Friday, October 12, 2012

Apologies and Autumn Lovin'

Well, let me start off by apologizing for not posting in over a month.  It really is a travesty.  I could lay blame on my brother who took our only camera to college with him, and I could blame the fact that I got hired by Gravity Hill to cook and work the farm market, and I could blame my full-time job for being an awful time-sucker, and I could lay blame on the fact that I haven't been cooking as much as I would like to...but really, all the blame falls on one person - me.  It's not that I haven't been cooking.  I have, it's just that I've been lazy.  There, I said it.  I've been insanely busy, there's no denying that, but I could have made the time to sit down for ten minutes and update.  But I didn't.  And I'm sorry for that.  Not just because I feel like I've been shirking my blogger responsibilities, but also for my own sanity and well-being - I have missed writing terribly, and its one of the small pleasures in my life that help to keep me sane, a fact that I didn't realize until very recently.  Which is why I'm back, and I promise, I won't be going anywhere anytime soon.

I love autumn.  Strike that.  I'm obsessed with autumn.  Every year I look forward to sweaters, boots, cider, chilly air, chai, mums, warm colors, Halloween, apples, candles, jumping in leaves...I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.  However, this year, besides stealing my dad's sweaters and practically living in my new Doc Marten boots, I've added some new fall favorites to my ever-growing list:
Squash - spaghetti, butternut, acorn, pumpkin, I love them all.  Can't get enough actually: spaghetti squash topped with the last of the summer's heirloom tomatoes; butternut squash curry with apples, chickpeas and cauliflower; squash and cod stew with homemade sweet potato rosemary flatbread; vegan butternut squash and beet ravioli with a mushroom cream sauce.  There's something so warming about squash...maybe it's just the color, those golden, glowing oranges and yellows.  Not to mention that they can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.  I mean, how many vegetables do you know that taste just as good tossed in honey and cinnamon as they do roasted with rosemary and sage?  Squash is where it's at, my friends.  And take this fall to try new varieties and use them in ways you never had before.  If you haven't tried spaghetti squash, do it. Easy to prepare and holds endless possibilities.

Baby Ginger - yes, baby ginger.  I never knew such a thing existed until we started selling it at the farm last weekend.  The fresh ginger with the rough brown skin that you find at the grocery store is the mature root of the ginger plant.  Baby ginger is the young root, before the skin becomes hard.  This root is delicate and pink and the end of beautiful bamboo-like stalks.  You don't have to peel baby ginger before you use it, and while the taste is still spicy and potent, its a little softer and less offensive than mature ginger can sometimes be.  I'm hooked and will be stocking the freezer with tons of baby ginger to hold me through the winter.

Autumn Oatmeal - I know this isn't a entirely new favorite of mine, but come on, autumn is the perfect oatmeal weather.  There's nothing like a big bowl of warm cozy oatmeal to ease the pain of having to pull yourself out from under your covers on a chilly autumn morning.  My top oatmeal for the past few weeks have been pumpkin with golden raisins, spicy curry topped with an egg and a drizzle of honey, and berry rhubarb.  I've also been playing with sweet potatoes and chai spiced oatmeals, but they both need a little more work.  Oh, and don't worry, recipes are on the way.
Cardamom - if you know me, you know that I'm not afraid of spices.  I love experimenting with different flavors and combinations of herbs and spices.  A few weeks ago, Karen (resident baker at Gravity Hill) made a cardamom zucchini bread with currants, and I immediately fell in love with the deep aromatic quality of the spice.  I had used it before in baking, but never as the main spice.  I usually opt for cinnamon as the focus and then fill in with other spices to deepen and round out the flavor.  However, now I find myself toning down the cinnamon and upping my cardamom usage.  In baking, oatmeal, curry, basically wherever I can use it, I do.  

...the best part about the fall so far?  This is just the beginning.  There is so much more to come - I haven't even been pumpkin or apple picking yet.  So Happy Autumn!  Welcome Back!  And get ready for an obnoxious amount of making-up-for-lost-time postings.

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