It is hard to put into words how remarkably lovely this Fall has been in Gloucester, Va., where as you know the county motto is the "Land of the Life Worth Living." It sure has been this Fall. We're still getting samples from the garden, as you can see, and no frost is in the forecast through Thanksgiving. That's a growing season, baby! The leaves have all turned, as is obvious from the photo above, and we still have a few flowers abloom, and I've got some gorgeous plump tomatoes that are green that I'm hoping to make the turn to ripeness before the inevitable frost hits. We made it through October without turning the heat on in the house ... I'm not sure if we ever made it through a summer in Bend, Ore., without turning the heat on at some point. I remember watching the fireworks show off of Pilot Butte on our roof in the comfort of a down parka, sipping hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols. Well, maybe the last part wasn't exactly true, but you get the idea. I remember fishing at a lake somewhere west of Bend up toward Mt. Bachelor with my man Chris Hamilton and getting snowed out ... on June 30. So spending an afternoon like today outside with 5 of my kids playing soccer in the back yard in shirtsleeves is absolutely remarkable.
Perhaps one of the downsides of this extended Indian Summer is that the garden is still producing. I say that tongue in cheek because some members of the Sabo household aren't sharing the same level of enthusiasm for the bounty, the fruits, the produce from our garden. The main culprit is that our "Fish" pepper plants are still producing. For the uninformed, the "Fish" pepper is a pre-1870s African-American heirloom, according to my packet from Seed Savers Exchange (http://www.seedsavers.org/). One of my homies in Corvallis, Sean Buckout, ordered me up a packet and God bless the man for thinking of his dear brother in Gloucester, hard on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. The plants produce unique peppers that ripen from cream with green stripes to orange with brown stripes to all red. They were traditionally used in oyster and crab houses in the Chesapeake Bay, so they are like homegrown here! My batch of Fish peppers had a homecoming! But here's the thing. As you can see from the top photo, the pepper plants are still producing. These peppers are described as "medium hot, perfect for salsa." So naturally I think they go with anything. As has been noted previously on the pages of this blog, I like my Mexican food with a kick. Not everyone in the Sabo house is on the same palate as yours truly, however. But they don't cook dinner. Bwaahh-ha-ha.
I rustled up some chimichangas the other night and threw all the Fish peppers I had in the batch. Creamy with green stripes, orange, red, whatever, in they went all chopped up and ready to spice things up! If it looked like a pepper, smelled like a pepper and admitted under waterboarding torture it was a pepper it went in the pot. Alas, the "medium hot" label might be a little misleading, some in the Sabo household would say. Abram was chowing down and enjoying the quality and exceptional taste of his chimichanga when suddenly he paused midchew, got this little facial tic and his face reddened up. Next thing I know he was drinking water like he'd been in the desert with nothing to drink for a week. He wasn't the only one who had a run-in with a spicy bite of chimichanga. I played dumb. "The chimichangas are spicy? Really? Interesting. Must be the seasoning." (Wink, wink.) Everyone seems to have recovered alright, no hospitalization needed. And I'm still scrounging up a few Fish peppers.