No, it’s not Christmas yet; in fact, it’s still summer but this title refers to being in-season as in what fruits and vegetables are available from farms nearby now. One of the advantages of living in France, or in Europe in general, is the availability of markets that feature locally-grown produce. When we were in Normandy, northern France, this past May, it was cauliflower harvest time and for about $1 you could get a giant head weighing up to 4 or 5 pounds each. Who knew that there were so many ways to cook a vegetable and have it turn out so tasty: steamed, baked, roasted, sauteed, pureed, stir-fried, raw with dip, and turned into soup. There may be many more but these were the ways we tried with this one vegetable and today we’re getting more practice with another.
Our little square-foot garden beside the house has been amazingly prolific this year, sometimes with volunteer plants that popped out of the compost on their own. Here you can see some of the bounty of butternut squash that came from just one vine. What you don’t see are the squash that we earlier gave to neighbors or already ate ourselves. We’ll be making these remainders into soup thanks to a recipe from our favorite Do-Ahead Diva, as she’s nicknamed, Diane Phillips. Her concept for entertaining is to get all the food prepared well in advance so that once the guests arrive you can spend the time with them rather than in the kitchen. I guess we’ll be taking her cookbooks with us.