Friday, October 2, 2009

Farewell, summer

The summer is over. We still have a few hot sunny days left, but these are short, and the nights are cold. As always, I haven't had enough. I want more.

My little fig tree tries to console me, giving me two or three ripe figs every day, R. brings tropical flowers, reminding me that it's summer somewhere now, and the farmers market delights with the early fall abundance. I still mourn the summer. Summer, come back!

Which doesnt't mean that I am not taking advantage of all these autumnal fruits and vegetables. Figs are wonderful just eaten whole, but they are also very good sliced, with a little goat cheese, honey, salt and pepper added. And they pair well with proscuitto, and with about any California wine, Lake County Sauvignon Blank and Zinfandels from Russian River and Dry Creek being the favorites.

The super-ripe, super-cheap tomatoes from the market ask to be slow-roasted:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Line a wide shallow roasting pan or a baking sheet with aluminum foil, brush with olive oil.
Wash and dry medium-size ripe tomatoes. Cut in half crosswise. Arrange in the pan in one layer, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Scatter oregano leaves on top.
Roast for about 3 hours to concentrate the flavor. During the last hour check the tomatoes every 15 minutes to make sure they do not burn.
Let cool in the pan.
Store covered with olive oil in a glass jar in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Add to sandwiches, pizzas, pastas; serve on crackers as an appetizer; mix with fire-roasted bell peppers and grilled eggplant and onion for a filling salad.

Acorn squash, cut in half and with the seeds removed, looks like an exotic flower. One day I'll slice it thin with the skin still on, and bake or fry beautiful chips. This time I have ruined the beauty again: I made a soup.

Winter squash, pepper and garlic soup
serves 2
1 small acorn squash, or other winter squash, cut in half, seeds removed with a spoon and discarded
1 whole head of garlic, unpeeled
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and sliced
1-1/2 cup chicken stock

To serve (optional):
2 Tbsp pesto (see my old post for recipe)
2 strips of bacon, fried, dried and crumbled
2 basil tops
1 tsp grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the top 1/4 in. off the head of garlic to expose some flesh.

Brush the cut sides of the squash and garlic with olive oil, wrap the squash halves and the garlic head in aluminum foil, bake until soft, 35-40 minutes.

Remove squash and garlic from the oven, set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the squash halves, and squeeze out the garlic cloves out of the skin. Add roasted bell pepper slices. Puree in a blender. Add the stock.

Pour into a pan, stir, reheat over low heat.

Serve with a spoonful of pesto and some bacon bits. Garnish with basil.

When makins the soup, save some of the squash/garlic puree to make a pasta sauce.
Here, capellini pasta is served two ways: with pesto, and with the squash and garlic puree (bacon bits and parmesan on both, of course):

I have started my next food styling class. So my shopping list today looks like this:

- Chiabatta rolls 6 ea.
- Burger buns 6 ea.
- Sliced ham 1 lb. pkg.
- Sliced salami 1 lb. pkg.
- Sliced mozzarella 1 lb. pkg.
- Curly lettuce 1 ea.
- Red onion 1 ea.
- Large heirloom tomato
- Ground beef 2 lb.
- Something to eat


camelia said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
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amarillo said...

Hi, Vincent,

I would love to add my blog to, but when I fill out the form it tells me that one or more fields are not filled properly... I filled all the required fields - what am I doing wrong?