There's something about this season. Pots, pans, simmering, bowls of savory goodness. I'm fixating.
It's not just me. The Date has informed me twice in one week of exploits with carrots and ginger. I have a Stew dinner plan with a playwright friend. And I recently logged on to a social networking site that shall remain nameless and irritating, to find my friend Helena's status update:
And She said, "Let there be sexy vegetarian pumpkin chili"; and there was sexy vegetarian pumpkin chili. And She saw that the sexy vegetarian pumpkin chili was good; and then she roasted the sexy pumpkin seeds.
Mmmmmm. It is Fall, the Season of Soup. (/Stew/Chili).
On Saturday I found myself at home in Sunnyside, a whole rainy afternoon spread out before me, all signs pointing towards my recently-neglected kitchen.
Roomie #1 was busy creating a tomato vinegar he found in an all-Vinegar Cookbook ("I got this for a dollar!"), and Roomie #2 was bravely attempting her first pie - double crust!! You would have been proud of me. I had already climbed into bed (foolish, foolish Boo) when R2 asked, "Do you think I should make the crust tonight? Any tips? Oh - No, I dont have a rolling pin. Why?" Bang - I'm in the kitchen in my PJs, up to my elbows in butter & flour, providing what I hope was sage advice such as "remain calm", and "yes, always READ the whole recipe to begin with, but I think we'll be fine without the shortening" (we were).
You know your friend has forgiven you for missing her party when she ends the evening of manual labor by drawing you a bath and handing you a glass of maker's mark.
Take your skinny vegetable peeler in one hand. Look at it, shake your head, and throw it over your left shoulder.
Pick up your squash, and with a Big knife, cut it crosswise in half (or 3, if it's really big). Just plunge it on in and wrestle it through.
Then, holding a piece cut side down, just make slices down the sides with SMALLER knife, slicing off skin in big strips. It's ok if some flesh comes off with it. Better its than yours. Don't get crazy trying to skin it flawlessly.
Then, chop up squash into chunks, retrieve your skinny peeler and use it on the apples.
On a related note, the Peeling Issue came up at Helena's while R1 was struggling with his bag of tomatoes. The vegetable peeler was doing more harm than good and each tomato was a project unto itself (1 min or more). The solution: Boil a pot of water. Drop each tomato in, count to ten. Remove with a slotted spoon and, under cold running water, slide the skin off easily with your hands. Trust me on this.
Oh and the Pumpkin Party? From Helena:
missed you last night! corn muffins were devoured
Jesse put the maple butter into the gravy
around 11pm i was finishing the turkey with men 3 deep around the oven
turkey came out at 11:30 and disappeared completely-- people sucking on bones-- by midnight. this morning i made pumpkin pancakes and drenched them in maple butter. goodness. your food was put to good use. mwah!
PS I just found this picture online. Talk about seasonal!