I love the autumn season, especially just before the first frost. Nature puts on her most glorious show of beauty; gold and crimson leaves, bright orange squashes and pumpkins, green parsley, thyme and rosemary, tiny purple blossoms of mint. Life in the garden is full of abundance, the field crickets chirping endlessly, grasshoppers of every sort, and the goldfinches darting among the sunflowers.
As I’m busy harvesting and preserving for winter, some inner sense drives me to capture all the bounty for the long, colder months ahead. Our eating patterns start to shift from fresh salads and grilled foods to more hearty and substantial fare. Potatoes, freshly dug and waiting storage in the root cellar, are now always on the menu. Apples of every variety become our daily fruit. The last of the basil, sweet corn and summer tomatoes frantically beckon to be eaten.
Inspired by harvests of Italy, the recipe for Baked Vegetable Stew is adapted from Eating Well magazine. I love to prepare this hearty soup; the house is filled with the fragrant aromas of vegetables. The heat from the oven takes the evening chill away. As the sunset casts purple clouds on the horizon and I sip my glass of red wine waiting for supper, life here in Maine doesn’t get much better.