I think that September has always been my favorite month. Or at least it has been for a very long time. For many people September is kind of a sad time. It means back-to-school, back-to-work or at the very least back to some kind of reality. But for me it is a time when the heat and humidity die down, my curly head becomes somewhat tame-able again and I try to take some time off.
September is a wonderful time to travel. Most of the crowds have gone home and the weather is fantastic. For many years I lived in Switzerland and every September I hit the road. A few of my trips were for business but thankfully not all.
I have explored the Turkish countryside, visited Jerusalem and danced on Mykonos in September. I remember spying a For Sale sign or two while wandering over hill and dale in Mykonos. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, a stone house on a Greek island was in my future. Maybe not year-round but I had a delightful vision of myself lazing around on a beach for a month or two or four every year. But I might have been lightheaded from the perfect weather and the sea air or it could have been the ouzo.
I must have a thing for stone houses because I also thought a home in Burgundy, Provence, Como or Tuscany would be pretty close to perfect. These were some of my favorite September destinations. For these escapes, I packed light, grabbed my bicycle and hopped on a train.
For a few glorious days, I would bike through miles of vineyards, fields and rolling hills. It was picture postcard perfect with a few sleepy cows and busy farmers taking in the harvest. I pedaled through quiet little villages, around lakes and along rivers, stopping from time to time to take in a few sites, visit a chateau or picnic.
There is something about the light in September which turns an ordinary day into something quite special. From sunrise to sunset, September sunshine is golden, almost magical. I know there must have been a cloudy, dreary or rainy day or two on these early autumn jaunts but I only remember splendid days filled with sunshine. In addition, I’m sure we have missed a train or two or got hopelessly lost at least once. Since we rarely made reservations, I don’t doubt we had trouble finding a hotel room from time to time. But I only remember relaxed evenings with good friends and wonderful local food and wine. And maybe a little dancing.
After a too busy summer I am thankful that September is here. I am also thankful that I won’t be jumping onto any planes or trains. Mykonos is beautiful, the French and Italian countryside are indeed special but then so is New Hampshire. And New Hampshire is a lot closer to family! Last night I relaxed on a hill overlooking Pleasant Lake with my folks and watched the loons while the sun went down. Today my sister comes to share lunch and a magnificent view of Kearsarge. Throughout the month I look forward to time with family and friends and lots of walking and hiking, kayaking and biking … and I wouldn’t mind a little dancing.
I hope that you have a wonderful September, filled with warm days, bright blue sunshine and fun with family and friends. Enjoy!
Keftedes (Greek Meatballs) with Tzatziki (Cucumber Sauce)
Who says you have to travel half way around the world for good Greek food. These keftedes will amaze and delight your friends and family. Enjoy!
Tzatziki (recipe follows)
1 pound ground turkey
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup instant oatmeal
1/2 large yellow onion, minced
1 carrot, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Flour, for dusting
Make the Tzatziki (recipe follows) and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the turkey, pork, oatmeal, onion, carrot, garlic, oregano, mint, vinegar, eggs, sour cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Roll the turkey-pork mixture into meatballs and dust with flour.
Coat the bottom on a large sauté pan with olive oil and heat over medium-high. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs in batches and brown on all sides. Don’t crowd the pan.
Place the browned keftedes on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Serve with pita bread and Tzatziki.
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup peeled, seeded and finely chopped cucumber
2 cloves minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.
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One Year Ago – Sort’a Like Jambalaya
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