Written and developed by Cathy Collins
I can’t believe it is fall already! Time for football, hot cider and short, chilly afternoons for mowing lawns and raking leaves. Fall is harvest time, time for putting up the wonderful vegetables being brought in from the Master Gardener Association of Tippecanoe County, the Farmers Markets in Lafayette and West Lafayette and the kind volunteers from The Veggie Drop. Great big pots of tomato sauces and salsas simmer on the stove and wait to be put in jars so we can enjoy them all winter. How many pounds of green beans have we seen this summer? Did anyone freeze or can any? How about all those cucumbers? Won’t they be terrific pickles? I’ve got yellow squash and zucchini sliced and shredded and put in the freezer. I can’t wait to add them to a soup this winter or maybe I will just sauté them with a little oil, a few slices of onions and a little garlic. I’ve put lots and lots of different kinds of peppers put away in my freezer too. They’ll be great in refried beans this winter. I’m waiting for apples and pumpkins and other winter squash. I have a friend who makes crockpot apple butter. Maybe I can talk her into sharing the recipe with us soon.
All of the generosity and hard work from our community got me thinking about how lucky we are. It also got me thinking about abundance. People usually think of abundance and prosperity in financial terms. To me it is much more than just money. It is family, friends, finding the joy in life and appreciating what I do have. Considering all the items available at our local food pantries and mobile food trucks, there has definitely been an abundance of some things lately; red potatoes (about 40,000 pounds were distributed to the community over the past couple of weeks), peanut butter, canned salmon, watermelon (we’ll see more of this soon!) and Special K cereal to name a few. We have definitely had an abundant summer and the fall promises to bring even more to our tables.
Salmon patties are a given and I do have a good recipe for Cajun style salmon patties (look for a future blog and salmon patty recipes). Salmon is a terrific protein source and full of the Omega Fatty Acids we need to keep us healthy. I am still thinking about what else I can do with the canned salmon. Any suggestions for what else to do with canned salmon are welcome! Leave a message in the comments section. I’d love to see what other people do with their pantry finds.
I’ve covered at least one option for the peanut butter and I have a couple of other recipes for peanut butter that I have yet to write down…With luck, the Elvis Muffins recipe and peanut butter-banana smoothies will be finished soon as well.
Peanut butter and canned salmon keep neatly in my cupboards. My immediate concern this past week was what to do with all the red potatoes. The good news is potatoes also keep for quite some time when stored in a cool, dark, well ventilated place the bad news is they are taking over my kitchen counter!
Deciding what to do with potatoes was easy. First on the agenda was a family favorite, Red Potato Soup, soon there will be latkes and perogies… perfect with the abundance of cabbage Food Finders Food Bank, Inc. will be distributing in the near future. The challenge with this recipe was that it is a milk based soup. Milk and other dairy products are not readily available at the food pantries. I know that is partly because they are difficult to store and have a short shelf life. When received, they have to be frozen and kept frozen until they can be distributed. It is also partly because “it is rarely donated” according to Feeding America’s website. My family loves dairy products so we serve this soup topped with shredded cheese and sour cream. You can also add bacon, chives, green onions or anything else you would put on a baked potato or just eat it plain. The best part about red potato soup is that it is warm, filling, easy to make and at least in our house, disappears quickly.