We pulled the last plants from the garden. It's warm: summer-fall. The crisp nights have just started. September spent too much time in the 80's. (My DNA has changed since I moved to Minnesota. 80 is just plain hot to me.) I am itching to warm cider, throw on boots and scarves and dig out my blue-plaid blanket for cuddles.
Don't tell me that January is coming. I know. I may even be ready. But first, I will work with what I have and that is Summer-Fall. Time to use up the last of summer vegetables before we become squirrels, digging up the roots.
This is Ina Garten's recipe and it's simple (I can write an ode to simplicity these days), healthy (I know it's a buzz word - just throwing it in there and we won't speak about my ten pound weight gain) and quite tasty (most important).
ROASTED EGGPLANT DIP INGREDIENTS:
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons parsley
1 red pepper
1 red onion
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper (I used more)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more)
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut eggplants, bell pepper and onion into 1 inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, cayenne, salt and peppers. Roast for 45 minutes. Turn them 1 time halfway through baking.
Remove from oven. Cool slightly. Put vegetables in food processor and add the lemon juice and tahini. Pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Adjust salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and garnish with fresh parsley.
We've gone to the apple orchards a few times. A happy by-product of living here is the easy access to quite a few orchards. We've come home laden with pies, apple doughnuts and even - fresh apples! (The pies and doughnuts have nothing to do with my weight gain.)
This is one of those salads that you wind up craving in the fall. It's not one of those foods that "you should eat because it's good for you." The fact that it is indeed buzz-word healthy should be ignored. Make this before the only thing fresh in the produce aisles are turnips.
APPLE PEAR SALAD (serves 4) (Recipe from Recipe Runner)
(I'm not going to give amounts. You know how much lettuce and fruit and almonds you want, right?)
1 small apple (or more)
1 small, perfectly ripe pear (or more)
Your favorite tender lettuces: spring mix, butter lettuce, mache, young spinach
Almonds (sliced and toasted)
dried cherries or dried cranberries
bacon (2-4 slices, optional but the salty crunch in the salad is highly recommended by all the humans in the house)
AUTUMN SALAD DRESSING
1 minced shallot
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all in a jar and shake and bring to the table - allowing people to add their own dressing and ensuring the salad doesn't get soggy. Soggy salads are sad.
Cioppino-Bambino went to the vet for his first year check-up. 15.2 pounds. When we got him at four months he was 4.1 pounds. But unlike his owner - not overweight. He has landing gear for paws, a true lion's mane (Kirsten wanted him shaved to look like a lion when I had his matted fur combed out; I resisted) and a lemur tail. The vet confirmed that there's a lot of Maine Coon in this chatty boy.
In true Italian fashion, I currently have sauerbraten marinating in the fridge in honor of my father. (Every Sunday doesn't have to be pasta even though most should be.) Meanwhile, hope you are having a leaf-crunching, apple-laden, blue sky, sugar maple summerfall!