Garden: Mysteries & Soup

We zipped out to the garden on Saturday to do a little end-of-season harvest and see what kind of damage the cold weather had done. Our little area looked emptier than ever, especially compared with the crazy overgrown plots next to us. The formerly-robust chili-hot plants are pretty much gone (did they just vanish into thin air with the frost? Amazing!), but the ajis, cayenne, and tomatillos are fighting to hang on. And the collards are fine, of course.

We have two fun mysteries to solve...

Mystery #1 and "whaaaa?!" moment of the day: The temperature drops, and this little Brazilian pepper decides to ripen? What's going on here? Do aji's love cold weather? Is this the little pepper that could?

Mystery #2: Why did some of the tomatillos fill out properly, while others were big husks housing tiny fruit?

Luckily, they all tasted as they should, so we used them to whip up a soup from our harvest and some leftovers in the fridge: Into stock from the previous night's chicken carcass went chopped tomatillos, lots of garlic, a minced onion, two green ajis (which we'd puréed with some of the tomatillos and stock), spices (thyme, cumin, salt, pepper, Pickapeppa Sauce, and some other things--we were improvising, and my memory fails me), lime juice, shredded chicken, sliced smoked sausage, and chick peas.

We were very, very happy with the result.

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