Sunday, September 23, 2012

Falling into Fall

Fall...I love everything about fall. Apple picking, apple cider, apple donuts...warm. Sweaters and moccasins and boots and cozy pants. Football games, rosy cheeks, dragon's breath.

And pumpkin. Everything pumpkin. Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin iced coffee at Dunkin's, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin oatmeal. If only I had my license, I would make a special trip to the Oliver Garden for a slice of their pumpkin cheesecake.

Last Sunday, Mom and I had a baking day. It was one of the first real fall-like days we'd had. The thermostat read 60ยบ in the morning, chilly enough for a sweater and chilly enough for baking. You can bake in the spring and you can bake in the summer, and of course you can bake in the winter, but fall is by far my favorite time to bake. Crisps, pies, cakes, breads, all those comfort foods that fill you to the brim with happiness like a steamy cappuccino.

Right now we have more kale in our garden than we know what to do with. The worms decided to take the load off our back and start nibbling away so now our kale leaves look like swiss cheese. Before the worms did any more work, we decided we better take advantage of this super food, especially because we now (thanks to a friend of my grandma) have a copy of The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna, a recipe book with over 80 different recipes for kale. (You can only make so many salads.)

We started the morning off with Savoury Kale and Pumpkin Scones. I went out to the garden in my slippers and sweatshirt and salvaged what kale I could. In the kitchen I washed the leaves and I didn't even need to put it in a strainer, what with all the holes they practically strained themselves.

In making the scones, one direction that particularly confused me was: Step 3: Blend or sift the flour, salt, soda, baking powder and sugar together. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers (Hanna). 
"Cut in the butter?" While we love to experiment, we are only that. Experimentalists. We measure with our hands and our eyes...a little bit of this, a pinch of that, and always a dash more sugar. (Rather, I'm learning to be more like this.) In other words, we are amateurs in the kitchen, and the most high-tech kitchen appliance we have (excluding the standard oven, stove, and microwave) is a blender and a food processor we got at the Free Store that we're not sure even works. Which meant I was just going to have to use my hands. But cut in the butter? I had never heard of the term before. I took it to assume that it meant mix in the butter...cold butter, the recipe specified. After a minute or two of using the fork, I plunged in with my hands...and of course licked every finger clean afterwards. 

Anything you can mold with your hands is so much fun.

Now what to have these scones with? Cream cheese? Butter? Jam? These scones aren't very sweet, but they're very healthy, and have the classic scone consistency. They're delicious with cream cheese, butter, and jam (we tried them all), but even more delicious with soup. Particularly, an orange soup. 

Doesn't it almost look like it has veins? 

A Winter Squash Soup. I won't even both linking this recipe, though, because we hardly followed it. Sure, we steamed and boiled the squash and peeled and tossed in an apple. But we also added the remainder of the canned pumpkin from the scones, a carrot, and the rest of the kale. 

It's a soup with a very thick consistency. It's filling and fulfilling. It's the kind of soup you want to eat curled up on the couch with a book, wearing your biggest, coziest sweater.

Alas, we ate it outside on our deck, but with the birds chirping and the wind blowing, it was still just as satisfying. And of course, I had to take the opportunity to have a little food photo shoot. Seriously...I think at least half the pictures on my phone are of food. 

We're reading T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in English class. In his poem, the narrator says, "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons" (51). Cooking with Mom reminded me of that line. My parents are always telling me not to get hung up over details; to just go with the flow. With their guidance, I am learning to not measure out my life so precisely. I'm learning to be okay with a dash, a pinch, and a splash. 

What's your favorite part of fall? Or, if you don't like fall, what's your favorite season?

Happy fall, everyone!

P.S. "Did you notice?" is updated.


Maddie said...

Mmmm those both sound so good! I love everything about fall too. Its by far the best season :)

Megan said...

It's such a pretty time of the year. I love all the seasons. It's nice to mix things up. But yes, I would agree that fall is certainly up there on my favorite list :)