Monday, September 29, 2008
The Affair Continues
***this was originally published on North Texas News in October 2005***
What is Autumn?
Autumn (often referred to as Fall in North America) is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition from summer into winter. In the temperate zones, autumn is the season during which most crops are harvested, and deciduous trees lose their leaves. It is also the season in which the days rapidly get shorter and cooler (especially in the northern latitudes), and of gradually increasing precipitation in some parts of the world.
Astronomically, it begins with the autumnal equinox (around September 23 in the Northern hemisphere, and March 21 in the southern hemisphere), and ends with the winter solstice (around December 21 in the Northern hemisphere and June 21 in the Southern hemisphere). However, meteorologists count the entire months of March, April and May in the Southern hemisphere, and September, October and November in the Northern hemisphere as autumn. An exception to these definitions is found in the Irish Calendar which still follows the Celtic cycle, where Autumn is counted as the whole months of August, September and October.
All though the days begin to shorten in July or August in the northern latitudes and in January and February in the south, it is usually in September or March where twilight becomes evidently shorter and more abrupt in comparison with the more lingering ones of summer.
What does Autumn mean to me...the continuation of an affair...and affair that began a few years back...at the Farmers' Market.
While strolling down the parking lot of Cherry Creek Mall it became clear-it was evident, it was everywhere...at every turn and at all the fresh food stations there was no doubting that the squash crops had come in. There they were-acorn, butternut, delicata, spaghetti, buttercup, turban...beautiful to the eye-their colors vibrating. Waiting to be touched, wanting to be picked up. How could I resist. I bought one of each, my arms would not need a conventional weight work out this weekend!
And there I was...my kitchen counters taken over with my own fall harvest...Sure these squash made a beautiful display...one may even think that I was hosting my own cooking show...but no! I had an issue on my hands. I had 10 pounds of squash and NO idea what to do with them.
What is a gal to do...break open the cookbooks, call her friends, spend time on the internet...seeking the perfect squash recipes! Before the baking could occur, identification was in order. What in the world did I have? The New Basics Cookbook proved to be a great place to learn the names of my new acquisitions. And this is where the fun began...
That was 2 years ago...and I am still looking, still searching, wanting, waiting, yearning for the perfect squash recipe...I have boiled, baked, sauted, pureed, roasted...added nuts, cheese, tomatoes, onions, shallots, risotto...
Each fall I look forward to the continuation of this affair...the challenge of Autumn...I may never be satisfied...
Until then, I might suggest going to epicurious.com and searching Butternut Squash-while a bit difficult to cut, this one, dare I say, may be my favorite variety...shhh...don't let the others know...on the counter waiting to be held and experimented with are delicata and spaghetti...
Ahh...the Autumn Hash is just about ready...this one will be paired with a Pinot Noir...