I love the food of autumn. All the root vegetables, the pork and the fabulous soups and stews almost make up for the lack of ripe tomatoes and basil. Last night I made a terrific meal that came mostly from my land (with a little help from a fairly local kielbasa maker. I started the night before, soaking white beans in some of the water I froze when I juiced the tomatoes in August. I used Lima beans but any white bean would do. I then sauteed the usual suspects; onions, garlic, celery, carrots, potatoes and peppers in some olive oil. The recipe called for a lot of vegetables. I used two onions, two peppers, a pound of carrots, three potatoes, two cloves of garlic and a cup of celery. When the onions were translucent, I added a six-ounce can of tomato paste. This is something I never have the patience to make myself so I do buy canned paste. While the vegetables where cooing I brought the beans to a boil in 4 cups of vegetable stock. It all cooked together in a crock pot for a good five hours. In the last hour of cooking I added two pounds of kielbasa, cut in chunks. The result was a really hearty stew. I served it with a mess of pickles and peasant bread. I made a very easy pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

I find it so helpful that meals like this bring together all of the pieces of my life that matter. All of the components of this meal were things I have in my pantry or root cellar. The celery was the last of the local but I have a lot that I dried last summer. Even the kielbasa was locally made. It would cook in a dutch oven on the wood stove. The food had no GMO’s, no corn or soy. I can’t say it was inexpensive as the kielbasa was a lot more costly than one of commercial brands but the stew would feed the four of us for three meals so, spread out like that, it wasn’t outrageous. I supported some local farmers. The only big ag thing was the can of tomato paste and, in the future, I’ll buy a case of an organic brand from my co-op.

I did struggle a bit with serving the meal to guests. We had two other couples here for dinner. Usually, the meals we eat at each other’s houses are pretty elaborate and elegant. This wasn’t, but we all laughed and talked just the same. We cleaned out plates and bowls and had an altogether lovely evening.