Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall cooking

I love fall for its beautiful leaves, the smell of fireplaces and especially the food. Fall has proved to be disorienting in North Carolina. I am used to wearing sweaters by now in Boston, and hearing crunching leaves on the sidewalk, and feeling the creeping internal fear of winter. Here it's been chilly a few times in the morning, the leaves are are tinged yellow but not nearly crunchy, and we're more likely to hit 80 degrees than need to use the fireplace.

One thing is reassuringly the same and this is fall flavor. I walked into the supermarket last week and found aisles of apples, apple cider, squash, and pumpkin. It's heartwarming for me. When we had visitors last Friday I made some fall yumminess.

This, folks, is an apple peeler/corer.

My Aunt Boo gave me this for Christmas a couple years ago and it makes apple-heavy kitchen labor a cinch. I nearly impaled myself on it this go-around but avoided disaster with a little help from my engineer fiance. Here's a before and after shot of the apple:

I used the simple bread dough ratio from the amazing cookbook Ratio. (I'll spare you another rave review of the book this time.) I sauteed apples and butter and sage, and it's an instant solution to make your house smell like Fall Heaven.

I originally tried to mix in the apples with the yeast dough but realized soon that this is impractical. So at the end I put the apple mixture on top of rolled-out dough and rolled it up jelly roll style. Here is what miraculously emerged out of the oven:

It is not the greatest picture and I'm not going to be able to describe to you how good this was. It was damn good. Maybe I'll post the recipe.

I've never made any candy, but tried a modified pumpkin seed brittle recipe. I didn't have a candy thermometer, so had to ditch my first effort. But the second effort yielded gorgeous and yummy brittle. So fun to make!

I served the bread with two local cheeses and cinnamon cream cheese. Add grapes and brittle and you've got yourself a wonderful fall spread. If you are an astute observer, you will notice wine is missing from this picture. We tried a NC sweet muscadine red wine that was sweet and light. This picture could be titled Home:

Fall so far gets my approval here even though it's taking it's time to arrive. It's also too warm here to go apple picking. Too warm! Imagine that! And my body does not believe the weather facts and the countless statements from locals that it will generally be the 50s in the winter, that things bloom until December, and other things start blooming in February. It is gathering wood, root vegetables and blankets, and bracing itself for six to seven months of icy chill.


  1. Bart and I picked 60 pounds of apples on Saturday.

  2. then i recommend an apple corer/peeler if you don't have one yet!



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