Kale is one of those vegetables that elicits many different responses from people. Some people think its proper place is as a garnish on the buffet table and others walk around with their Eat Kale t-shirts like religious devotees.
Which camp do you fall into? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Kale is officially a trendy vegetable, but maybe you find it puzzling that it’s inspired such adoration recently. I mean, most of the time you probably have more coming out of your garden then you know what to do with. That’s been my story.
That’s because kale is one of the garden vegetables that gives you a lot of bang for your buck. If you live in a northern climate like mine you can plant a kale seedling in spring and still be harvesting from that same plant at the end of October. I have a few lacinato plants in my garden that I’ve been getting food from for eight months!
The arrival of fall brings many gifts with it: open windows that let the cool breezes in, less (or no!) mosquitoes attacking us while we harvest veggies for dinner, crisp weekend days that inspire us to get out and do some the last yard work before winter, and a renewed energy for cooking homemade meals in our own kitchens.
Some of our favorite vegetables that we haven’t seen in awhile make their appearance in our gardens and local farmers markets – winter squashes like butternut, acorn and delicata, brussels sprouts, and leeks. It’s also the return of the spring crops like broccoli, cabbage, spinach, salad mixes and beets.
The days get shorter and the nights longer, and we start to feel a deep pull to break out our sweaters, light a fire and cozy up inside.
Fall is the perfect time to get reenergized about cooking savory meals and lingering at the dinner table with partners, friends and family.
Each season in the Flavorful Life Garden Club, the online community of passionate gardeners I spearhead, I gift the members with a small eBook featuring my favorite recipes of that time of year. We then choose a different one every few weeks and cook it together in our homes and share our photos and reviews with each other. It’s a fun way to virtually share a meal together!
As a celebration of the arrival of this colorful and cozy season, I want to share with you some of my favorite recipes that highlight the bounty of the fall harvest. It’s time to get back into our kitchens after the long, hot summer and starting cooking up a storm for fall!
Friday nights at our house often mean pizza night. After cooking all week I definitely don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So, we’ll whip up a quick pizza, pick a salad from the garden, and pop open a beer. If it’s summer we’ll sit outside in our yard to eat and chat and watch night fall. If it’s winter, we’ll fire up the wood stove and get cozy at the dining room table.
The seasons and pizza toppings may change, but one thing always remains the same – the ingredients we’re using are right from our garden. In August we’re slicing fresh tomatoes, eggplant and summer squash. In October we might try out some butternut squash and brussels sprouts as toppings. And last night, on the first evening in April? What garden toppings did we use?
There’s not much to pick in my garden right now besides spinach. But that didn’t put a stop our pizza party. I ran down the basement and gathered up all of the ingredients we needed to make two delicious pizzas. And they were all from last year’s garden. Here’s what I grabbed: