Falling Leaves and Football
It’s here! That day families look forward to that happens only once a year. Back-to-School! At least in our neck of the woods, today is the first day of school. In some areas of the country school starts while we’re still in the heat of summer, but here in Northern Michigan it always starts the day after Labor Day. No matter when it happens, it’s always a great day. Even for those of us who don’t have school-age kids, it’s fun to see the kids getting on the school bus with their shiny new shoes, colorful new backpacks, and smiling faces as they look forward to seeing friends they haven’t seen all summer.
For me, this day signals a lot of good things: cooler nights – sometimes downright chilly nights; getting back on a real schedule; pulling out my favorite jeans and sweaters; loafers and tennis shoes replacing flip-flops and sandals. Hot-mulled cider (or wine), zucchini muffins and pumpkin bread. And, of course, colorful falling leaves and football!
It also means that I’ll be returning to the Test Kitchen to process all of the beautiful produce that is ready to harvest from the gardens. I’ll also be developing new recipes to share with you, my followers. For the next 2-3 months, I’ll be spending long days in the kitchen, peeling, chopping, roasting, canning, freezing, dehydrating, and storing for the months ahead.
Already I have a bushel each of turnips, tomatoes, peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant, and potatoes waiting for my attention. In the weeks ahead, there will be more of those, along with kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, beets, and four kinds of squash. Grapes, pears, and apples. And come October I’ll have more pumpkins than I’ll know what to do with. So those will go straight into the oven (whole) to roast so I can easily peel, seed, puree and freeze them.
At the same time, I’ll be using some of the fresh harvest to create some of my favorite things like Ratatouille, Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake, Pumpkin Chili; Kale, Cranberry, and Pepita Salad; Roasted Root Vegetables, and Roasted Tomato Pesto for my family, crew, and friends to enjoy now. They love sampling the bounty this time of year almost as much as I love making it for them.
Yes, I LOVE this time of year! It’s the season I work for and look forward to most. During the next couple of months the hours will be long, the work will be challenging, and I’ll probably fall into bed every night after each busy day. But I’ll pop out of bed again every morning, return to the kitchen, pour a cup of coffee, and get right back at it again.
And when November arrives, I’ll finally sit down in front of a fire with a cup of that hot mulled cider, and be thankful for the opportunity to be part of the adventure at MorningStar Kitchen.