The end of every summer is filled with mixed emotions for us all. We are still hanging on to beach time and what’s left of the garden but we are also excited as we prepare for the autumn holidays around the corner. From Rosh Hashanah to Thanksgiving, these feasts of harvest and renewal remind us of the opportunities granted to us by every season of the year and by every chapter in life.
This past Labor Day weekend was especially difficult for me, as we at Cuvee ended one of our busiest seasons ever with the closure of our farm to table restaurant of 15 years in the Village of Greenport. Although the restaurant’s doors are now closed for regular restaurant service, we can all continue to carry forth a philosophy of sustainability by reminding ourselves to eat what is in season, to eat what is local and to reduce waste in our kitchens by incorporating scraps and leftovers in other creative meals.
As I clean and organize my restaurant and garden this week I am employing these tips that may help you wrap up your summer garden and leave you with a bounty of locally harvested products for your holiday table. Let me know how they work out for you and stay tuned for our upcoming holiday tips, recipes and series of cooking classes!
10 Tips for Running Your Own Sustainable Kitchen at Home While Also Preparing for the Holidays
1) Make veg stock from cuttings and peels (or add chicken bones from your Browder’s Birds chicken to make chicken stock) and freeze it for soups, sauces and gravies.
2) Clip a selection of herbs from your garden, tie in bunches and dry. Once dried store in airtight containers for seasoning sauces, stuffings and other side dishes.
3) Save left over bread and season with herbs and a drizzle or spray of olive oil for croutons or crostini that you can use to garnish soups or salads or as crackers for a cheese plate. You can also grind these crispy morsels for the best breadcrumbs.
4) Can or freeze tomatoes
5) Pick green tomatoes that won’t make it through cold autumn evenings; blanch and puree them with green bell pepper and jalapeno for killer salsa
6) Pickle cucumbers, beets, peppers, onions and corn. Use for salads or make relish.
7) Make jam and compotes. Pick pears, apples or what’s left of berries and rhubarb and make sweet jams for breakfast and desserts or make savory compotes or chutneys to garnish potato pancakes or to accompany your holiday roasts.
8) Designate a perfect spot for cold storage in your house to store onions, potatoes and other root vegetables as you harvest them.
9) Make seasoned oils and vinagers by adding sprigs of rosemary, chilies and other herbs or spices
10)Harvest seeds with which to cook or for next years garden: cilantro, fennel, tomato, cucumber, squashes and peppers.
Use these tips for holidays, everyday cooking and Meatless Mondays!