Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy First Day of Fall!

Fall is here and I'm doing the happy dance! And - like a miracle here in the warm south - we are having a truly fall-like day.
It is cloudy and slightly rainy, blustery and cool. I cannot describe to you how giddy that makes me...
And outward signs of fall are here as well. Just look at our fig tree below. It's almost bare! It starts losing its leaves in August when we are still sweating profusely. Every year I think it must be sick or confused, but it always turns out to be right on fig-tree-time getting ready for winter.
Our crepe myrtle leaves turn the prettiest colors before they fall.
And the crepe myrtle tree is also starting to look bare. Both the fig tree and this one look beautiful all winter long without leaves and their gorgeous branch structures showing.
Fall also means that the berries on our beauty berry bushes are turning their bright bright pink color. Don't they look unreal? And guess who likes to eat them? The mockingbirds. We never see them in our backyard unless these berries are ripe. I recently read that you can make really tasty jelly from the berries and that the whole bush has serious mosquito repellent action. I might have to sew some clothes from the leaves for me for next summer...  Seriously considering it!
Tucker, one of our outdoor kitties is happy as well that it's getting cooler. Ok, you can see it's not really cold yet - I'm still barefoot and wearing flip-flops, but it's cool enough to know that summer is on the way out! That's good enough for me. And Tucker.
Fall is my "favoritest" (to quote Derek from the wonderful Netflix series by that same name) season. It holds the promise of all that I love: Knitting and crocheting soft and warm goodies. (These beauties are in my Etsy shop just waiting for you!)
Baking! Oh, how I love to bake! I've now made these delicious and good-for-you blueberry muffins a couple of times and they are yummy. You can find the recipe by clicking here.  I substituted coconut palm sugar for the brown sugar, left out the cinnamon on the second batch and used frozen wild blueberries. The muffins freeze great to have on hand for a little snack now and then. In fact, I might need one right now!
And soup! I could eat soup every day!! And this one is particularly easy and delicious. So delicious that I'll share the recipe with you!  (The bread is the Swedish Limpa Bread - excellent!! -  from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. If you want to make hassle free breads, check out their website. They also have all kinds of gluten-free recipes for those of you who need to watch your gluten intake.)
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Green Chile Cream
from Dinner at the Authentic Cafe

One 2-pound butternut squash
3 T olive oil
2 medium-size shallots, minced (2 T)
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground white pepper
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup mild honey, such as orange
2 t kosher salt (I use sea salt)

1. Preheat oven to 400℉.

2. Rub the squash with 1 T of the oil, place it in a small shallow baking pan, and roast until the skin splits and the squash is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 hour. Let the squash cool slightly, then peel it, cut it in half, and remove the seeds and the inner membranes to which the seeds are connected. Mash the pulp. You should have about 3 cups.

3. Heat a large, nonreactive saucepan over low heat. Add the remaining oil and heat it, about 1 minute. Cook the shallots, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 1 minute, then add the spices and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

4. Place the squash pulp in the same pan and cook it, stirring constantly to prevent sticking, for 2 minutes. Add the water and bring the soup to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the honey and salt.

5. Simmer the soup, stirring often to keep it from sticking, for 30 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender, food processor or in the pan using a hand-held blender.

6. Ladle the soup into bowls and place a dollop of Green Chile Cream on top. Serve immediately.

Green Chile Cream

1 medium-size poblano chile
1 medium-size jalapeño chile
1 t olive oil
1 1/2 T sour cream or crème fraîche
1/2 t kosher salt
pinch ground white pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400℉. Rub the chilies with the oil and place them in a small shallow baking pan. Roast them until the skin begins to blister, about 20 minutes. This may be done at the same time you are roasting the butternut squash for the Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Do not overcook the chile or the flesh will become to fragile to handle. Place the chilies in a small, nonreactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let them "sweat" for 5 minutes. Peel the outer skin from the chilies and remove the stems and seeds.

2. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor (I cut everything up quite small and then use my hand-held blender to blend it) until very smooth (we personally don't mind it a little chunky).

This may look involved, but it really isn't. If you roast the chilies along with the squash, then that's all done at the same time. The rest is easy peasy. And so good! The soup is almost sweet and the chile cream has a nice kick - a perfect combo!

I hope you are having at least as good a day as I am having!! Enjoy this Autumnal Equinox with it's balance between night and day, light and dark.

With much love and fall-giddiness,


P.S. I can still tell that I had a clerical job for many years - I typed up that recipe like the wind! The wind!! I totally rock. ;-)


  1. Loved your post! So filled with fall goodies. It is a season I love too! A season of such bounty. Love those beauty berries. They are wild all around our cabin. Enjoy!!!

  2. Your giddiness shines through this post in every line, dear Silke :-)

    The pink berries look like plastic, and I didn't know they are edible for humans. Please make that jam or jelly and try it for us!

  3. Thanks for the recipes. It's nice to know that there is someone else out there who loves Fall. Brisk temperatures, sweater weather and great walking weather - not to mention the crunch, crunch of walking through brightly coloured leaves.