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harvest bounty: to stash, or savor?

soup-stuff‘YOU’RE LIKE A CHIPMUNK,’ my friend Anna said the other day as I stirred my second big pot of tomato sauce to stash in freezer containers (no, not my cheeks) for the winter. While more in-the-moment types are enjoying just-picked slices of tomato and basil, I’m putting my fresh ones by, stocking up, loading the larder.  Up today on the chopping block: the ingredients of more sauce, and soup.  Welcome to Food Fest 6, a collaboration with the Dinner Tonight blog…now time to stir the pot:

I’m making soup this week because the hodgepodge lodge of produce on hand (above) says “soup” to me.  I’ve got a mammoth onion donated to the cause by regular visitor and commenter Blue Arrow, and a pile of summer squash that another “regular” here, Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening, left behind when she visited in person last week (and wrote a very nice story, thank you).

From my own jungle I plucked beans and kale and parsley and garlic, and a few tomatoes.

I’d need some corn, too, if I were going to make the exceptionally quick and easy Late Summer Vegetable Soup from Everyday Food and Dinner Tonight, but I’m saving that for next time.

My first batch of soup to freeze this year will be from Sara Kate at Apartment Therapy’s thekitchn.com, who with her blogger husband, Maxwell, welcomed me to the blogosphere at my debut in spring. (They also became quick devotees of my favorite Texas Tomato Cages; that’s Maxwell all the way at the bottom of this post, presumably photographed by Sara Kate, admiring the newly installed arrivals in their Long Island vegetable garden in May.)

Sara Kate’s recipe is Zucchini Garlic Soup, for which I’ll also need some powdered ginger and butter and vegetable broth.  It’s pureed, which makes it look exceptionally comforting, and it will make a perfect  textural counterpoint to this chunky next one: my own “recipe,” the one I lovingly call Tomato Junk.

Tomato Junk (or, Waste Not, Want Not)


1 teaspoon to 1 ton anything edible left in your garden, including herbs
Tomatoes (hopefully part of the above)
Garlic and onion (hopefully part of above)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Sautee garlic (lots) and onion (ditto) in olive oil. When they are soft, dump in cut-up tomatoes, either halved (for average plum types) or in wedges.

Start chopping again. When you have cut everything else into bite-sized pieces, and the tomatoes have begun to go moist and bubbly, start adding the veggies in the order of their cooking requirements. Add water if it seems like the thing to do (yes, I cook like I garden, mea culpa, on sheer gut instinct). Cook, covered, until you are completely bored, 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Cool and freeze.

Note: As with wine, each vintage is a little different. :)

I use a block of Tomato Junk as the base for minestrone later on (adding beans) or eat it just as is with perhaps a bit of parmesan, or even use it when I make vegetarian chili as part of the changeable brew. Like I said, it’s also known as Waste Not Want Not (and could likewise be named Better Than Nothing).

Get thee to the back yard, or a farmstand…and then to a soup pot. Happy harvest, and happy Labor Day weekend.



Now it’s your turn: Have a recipe or tip to share in the comments below? Then be sure to go visit Deb Puchalla (co-conspirator on all the Food Fests) and the Dinner Tonight folks and do the same. The cross-blog event idea works best when you leave your recipe or tip and favorite links (whether to your own blog or another’s) at both host blogs, mine and Deb’s. Thanks for attending our sixth weekly Food Fest…see you next Thursday for a festival of fruits.

By the way, the whole Food Fest thing got started in a series of one-liners between me and Deb and some other friends on Twitter. Want to know about Twitter, or what we’re doing when we’re not blogging? Follow me there. Or find Deb, or Anna, or Kathy (who each helped in their way with the soup).