Friday, October 06, 2006

Not my favorite, but not without it's charms....

I’ve read and heard several folks lately talking about how much they love fall. Well, I must admit, I enjoy it, but fall is not my favorite season. Oh, I love the crispness in the air, the crunch of the leaves, the anticipation of the approaching holidays, but I have to say that I always feel a bit bereft when autumn rolls around because it signals the end of my two favorite seasons, spring and summer!

When we lived in Massachusetts, I did enjoy the incredible beauty of the hillsides in their fall glory and of course, with my kids, I eagerly anticipated the first snowfall. But, I also knew that it would be a very long time til I’d see green leaves again or even think of digging in the garden.

Having grown up in the south without air conditioning til I was in high school, I just got used to the heat. I actually enjoy a 90 degree day and somehow, don’t really wilt all that much in the humidity…well, yeah, my hair does, but I don’t really feel that bad! I have been known to enjoy a good sweaty, sticky day of work in the hot sun. Maybe it's the ice cold lemonade afterwards that I love the most, but whatever it is, I am definitely a spring and summer kind of girl.

I do, however, love the harvest abundance of this time of year and I like fall food. Just the other day, Joel and I tackled the tangle of tomatoes that had overgrown their terrace beds. We pulled them all out even though they had lots of green tomatoes on them. The red ones we’ll eat and the green ones will go into green tomato chutney. We also harvested lots more peppers and even a couple of cucumbers. I bought pumpkins, butternut squash, and delicious winesap apples at the local farmer’s market on Monday and have already made pumpkin bread and a favorite butternut squash recipe which I’ll share below.

And since I now live back in the south, I do relish the fact that fall doesn’t mean the end of the growing season and I can plant pansies, snapdragons, spinach, kale, collards, and mixed greens in my newly cleared terraces and continue harvesting and enjoying the garden all winter long.

The "veggies" of Joel's labor!

Beth’s Adaptation of Chilean Squash (yes, another old Moosewood recipe)

Cut a butternut squash in half, place in a 9x13 pan with a little water in the bottom of the pan and bake at 350 til soft.

Slice 2 onions, 3 or 4 peppers of any color (red, yellow, green, even purple) and sauté in a little olive oil in a large skillet. I use my huge cast iron skillet for this.

Add 1 Tablespoon chili powder, salt to taste and a bunch of fresh cilantro. Stir all together over medium heat, being careful not to let it stick.

Add 1 can corn kernels.

When the squash is cooked, scoop it out and add to the skillet mix. Stir all together and let heat through.

Serve with sharp cheddar cheese sprinkled on top.

What I like to do is cook the squash a day ahead and store it in the fridge in a Ziploc. While the onions and peppers are sautéing, I scoop out the cool squash. Easier to handle that squash just out of the oven. This dish is really good with greens and cornbread...but then I think most things are good with greens and cornbread!


Kelly said...

Ha ha ha ha!!! We are definitely products of where we grew up, Beth! I can't stand the heat!

David, however, hates the cold. He was so happy when he realized he didn't have to shovel snow anymore!

Jen Unsell said...

I love spring but I have to say I do not take the heat of summer well myself. I end up looking like I just walked out of the shower after being outside only a few minutes in the heat of the summer. My checks get bright red, my head hurts from the heat and I get very cranky and unhappy. My dad is the same way. LOL! Mom and dad always headed over the coast during the summer months when Bakersfield was so hot. I do wish I could handle the heat better. You would think growing up in hot sunny CA that I would love it but it's actually my least favorite season. My favorite is Fall followed by Winter. :-)

Your bounty looks so yummy by the way!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Jen - the heat makes me wilt. Spring in Michigan only meant mud and dirty snow so I've never been a fan of that either. But, oh, the crisp, cool, clear days of fall!

I love the food of fall, too - all the roasted and baked things that it was too hot to enjoy in the summer. Last night I made another fall favorite of mine - Cranberry Relish. It is so easy and 100 times better than anything that comes out of a can. Since I don't have a blog, I'll share the recipe here with thanks to Cooking Light!

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1 small orange
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon orange flavoring or orange liqueur

Combine cranberries and orange in a food processor, and pulse 5 times or until chopped. Combine cranberry mixture, sugar, walnuts, and orange flavoring in a bowl, and let stand at least 30 minutes before serving. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

You can substitute a tangerine for the orange in a pinch. (Believe it or not, when I went shopping, Walmart had twenty kinds of apples but not one orange!)



Beth said...

Thanks for the recipe Martha. I love cranberries. What do you like to eat the relish with?

Anonymous said...


It goes with any roasted poultry - chicken, turkey, etc. I don't know what vegetarian food it would go with, though. What do you eat with squash and mashed potatoes? :-)


Nicole said...

Yum! I will have to try this...keep the recipes coming! I think you should have a Beth Pinckney cookbook! I LOVE to eat at your house!