The Bounty of Fall
Fall tends to be benevolent in the Pacific Northwest, with long Indian summer days, cooler evenings and mornings with a hint of chill. Yesterday was an aberration, with intermittent misty rain that persisted through the night. My nocturnal feline, Amelia, refused to go out into this. Instead she woke me with her ramblings around the house, then insisted upon roosting in my hair, which is something she normally reserves for midwinter. It’s not a peaceful roosting, but rather a knitting process, that involves her adjusting herself until just so, then emitting a loud rumbling purr from the back of her throat until she has calmed herself to sleep. I welcomed her company though, as I slept fitfully and needed some distraction from the odd dreams that meandered through.
Those who predict the weather tell us that it will be rather cloudy this morning and rather sunny this afternoon. And it could rain. This is a forecast that might be importune for some, but it suits me just fine. I didn’t have to be indecisive this morning about donning a sweater over my pajama bottoms, although building a fire in the fireplace would have been overkill. I drank my coffee with the room to myself and thought about what the cooler weather means for dinner. What stews, soups, and comfort food we can turn to now that the weather is cool enough to make them tempting, even desirable. I thought this while munching on a toasted raisin muffin slathered with butter.
Summer’s bounty is not entirely over. Just two days ago my neighbor knocked on the door with two luscious heirloom tomatoes and several long fronds of basil from his garden. Blackberries are still to be found in abundance, and I am thankful for that, because it is the berries that I will miss the most when summer is gone. I salivate over the first strawberries, raspberries, and most of all, blueberries. Apples always seem to be the first to make their appearance on the fall stage. They are not my favorites, with their skin that can be so feisty and resistant. I do, however, love the idea of apples, and fondly remember Jo in Little Women crunching away on an apple while reading in her attic. I have a favorite varietal, golden delicious. Thankfully, the autumn also produces pears, persimmons, cranberries, grapes and pomegranates, a gathering of scent and autumnal mash of color.
So, I’ve pulled cookbooks from the shelf, am pondering recipes I’ve saved, and have no recipe for today, other than thinking about the bounty we have before us. I’ll cook a simple dinner tonight: pork chops with a spicy rub, bathed in a bit of blackberry preserve as they grill, smashed potatoes with garlic and butter, and simple green beans, spiced only with sea salt and ground pepper. But tomorrow…