Is is strange that in this season of chai tea, pumpkin bread, and apple cider doughnuts, one of the treats I look forward to most is a salad?
This, to me, is the essence of seasonal eating - tender, succulent pears, sliced thickly and laid on a hearty pile of the last salad greens from the garden, scattered with a flurry of dried cranberries, blue cheese, and pecans, and very nearly drenched with a tangy-sweet combination of oil, lemon, and local raw honey.
Few things say fall more clearly to me than a hot cup of chai tea.
Something about that ginger-y, spicy sweetness seems so perfectly suited to golden leaves, blue skies, and frosty mornings.
We had a frost.
I had plans to get this post out at the beginning of the week, but the first frost of the year, which my weather report told me was coming Friday night, showed up early. Monday night, to be precise.* Thankfully, I had spent Monday morning harvesting all the remaining eggplants and tomatoes, so the most vulnerable (and to me, the most precious) of the vegetables escaped harm. But the rest of the week saw me in full-on triage mode - harvesting the rest of the frost-tender plants, salvaging what I could, and preserving the damaged goods as fast as I could go.
Thus, a bit of a delay on the blogging front. But the harvest has been salvaged, and I'm back at it. And I've (finally) got Thai food!
I feel like I’ve been heavy on the updates and light on the how-to’s lately. I’d like to tip the scales a little, starting with this – a recipe for the best breakfast creation I’ve found in a long while.
Vanilla. Browned butter. Steel cut oats. Throw in the cinnamon and nutmeg that I left out of that already long title, and a pile of fresh summer berries, and you’ve got the most decadent breakfast that makes your body feel as good as your taste buds.
I'm pretty excited about this post. We're getting into prime vegetable harvest season up here, and these buns, besides being a family favorite, are the perfect companion to a quick stir-fry of fresh garden veggies.
What are char siu bao? Pork or beef, slow-roasted in a sweet-salty Asian marinade, shredded to bits, and wrapped up in a tender steamed bun. In one bite, you get the sweetness of hoisin, the richness of sesame, the saltiness of soy, the pungency of garlic, and the deep caramel taste of well roasted meat. And mellowing the intense flavor of the meat is the bun - fluffy, yet chewy - like the inside of a freshly-baked loaf of bread.
Besides being utterly, addictively delicious, bao are inexpensive, easy to freeze, and quick to reheat. Making them the perfect summer side to whatever veggies are growing in abundance near you.
First, a treatise on mashed potatoes. Now I'm blathering on about how to roast a chicken. Are these recipes really worth posting? Aren't they everywhere? I don't know. I think there are renditions of them everywhere, to be sure, but I've tried a lot of dud recipes for things that should be simple. Including roast chicken.
This is going to be a quick post.* And a simple one. But I'm putting it up because I want to include recipes for basic staples on this site - the sides and condiments that pop up over and over again, making all manner of main dishes shine. I'm also posting this because, well, can I ask a question? I'm sure you've made mashed potatoes, oh, probably more times than you can count. But do you have a recipe? Or do you just do as I did for years and years, and wing it?
Last week I made a nice big batch of pumpkin bread to take to church. And when it was done, and perfuming the house gloriously, we tasted it. And then our friends tasted it. And we had some for dessert that night. And we had more for breakfast the next morning. And then... I made another batch, because it was Sunday morning and I had about 3 slices left of the first batch.
This pumpkin bread is good stuff, you guys. It’s moist, and deeply pumpkin-y, with just the right amount of spice. It makes the whole house smell gloriously of October, which, to my mind, is a good thing no matter what time of year it is.