Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Savoring Autumn - Week 1


I remember back in January, which felt like it would go on forever, that the year was off to a slow start.  Not that I mind S L O W, you know me, but I did recall how odd it felt the way it just seemed to never end.  I had the flu part of that time, so that could have had something to do with it.  But now here we are in the last week of September with temperatures still topping into the 90's, and I'd welcome a long, cold January day, even a cool October would be enough for me, but alas, Autumn is slow to arrive this year.  In spite of nature's lack of cooperation, I've decided to dedicate one post each week to the season, as a means of slowing and savoring the days.

Autumn decorating and menu plans, however, are in full swing, and I've decided that until the weather decides to cooperate, I'll just lower the thermostat, close the blinds and psyche myself into believing it's really not that hot outside!  I've got a pot of my grandmother's pinto beans on the burner as we speak, and a potato frittata with carmelized onions I've been wanting to try in the making.  I found the recipe online but, but as with most recipes, I tweak it and make it my own!

Today I pulled one of my favorite seasonal books from the shelves and perused it over lunch, for inspiration, and noticed this recipe for Carmelized Onion Sauce. I briefly considered it for my frittata tonight, but without an aged balsamic, which I am certain is key, I decided to stick with the original plan.  Is it just me, or does anyone else wish Susan had written one of these little books for every season?  I have the Summer edition and then this one, my favorite, Autumn.  So hey, Susan, what about Spring and Winter? Because us OCD types, you know, we want it all! :)

I decorated as much as I am going to decorate this year, a few weeks back.  I love decorating with the seasons, but the older I get the less I seem to do.  It was fun when the girls were little, but now that they are older and living their own lives, I find that simple touches suit us. Just enough so that it feels good, but not so much that I will regret it when I take it down. I tell myself to use the same reasoning at Christmas, but the past few years I've still overdone.


These little white pumpkins (below), are one of those small touches that I love!  I remembered a picture that my friend, Emily, posted,  of some beautiful white pumpkins adorned with dried flowers, and while I didn't have any flowers on hand, what we do have are abundance of dried leaves and they added just the touch I was looking for.  I just love the way they turned out, and I'm hoping if I handle them carefully, they'll last through the season.  I am going to try to find some dried flowers between now and Thanksgiving though, to make a centerpiece for the table using a larger white pumpkin.

And now before I close, I thought I'd share a recipe each week, as well.  Some may be tried and true, but for the most part, I thought I'd share something new and then perhaps over the next week I'll make it up myself and then let you know if I/we liked it.  And with that, here is the first one I'd like to try.

  PUMPKIN BREAD

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (dark or light)
1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
1 large egg or 2 small ones
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water


In a large bowl, combine both sugars, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

In another bowl, combine egg, pumpkin puree, oil and water. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until combined. Grease one 9×4 (6 cups or 1.4 liters volume) loaf pan and pour the batter into it.

Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Then take out of the pan and wrap in aluminum foil. Let Moist Pumpkin Bread cool off completely before serving.



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