Crisp fall air and leaves turning shades of red and burnished orange, the crackle of them under your feet as you walk down the street with hands snuggled deep inside your pockets. Autumn is by far my favorite season. The temperatures begin to cool down at night, calling for an extra blanket or a down comforter. This is something I miss now that I live south of the Mason Dixon line. It’s only been 3 and a half years, but I doubt I’ll ever really get used to the lack of (distinguishable) seasons.
I’ll be honest with you, I was in the grocery store with a big loaf of crusty bread in my hand thinking “What’s the big deal… I’ll just buy it instead of making it”, but I JUST. COULDN’T. DO. IT.
So, I put that gorgeous loaf of bread back amongst it’s friends and headed home to start the focaccia.
I pulled out the stand mixer, made my dough, let it rise… Placed it ever so lovingly on my sheet pan to puff up again before sliding it in the oven… And yet, something was amiss. It just didn’t look quite right, but I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Once it was time for the bread to come out of the sauna, I realized I had a bit of a problem.
Not really sure how I screwed it up, but it was more of a focaccia pancake. It didn’t rise properly and looked rather pathetic. So I salvaged what I could, not wanting to waste everything and started over.
Truth be told, the Ohio State game was on and I was a tad distracted… There, I’ve said it. I wasn’t paying attention to my work, I was watching football.
That’s what happened.
Well friends, just because Halloween is behind us don’t think you have no use for pumpkin patches until next year. Many of them, like this one, grow amazing varieties of squash.
Everyone knows how I feel about supporting local farmers and buying food that was locally grown whenever possible, so I will refrain from going on and on about it today… but, just in case you don’t:
Please support local farms!
The past two weeks have been a weather nightmare here and we are all in need of a little comfort. For me, that usually comes in the form of something warm from the oven. This particular time, the oven also served as heat for my apartment. I had purchased a perfect little Hubbard squash and since I had lost my heat it seemed an opportune time to do something with it.
If you have never had Hubbard squash before, you are in for a treat. The flesh is slightly drier than acorn or butternut and it is a bit earthier in flavor. The bluish-gray color and deep orange flesh is beautiful and makes for a striking contrast.
Any kind of roasted squash is, for me, the perfect fall food and if you are the type that likes to change up for your holiday menu this would be a great addition to the meal. As I have professed before on this very blog, I am NOT the type to change my menu, but adding to it is absolutely permissible.
Anything that has “fritter” in it’s name, sign me up.
I mean honestly, how bad can it be?! I feel justified in making these because they are green, which as we all know means they’re healthy…
Risotto is one of those foods that require demand a long, leisurely approach. On a cold winter afternoon when the wind is blowing outside and the last thing I want to do is brave the cold, THIS is the kind of food that happily keeps me indoors and in front of the stove.
This is comfort food on every conceivable level. On days when you need a bit of a mental break, I whole-heartedly recommend making risotto… 20 minutes of stirring while you lovingly watch the pot of rice in front transform into something ethereal you can be just what you need.
The whole key to risotto is the slow process allowing the creaminess of the rice to come out and that can only be achieved by not rushing it. Knowing this going into it makes the constant stirring a welcome change of pace from the frenzied dinner preparation most of us normally experience.
Don’t let the thought of the stirring deter you from making this, it really isn’t more than a bit of pouring in stock and stirring for the better part of the cooking. Some people find it a bit off-putting to be tethered to a stove for a period of time, but if you have children that are a little older have them do the stirring for you. Getting your kids involved in the kitchen is the best way for them to learn.
Acorn squash is one of those little gems that most people probably just pass on by at the store and don’t even give a second look.
Well, stop and give it a second glance. Squash, whether they be acorn, butternut, spaghetti or any other variety you happen upon at the store (or ahem… Farmer’s Market) are delicious and now is when they are at their peak. They are wonderful roasted in the oven or scooped out and stuffed with whatever you can dream up.
This humble little vegetable may not be the latest “in” thing on the restaurant scene or some new discovery that will help you live to over 100 years of age but what it is… is delicious.
The flesh takes on an almost buttery texture when roasted and the caramelized squash is sweet and melts in your mouth it’s so tender.