There is still lots of color in the front yard (above) and the oakleaf hydrangea just gets more stunning every day. But it was the backyard that needed the majority of the work today, so I didn't linger in front for very long. I did, however, stop inside for a second to take a picture of my blooming Thanksgiving cactus:
The poor thing really need to be repotted out of the small birdbath where it currently resides--and I will do that as soon as its show is over--but there wasn't much time to even think about that. Daylight is precious and short in the after-work hours right now, and I had a lot of cleanup to do. There were still tomato plants, peppers, and even herbs left in the garden to clean up!
Once the sun set, I headed back inside with a huge basket--trash can lid, actually!--full of the almost-last produce of the gardening year. I stopped at the computer to search for an interesting green tomato recipe that didn't include the word "fried" in it, and was surprised to find more than a few references to "green tomato gratin."
After checking out both the recipes online and the contents of my cupboard, I decided to do some freelancing and came up with the dish shown both above and below:
My version of Green Potatoes Gratin: Rub sides of 9" square baking dish with butter. Cut green tomatoes in a large dice, sprinkle with 1 large garlic clove (minced) and about 3/4 cup of panko (or other breadcrumbs, or some other sort of filler) and dot with about 2 Tbsp of butter. Then top with 1 tsp. freshly ground sea salt, cracked black pepper to taste, grated white cheddar (all I had left in the fridge, about 2-3 oz.) and a few more Tbsp. of grated asiago. Bake at 375 covered for about 45 minutes, then another 15 minutes uncovered to brown the topping, then another 10-15 minutes or so, covered, until the largest tomatoes are fork-tender.
When finished, this dish was amazing. Green tomatoes are pretty flavorless on their own and not as acidic, so the taste was hard to describe. It tasted a bit like baba ghanouj, just without the sesame/tahini flavor. I am definitely going to make this again--and soon, since I have lots of green tomatoes left!--but I think I'm going to add some smoked paprika. And maybe make just a batch of roasted green peppers to use as a different base for a baba ghanoj-type spread, just for the heck of it.
While the tomato gratin was baking in the oven, I devoted the rest of my evening to cleaning up the rest of the pears. They simmered on the stove along with cinnamon (bark,) cardamom, maple and vanilla, and will be turned into all kinds of yummy goodness this week.
I decided about halfway through the evening that I would not have made a very good pioneer woman, however. Not that I couldn't have accomplished the tasks at hand, but I have enough trouble escaping my head anyway... and peeling and dicing pears gave me way too much time to think! But I did sleep well, at least... with the sweet scents of spiced pears lingering in the air.
Hope you all made good use of this beautiful Indian Summer weekend, too!