Every year when I order my garden seeds, I imagine myself starting a fall crop of cold-tolerant veggies after the summer harvest is over.  Not once have I ever followed through, in spite of ordering countless packages of broccoli seed. Whereas planting seeds in the moist spring soil feels fresh and hopeful, by hot mid-July (when I’m barely keeping up with the bugs and weeds) it has no magic.

Fortunately, we are surrounded by farmers who do plant for fall, who can provide us with fresh local vegetables all winter long, available at a growing number of winter farmers markets. 

But we’re not talking tomatoes and beans, we’re talking about hearty greens and root vegetables, as well as the veggies that store well like potatoes and winter squashes. You have to make seasonal adjustments in your cooking, but that’s okay…there are plenty of recipes that go well with winter.

Here are a couple I’ve been making lately:

THAI CARROT AND SQUASH SOUP

1 TBSP oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 – 2 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
6  cups of chicken broth
1/4 cup white rice
1 TBSP cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of Cayenne pepper (optional, or you may prefer more if you like your soup hot)
8 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 – 3 tsp fish sauce
1 TBSP soy sauce
juice of 1 – 2 limes
fresh cilantro

Saute the onion and ginger in the oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 45 more seconds,  till fragrant.

Add the broth and rice and bring to a boil. Add carrots, squash, and dry spices. Reduce heat to medium and cook until vegetables are soft and rice is cooked.  Add coconut milk and stir.

Puree the soup in your blender in batches. Return to pot and add fish sauce, soy sauce, and lime. (Start with the smaller amount of lime and fish sauce, then test for flavor and add more if you like. I like lotsa lime juice.) 

Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

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Thank you to our neighbor Fred’s daughter, Liberty, for the Kale Salad below. After I had it at Fred’s house I pestered him till I got the recipe. It’s an answer to the question, “What the heck do we do with all this kale?” asked by anyone who belongs to a CSA.

KALE SALAD

1 bunch kale washed and dried
1 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 carrot peeled and grated (or however you want it)
1 zucchini, quartered and then sliced thinly 

Grip the kale firmly and strip leaves from stems to make “pants.” Cut into thin slices. Massage the kale in a big bowl with the olive oil to break down the fibrousness. Add salt and massage more. Add the other stuff. 

“Hail Kale” Caesar Dressing

1 cup cashews, soaked 20 minutes (or more)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ribs celery
2 TBSP tamari
2 TBSP agave or honey
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP miso paste
2 cloves garlic 

Puree all dressing ingredients in a blender until creamy, toss with the salad. Leftover dressing is good on all kinds of other salads.