Fall is really here now in fullness. Outside my window, the ground is buried in oak leaves and acorns, and my potted plants are upturned daily by clever squirrels trying to hide walnuts underneath the dirt. Squirrels are very industrious this time of year. No nut goes unhidden. Outside my door, there is a large walnut tree, and several towering oaks.
I've probably said it before, but Autumn food is my favorite. There is something about the roasty-toasty menus of Fall that feeds my belly and my spirit. Here are 5 of my favorite and simple Fall foods:
- Persimmons - There are two common types of persimmons, Fuyu and Hachiya. The Fuyus are harder and firmer and a rounder shape, while the Hachiya are larger and more plump and turn softer when they are ripe. I'm a fan of the Fuyus. You can eat them right off the tree like an apple. I live in a place that is blessed with an abundance of persimmon trees, and not only is it beautiful, but it means that there is food right at our fingertips. If you don't live where you can pick these off your neighbors trees, you might be able to find them at your local farmer's market. These are great as an anytime snack, and you can slice it and put it in the kids' lunch to change things up again.
- Satsuma Mandarins - Okay, these are really more of a winter fruit, but the season is just starting, so I'm including them in this list. These have been one of my favorite fruits since I was very small. They seem to hold a special magic because their season is so short and it peaks right around Christmas. As a child, the ease with which they peeled made me love them even more. Stock up on these while you can! Their moment is fleeting and they are always gone too soon.
- Roasted Roots - This is an old staple shared in many households. My mother made it often, as I'm sure did many of yours. Gather yams, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, beets, onion, garlic, and shallots for your root cellar. Keeping these around all the time will ensure that you will always, at a moment's notice, be able to cook a luxurious hot meal. Cut your preferred ingredients into chunks, and pile it up in a 9 x 12 glass baking dish. Cover the roots generously with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast it slowly in your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It can take a while to cook - usually around an hour or more - so this is always a good thing to do right after school or earlier in the evening so that when dinner time rolls around, everything is all set. You can add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the dish while you're cooking if desired.
- Soft/Hard Boiled Eggs - While this food isn't really limited to Fall, I often find myself craving them more often around this time of year. I love to prepare these and keep them around for easy, on-the-go power snacks; or I love them fresh and warm on toasted market bread for breakfast. There is something about the simplicity and the astonishing beauty of boiled eggs that seems to be of this particular season. To boil your eggs, place them in a pot of water and bring the water to a boil. Once it boils, cover the pot and turn off the burner. Keep the pot covered for 6-15 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your eggs. Run them under cool water when finished.
- Pomegranates - I couldn't leave these out! The multi-faceted ruby jewel of Fall, this fruit is mysterious, magical, and precious. I mean really, a faceted fruit? It's like eating crystals every day. I love pomegranates and scoop up as many as I can from neighbors, friends and the farmers market during this time. Lots of people juice them, but I just eat the seeds right out of the fruit. It's fairly messy and always delightful. If you've never eaten a pomegranate, I encourage you to do so immediately.
Really, I could have made that list go on and on. I did not discuss pumpkin and squash, or roasted stews, or eggnog, oatmeal stout, winter porters. It's endless, really. This is a time for feasting and nourishing ourselves deeply and richly. The foods are warm and the beers are dark. Tea brews at all hours of the day, and coffee steams in the misty mornings, calling us to action, welcoming us to our days.
Whatever you eat at this time of year, may it bring you love and strength in all that you do.
All the love,