Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
As summer draws to a close, gardens everywhere can morph into a tapestry of delicious greens, from tender lettuce to frost-proof spinach, with a sprinkling of red mustard added for spice. Even though you may still be harvesting tomatoes and squash, it is time to start thinking about replanting your vegetable garden with cool season favorites such as mixed lettuces, greens, radishes, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli.
Fall is an ideal time to grow vegetables that thrive in cool temperatures, can handle shorter daylight hours and can survive light frosts. Grow certain cool season vegetables from seed. Plants like arugula, spinach, and various types of lettuce germinate easily and mature quickly. Others like broccoli, cabbage, kale and collards are better started from transplants in 6-packs. These seedlings are available now at Homestead Gardens and will give you a head start. Keep the well-watered seedlings on a porch or inside where temperature is controlled. In our region September 15 is the time to plant in prepared soil.
A trick is to plant vegetables in containers on casters so they can easily be rolled indoors in case of an early fall frost. Cold frames will help extend your season as well. Just remember to open the lids in the morning to allow air circulation and close them before sunset to keep out the cold.
Hints for Late-Season Sowings
-from Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years
- Don’t skip the prep: Do cool down soil by shading for a few days and moistening so seeds have a chance, in particular. Note: Homestead Gardens also carries seed germination/garden protection in a fabric called “Harvest Guard”.
- Select a variety that’s a shorter number of days to maturity than its peers, or rated for late-season growing.
- Count back from frost date but add extra time to the calculation, since days are getting gradually shorter and cooler as fall plants mature. Don’t expect them to produce as fast as in warming, lengthening springtime days.
- As cold arrives, have insulating fabric (and hoops in some cases) at the ready.
- The later timing may slow things and require a little extra help, perhaps, but it’s also a benefit: Often you outsmart pests, who might be done multiplying, and some crops (greens, peas, crucifers) may taste sweeter when ripening in cool weather.
Kale Galette with Yogurt Pastry
Serves 8 as a main course or 12 as an appetizer
With an abundant fall crop of kale or other greens , Kale Galette from Laurie Constantino with an easy to roll Yogurt Crust is a reliably delicious recipe. Yogurt gives the crust a nice tang, sweet currants and onions complement green’s earthiness, while salty feta and spicy pepper add flavor accents. I decided to make 4 small galettes rather then one large. In that case, bake about 25 minutes until pastry is brown.
Any greens, wild or domesticated, may be substituted for kale; if you use tender greens such as spinach or chard, cook them in the boiling water for only 30 seconds.
Note: The recipe can easily be cut in half; or make the full pastry recipe, freezing half for a later day, and then halve the filling.
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), cold
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Greek plain yogurt, or 1/2-3/4 cup unstrained plain yogurt
- 1 egg
- 3 bunches kale (about 8 ounces each), 10 ounces cooked kale, or any wild or domesticated greens
- 2 cups diced yellow onions, cut into 1/2” dice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup (8 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
- 2 eggs
Whir flours and salt together in food processor. Cut butter into chunks, add to food processor, and pulse until butter is mostly combined with flour, but a few pea-sized pieces remain. Add yogurt and egg and pulse to combine. Mound dough onto piece of wax paper and form into solid disk. Wrap and refrigerate for one hour. (Dough can be made ahead several days, or may also be frozen for several months and thawed when ready to use.)
Wash kale leaves in cold water. Strip leaves from stems.
Bring large pot of salted water to rolling boil; make a cold water bath.
Place kale leaves in boiling water and cook for 5 minutes then plunge into ice water and stir gently; Drain in colander and squeeze out excess water. Roughly chop, place in mixing bowl and fluff to separate.
Sauté onion, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until it softens and begins to turn golden. Stir in pepper and minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add onions, oil, and seasonings to bowl with kale, along with feta cheese, currants and eggs. Stir all ingredients together, making sure they’re well combined.
Assemble Galette: Remove dough from refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed half sheet pan (18” x 13” baking sheet) with parchment paper.
Roll out dough into an oval approximately 20” x 15” and move onto parchment paper. Place filling on dough, and spread evenly, leaving a 2” border all the way around filling. Fold edges of dough up over filling, pleating as you go.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until crust is brown.
Serve immediately or at room temperature.