Of Grace and Gratitude
Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canucks!
October has definitely ensconced itself into our lives. Although I've had my blinders on, trying to ignore the advance of the season, it is difficult to deny that there is a very real chill in the air. Even the brightest days have a nip to them, a sharp edge that cuts deep, right through even the thickest sweaters and woollen socks. Autumn will not be denied. It is truly the season for hot foods, and as it so happens, the produce of the times lend themselves to just that.
Apples and Pears
The ultimate portable lunch fruits also happen to be happy in warm desserts such as crumbles (especially if you can grab a few spears of autumn rhubarb before it's too late!); stewed fruits; tarts and pies. Apple and pear sauces are delightful in their own rights, but just as they can add that extra special something to a roast pork, they can also fill a beautifully crisp sweet pastry. And what can be more heart-warming than the aromas of a baking cake?
Cabbages and their Ilk
Gone are the days for creamy coleslaw, say hello to cabbage rolls and soups galore. Cabbages are so full of goodness though that you should really give them a bigger spot in your pantry: braised; bubbly and squeaky; or use this pancake recipe for a simplified version of the Japanese favourite okonomiyaki...
Carrots; onions; leeks; parsnips; rutabaga/Swedes; potatoes; Jerusalem artichokes; beets... The list goes on, but all these steadfast vegetables are the reliable friends of the cold weather cook. They embody soups, stews and Sunday roasts all to themselves.
Two words: pumpkin pie.
Although we usually tend to make pumpkin pies with Baby Bear pumpkins (those small, two handful-sized pumpkins with the tightly knit flesh and sweet flavour), any winter squash can be turned in to pies and desserts. In fact, I prefer buttercups (pictured above) for baking: their knubbly, green skin is quite thick, and may not inspire much, but the deep orange flesh is starchy and dry, and SWEET! So much sweeter than pumpkins, with subtle hints of spice. They are not nearly as popular as the ubiquitous butternut, but let's just keep this between us - they are so much more tasty!