Although we’ve only had two evenings of a hard frost, it definitely is autumn in Vermont. It’s dark when I awake and turns dark soon after I return home from work. Long early evening walks have been moved to weekend days. The foliage is a brilliant orangey-yellow this year, yet with some rainstorms, the leaves are slowing falling. It’s time to make an appointment to put on the snow tires.
So with the change of seasons, comes a change in the kitchen. Dinners and lunches are soups, stews, and hardier meals. Gone are the days of salad suppers, the oven is now on and we’re eating food to warm the heart and soul: curried chicken, vegetable soups, lots of roasted root vegetables. So turns the page to another season, and another way of looking at–and cooking–food. Below are small pieces on two of my favorite fall foods, apples and homemade doughnuts.
Apple Salad a.k.a. Waldorf Salad
Every Sunday afternoon, from September through November, you can find me at our apple orchard a couple of miles away, selecting a week’s worth of apples, cider, and in October, my favorites, Concord grapes. This year my favorite apples are Greenings, a slightly sweeter version of a Granny Smith. With a little bit of peanut butter or cottage cheese, they are a perfect snack. But I usually tuck a couple of Macintosh apples in my bag for a salad.
Sometimes, I tire of the usual green salad accompaniment for dinner, or for dinner, and I whip up a quick apple salad, especially this time of year, since apples are plentiful. The only thing that takes time is cutting the apples, and if you don’t peel them, it takes even less time. Tossing everything into a bowl, mixing in the dressing, and you have a bright and nutritious fruit salad. And you can make it for one eater or ten!
I fixed this for a luncheon potluck one winter and it must have been memorable, because I received a request for the recipe more than six months later! I think of it as more of a fall/winter salad, but it truly is delicious any time of the year, as long as your apples are fresh!
In a mixing bowl, combine:
— Chopped, diced, unpeeled apples (although can be peeled if you prefer)
— One to two stalks, chopped celery
— A handful of chopped walnuts or almonds
— A couple of handfuls of raisins or currents
Add a choice of:
— mayonnaise and sour cream
— mayonnaise and plain yogurt
Mix until combined. The dressing should lightly cover the ingredients, just a couple of tablespoons each, it shouldn’t be heavy and thick. Chill in fridge, then serve!
When the calendar turns to September and October, the days start getting shorter, and there is a crispness in the air, it means one thing in my mom’s house: time to get out the large cast iron skillet and make some doughnuts! This fall tradition has been around as long as I can remember. Now, although our family is even bigger, we still gather together for an afternoon of making–and eating–doughnuts.
The big wooden cutting board is pulled out, and Mom rolls out the dough and then cuts each one carefully. No dough gets wasted, and my favorite doughnuts are the holes and pieces, because they are crisp, yet soft. The first batch goes in, and a few minutes later are draped onto a paper towel. I usually burn my tongue because I can’t wait to eat one from that first batch; it’s always the best.
Although I’m constantly watching my waistline, I brought a small bag home that I promptly stuck in the freezer for later eats. Relaxing on a Sunday morning after a long walk with dark coffee and a homemade doughnut is about as good as it gets!