It’s not just me!
http://www.yumsugar.com/Fall-Recipes-10782608 (via HuffPost Food)
(And for those of you, like Healthy Mika, who just can’t get enough pumpkin, there’s even a pumpkin bread recipe in there.)
Thinking I might make some of that mac & cheese with leeks, ASAP.
It seemed every where I looked and listened this week, my friends were rejoicing in the arrival of “pumpkin spice” season – better known to the rest of us as fall.
I am not a fan of “pumpkin spice,” and not a fan of what seems to be everyone else’s favorite latte (wake me when it’s “peppermint mocha” season, please). But, I am a huge fan of fall.
To me, the first ingredient that means the arrival of fall is not pumpkin, nor pumpkin spice, but maple. I have been eager to start cooking new and yummy things with maple syrup for a while now, but today finally seemed like the perfect day. I had slept in, had watched an afternoon of ACC football, and had worked on my fantasy pro football team – something about all of that football just clicked my brain on over to “fall.”
So, as my beloved Demon Deacons whooped up on the Wolfpack, I ran over to the supermarket to pick up some sweet potatoes. It being Sunday evening, and farmers markets not an option, I relied on the Teeter. My nearest Harris Teeter does a pretty decent job of stocking a few in-season locally grown veggies. And this time of year, one of the easiest-to-get local veggies is the sweet potato.
A few hours and a roast center cut pork loin later, it was time for the first (and, so far, best) dinner of the fall.
Maple-Roasted Pork with Pan Sauce and Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes
Just posted: New recipes for How to Roast Your Own Peppers and Beer Baked Beans – which are, in fact, related. I also cooked both of them earlier in the weekend for another installment of our now-infamous Porch Parties. The beans were a huge hit – might have been *the* favorite of the night had they not been up against some killer, KILLER ribs. Anyway, I’ve linked them here but they’re always available on the Recipes page, along with many, many other yummy things. Mangia!
My summer vacation has finally started! I celebrated my first day of vacation with a celebratory breakfast (I like to say “victory breakfast,” for having made it through such a tough school year) at home: Eggs, bacon, fruit smoothie, coffee, and rosemary olive bread. The works.
I am working on a few full post ideas, doing a bit of research, but mostly just wanted to enjoy my first couple of vacation days. In the meantime, here’s what’s new:
- I might be moving house in the next few months to a year! The tiny kitchen may no longer be quite so tiny. I have been in my current apartment for four great years and really love it, not to mention the wonderful neighborhood. But, frankly, my costs of living have gone up while my salary hasn’t, so it is time to look seriously at how to downsize some expenses, other than giving up cable and keeping the A/C off as long as possible. Plus, my priorities have shifted much more onto cooking & blogging, so it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to have a better workspace for that. Anyway, I’m only just getting around to figuring out how to sell, so it’s a ways off.
- In preparing the apartment for a realtor friend of mine to come by the other day, I revamped my “office” space a little – gone are the grad school textbooks from my desk! The laptop is back on the desk instead of on the couch! I really like the setup. I even hung up a favorite apron to give the “office” a little flair.
- Updates for the Garden Diary page: Photos from the MPC container garden are now housed on Picasa!
- Updated and new Recipes are coming soon!
- And, of course, new MPC posts are coming soon, too … I’ve got a good one in the works about barbecue. In the meantime, if the mere mention of the word barbecue does it for you, you should read this from the latest (June/July 2011) issue of Saveur.
I am SO excited about summer, I can hardly contain myself. I have plans. And ideas. Lots of plans & ideas. I got started on two of them this weekend.
First of all, I made my first attempt at selling my food to the general public. This was daunting for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I have always given my little creations away, and always to friends and family. Friends & family are supposed to be nice, and forgiving, so the other thing I was worried about was whether anyone would actually like it, and then pay me for more of it. So I started in familiar territory: a community yard sale at the school where I work. I have to say it was a success! I didn’t quite make my expenses back to break even but I handed out enough samples and business cards to feel confident about doing it again soon. Now I just have to figure out where and when.
I also started my summer gardening project today. Last summer I grew just a few handy herbs, but this year’s garden includes basil, mint, Italian parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cherry tomatoes, and shallot, all growing in my bedroom window. It’s my first time growing the vegetables indoors, so I’m hoping they do well. I’m growing the tomatoes from a seedling, and the shallot from bulbs. If the shallot does well for the first few weeks I might also plant some garlic.
Finally (for now), my best friend Lisa and I are planning to make an attempt at home brewing. Naturally, I have felt it necessary to drink more beer than usual (haha) in order to figure out what we ought to brew, and right now I’m leaning toward amber ale. I tried the Appalachian Amber Ale by Thomas Creek this weekend and it’s pretty yummy. I also was in the vicinity of a Trader Joe’s today and picked up a few single bottles of other amber ales to try. We’re going to a class at a local home brewing supply store, but if anyone out there has any suggestions or advice on home brewing for beginners, I’d greatly appreciate it!
So it’s shaping up to be an eventful summer – I simply can’t wait until my days consist of little more than not waking to an alarm, visiting farmers markets and cooking & writing.
SCENE 1: Interior, apartment kitchen. Mid-morning.
ME: I need to use up this heavy cream before it goes bad … think I’ll make some creamy grits to go with my omelet.
CONSCIENCE: Really? That is a seriously unhealthy breakfast. Couldn’t you just use water? Or even skim milk?
ME: You know what? Just for that, I’m going to add some crispy pancetta in there, too.
CONSCIENCE: (Shakes head.) Could you at least use what’s left of that bag of spinach in the fridge, and add it to the omelet?
ME: Oh wow, great idea! I’ll cook it in the pancetta drippings!
CONSCIENCE: Nevermind. I give up.