8. Vegan MoFo
So, I missed Midnight MoFo by about a quarter of an hour (by the standard of 12:01 am EST, that is) but I'm still holding to it by Pacific time. If YOU want to be part of this monthlong organized convention of over 320 blogs from around the globe so that you too can talk about vegan food as much as you possibly can, you still have time! Take a peek at the official VeganMofo blog to list yourself by tomorrow, October 2nd.
In between schools this morning I rushed into our brand spanking new Trader Joe's for groceries, and BEHOLD: a plethora of butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squashes. Sugar pumpkins too! No matter how blustery and soaked it is outside (and honestly, for the love of god it's the Puget Sound - when isn't it?), I refuse to accept the equinox until I'm being suffocated by produce of the root vegetable variety. I can already hear Isa's Apple-Pumpkin Risotto from the newest issue of BUST coaxing me into the kitchen...
As hyper-thrilled as I get come fall for slices of pumpkin pie and bowls of butternut squash soup, seeing all my herbs (oh, how few the things that will flourish in my yard are!) wither and die is a total Debbie Downer. Thank the heavens for sage, rosemary, and thyme! All three are heartier herbs because of their thick, weather-resistant stems and grow well into fall. Because of the popular autumn-y pairings such as pumpkin-sage in ravioli and lemon-thyme roasted with potatoes, it's rather well known that these herbs are available year round for the most part, but I will be remembering to take advantage of this as my lavender wilts away!
Even though we hit a cold patch every season, the summer can get pretty damn hot. So even when it's the chilliest of summer days, I tend to readily dismiss a soup for dinner. I will be the first to admit that soup is not my favorite meal. Perhaps sipping a meal doesn't appeal to me as much as feasting on slabs of barbecue-soaked tofu. However, I think the comfort of a very hot soup on a very cold day is universal. Mmm, I can already see a menu panning out before my eyes. Potato chowder in a bowl of sourdough... tomato basil with rotini...
4. Caramel Apples
I could have just said apples, but where's the fun in that? I mean, apples don't disappear for too long around here, and what is a holiday without its sweets? Caramel apples play their cards well into the beginning of December, making appearances at Halloween parties and carnivals and masquerading right on through to a satisfying Thanksgiving dessert alternative to the obligatory pumpkin pie. I loved the "tricked-out" version featured on Chow and the blogosphere last year, so I'm thinking of exploring that deliciousness very soon.
3. Anything With Maple Syrup
Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but when I'm chowing down on some flapjacks with my Christmas-snow powdered sugar and carafe of maple syrup (you know, per usual), I start thinking about how sinfully expensive that sweet sin we call maple syrup really is. And despite the aggravating price increase every so often, the expense has good reason. Tapping the syrup isa taxing process requiring much patience as is going through the process another few times to obtain grades A, B, and uh... so on of the stuff. And when I'm so thoughtfully pondering the origin of my liquid amber-gold, I can only imagine one scenario: a cheery, bundled up Canadian tapping maple trees in the snow. I should note that I have absolutely no factual backing for this image...
If I were to die today, as a homecook my greatest regret might be not using cranberries enough. Sure, they make its way into a tangy sauce every Thanksgiving. But where's the real cran-love? More cranberry spritzers for brunch, I say to you, America. More nom-tastic biscotti with white chocolate and dried cranberries. More fruity, sage-enhanced fauxsages. Yes, we can!
1. Pumpkin Delicacies
I may have already mentioned my joy surrounding every variety of squash, but pumpkins are something special to American food culture. What would Halloween be without a jack-o-lantern? Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie? Starbucks without the Pumpkin Spice Latte? Ok, so maybe the last would fare on its own without the festive beverage, but I get genuinely excited when it pops up on the menu. It can only mean that fall is around the corner or already here, and many more pumpkins abound! This blurb does not do my ardor toward the pumpkin nearly enough justice. I can only say this much more: when you can find a better, more fibrous, low calorie, and more versatile accompaniment to a savory meal and replacement for fat in the richest sweets... you call me.