“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”
Autumn cooking is my favorite. I love the spices and all the squashes and pumpkins. Butternut squash appears frequently and I never tire of it. Serving it in a quiche certainly was a first and it truly worked spiced with nutmeg and paired with caramelized red onions and gruyère cheese. Roasting the squash first brings out its nuttiness and gives it the right texture to hold up in the quiche.
“In every human being there is the artist, and whatever his activity, he has an equal chance with any to express the result of his growth and his contact with life. I don’t believe any real artist cares whether what he does is ‘art’ or not. Who, after all, knows what art is?”
― Robert Henri, The Art Spirit
We were discussing Robert Henri’s classic “The Art Spirit”. The dynamic leader of the art book club at my library opened the discussion by asking: “What is art? Who is an artist? ” She had brought dessert to sweeten an animated discussion. The cake was round in shape, perfectly golden and dusted simply with powdered sugar. Unassuming in appearance. But after the first bite, I was swooning. What is in this? What is this? It’s sooo good! “Torta di Riso”, answered Victoria. La dolce vita, I thought. As inspiring as the art on display. Clearly this was a woman who knows her way around a kitchen as well as around a museum! To understand what Torta di Riso is, imagine a not-too-sweet risotto suspended in a pillowy custardy base. Or rice pudding in a cake. A classic comfort food, turned into dessert. I call it a masterpiece and its baker, an artist!
“Magnificent Autumn! He comes not like a pilgrim, clad in russet weeds. He comes not like a hermit, clad in gray. But he comes like a warrior, with the stain of blood upon his brazen mail. His crimson scarf is rent…. The wind…. wafts to us the odor of forest leaves, that hang wilted on the dripping branches, or drop into the stream. Their gorgeous tints are gone, as if the autumnal rains had washed them out. Orange, yellow, and scarlet, all are changed to one melancholy russet hue…. There is a melancholy and continual roar in the tops of the tall pines…. It is the funeral anthem of the dying year. “~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Fall is my favorite season for decorating and entertaining. Gourds, mums, bittersweet, pumpkins and the rich jewel tones of the season bring their exhuberance to warm the cooling days. It is an enchanting time of the year, full of vibrancy, texture and color, nature’s punctuating mark of the year. I was recently invited to speak to a local garden club and have their members tour my gardens. Today I invite you to visit as well.
On a patio table I created a display of my collection of garden cloches in their fall finery. The vignette included bulbs, garden books, bottle brush animals, a fall arrangement of persicaria, sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ and flowering weeds from my garden in a bark wrapped vase, gourds, acorns, a vase of pheasant feathers, mini pumpkins, bittersweet vines and garden tools, all under a fern motif candle chandelier. Take a look!I hope you have enjoyed taking a stroll through my fall garden!
Inviting the bloggers at Fiesta Friday and Stonegable on the tour and also on Share It One More Time.
“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.”
― Kahlil Gibran
A rustic free form apple tart is a fabulous fall dessert. Called galette or crostata, it is simply an unfussy tart. I love to serve it on a pizza peel to emphasize the casual beauty of this dessert. Adding a medley of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom along with a splash of rum and some bourbon vanilla brings out fall flavors and makes for a very fragrant kitchen as the tart bakes. Everyone’s mouth will be watering by the time dessert is served. Add ice cream if desired.
Almond~Crusted Spiced Apple Galette
Pie crust of your choice, 10-12″ wide
8 c peeled apple slices
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1T lemon juice
2 T rum
2 T flour
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cardamom
1 t bourbon vanilla bean paste( regular vanilla is fine)
sanding sugar to coat the edges of the pie
1/4 c sliced almonds
1 beaten egg
Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out your pie dough and transfer onto a parchement lined cooking sheet with low sides. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the sugars, lemon juice, vanilla bean paste, rum, and spices. Add the flour and toss quickly. Dump the whole thing in the center of your prepared crust. Fold over about 2 inches of crust along the edges. Baste the folded edge of the crust with the egg. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar. Gently press the sliced almonds on the folded edges of crust.
In the center of the oven, bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 375F and bake an additional 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
The dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. You are not going for perfection here.
The seasoned apples in the center of the crust, a good 2 inches of dough left along the edges to fold over.
The folded edges brushed with egg then dusted with sanding sugar. You will need the edges of parchment paper to lift and transfer the galette to a serving dish.
Press sliced almonds into the crust edge.
The golden beauty. I left the galette on the parchement paper but cut the edges back to the edge of the tart for presentation’s sake.
The Basket of Apples, 1893, Paul Cézanne, Art Institute of Chicago
“To me apples are fruit. To Cézanne they were mountains.” David Smith, American artist and sculptor, 1906-1965
With fall around the corner, thoughts turn to comfort dishes. Nothing like mac ‘n cheese for the quintessential comfort dish. With the addition of roasted poblano peppers, bacon and a crumb topping this dish will appeal to adults and kids alike. The poblanos add very mild heat to the dish. To kick it up a notch, use hotter peppers such as Italian or Hatch peppers. The mac’ n cheese is rich and creamy with layers of smokey flavors. Easy to make, it is a perfect marriage of creaminess and depth of flavor imparted from the smokey bacon and peppers. Using a larger corkscrew pasta rather than traditional macaroni really increases the ratio of creamy cheese sauce to pasta. In mac’n cheese, that is a very good thing! This mac’n cheese is fancy enough to serve to company, if you’re willing to share!
Golden beets beckoned me at the farmer’s market this week and star in this flavorful fall salad. Oven-roasted beets are paired with an interesting blueberry encrusted chèvre(Trader Joe’s) that I knew would look great with the beets. The salad was simply topped with thin slivers of red onion, crunchy caramelized maple hazelnuts, long slivers of lemon peel, a handful of pomegranate seeds and some fresh basil leaves. A drizzle of each, blood orange infused olive oil and orange muscat champagne vinegar made this salad and my heart, sing!
“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
JK Rowling, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallow
As the weather cools, this turkey cutlet dish is a lovely warming dish that comes together quickly in a skillet yet satisfies with its layers of flavors and comforting wine shallot cream sauce. Easy enough for a weeknight family dinner yet elegant enough for company.