Thursday, September 10, 2015

Herbs, Soup, Pasta & Fall Harvest...and the Charente countryside

Harvest is in the air which is still warm though tinged with a cool undercurrent. Annual herbs, like dill, parsley, marjoram, basil, and chives, all potted up in the spring, are getting their final trimming of the season. How to use that last flush of fresh herbs? In a nice pot of creamy potato, onion, dill, parsley, chives, and saucisses de Strasbourg soup...

Recipe link is at the end of this post

...or tossed with tagliatelle along with garlic, capers, olive oil, a little of the water from the pasta pot, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Parmesan.

The trio of parsley, capers, and garlic are made for pasta

Delice de la Table, though a fantastic French variety of cantaloupe, is a challenge to ripen on the vine, at least this season with its short bouts of rain and long, bone-dry periods causing splitting which in turn means harvesting not fully ripe melons. But one did make it to full maturity and what a beauty it is! It matched the wondrous flavour of the others, but unlike those, its texture was equally wondrous. This is the best variety I have ever tasted.

When ripe, the skin turns a light golden with darker spots

Piments des Landes which are sweet when mature are being picked. There are some green, piquant ones on the plant that may need to be harvested before they have a chance to turn red.

Not quite a peck of peppers, and certainly not pickled, at least not yet.

The golden acorn squash bounty goes so well against the blue seat of our electric car, a Renault Zoe.

Though the car can be charged overnight chez nous when needed and at fairly low cost, we sometimes take advantage of the free, rapid charge provided by a nearby supermarket.

For last week's jaunt, we again headed west towards the village of Trois-Palis, leaving the Zoe near cornfields parallel to the Charente river.

Most of the corn grown in France is not delicious to humans, that is, it is not sweet corn, but food for livestock.

One side were cornfields, the other, the Charente...

How to take a photo of a gorgeous blue sky and billowing clouds? Turn your ankle in a cornfield path's pothole hidden by lush grass, fall face down with the camera and its fully extended zoom lens hanging from your neck so the whole kit and caboodle slams into your sternum in an exquisitely painful manner which you will never forget, then turn over on your back when the throbbing lessens a bit, and realise you got your camera, the sky, and an attractive angle exactly where you want them to be. In case if you were wondering, the photographer, camera, and cornfield are all doing fine. The sky, too, the last time I had the courage to look. And yes, I certainly put the fall in the harvest this time around...

Don't try this at home, kids!

À la prochaine!


How to make potato/onion soup with herbs, crème fraîche, & saucisses de Strasbourg (some photos are corrupted in this old post but recipe remains correct!)

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