Monday, October 24, 2011

Impatiens and Pumpkins.

A late summer turns to fall. Fast.

This picture tells the story. My impatiens is blooming right next to the Halloween pumpkin. Just last week, it was sunny with temperatures in the 70’s and hot. My roses were still blooming and tomatoes were ripening on the vine. Now, it’s cloudy and chilly with almost freezing temperatures at night.

My roses are forming hips instead of blooms and the tomatoes are ripening inside and it’s time to harvest my basil. It happened so fast.

Green trees are suddenly turning lovely shades of red, gold and orange. Pumpkins are popping up on porches. Squirrels are bustling around the park hiding their supplies for the winter. It’s time to savor the flavor of fresh, homegrown tomatoes and harvest basil to make pesto. I put the fresh pesto in paper cups and freeze it, then pop out the little rounds into a plastic bag so I can enjoy it on fish, chicken and pasta during the winter.

But tonight, I put some of the fresh pesto on hot pasta and added the last of the fresh, sliced tomatoes on the side. We enjoyed the last taste of summer.

I have mixed feelings about the season changes. I always miss the warmth, light and blooms of summer. I love the daylight stretching into the evening hours, eating outside on the patio sipping cold drinks. But there’s something cozy about writing with my feet up on the window seat looking out at the rain. I love the crimson leaves bursting out against the grey skies, sipping hot tea and eating cookies warm from the oven.

One of my favorite fall meals is soup. This Tuscan Bean Soup is a family staple and both my ‘kids’ love it so much, they made sure they had the recipe when they moved out on their own. I made this pot using my garden-grown tomatoes diced up instead of canned. Here’s the recipe.

Tuscan Bean Soup
1 16oz can white beans
1 16 oz can whole or diced tomatoes
1 32 oz carton organic chicken broth
3-6 cloves of garlic whole or chopped
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Add a little olive oil to cast iron dutch oven or soup pot, add the garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add drained and rinsed white beans, thyme and basil. Stir gently.
Pour in tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 30 minutes or more. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a little grated parmasean cheese and toasted bread.

Enjoy this warm, cozy soup on your next cold, fall day. While I enjoy my impatiens next to the pumpkins on my porch and watch the leaves slowly spiral down in the cool breeze.

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