My Thursday posts (um...Friday?!) are intended to be just that. Little vignettes (snippets if you will) of seasonal delights for your enjoyment.
Autumn Ingredients for Fall Recipes ~ From the Farm Stand
One of the first things I enjoy doing when the weather starts to get a wee bit cooler is to stop by a local produce stand. The deep colors of pumpkins and squash, the aroma of cider and boiled peanuts wafting to your nostrils as soon as you step out of your car...there's no way you can't help but smile! Potted mums sit atop hay bales, scarecrows with humorous grins slouch in rocking chairs, stuffed ravens clinging to their shoulders. I ooh and ahh at the gourds, deliberate between types of apples, and always (ALWAYS) find a way to carry home a bag of boiled peanuts (a sacred and necessary vegetable here in the South). Indian corn stands in rows of maroon, black, yellow and white and I'm in the mood for fall! Once I'm home, my arms laden with brown paper bags, the fun begins in figuring out just what on earth to do with all this bounty. Here's a few ideas I've gathered ~
Apples ~ baked, fried, sauced with cinnamon, heated in a cider, as a side dish with pork and, of course, in a pie
Squash ~ stuffed into ravioli, baked with butter and brown sugar
Root Veggies ~ parsnips with herb butter, herb roasted chicken with a variety of root veg (carrots, potatoes)
Hearty Greens ~ broccoli, chard, bruschetta topped with spinach or collards
Potatoes ~ baked, fried, champ, bubble and squeak, au gratin, potato salad, pan roasted with rosemary and sea salt, french fries, hash browns, basting in the juice of a succulent roast
Pears ~ baked with cinnamon and brown sugar, poached, stuffed with a bitter cheese such as Gorgonzola, caramelized, raw with a selection of cheeses, along side crisp apples, part of an impromptu smorgasbord of fruits, cheese and wine
Speaking of cider, here's an interesting idea. Have a go at making Lambswool. I promise, no carding, spinning or knitting is required. Lambswool is a special type of wassail (a spiced punch usually made with liquor) which combines roasted apples, raw sugar, grated nutmeg, and shaved ginger with warm, strong ale and served with tiny sweet-cakes floating on its surface. I'm a sucker for cider but I have yet to try this one. It's an old recipe but sounds like just the thing to warm your spirits on a chilly autumn night. I for one would forgo the floating cakes; I hate soggy bread!
Lambswool was usually drunk on 01 November in celebration of the fruits and seeds of the harvest and the spirits which, the ancients believed, watched over them. Sounds like a good libation for a Halloween party, no? This day, known by other names such as All Saints Day and Samhain, was known as "la mas ubal" (pronounced "lamasool" and later "lambswool") which means "The Day of the Apple".
I know we're a month away from "la mas ubal" but there's no harm in brewing up a good old cauldron of Lambswool for all your autumn celebrations. Give it a try this fall, but remember: drink responsibly and you can always do an unleaded version by leaving out the ale. I for one would like to try it both ways. Let me know if you make some! I'm curious :) The closest I've come to having Lambswool was a Hot Toddy in Ireland. Talk about cider with a kick! If that doesn't cure what ails you, I don't know what will.
Have a wonderful weekend, Jen
PS: I just posted the first of a series of posts on Halloween over at my other blog, The Gypsy Scribe. Stop by and take a peak :)