marchiocongarzoneI puzzled over the sentence: “I’m happy for the Navy, which has found a place in Brussels.”

Yes, we’re bombing in the Middle East but I didn’t know the U.S. Navy sailed into Brussels. Then, I figured it out. Google Translate, my international friend, converted my daughter’s English name, Marina, into Italian…and came up with “Navy”! Marina, by the way, is ready to carve her niche in Brussels when she starts an apprenticeship with the European Commission Oct. 1.

Sure, there are some glitches but Google Translate has been a godsend in allowing me to exchange emails with my dad’s Italian cousin, Settimio, and his son Luca. We each write about family happenings and garden successes in our native languages, and with a zip and zap of the computer, get the other’s email translated into our native language. (Years ago, my dad had to take letters from his Italian relatives to his barber, Tony Felice, for translation.)

In his last email, Settimio commented on Marina’s new job and talked about the job he retired from at Barilla, an Italian pasta company. Barilla, he told me, is now making pasta in the U.S. When I buy pasta in the supermarket, I buy Barilla. But Settimio’s email led me to the company’s website…where I found this accompanying artwork. I loved it so much I decided to share it with you. Eggs are obviously important ingredients in Barilla pasta!

Fall has tiptoed into Centre County with foggy mornings and sunshiny days. There is enough chill in the evening air to make me head to the kitchen to roast vegetables. I had a huge bag of mushrooms from southeastern PA and found a recipe for White Bean & Roasted Mushroom Soup from the blog She Wears Many Hats. I tweaked it a bit to suit my garlic-and-sage-loving taste. Laurie Lynch

White Bean & Roasted Mushroom Soup

1 pound mushrooms, halved or quartered

2 large sweet onions, quartered

6 cloves garlic, slightly crushed

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper

10-15 fresh sage leaves

8-10 stems plus a tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves

48 oz. of chicken or vegetable broth

3 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, not drained.

Preheat oven to 450 F degrees. Toss mushrooms, garlic and onion in olive oil, add about a teaspoon of salt and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Add sage leaves and thyme stems. Roast at 450 F degrees for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for 15 more minutes.

While roasting vegetables, add broth, beans, salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of thyme leaves to a large stockpot and simmer over medium heat. When vegetables are done roasting, cool slightly. Ladle about two cups of white beans and one cup of broth into blender. Add roasted garlic, onions, and herbs. Cover and blend until smooth.

Tiger Stripe Figs

Tiger Stripe Figs

Add pureed bean mixture back into stockpot, stirring until smooth. Add roasted mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste. Warm over low heat until ready to serve.

To Do: Try something new! I was at Wegmans the other day and found the most beautiful fruit—Tiger Stripe Figs. They taste as delicious as they look.

To Do: Last spring, we were visiting my sister and her husband in Connecticut. Their Golden Retriever puppy broke a cluster of leaves off a potted coleus. I took the broken piece, put it in a bottle of water to root, later planted it in soil, and ta-da, what I now call Tulla’s Tail Coleus. This is the time of year to move such tender plants inside for the winter.

Tulla's Tail Coleus

Tulla’s Tail Coleus

To Do: I’m teaching a garlic planting workshop Sunday, Oct. 12 1-2:30 p.m. at Rock Springs, PSU’s Ag Progress Days site. Sign up!


Written on Slate: “My grandfather used to say that over your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer.” –Brenda Schoepp, Farmer


One thought on “Fleur-de-FallToDo

  1. My friend Karen emailed to tell me she was going to try the soup and garnish with fried sage leaves. Sounds wonderful–I always make extra crisp sage leaves in butter when I make strozzapreti–for the chef to taste, ha,ha. And…she has the same Barilla ad, hanging in her larder. Wonders never cease.

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