CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Autumn has rounded the corner and sent beautiful October weather to our hills. October gold is spread all over the landscape; gold that cannot be equaled even by the touch of King Midas. The turning leaves have a golden cast, the sunshine is pure gold out of a serene blue sky, and the earth echoes her golden treasures in the blooming coreopsis, the goldenrod, wild sunflower and Jerusalem artichoke.
The dandelion spreads gold dollars all over the lawn and can be found almost any mild day throughout the year. Jerusalem artichoke is actually a sunflower, which was cultivated by the Indians and has spread eastward. The tubers on this plant are edible, and highly nutritious. They contain no starch but carbohydrate in a form that is turned into natural sugar.
My Dad was fond of these tubers, that when eaten raw have a sweet, nutlike flavor. They can be roasted or boiled like potatoes, and are delicious. I would love to dig some, but I'm not sure which variety of wild sunflower it is. I'd probably have to dig several patches to find the right one. I'm prone to get carried away by edible wild foods.
Our good friend, Jim Good, brought me a box of pawpaws the other day, (I love them) and there were more than I could eat. Enthused by fall, and all the wild goodies of the season, I decided to make a pawpaw pie. In fact I made two of them. The hardest part was separating the pulp from the skin and seeds, but I finally mashed them through a sieve. The crusts turned out beautifully, and the meringue was high and frothy. The pie itself was awful -- both pies were. (Why did I make two? It took me all evening to make the homemade crusts, extract the pulp, and make the pies.)
Criss doesn't like pawpaws anyway, and he definitely didn't like the pie. I threw away the recipe, and tossed the pies in the dog pan. The dogs wouldn't eat them either. Kevin told me he'd bring me some persimmons, so stay tuned for the next culinary effort. I know better than to make two!
Patty was prowling around in the garden, and found a squash vine that had taken on new growth and produced some tender yellow squash. I found a recipe sent by Betty Banks of Charleston that you might like to try if you are fortunate to still have yellow squash or zucchini. I think I'll let someone else try it and let me know the results.
4 small squash -- two yellow and two zucchini (do not peel)
1 chopped onion
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic or garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (or any cheese)
2 well beaten eggs