I lived in northern California for a short time and complained bitterly about the lack of seasons. My dear friend Julie, a native of the area, suggested patience. She assured me that before too long I would come to appreciate the subtle changes in the California calendar. I didn’t wait. Instead, I returned to my New England roots.
Ah, New England where winter is gorgeous but beyond cold. Spring is muddy and slow in coming. Summer is wonderful but short. And then there is fall! New Hampshire comes into its own in the fall. There are those delightful weeks of Indian Summer in September when the leaves are still green. Next, come the bold and brilliant days of October. In spite of a chilly start and end, the days are warm and filled with golden sunshine. Even the austere and dark days of November, have a certain elegance. If you are not into austerity and elegance, well, there’s always Thanksgiving weekend with lots of family, friends, food, football and, of course, shopping.
The autumnal equinox on Wednesday signals the official start to fall. If you’re feeling gloomy about the change in seasons, cheer up. As far as I’m concerned, autumn has a lot going for it. What you ask? Well, how about:
Layers, layers and more layers. My fashionista friends tell me that layers are back in style. No matter what the trend, I’m a layer-er. Scarves, turtlenecks, that old flannel shirt and a pile of wooly sweaters! It’s almost time to pull them from storage. It’s nice to know that, at least for a season, I’ll have a passing chance at something akin to stylish. Then again, my scarves will be too long or too short and the turtlenecks and sweaters the wrong shade of gray or beige. I think it’s been decades since flannel became passé for anyone other than lumberjacks. Like I said, a passing chance.
Snuggling up by the fire. Whether it’s a rainy Sunday or a crisp evening, I love a fire in the fireplace. Sure, they sing about the lazy days of summer. However, an afternoon on the sofa, in front of the fire, with a cup of tea and a good book; you can’t beat it … especially when you add a little snooze in the middle.
Pumpkins, squash and apples. It’s time to stock up on my favorite fall fruits and vegetables. How about a road trip to an orchard? Are you in? We’ll pick apples and buy a jug of cider. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend you add a bottle or two of hard cider to your basket.
Why not make a day of it? We’ll bring a picnic and take a nice, long walk through the orchard or surrounding countryside. Before heading home, we’ll need to make one final stop at the farm stand. I need a big, fat pumpkin for the doorstep and a butternut squash for dinner.
Cozy cooking. All that exercise and the crisp evening air will work up an appetite for the kind of cooking New Englanders love. I need to dust off my soup kettle, stew pot and roasting pan. I’ll fill the house with the wonderful aromas of bubbling apples, roasting squash and much, much more. You can’t beat the first tastes of the autumn kitchen.
Here’s to getting out, staying in and enjoying all that fall has to offer. Bon appétit!
These scones are perfect for an autumn breakfast, teatime or anytime you want to settle back and relax with a good book or a good chat. Enjoy!
Makes 12-24 scones
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup homemade applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
Put the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the walnuts and raisins and pulse to combine.
Whisk the maple syrup into the applesauce, add it to the dry ingredients and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, pat into a ball and gently knead until smooth, 8-12 turns.
Pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick round or divide in half and pat into two rounds for mini scones. Cut into wedges and place them about 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake the scones until light brown, 15-20 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.
Old Fashioned Applesauce
Makes about 3 quarts
8 pounds McIntosh or a mix of your favorite apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup apple cider or juice or water
1/4 cup or to taste maple syrup or brown sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Put the apples, cider, maple syrup and cinnamon in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and, stirring occasionally, simmer for 30 minutes or until the apples are very soft and falling apart.
Let the applesauce cool for 10-15 minutes. For chunky sauce, give the apples a rough mash with a potato masher. For smooth sauce, run the apples through a food mill or whirl in the food processor.
Serve warm, cold or use the applesauce in scones and other recipes.
Cover and store extra applesauce in the refrigerator or freezer.
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One Year Ago – Roasted Beet Tatin with Goat Cheese & Walnuts
Two Years Ago – Fettuccine with Fresh Corn & Tomatoes
Three Years Ago – Chicken Parmagiana with Spaghetti Marinara
Four Years Ago – Lemon Roasted Salmon with Beurre Blanc
Five Years Ago – Wild Mushroom Soup
Six Years Ago – Rustic Apple Tart
Seven Years Ago – Oktoberfest Sausages & Sauerkraut
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
What do you love about the fall? Feel free to share. Let’s start a conversation.
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015