Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Busy Time of Year

Although modern life allows us the luxury of buying food whenever we need it, no matter the time of year, something about the late summer and early fall makes me feel kinship for people who lived before refrigeration and grocery stores. I would never pretend to know the hardship of that life, but I certainly appreciate what they must have gone through to ensure their family's survival over a long winter. The summer laziness quickly shifts into back-to-school, house repair, intense garden and CSA food storage, so I end up having to think one day at a time to get through the madness. Much of it is delightful work: who doesn't enjoy making tomato sauce to freeze or picking raspberries? I just returned from a lovely morning doing just that with my friend Katherine and her grandchildren and my kids. In an hour and a half Katherine and I picked six pounds of berries while the four kids ran shirtless up and down the long rows. The farm we go to is called Wright-Locke Farm and is a tiny little place in the middle of Winchester, staffed by volunteers. The berries are organic and plentiful. If you live in the area, you should go.

In between freezing trays of berries, the kids and I made stock out of the chicken from last night. Next we have collard greens to blanch and freeze for winter soups. It is quite a feeling of accomplishment to look in the chest freezer and see it full of amazing produce, all grown locally, some even from our own backyard.

Roast Chicken with a Spicy Butter Rub

1 roasting chicken
4 TBSP butter, softened
1 TBSP pressed or finely minced garlic
1 teas. paprika
1/2 teas. cayenne pepper
1/2 teas. salt
1/2 teas. ground coriander
2 limes

Preheat the oven to 375.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a small bowl, combine butter and spices and mix together until smooth.

Rub butter mixture all over chicken.

With a sharp knife, poke 4 or 5 holes in each lime and put into the chicken cavity.

Roast until done (thermometer in thickest part should read at least 165 degrees), ~ 1 to 1 1/2 hours.


Roasted Veggies

This is just another take on the roasted veggies we love. We got okra in the CSA last week and it wasn't really enough to make into gumbo. It sat in the bottom of my fridge and I knew it was going to stay there until I didn't recognize it, unless I used it immediately. This can cook at the same time as the chicken.

4 to 6 small beets, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 to 4 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
10 to 12 okra
olive oil
salt
pepper

Toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 375, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until cooked, ~ 45 minutes.

Serve everything with a green salad and apple pie.