Monday, September 28, 2009

Now *this* is fall!

The weather here today is nothing short of blustery. Tree-whipping, raindrop-slinging, shutter-shaking blustery. And I love it. This weather inspires a menu based around comfort foods. So long, cold salads. See you next year, outdoor grill. Bring on the CrockPots and roasting pans! To be fair, I do use my slow cookers year-round, but nothing says "fall" quite like a big simmering crock of chili and a pan of cornbread in the oven (too bad I made that last week, when the cooling temps suddenly jumped to 80 and humid...)

In keeping with my newest endeavor of local clean-eating whenever possible (it only seemed a natural progression) I picked up a few new things at the farmers' market last week. Selfishly, it's nice to see the crowds starting to thin (much easier to push a stroller and keep track of a sticky-fingered small boy while juggling my bags), though I know that means people aren't supporting the local farmers as much as they do the summer. I don't want to be just another fair-weather supporter, so I'm currently trying to get The H to let us join the local co-op.

Anyway, one of our latest pleasures has been enjoying palm-frond sized leaves of chard as a "nest" for farm-fresh eggs. I first tasted chard at our anniversary dinner a few weeks ago at a local-food restaurant, and I loved it. Amazingly, it was not hard to reproduce that great flavor and buttery texture at home. I love the guy who sold me the chard; he has consistently given me great advice regarding how to prepare his produce (he's the one who gave me sorrel for free a few months ago, simply because it would complement the dinner I told him I was planning) and the portions he sells are a remarkable value. The eggs, from another local farm, were a wonderfully creamy addition.

Tonight I will attempt to cook a market-bought spaghetti squash to go with our balsamic-marinated roasted chicken breast. This was supposed to be last night's dinner, but a too-long trip to the grocery store necessitated other plans. It's just as well; the howling weather outside much more perfectly matches the fall feel of this meal. I'm planning to stir up a spinach-barley risotto for another side. And tomorrow, it's off to the market again to get more eggs and whatever other treasures are there.

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