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dancing dinosaurs

autumn’s first week has greeted me with crisp excitement in the gardens at earthworks. (and a happy belated equinox to you). while the daylight hours are shrinking back and the sleepy darkness of this time of the year makes waking hard, and while the fall grey days offer a sort of dull comfort, those gardens still fill me with so much LIFE.

our fall greens stand stately, boldly, somehow verdantly majestic. unfortunately, the aphids have found them, sucking and snacking away on these lovely brassicas (kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage). on monday, i treated those little sucking bugs to a wet ride: sprayed–rather blasted–those buggers off the greens! the job was tedious, but also so delightful to spend four hours slowly pacing through these greens, to really commune with them.

while doing so, i had the pleasure to see the dinosaurs dance. am i crazy? well, of course. but i saw the march of the dinosaurs in the lacinato, toscano or dino kale (it’s so popular it has a variety of names!). this row of kale looked like a heard of miniature brachiosaurus¬†on the move, their lengthy gorgeous necks gracefully bobbing as the water dripped down.

i never knew spraying aphids could be so much fun!

i have no delicious recipe for your today, but if i did, it would most certainly feature the oh-so-lovely lacinato kale. soon. but picturing those plants as a mass of dinosaurs makes any grey day so much more entertaining.


today, dear friends, i give you indian peach and tomato chutney.

and, i do so with love, eager enthusiasm, and great enjoyment.

glowing jars of peach and tomato chutney

this year, i’ve done my fair share of experimenting with all sorts of types of condiments– mostly pickles (rhubarb, beets, cucumbers, hot peppers), but also pasta sauce, pestos, and the like. making chutney, though, the ever illusive chutney, has been on my mind and in my dreams for a number of weeks, if not months. and, folks, this is a darned tasty chutney– the tanginess of the ripe tomatoes and apple cider vinegar, the spice and heat of the garlic and chili powder, the sweet warmth of the peaches… oh this stuff is great.

mix it all together

i’ve been working with the great folks at corktown community brunch on and off for a number of months now. when i read this month’s menu–an indian take on huevos rancheros–i couldn’t help but think about trying a peach chutney as a side. so, this month’s brunch will feature delicata sunshine chutney and indian pickles from the lovely suddenly sauer. it’s definitely an honor to share the table with such a happy pickler!

the peaches and tomatoes

the liquid and spice, how nice!

simmering and melding

i welcome everyone in the greater detroit area to check out the brunch this sunday, september 19th! we’ll be at brother nature farm at 2913 rosa parks, in detroit from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. come check us out!

and now for the recipe!

indian peach and tomato chutney
(for two quarts)

30 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches peeled ginger, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon pickling spice
24 peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 litres peaches, chopped (bought them from a canadian vendor at e. market and can’t find conversion, about 6 pounds, i think!)
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped

1. combine garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder, pickling spice, nutmeg, brown sugar, and vinegar in a medium pot over medium heat. stir until combined, then stir frequently until thoroughly warm. add peaches and tomatoes, stir to coat.
2. bring to a gentle simmer. cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, until peaches and tomatoes are soft and the chutney is thick. be sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of pan.
3. remove from heat, allow to cool. store in the fridge and enjoy!

greetings friends.

again, i am behind. work’s been intensely wonderful: from harvesting to bed prep to compost picking up to the harvest dinner celebration to beekeeping to seeding to watering…my life’s in a lovely state of busy. but that really doesn’t justify my lack of correspondence. i blame that on my intermittent internet at my new place. blagh! it can be frustrating. (again, not really a solid excuse….)

late summer loveliness

i have planned, prepped, experimented, tasted, loved, delighted, connected, pickled, canned…. so much these past weeks! the harvest season = great joy in the life of gwen.

bean salad

savory french toast

kale salad-- this converted anti-kale members of the lawrence family

blueberries in warm quinoa salad

carrots & beets for salad

flowers from earthworks

these are the wisps of my adventures these past few weeks. i must say the savory french toast was one of my more favorite experiments– we soaked day old bread in a mixture of fresh tomato juice, buttermilk, and egg. then, we topped the slices with a variety of different spices, from cinnamon to fennel to paprika and back again. finally, topped with thin slices of ripe, gorgeous peaches and goat cheese. the result? luscious. really delicate yet bold. fabulous.

my goal for this week: better documentation and a return to the weekly (at least) update. looking toward the fall, are there any recipes or seasonal produce you’re especially excited about? i’m looking forward to that good ol’ delicata squash… (surprise, right?!)