Where the hell did October go?
It's crazy... one day we're sitting in front of fans and air conditioners, sipping iced tea and eating gigantic, juciy red tomatoes - then, all of a sudden, it's fuzzy blankets, fall jackets and root vegetables as far as the eye can see.
I get really excited about fall vegetables, though. The first cabbage of the year might not inspire quite as much excitement as, say, the first ramps of the year... or the first heirloom tomato... but I really love our fall share. Squash and beets and carrots and yukina savoy... fall veggies have such lovely, intense flavors - and many of them are so versatile. Check out this pasta - just rotini, a bit of ricotta, some mashed butternut squash, a little salt and pepper and dinner's ready. I topped this with some bacon bits, but I think the bacon was actually a little distracting. Next time, I'll leave it off and just enjoy the sweet, creamy squash and ricotta by themselves.
Butternut squash is also delicious just by itself, with a little bit of butter and salt. And oh man, check it out - brussels sprouts! We didn't get any from the CSA this week, so I picked these up at the greenmarket. I tossed them with olive oil, smoked salt and maple syrup and then braised them in the oven with half a cup of water. (For some reason, I find that brussels sprouts come out best when they're cooked with oil and a bit of water - they get tender without becoming waterlogged.)
Ed is responsible for that gorgeous, pink pork roast. You think I could cook meat like that? Ha!
Though I can cook meat like this... a chicken breast, butterflied and dipped in egg and breadcrumb then fried in vegetable oil. I love chicken prepared like this, but it begs for a towering pile of vinegary greens on the side. Seriously. A chicken cutlet without a salad is like a Jersey Shore episode without Snooki.
And on the side, a leek and delicata squash risotto. This amazing recipe for risotto from Cooking Light magazine is always my basis for risotto adaptations. I've made it with tomato sauce and seafood, with mushrooms and truffle oil, with saffron and peas, and it's always spectacular. The recipe replaces some of the rice in a normal risotto recipe with chopped leek, which both lightens up the calorie count and provides a reliable way to use up the lone leek in our CSA delivery. This time, I added two peeled and roasted delicata squash and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Autumn, hell yeah!
And one final treat... I've been lusting over this Lenox pattern, Chirp, basically ever since it came out. I dig my cheap IKEA plates and all, but... OMG birdies! Flowers! Watercolors!
Lenox is just a bit out of my price range, though... so I figured these plates wouldn't be seeing the inside of my cabinet for a very, very long time. But then the other day, while I was slogging through the chaotic aisles of my local Marshall's, I came across a treasure trove of Chirp plates. Half price! I snatched up a set of two dinner plates and two salad plates and ran for the registers as fast as one can run when one is carrying four pieces of bone china that, together, cost more than her entire current set of dishes, flatware and glasses put together.
But my heart still leaps every time I see them, and would you look at how pretty they make an apple look? Best investment ever.