Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Fall in the garden

This past weekend brought us a frost that dared to venture inside the garden gate and reduce most of the green to a mushy olive drab. But having harvested the celery stalks weeks ago, nothing of value was lost.
The hardy carrots held their own against the icy crystals that coated their lacy fronds. I would like them to stay in as long as the ground stays unfrozen as I imagine the fat orangey shoulders I see poking through the dirt narrow down too quickly, giving me short stubby carrots.

With most of the plants cleared, the world of Tonka once again reclaims the land for its many digging and dumping purposes.

If you look carefully, you can spot a plump blue-jay sitting on the hinged side of the gate facing into the cedar tree. I imagine he is checking to see if the birdfeeder as been filled yet. (And the answer is no, as there is still plenty left to hunt and peck for on his own.)

Not sure what the post digging project is all about, but I was told, "Now this is doing real work." :)

And slightly related to the topic of the garden is how to use up multiple stalks of celery awaiting their turn in the crisper drawer. My latest attempt is using it in rice pilaf with some sage to echo the flavors in bread stuffing which only I prefer and rarely make. It was delicious and will be made many times over this fall and winter.
It is adapted from the Betty Crocker rice pilaf recipe.

1/4 cup butter
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 celery stalks chopped(or as many as you can get away with)
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch of pepper
1/2 tsp. sage (I didn't actually measure so use your judgement, I love sage.)

Melt the butter on med-high. Add the onions and celery and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add rice, stir until lightly browned, a few minutes at most. Watch it doesn't burn or stick to pan. Turn to med-low and add broth. Stir together, adding remaining seasonings. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is fluffy. Enjoy with baked chicken and steamed seasoned broccoli (or carrots!) to name just one delicious meal that we like around here. :)

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