Thursday, October 18, 2012

Simple Autumn Food

I love fall.  It is definitely my favorite season.  The leaves, the pumpkin patches and apple orchards, sweater weather, and the FOOD!  I love comfort food.  I just really enjoy the homeyness.  As befits a lady aspiring to a housewifely ideal. :-).  Autumn food is simple in ingredients and preparation, but luxurious in time.   It requires you to just let the food do its thing while you savor the aroma of the meal to come and just being at home together.  Slow food is autumnal.  The harvest is done, and you can relax and partake of the warmth of the kitchen and the fruits of your labor.  Canada got it right by putting Thanksgiving in October.  I feel almost in a Thanksgiving mood, except here we're still getting a steady supply of tomatoes and green beans.  Not a large amount, but more than we had in midsummer when it was just too dry to fruit.

I've almost always done "from scratch" cooking since being married, but this fall I find myself just winging it and going recipeless more often than not.  I really enjoy just seeing what produce looks good at the market or is available at a good price.  Which really means eating locally and seasonally, if you want to get all foodie about it.  I've read a fair amount about our modern agricultural system and how unsustainable it is, etc.  But at the end of the day it's all about delicious food.

And you know what?  It's so easy!  And not expensive at all!  But it sure looks fancy.  Rustic chic.  You know, fancy-looking things like the garnish

 Roasted butternut squash and leek soup.  The rolls are a variant of The Best Bread Ever.  You know, fancy-looking things like the garnish on this soup really take very little effort when you're working with fresh ingredients anyway.  Just toss the seeds in the oven for a few minutes while the squash is roasting and save a few of the thyme sprigs from going in the pot.

Carrots (from the garden!  Yay for clay-tolerant varieties!), red onion, potato, apples, thyme, butter, and brown sugar. I didn't take a picture of it actually roasted.  I would go for maple syrup over brown sugar if you try this.  The brown sugar just kind of burned and slid down in the corner of the pan.  But the butter was a good decision.  Julia Child would back me up; when in doubt put butter on it.  I made this and a roasted chicken on "one of those days," when things were a mess and the children were cranky because we had done a lot of running.  Ryan appreciated what he thought was the special effort to make a"Sunday dinner" despite the busy day.  I didn't tell him then that there's nothing easier than to rub some salt and seasoning on a chicken and cut some veggies into chunks.  I was out of the kitchen in fifteen minutes and able to restore order and read a story while it cooked.  But now the secret's out, so enjoy your autumn cooking!


  1. Can you explain exactly how you do a roasted chicken? All my cookbooks have different suggestions. I've done it a couple times, but not been entirely satisfied with the results...

  2. Keith has generally roasted our chickens, and he does a good job, but I've never roasted one myself.

    I think I'll have to do something similar with veggies today or tomorrow; looks really yummy, and I have similar ingredients AND maple syrup. Although the last time I roasted something with maple syrup that stuck to the pan, too ... I probably used too much.