Our family counts on homegrown vegetables to make our thanksgiving meal special. We plant late vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and lettuce to keep our fall meals hearty. The herb garden also produces a plethora of offerings to snip, chop and sprinkle on salads.
Some of the family arrives the night before the big feast, and vegetable soup hits the spot for them.
An easy and delicious recipe that I use is to melt a 1/2 stick of butter in large stock pot, add a 1/2 cup of chopped onions, a 1/2 cup of chopped celery and stir until softened. Then add 1 teaspoon of dried basil and oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika and 1/2 cup of white wine.
To this mixture add 3 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of tomato juice, 1 cup of Coca-Cola (yes, you read that correctly), 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of crushed tomatoes, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup of peeled potatoes and four cups of assorted homegrown beans, carrots, snap peas, broccoli, frozen corn and mushrooms. To finish, add chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons of red wine.
For Thanksgiving Day we have a huge bowl of homegrown green beans, which were blanched and frozen in July. Grandson Luke eats three helpings. We also have white and sweet potatoes, which daughter Lora prepares.
We harvested 60 pounds of sweet potatoes from 24 plants this year, and we had beautiful kale in September and October. I found a recipe that calls for both of these nutritious vegetables.
Sweet potato/kale frittata begins with six large eggs whisked together, 1 cup of half-and-half and 1 teaspoon of hot olive oil, which should be set aside. Peel and cube 2 cups of sweet potatoes and cook in a skillet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil until tender before setting aside. Saute 2 cups of kale until it wilts and add one small onion and two minced garlic pods. Stir potatoes into mixture, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and cook three more minutes. Sprinkle the frittata with 3 ounces of crumbled goat cheese. Bake in an iron skillet at 350 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes.
Then comes Black Friday, when you need dinner but don’t want much to eat. Using some homegrown vegetables you can make an easy and satisfying dinner. Put 1/4 cup of butter, two ribs of chopped celery, one finely chopped green pepper, two medium carrots and one onion is a stock pot and stir until ingredients are soft. Gradually stir in 1 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of flour and one 32-ounce carton of chicken broth. Add 1 pound of peeled, cubed potatoes and 8 ounces of frozen corn.
Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer for until potatoes are tender. Stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Cool the soup slightly before blending until smooth. Reheat before serving. After consuming it, treat yourself to a hot shower or bath and crawl into bed and be thankful for family gathering and homegrown vegetables.
“All through the lone winter I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring I dig my fingers into the soft earth. I can feel its energy and my spirits soar.
– Helen Hayes