Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

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Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jenise » Sat Oct 05, 2013 6:06 pm

Although I was in Georgia this week when the first true winter storm came along (a tad too early), that I left summer on my way out and came home to Fall is undeniable. To restock the fridge today, I went a little crazy on greens and squashes and braising meats. Oh joy, this is my favorite time of year to cook. What's yours?
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:29 pm

I agree with you Jenise. Autumn is not quite here yet, but I can see some trees starting to change, and the leaves are falling from a few of the oaks. We are hoping for another WOW color year for Redding. Between this area, and the mountains, the color is breathtaking. Several years ago, we did a new landscape of our yard. We added many trees that have color in the Fall and blooms in the Spring. This also means lots of leaves, many leaves, millions of leaves. The oaks drop leaves all the time, but the Japanese Maples, and trees we brought it drop it all. Gene gets really busy this time of year. When the wind comes up we get leaves from our neighbors, as well. It is lots of work for him and we actually have to store leaves in huge plastic bags, because we are at our limit on the amount of yard waste cans we can have from the City. The week of Halloween is when our weather usually changes into Fall, I can hardly wait.

About the braising of meat.....I have done two dinners already with braised meats, as it is one of my favorite ways to cook.

By the way, what part of Georgia were you in?
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Robin Garr » Sat Oct 05, 2013 9:29 pm

Jenise wrote:came home to Fall is undeniable.

It's still very much summer here. If nature takes its course, we'll finally get a frost around Halloween and see peak leaf color then. It really hasn't started yet in the city, although it's coming soon.

The main thing I'm looking forward to, though, is bread. And pizza. And I'm thinking our new oven will make me very happy. :)
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Carrie L. » Sun Oct 06, 2013 10:34 am

It's definitely Autumn here in Maine. Our colors have popped about 1/3 of the way to peak. I've done a few fall meals so far. Lots of winter squashes, stuffed, roasted pork chops with a maple glaze and homemade apple sauce from a nearby orchard, and a "pseudo" lamb braise. Friends are coming to visit Tuesday and I'm planning on lamb shanks (finally found them!) for a "real" lamb braise. I'll also make a homemade apple pie with those same apples. We are in the low 60s during the day now. Crisp and cool. Yes, my favorite time of the year to cook too!
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Christina Georgina » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:28 am

Interesting question Jenise. As I think about it, my favorite cooking season is really the time of transition between EVERY season when you are anxiously thinking about what the next season will offer and begin dreaming and planning. Many times I sense a real craving for something without really thinking about it and it is always a seasonal anticipatory item or dish. Interesting how this, other than gardening, is one of the concrete ways I remain connected to the seasons.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Thomas » Sun Oct 06, 2013 2:55 pm

Colors have popped in the Finger Lakes but the temperature still says summer.

I'm a soup person, and so when the weather turns colder, I look forward to all kinds of soup making. I'm waiting for the first cool day so that I can make curry pumpkin soup. We've got about 2 dozen pumpkins this year and that means a lot of work to process and freeze for the winter.

All the basil is in and I've made a few dozen basil-olive oil ice cubes to store for winter pesto.

The figs are next. In a year like this, I get that second crop of figs that hardly ever matures here.

,,,and the leaves are raining down on us, as are the black walnuts, which can knock a person out!
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Sun Oct 06, 2013 11:05 pm

Just came back from a weekend in CT. The color change has started, and it's quite nice already. Maybe two more weeks to peak. (And it has been cool, no late summer heat spikes here.)
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jon Peterson » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:24 am

51 degrees in central Maryland this AM and it looks like fall. This is our second fall as we had cool weather in the end of Sept, then hot again last week, now cool. Baked potatoes and a pork roast last night for dinner and appreciated the heat from the oven.
Up to Connecticut this weekend for Liz's 40th HS reunion and as Jeff said I'm looking forward to the color change. Liz was in New Hampshire the weekend before and I'm sure she'll see a difference.
But to answer the question, Jenise - fall is baking season for us and we like baking the best! I'll grill all through the winter, too, but baking takes the cake. :)
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:34 pm

Thomas wrote:Colors have popped in the Finger Lakes but the temperature still says summer.

I'm a soup person, and so when the weather turns colder, I look forward to all kinds of soup making. I'm waiting for the first cool day so that I can make curry pumpkin soup. We've got about 2 dozen pumpkins this year and that means a lot of work to process and freeze for the winter.

All the basil is in and I've made a few dozen basil-olive oil ice cubes to store for winter pesto.

The figs are next. In a year like this, I get that second crop of figs that hardly ever matures here.

,,,and the leaves are raining down on us, as are the black walnuts, which can knock a person out!


If you have more black walnuts than you know what to do with, I'll take a care package and pay the postage. BW's are nonexistent here on the left coast (even at retail), and I adore them.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:39 pm

Christina Georgina wrote:Interesting question Jenise. As I think about it, my favorite cooking season is really the time of transition between EVERY season when you are anxiously thinking about what the next season will offer and begin dreaming and planning. Many times I sense a real craving for something without really thinking about it and it is always a seasonal anticipatory item or dish. Interesting how this, other than gardening, is one of the concrete ways I remain connected to the seasons.


I would never have thought to put it that way, but to the extent that I would say what I did about autumn and then add a "but...", the "but..." is all about what you describe. I'm someone who loves change and newness, and the seasonal transitions are the most interesting and challenging to me as a cook. Summer-to-autumn, however, ranks highest of all.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Thomas » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:50 pm

Jenise wrote:
Thomas wrote:Colors have popped in the Finger Lakes but the temperature still says summer.

I'm a soup person, and so when the weather turns colder, I look forward to all kinds of soup making. I'm waiting for the first cool day so that I can make curry pumpkin soup. We've got about 2 dozen pumpkins this year and that means a lot of work to process and freeze for the winter.

All the basil is in and I've made a few dozen basil-olive oil ice cubes to store for winter pesto.

The figs are next. In a year like this, I get that second crop of figs that hardly ever matures here.

,,,and the leaves are raining down on us, as are the black walnuts, which can knock a person out!


If you have more black walnuts than you know what to do with, I'll take a care package and pay the postage. BW's are nonexistent here on the left coast (even at retail), and I adore them.


I think they are all gone, but I'll take a look.

What's your method of opening the shells?
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:24 pm

Thomas wrote: What's your method of opening the shells?


You don't just use a regulation nut cracker of the type you'd use for a non-black walnut? I seem to recall that working, the one time I found myself under a walnut tree whose fruit appeared to be black, not standard.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Thomas » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:40 pm

Jenise wrote:
Thomas wrote: What's your method of opening the shells?


You don't just use a regulation nut cracker of the type you'd use for a non-black walnut? I seem to recall that working, the one time I found myself under a walnut tree whose fruit appeared to be black, not standard.


We may not be talking about the same walnuts. A nutcracker is relatively weak in the face of these walnuts. A bulldozer, maybe.

With English walnuts, moisture attacking them while they are still encased in their green hull can turn the brown shell black via hull deterioration. The walnuts from a black walnut tree come in a brown shell as well and in a green hull, too, but it is needle-like as opposed to the slick hull of the English walnut. I think the "black" refers to the inky droppings that the tree puts forth.

As far as I know, the black walnut tree is not comfortable on the West Coast. I believe its home is the Northeast and parts of the Midwest.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Redwinger » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:50 pm

If you ever try to remove the husk of a black walnut without protectiver gloves, you know why they are know as BLACK walnuts.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Thomas » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:01 pm

Redwinger wrote:If you ever try to remove the husk of a black walnut without protectiver gloves, you know why they are know as BLACK walnuts.


That's for sure. Oh, I kept saying hull when I meant husk.

When we moved to the Finger Lakes in 1984, the people we bought the place from warned us, but we did not listen. The first harvest taught us to let the squirrels have their way with black walnuts. Must have taken a year to get the stain out, and we needed a small sledge hammer to get at the nuts!

We also have English walnuts, so we are not deprived--unless the squirrels get them too.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jenise » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:46 pm

Oh wow, not at all what I thought. I judged the black walnut by the darker color of the skin on the nut itself and richer flavor--had no idea the shells were so different. Clearly what I thought I ran into here once wasn't a black walnut. So, you use a sledgehammer to open them?
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Thomas » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:57 pm

Jenise wrote:Oh wow, not at all what I thought. I judged the black walnut by the darker color of the skin on the nut itself and richer flavor--had no idea the shells were so different. Clearly what I thought I ran into here once wasn't a black walnut. So, you use a sledgehammer to open them?


I've been told that running a car over them works, too.
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Re: Ah Autumn, you're here! I've been waiting for you!

Postby Jeff Grossman/NYC » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:46 pm

A friend of mine has a black walnut tree. He wears gloves when harvesting and uses a heavy workman's hammer to open them.

I am not fond of the fermenty-tangy taste so I don't worry about them myself.
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