Looks Terrible, Tastes Great

Gumbo z'Herbes with Rice

There has been so much great produce that I’ve been cooking up a storm. For example, this looks terrible, tastes great Gumbo z’Herbes. It is apparently a spring tradition to serve this type of gumbo that goes nuts with the greens. It just so happened that half of the refrigerator was occupied by bags of greens: kale, spinach, mixed cooking greens. This recipe took care of them all and more: the Andouille hiding in the freezer, small bundles of scallions and parsley, that cup or so of vegetable broth, and the last few squares of blue cornbread on the side.

So this recipe cleaned out the refrigerator, made space in the freezer, gave me an excuse to eat more cornbread, gave us a powerful dose of healthy greens, and produced enough for several dinners. This recipe was a winner all around, especially with a few shakes of Tabasco or like pepper sauce.

While the cool of early fall brings the opportunity to make hearty soups, late summer produce also shines. We had late summer succotash, corn fritters, tomato salads, and the last of the stone fruits. We have some very dramatic colored home grown tomatoes on the counter that miraculously ripened. We had luck with tomatoes this year in that we went from a pathetic to paltry yield off our plants. However, with this “bounty” on the vine, we panicked at the first notice of frost and pulled them in while still green. They survived and now need a higher purpose, although a good BLT would be nice too.

I also got in one more good fruit desert before we enter the winter fruitscape of apples, pears, citrus, bananas. I saw no Italian prune plums but did use some red plums for a galette. This is a sturdy crust rolled out like a pie with the fruit piled in the middle and the edges folded over before baking. It looks and is rustic but that is its charm. It was easy and tasted great and I got to use some thyme from the yard which makes me happy. I think I’ll make that part of my standard life advice to any younger person foolish enough to ask: save money, grow thyme. I was also pleased that this late summer desert turned out magnitudes better than my failed attempt at a peach pie last fall.

For your cooking pleasure:

Rustic Plum Crostata with Lemon Thyme

Gumbo z’Herbes