Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hello, Fall!

Today is September 22nd, the first day of fall. Did you know that? Goodbye summer, hello fall!

If you don't know me really well, you probably don't know that fall is my favorite time of the year. I don't really understand how people can like any other season more. Winter? Too cold, and Christmas is slightly overrated. Spring? It's much more fun to see the leaves fall off the trees than grow back, and pastels are certainly not my fave (I'm more of a dark purple type of girl). Summer? Sure, if you like heat and humidity and frizzy hair!

But fall... there is something to be said for fall. I don't have any recipes for you all today, but I do have my top ten favorite things about fall....

10. Foliage. At my high school, there were a group of trees out by the tennis courts that turned the most insanely vivid shades of red, orange, and yellow. Actually, those standard colors really don't do these trees justice. If these leaves were OPI nail polish colors, they would be "Yucatan If U Want," "Chop-sticking to My Story," and "The 'It' Color." I love seeing the leaves turn from green to these bright shades, and I really love seeing these leaves litter streets and yards and the "crunch-crunch" they make when you happen to step on them.

9. Sweaters and cardigans. Wow, I just realized how elderly this makes me seem. Last week I wore jeans and a cardigan twice, in hopes of willing the gods to make it just a little bit cooler. While mornings have been really nice here, by noon it's once again unbearably hot. Fall weather is just cool enough that you can wear jeans and a sweater and be comfortable for the entire day. I'm eager to return to my tried and true favorites this year.

8. Birthdays Birthday cakes. We have three fall birthdays in my family (my mom and dad, plus me), which means that in the past there has always been lots of birthday cake-eating. Thankfully these three birthdays are spaced almost exactly every two weeks, so you 1) are allowed enough time to eat the cake from the previous birthday and 2) forget how much of the birthday cake you ate from the previous birthday, so you are free to start the whole process over again. Cheesecake is of course my all-time favorite birthday cake, but the Million Dollar Cake I had last year comes pretty close.
In case you're wondering: a layer of flourless chocolate cake, a layer of cheesecake, and a layer of chocolate mousse, all topped with ganache and surrounded by cake.

7. The transition to winter. I know, I know, I shouldn't start babbling about winter when it's only just become fall. However, my family is unique in that we begin preparing for winter during fall. Really, once Thanksgiving is over, we kick into Christmas mode right away. And by right away, I mean the very next day. Also, the December editions of all our food magazines arrive about a week before Thanksgiving, so that's just their fault for making us think Christmas thoughts too early.

6. The new television season. In the past, when I watched multiple TV shows, I loved this time of year because it meant that all the new seasons were premiering. I now have only enough time and emotional energy for one show at a time, and it happens to be Grey's Anatomy. The premiere is tomorrow. I am so excited. I can't wait to see what happens with Derek and Meredith, especially after the shooting and the miscarriage, and I really hope Mark and Lexie get back together because Lexie certainly doesn't love Alex, who by the way is still in love in Izzie, and Cristina...

Sorry. I lost you there, didn't I? (P.S. I still miss George.)

5. College football. Hello, I live in the South. I go to college. I think I'm required to love college football. I'm trying to limit emotional involvement this season... we'll see how that goes. On a related note, I was walking today and heard Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall" from a car radio. First of all, the fact that I even know the artist and song title is pretty amazing. Second, I didn't totally hate it. I actually kind of enjoyed it. I think I have been converted into a country music listener. Taylor Swift is my new guilty pleasure. Third, I wish I just hadn't admitted that.

4. Fall produce. Now it can be hard to tell what traditionally "fall" produce - apples, butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts, for example - really is, since most of these items are available year-round in grocery stores. Nevertheless, no one really wants to eat roasted butternut squash in the summer, do they (well, I do, but I'll eat roasted vegetables any time)? And there is no denying that these foods (sweet potatoes and cranberries are some of my other favorites) just taste better this time of year. They're more likely local and you can eat them at their peak of deliciousness. My favorite way to enjoy fall produce is simple (or boring, you decide): Take a Honeycrisp apple, a sweet/tart and crisp variety, and slice it very thinly. Savor.

3. Being able to turn the oven on without feeling guilty. Really needs no explanation, except that being able to bake and roast foods not only becomes acceptable during these next few months but also completely welcome, since it makes the house (or residence hall floor) smell so good!

2. The return of my favorite fall dishes (plus the arrival of a few new ones). Among the best are Ina Garten's split pea soup, a savory saffron chickpea soup with rosemary walnut biscotti, pumpkin cheesecake, carrot ring, homemade applesauce (or pearsauce - try it some time!), toasted cheese sandwiches, roasted Brussels sprouts and all kinds of root vegetables, pumpkin scones at Starbucks, and butternut squash risotto. I'm eager to see what this year will bring in terms of new recipes.
One of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving desserts: pumpkin bread pudding with rum raisins.

1. Thanksgiving. So much eating. So much baking. All day (and in days prior). Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Watching Friends, or maybe Gilmore Girls (another thing that reminds me of fall). Getting dressed up for dinner at home. Taking a walk in the park before cooking. Saying what you're thankful for. Stealing one more bite of stuffing (and/or pumpkin cheesecake) before bed.

But enough about me. What are your favorite things about fall?


  1. what a great post! (have I told you lately how much I completely LOVE that you have a blog...and post on it?!) here's my short list:

    1. getting out the sweaters!
    2. the colors - and just like you, fall colors are so much more "me" than those pastel-y spring ones.
    3. (handknit) socks and danskos with jeans.
    4. the end of daylight savings time - that extra hour of sleep is the best.
    5. the thanksgiving magazine issues - I think you're the only one who seriously considers making anything new, me, I just love looking at the pictures!

    xxoo - m.

  2. pretty much ditto on what you've already said-love the cardigan's and jeans-am thinking you need a string of pearls now! love cinnamon, apple, pears, cloves and all those other fall food smells. comfort foods like mac and cheese (the ina kind)-although the calendar says it's fall, i wish the weather did too.