to be near my parents’ southern home. The first batch is off the stove and they’re crispy and sour. I dipped the slices of tomato in a flour/cornmeal mixture, then in a milk/egg mixture and finally in panko. I’m eating them dipped in sriracha. Yum. I like fall.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    October 4, 2010 8:46 am

    This makes me sad. I hate to see summer go. But, I am a little tired of the gardening work – not that I’ve had much to do lately. The rain is frustrating only in that I can’t accomplish much except pick tomatoes, basil and peppers (the only stuff left) and go.

    My co-op is year round but there’s not much to choose from in the winter apart from homemade goat cheese and breads (not that I’m complaining). I need to get out there and start pulling things up. I really need to fix the fence but it’s a multi-step process and I have to work up to those.

    I do look forward to making stews again. Your recent mention of pumpkin muffins got me excited and I had planned to make them. But there was NO pumpkin in the store. Ironically, I’d just read in the paper that the supposed scarcity of it was over. But I couldn’t find any and so….no muffins. 😦

  2. October 4, 2010 8:56 am

    I made the pumpkin “cupcake” recipe here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130191177#commentBlock . It was really very, very good. I did not make the low-cal frosting. I thought it seemed sketchy and it was very good with nothing. But since I was using them for dessert, I worked between a traditional cream cheese frosting and this one and came out with something delicious made mostly with low-fat cream cheese that I piped on in small amounts. It was just right. I should have taken a picture.

  3. freshhell permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:22 am

    I printed that – thanks! Now, I just need to find some pumpkin.

  4. October 4, 2010 10:43 am

    I never liked fried green tomatoes until last summer, when I had some really good ones. It might be that my palate was not sophisticated enough, and I’m pretty sure it was that they weren’t crispy enough before that. When they’re good, though, they’re really, really good!

  5. crankygirl permalink
    October 4, 2010 10:47 am

    The tomatoes sound wonderful!!

  6. October 4, 2010 3:54 pm

    When done right, Jeanne, fried green tomatoes are a perfect blend of sour, salty and sweet, of crispy and juicy. And they need to be eaten immediately, or they get soggy. I had the leftovers for lunch. The flavor was good, but it just wasn’t the same. Still, I’ll take any excuse to dip things in hot sauce.

  7. October 5, 2010 9:10 am

    Ah, Death: one of the classics. Whenever I think of Death, I always think of John L. from University Theater, who once played “Mr. John St. John Death” in a one act. He wore a tux, and as one of the suavest people I know, played Death as the best cocktail party guest you could ever want, except that your guests would die off one by one all evening. I think the comedy part was that he kept missing the guest he was there to kill.

  8. October 5, 2010 1:56 pm

    Mmm. We have green tomatoes…

    Also, I really don’t like winter squash, but I’ll cook it and use it in things that call for pumpkin. I made a delicious pumpkin bread over the weekend – a yeast bread, not a quick bread.

  9. October 5, 2010 10:35 pm

    Mr. Unfocused, any comment that begins, “Ah, Death,” is bound to be worth reading. Magpie, your bread sounds good. I cooked all the pumpkin, but I still have a boatload of acorn and butternut (as well as one spaghetti squash and one squash as yet unidentified). I may give it a go. I think I may even have that cookbook around here somewhere.

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