If seasons were named a color, Autumn might be Orange. Or some variation more enticing, a Benjamin Moore tinted swatch in the Fall family you might paint your room, say, Harvest Moon, Warm Sunglow, Pumpkin Pie.
I recently received a comment from a reader who’d enjoyed a carrot soup I make. Memories of the lovely flavor profile–autumnal aromatherapy–lodged into my brain all day, before unleashing into supper.
Here are a group of lovely transitional soups to warm your soul like a favorite sweater, all in shades of orange. Links to their recipes may be found at this blog’s conclusion.
Of late, the recipes I’ve been making day-to-day are found in the annals of my dinnerFeed search engine; proofing an old recipe is far easier and faster for me than creating a new one. All of my creative pistons are exhausted by my efforts of late to publish my first novel: Simmer and Smoke; A Culinary Tale. It’s a smoldering novel weaving two women together in a landscape of organic farms, underground dinners and shadowy borders; some borders not meant to be crossed. The book explores the concept that if reality is smoke and mirrors, than is fantasy our virtual truth?
I’m close to the finish and have begun my second book: The Painted Dog. It’s taken me several years to write Simmer and Smoke, and the wisdom of smart, thoughtful editors to assist along the way. I’ve heard that publishing a book is harder than writing one, and I’m starting to believe that this is true!
But back to soup. Here are the links to these favorite Autumn soups:
Wash, trim, then dice enough tomatoes to fit your Dutch oven.
Here’s a no-recipe recipe for folks with little time and large palates. Tomato sauces are great to have hanging out in the fridge for impromptu meals. With their high acidic content, they have a lengthy refrigerated shelf-life, at the ready for spooning over, or incorporating into, grain dishes and proteins. The best bottled, freshest tasting tomato sauces, however, can be pricey.
Stir in olive oil, Kosher salt, wine and garlic, if using.
So come September – when I can purchase local, off-the-vine tomatoes for a song – I make tomato sauce by the gallon, freezing it in small batches. I use to grow my own tomatoes, but now purchase them from local farmers for less money than it costs for me to “raise” them from seedlings. Think about it: plants, fertilizer, water, stakes…the plague of possible infestation? Rewarding, yes, but for the past few busy summers, not worth my efforts.
My mother made her own tomato sauce too, but her version took three times as long to make as mine. She’d place the tomatoes, each cut with a X, one by one into boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skins. Then, with the precision of a surgeon, she’d slide off their casings. Then, bless her heart, she’d seed them, make her sauce, then ladle it into sterilized bell jars.
Simmer several hours,stirring occasionally, until reduced to desired consistency.
Canning? Forget about it. Ball Jar also makes a plastic container for the freezer. In lieu of those, I use yogurt containers, avoiding potential freezer burn by encasing them in freezer zip-locks. Skinning? Do I really have the time, and seriously, do those tiny bits of skin justify the effort it takes? Nah. I dice my tomatoes small enough so the skins aren’t large. I even like their texture incorporated into the silkiness of the tomatoes. If I didn’t, I’d run them through my food processor after cooking them down.
I’ve included a recipe for my sauce below, but basically, all you do is dice enough tomatoes to fill an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, stir in olive oil and kosher salt and simmer for hours. There are a lot of optional extras in the recipe below, but here’s the hitch: You should use an enameled cast iron Dutch oven to cook your sauce. The acidity of the tomatoes will react with an aluminum or stainless steel pot to lend a metallic flavor to the final product. Really. Been there.
Package in plastic containers and freeze.
I own a Le Creuset Dutch oven and three years ago purchased the Cuisinart brand for less than half of the Le Creuset price at T.J. Max. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the Cuisinart brand, and would never consider purchasing a lesser brand, but I’ve found it measures up to the quality of my Le Creuset. Not dissing Le Creuset, just sayin’…
I will surely use this sauce base for quickie winter Bouillabaisse’s and Cioppino’s. Especially festive recipes for entertaining during the busy holidays – feeling the breath of September in the chill of December.
Tips: ♥ If you’ve a Trader Joe’s in your area, I recommend purchasing their Greek Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil or their President’s Reserve Italian. Italian friends (with vineyards) have informed me that Trader Joe’s purchases first class oils, yet we don’t pay first class prices. The long simmer obliterates the nuances of Maserati extra virgins. ♥ When I’ve leftover wine, I freeze it. Certainly not to drink, but to use in sauces such as this. Or if you’ve a bottle of red that’s been out a few days, that would be a good candidate for the sauce. ♥ By the way, you know not to ever, ever refrigerate tomatoes, right?
What do you get when you cross a 26-year-old Weber grill frame with boards, leftover deck paint, galvanized screen, and rope?
A party on a bar cart! Just in time for the Labor Day weekend. We got the idea from daughter, Greta. She’s developing a line of bar carts to complement her Coleman (bar) stools. Richard and I share her love of repurposing, particularly when integrating industrial aesthetics into the design. We came up with our own, easy-to-make, bar cart.
Our new house came with a Weber gas grill, circa 1988. Although it still worked, we decided to update to a new Weber (natural gas) Spirit Grill, but decided to keep the original sturdy frame (pictured).
We sanded a few of the rusty areas, wiped them clean, and painted the base with a rust-resisitant spray.
To make trays for the cart, Richard inserted screws (with an electric screwdriver) into mitered corners of his prepared wood to secure them together.
He finished the sides of the trays with outdoor (deck) paint.
To make a bottom for the trays, he tacked two layers of heavy galvanized screening into the frame. Over this screen, for added stability, I placed two removable lucite trays.
For decoration, we glued rope around the top tray lid; made rope handles for bottom tray; and wrapped remaining rope around two-thirds of each handle.
The bar cart comes in handy when juggling several items to cook on our new Weber grill.
We placed lucite trays on the top and bottom of the galvanized screening and VOILA! Instant bar!
Our new, fixer-upper lake house came with a Weber gas grill, circa 1988. Even though the geriatric grill worked like a charm, we decided to upgrade to a natural gas grill, to complement our charcoal grill. The old frame was very sturdy, so we decided to keep it. It was easy navigate, and the base and wheels are in excellent shape. I’ve included a “recipe” below for making your own cart, if you’re lucky enough to have access to an old grill frame.
Side note: Here are favorite recipes for “repurposing” the plethora of fresh local produce that’s filling gardens and stands right now. In Michigan, we’ve got another 8-10 weeks to revel in the glory!
Food writer by trade, curious cook by design.
The past 30 years have witnessed a raucous race from my professional to
home kitchen - persnickety customers, petulant children and piles of dirty dishes
lie in my wake. And the dinnerFeeds - well - they
are my story. More about Peggy and this site...
Taste buds prickle; wanderlust triggered. An Argentine barbecue (asado)
enticed me to Patagonia. A friend gave me a vial of ground sumac berries--4 months later I was
waking at dawn to the "Call To Prayer" in Turkey. Porcini to Tuscany, and so on. Read more about my chronicles of
trips and favorite associated recipes. Browse my travel recipes...
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