As fall rolled in last week, we pulled in our last large heirloom tomato and had one final caprese salad using our dwindling basil, along with the highly touted, creamy and supple, Di Stefano Burrata – (acclaimed baker and co-owner of Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza, Nancy Silverton’s favorite). These incredibly fresh and flavorful ingredients, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a teensy bit of Maldon sea salt flakes made us wish we had a few more of those tomatoes. Bye bye summer veggies.
So now we move on to fall fruits and vegetables. We have a tiny orchard consisting of seven fruit trees that actually bare fruit (and three that just refuse to cooperate but look pretty.)
Our one Fuji Apple tree has been a delight and delivers the most crisp, refreshing, firm fruit. Each year the harvest gets better and better. Here is the first crop of 2012.
Our Laurel Bay Leaf Tree happily grows in a large pot in our patio, we inherited it from my mother, Betty. We pruned one wild growing branch the other day and ended up with a bunch of leaves that I hated the thought of throwing out, therefore, I tried drying them using tips I pulled off the internet. They made nice gifts for our friends.
All this change of season stuff got me motivated to decorate the house a bit for fall (which is my favorite season of the year.) I’ve never needed to purchase much in the decoration department as my mother had that area covered. She actually had a spare bedroom in her home which we called the “Christmas room.” It was chocked full of decoration paraphernalia. Not just Christmas items either…name a holiday or season and she had it covered. After she died, her things were divided between four households. Ten years later, my sister and I are still using wrapping paper we got from her. That woman loved celebrating the holidays with foods and decorations.
Well, once I had the decorations up, I got even more inspired and decided to bake pumpkin bread for hostess gifts for friends we were seeing that night. I was short on pumpkin and stewing over what to do – trying to avoid having to go to the store when my husband suggested substituting shredded apple to make up the difference. (We had a lot of apples.) It worked, albeit, I think they needed a bit more “punch” in flavor … next time, if subbing apple for half the pumpkin, I will add a bit more cinnamon and nutmeg. The texture was quite nice. They looked enticing wrapped in clear gift bags.
Fall brings a whole slew of veggies, fruits, and meats I love to cook with and consume. Of course, here in Southern California, the
introduction of fall brought 100+ degree heat too…I’ll be happy when the weather cooperates with my desire to bake and braise foods. It is a bit hot for the oven to be on here right now. But it’s never too hot for a great cup of tea, which I enjoyed while doing all the above work 🙂 My order of Organic Assam, Rani Estate grown from Mighty Leaf Teas got delivered just in time for me to keep my favorite tea flowing while all this changing of seasons was going on.