|courtesy of Allie at Allez, Allie!, a great blog about|
two of my fave things, travel & life in Brooklyn
1. Back to School!!! It's insane how just a few extra weeks of summer vacation can make me miss the library and the wacky cast of characters I call students. Now I get to warn them that getting kicked out of the library may be even more painful since my leg is made out of metal! Until my triumphant return to the library desk though, I can dream of how best to prepare my traditional back to school supper - spaghetti and meatballs. For as long as I can remember, my first day of school ended with a heaping plate of saucy pasta with huge lumps of seasoned ground beef and loads of parmesan cheese that I shoveled into my mouth between breaths and exasperating tales of new teachers and trapper keepers. Even though I cook for myself now, I still hold up the tradition of fixing this meal when my first day rolls around. This year, I'm dreaming of cheese stuffed meatballs, mmmm.
2. Football Sundays. I like to root for the underdogs and here in New York that's the Jets. J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets! No offense to my boys in green, (especially you, Nick Mangold, you Viking god!) but they have been known to let me down every once in awhile. You know what doesn't let me down, though? Football food. Bleu cheese dip, chili with cornbread, beer braised sausages, and the ultimate buffalo wings. Based on the incredibly classic wings from Chuck's Spring Street Cafe in Princeton, I believe I have perfected the art of crispy and spicy morsels of meaty goodness to serve up with cold dressing and celery sticks. Mmmm I can't wait.
3. As the temperature drops, I start to pile on the layers in a fashion I like to refer to as "librarian chic." This includes lots of cardigans, collared blouses, vintage dresses, knee socks, tights, and my personal favorite, sweater vests! I am in love with fall fashion because it's oh so flattering on pretty much everyone and it fits very well into my lifestyle and with my career choice. And how beautiful are fall colors? Maroon, burnt orange, aubergine, hunter green, heather, mustard... like a forest only softer because it usually comes in cashmere instead of crunchy leaves. Trying to incorporate crutches and my giant black space boot into my fall fashions is going to be a challenge, but my bedazzler is at the ready just in case!
4. Spices. Autumn colors aren't limited to fashion. Those spicy oranges, reds and brown exist in cooking as well and boy oh boy do I love the taste of autumn. Spicy red chicken paprikash with smoky paprika from Spain and a spicy red paprika from Hungary. The dark oranges of pureed pumpkins and squashes. Sweetly spicy cinnamons, nutmegs and gingers in can't resist baked goods like these molasses spice cookies. The almost black brown of dark chocolates (although for me, that's kind of a year round color!) The deep yellows of curries and mustards. And of course the spicy reds and oranges of all of those football Sunday hot sauces! That lazy susan in my spice cupboard better shape up because she's gonna be spinning soon.
5. Number five is for the 5th of October, also known as my birthday. Though I'm not particularly fond of my birthday, I am a fan of birthday confections. I also love that on my birthday, I get to eat whatever I want and don't have to make anyone happy except for me! A lot has happened since my last birthday and I'm very eager for this new year to begin. Unfortunately, I kind of skipped a year and thought that this past year, when I was 27, I was actually 28. So to make up for that missing year, I'm going to make sure the real 28 is worthy of two years of my life. Trust me, it will be awesome. And even if I'm unable to get myself mobile and motivated enough to bake an extraordinary birthday cake, there will be some amazeballs confection to put candles on top of... you can be sure of that!
|how about this 28 layers of color cake that darius of Serious Eats got for his birthday?|
6. I love candy, I love spooky things, and I love dressing up so naturally, Halloween is my absolute fave holiday ever. Since I don't get too many trick or treaters (I've only got two kids that live in my building) and my students are already overloaded with sugar by the time they swing into the library, I don't really get to buy the big bags of candy and spoil anyone. But this year, since my going out options will be pretty limited, I think I might have to make some super spooky sweets to share with some of my pals. I've kinda been itching to bust out that candy thermometer again and what better time of year than now? But before I decide what tasty treats to concoct for All Hallow's Eve, I need to figure out what I'll be dressed up as. Considering the crutches and one-leggedness, the only costumes I could think of are Pollyanna (but she's blonde,) Tiny Tim (but I'll save that for Christmas in case I'm still gimpy,) and a flamingo. Help me out dearies! I need some costume ideas that incorporate my metal crutches!!!
7. Apples apples and more apples. I probably won't make it to the orchard for apple picking this year, but I'm quite certain I'll make it to the green market in Union Square which may as well be an orchard with the countless varieties of apples that get brought in each year. Like the old adage recommends, I eat an apple nearly every day. I love walking through the market and grabbing one as a to-go lunch. I have a particular fondness for the crispy, juicy varieties but try not to discriminate. This year, to celebrate my fondness of the sweet and savory along with my love of bacon, I plan on preparing an apple pie with at least four types of apples and a pie crust made with pork fat! How amazing does that sound?? I'm really excited about developing that recipe but at the same time, I'm a little nervous. Why? Because believe it or not, I've never ever baked a pie from scratch. I know - shocker of the century! I plan on perfecting a pie by the time I'm 30, so I'd better get started. But apples aren't just reserved for pie. I plan on preparing some cider donuts, tarts, ice cream (I think I forgot to mention that I got a hand-me-down ice cream maker!!!,) stuffed pork chops, chutney, the possibilities are endless. By the end of the season I might even be able to write my own Apple Lover's Cookbook... but in case I don't, y'all could buy me this one for my birthday. hint hint
8. The big, beautiful, orange orbs of harvest moons. Some years there are a few of them and most years, you get a prequel and sequel of the actual Harvest moon because it seems to go on a few days before and after the actual date. This year's Harvest moon happened to fall on September 12 and was truly magical and quite impressive. Unfortunately, I was still laid up in the hospital seeing stars (I was pretty doped up on morphine.) No matter though, because I'll always have Neil Young.
9. How about some super suppers served in bowls. When you open up my kitchen cabinet, there is a small stack of plates and about 70 bowls of various shapes and sizes. You may wonder why one gal would have so many bowls. The answer is simple - I love all foods that are served in bowls. But more than any other spooned food, I particularly enjoy the kinds of meals that cook for hours on top of the stove or in the oven. Hours and hours and hours. Soups and stews are among my favorite meals. I get such a kick out of rummaging around through the fridge, cabinets and pantry to dig up ingredients for some creative new concoction that I can ladle into a bowl and sop up with a chunk of hearty, homemade bread. Last year I worked on beef & beer stew, buffalo chicken and corn chowder, hearty seafood soup, and a curried lamb & lentil stew. I wonder what my brain has in store for my belly this year!
10. Thanksgiving feasts. All of my favorite homey goodness and comfort food on the table at once? Yes, please! I know it's a bit early, but I've already started preparing my Thanksgiving menu. I like to stick to the traditional foods with only a few tweaks like pork belly in the brussel sprouts or cooking cornish hens instead of a huge turkey. I'm pretty confident that I've got the side dishes down pat and the main course is quite obvious (well, we know it will be some form of poultry,) so this year I'm focusing on the desserts. And this year, I'm think pumpkin spice whoopie pies! Oh. Yeah.
So stay tuned, gang! Let's fatten up together in preparation for the cold weather.