Friday, November 25, 2011

The Beauty of Fall

As I write this, the year is slipping away faster than ever. I can't believe it - there are still so many dishes to make and share, and experimentation to get lost in. At least I have the day-to-day provenance of coziness in making - and eating - so many of the results!

This food you're about to see was all SO good. That's what I mean - I want to make it all again and yet, I have adventures waiting in the queue, new stories tugging at me to make them. I guess there are tougher problems to have, right?

* 29 November - Updated with recipes - scroll down to view!

The  goodies from our anniversary adventure

I was informed by the kind folks at The New Amsterdam Market to stop by one particular Sunday, so that I could swoon at crazy, gorgeous mushrooms. I know that doesn't seem to qualify for "kid in a candy store" material, but it was exactly that. While there, I met Les Hook and Nova Kim and learned about their wild foods - harvested on Saturday in Vermont, driven to NYC for Sunday's market. I made the acquaintance of mushrooms I never knew existed.

Had we shown up at the very beginning we would have found an even greater selection, but I left happy, with many paper bags filled with earthly delights: Lobster mushrooms (those bright red-orange beauties, and they do taste quite like their namesake); White Matsutakes, lower left; Chicken of the Woods, at lower right (they taste exactly like chicken); and the most unusual, Blue Alb mushrooms, at top right (they are a gorgeous sparkly blue-black hue, and bitter - an acquired taste, ultimately).

With these, I made a fantastic mushroom ragout adapted from those great ladies at Canal House. Served with creamy polenta, it made for the perfect comfort food.

The pretty squash we brought home got some loving from the organic elixirs shipped to me from Crown Maple Syrup... I painted their grade A medium amber syrup (mixed with some olive oil) all over their surfaces, sprinkled with some sea salt and cracked pepper, and let them roast away in the oven. The result was caramely-savory, soft, delicious squash. Perfect autumn. I used some as a side dish and then pureed the rest in a soup. 

Then, there were the apples. Oh, those apples. So many sweet, tart, crisp and juicy apples. We ate plenty straight out of the sack, but I wanted to have fun with them and so hollowed a bunch out and stuffed them with spiced goodness. Worth doing many times over.

Lastly was the pie. It was my first attempt at a shingled crust. I tossed the apples in nutmeg, brandy, and lemon juice. It's so nice to try something out for the first time and for it to become a smashing success!!! Know that you have to be patient as a saint for all the cutting-out of those shapes for the crust, but it too was absolutely worth it.

I hope I have tempted you all well enough to return, so you can make these treats for you and yours. Happy, cozy days..... :-)


  1. Oh my! That pie! What an amazing creation!

  2. Gorgeous photography work, and so many delicious recipes I'd love to try for all. We took a trip to New England in October last year and this post has me craving yet another road trip to enjoy so much of what you mention in yet a new place. Fabulous.