The dreamy blue-skied spring weather, so warm it is almost hot, has called forth the flowers of all kinds.
There is a narrow definition of flower in our minds, the colorful, the beautiful, the many-petaled ones, but there are so many more, such as the scaly dimorphous cone flowers of the pines, or the catkins of the oaks that dangle like gold earrings at the tips of the leaf- shedding branches, sowing pollen on every small breeze.
Pollen, the love of plants. In the pastures I see it pour down from on high, swirling and billowing from the pine trees in yellow gusts of wind, falling like tiny yellow rain over the brim of my hat, thick like fog. It lays in a film over the water troughs and windows.
Yesterday a rain came through, clearing the air and greening the pastures. The puddles left behind were swirled with scummy yellow, but when the sky cleared and the moon came out, shining silver on the edges of the damp fallen leaves under the trees, the air at last was fresh and easy to breath in.
In the garden, the fall greens and radishes have burst into lacy white, pink and yellow flower stalks, the first-planted lettuce is bolting skyward, and some of my favorite vegetables, the flowering vegetables, cauliflower and broccoli are heading and sending out numerous side shoots.
I was surprised at the broccoli. I find it rather a challenge most years, and then it will delightfully thrive without much help, as it has this year.
My friend Karen Sherwood, a farmer/gardener extraordinaire has shared this delicious and easy recipe. She says any greens can be used in place of the broccoli (I imagine tatsoi would be especially good prepared this way because it has so much flavor, and is much easier to grow than broccoli).
Pumpkin and Broccoli Casserole
1 medium- sized pumpkin with good baking qualities
2 cups broccoli florets or chopped fresh greens
A generous chunk of butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper
- Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (save them for a delicious snack).
- Roast the pumpkin halves at 350F for about 30-40 minutes or so, until they are perfectly tender. The time will vary depending on how large of a pumpkin, and what kind. This step can be done ahead of time, even a few days before, if you happen to be baking something else. The pumpkin can be put in to bake as well so as to make the most of heating the oven (we have to cut, buck, haul and split our own fuel, so i am always thinking in terms of baking efficiency!).
- When you are ready to make the casserole, scoop all the baked pumpkin out of the shell and into a bowl.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and gently cook the broccoli or greens until tender.
- Pour the butter and greens into the pumpkin, and stir in the eggs and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pour into a buttered casserole dish.
- Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes. It’s good served got or cold, and makes great leftovers, if you end up with leftovers!