Monday, October 22, 2012

The Delicious Beauty of Autumn

When I woke up this morning, I could feel a change in the weather, and a wonderful, magical sense that something new is beginning to occur! What is that?! Why, it's Autumn! My favorite time of the year.
I know that technically, Fall has already started, but in the high desert, we have been experiencing a longer Summer, and so today I felt a definite change.
With its beautiful warm hues, the crispness to the air, the thought of pumpkins and pine cones, and comfort foods, it is a time alive with excitement and anticipation, rather than the way Autumn is so often thought of. The autumn of one's life, the sad thought that the best is now in the past, the dead leaves, the bare trees, etc, etc.

One of my favorite places to experience Autumn is Colonial Williamsburg, the historically accurate place to experience the American Revolution and Colonial life and times.
I am going to be visiting there soon, and my excitement is growing. The streets there are lined with wonderful trees dressed in all their red, brown and gold apparel. The doors of the houses don wreaths of pine cones and other seasonal fruits. And, the delicious comfort foods from 18th Century America are on display in the historic taverns. A couple of my favorites recipes are below. I love ANYTHING with apples, and the peanut soup served at The King's Arm Tavern on Duke of Glouchester Street is wonderful, with an unexpected flavour. A real delight when you want to cozy up with a simple meal, and a crust of good bread.
See below the recipes (taken from the Coloinal Williamsburg site) for your enjoyment:

To make an Apple Tansey, Take three pippins, slice them round in thin slices, and fry them with butter; then beat four eggs, with six spoonfuls of cream, a little rosewater, nutmeg, and sugar; stir them together, and pour it over the apples; let it fry a little, and turn it with a pye-plate. Garnish with lemon and sugar strew'd over it.

Serves 10-12
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 8 cups Chicken Stock* (or low-salt canned chicken stock)
  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 ¾ cups light cream or half-and-half
  • Finely chopped salted peanuts, for garnish.
In a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, three-five minutes. Stir in flour and cook two minutes longer. Pour in the chicken stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes. Pour into a sieve set over a large bowl and strain, pushing hard on the solids to extract as much flavor as possible. Return the liquid to the sauce pan or pot.Whisk the peanut butter and the cream into the liquid. Warm over low heat, whisking often, for about five minutes. Do not boil. Garnish with the chopped peanuts.


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