Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Kitchen Gardener Cook

We love to have purposeful parties along the Severn River. I call my events, River Dinners, while my very hip friends, Jan and Ross, created Rocktober Fest complete with live music of one genre or another, Cap'n Ross' Fish Fry, 2 bushels local raw oysters and glorious fall participation dishes. Rain or shine, it's a blast, as you might imagine.

Well, that's their party and we can't all have such a rock and roll event, so I coordinated this October fest menu for incorporating all of the local products we have available this time of year. I may just take along one of the recipes.

Many of our local farmers have sausages made from the meat they raise and that is one of the best ways to taste their offerings. To help you locate these sources, the new Amazing Grazing directory is hot off the press and we'll try to have some available at Homestead Gardens. In the beginning of November, this new directory should be up on the web. The number of pasture based farms have doubled since 2006 so the directory keeps expanding and new additions will be added regularly on the web directory.


Grilled Dijon Sausages with Cabbage

Grill Roasted Ruby and Golden Beets

Skillet Apple Cobbler

I’m one of those people in denial that the warm weather is fleeting so I keep the grill going year ‘round because, after all-it just tastes like summer. Why not continue the alfresco theme and keep the grill fired by cooking the complete meal on the grill? I also love the NO POTS TO WASH philosophy!

Think of your grill just like an oven-especially when the lid is closed. Make sure to have just half of it heated so you can roast on the indirect side of the grill.

I have found that certain vessels work very well for the grill such as basic heavy foil (yes, it can be recycled), the recyclable aluminum pans or a good cast iron skillet or flat griddle.

With presentation in mind, I always transfer the food to a serving platter or bowl, however the true rockers don’t mind the aluminum ‘straight from the grill to the table’.

Grilled Dijon Sausages with Cabbage

Serves 4-6

  • 1 pound bratwurst, chicken sausage or your favorite sausage         
  • 1 medium head cabbage, cored and coarsely sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup beer of choice (1/2 12 ounce bottle)

Preheat the grill to medium high.

Blot the sausages dry and then sear the outside quickly on the grill, turning until golden brown while keeping the interior moist. Remove the sausages and drain off any fat.

Prepare the casserole mixture: Grease a grill safe baking dish or skillet. Place the prepared cabbage in the grill roasting dish and stir in the caraway seeds, salt and pepper. Dot evenly with small bits of butter.

In a small bowl combine the honey, Dijon and thyme. Lay the whole sausages on top of the cabbage and then spread the sausages on all sides with the mustard mixture. Pour the beer over the cabbage. Cover the top with heavy foil.

Place on the grill rack over indirect heat and grill-roast for 15 minutes with the grill lid down. Remove the foil and continue grill roasting for another 20 minutes or until cabbage is wilted and soft and sausages are nicely brown.

Grill Roasted Ruby and Golden Beets

Serves 4-6

  • 2 bunches small beets, ruby and golden, if possible
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preheat the grill to medium high.

Wash beets well,remove the greens and peel. Cut the beets into 1/2-inch cubes and place on a piece of heavy foil, toss beets with olive oil and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the foil to enclose the beets and place over the flame on the grill and roast for 15 minutes.

Transfer the beets to the indirect side of the grill and open the foil packet to allow browning. Continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes or until beets are tender when pierced with a fork.

Place in a serving bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar to serve hot or at room temperature.

Skillet Apple Cobbler

Serves 8

Again this is a recipe I like to bake on the covered grill as long as it is on indirect flame and the skillet is grill safe. It works beautifully and this enables you to keep the crowds outside rather than hanging underfoot in the kitchen. Pears can be traded for the apples, if you prefer.


  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 large apples (about 1 1/2 pounds) cored and thinly sliced (I used a combination of granny smith, gala, and honeycrisp apples)
  • 3  tablespoons boiled apple cider



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (whole wheat flour can be substituted for half the amount)
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cold butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • coarse sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9" skillet (or deep dish pie pan) with cooking spray.

To make the filling: Combine the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Toss with apple slices and boiled cider. Place in the bottom of prepared pan.

To make the topping: Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Work in the butter just until the mixture is evenly crumbly.

In another bowl, whisk together the vanilla, egg and half & half. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Drop the topping by large spoonfuls on top of apples. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired. Bake the cobbler for 55-65 minutes until it's bubbly and the topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Adapted from a King Arthur Flour catalog


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