The beloved Mark Bittman.
I have been called many things: charming, delightful, dazzling. Also: trouble, insufferable, a pain in the ass, and most recently, a food snob.
And at the very least, the last is true. And with food snobbery comes pickiness, a propensity toward judgement, perpetual quiet (or in my case loud) criticism, and a certain “look at my cuisineyness.” I apologize to those who I bombard.
Here is one of my favorite look at my cuisineyness meals. I call it the Elitist’s Mac and Cheese, and I lord it over anyone who proudly prepares Kraft Mac and Cheese. But really it’s easy and delicious and I’m kidding about the pretentiousness (mostly).
Sauté up whatever vegetables are lying around, or came in your CSA share. The above is shallots, garlic, and swiss chard. Cook some pasta, preferably whole wheat. Grate more cheddar cheese then you think you could fathomably enjoy. Combine everything, sprinkle breadcrumbs on top, and put it in the broiler. When it’s crispy and gooey, eat it. And be sure to dress for dinner, use big words, gesture emphatically and enjoy pompous wine while you do so.
When seated at the dinner table at seven-years-old, I remarked to my highly literal father (who does not take kindly to hyperbole), “I could eat an artichoke every day.” And so, for the next 365 days an artichoke appeared diligently on my plate, as if this would please and delight me. Try explaining exaggeration to a parent at eight; I promise you it is ineffective.
This is when I learned that variety indeed is the spice of life. And cinnamon, it turns out, is the spice of butternut squash soup. And from these two lessons comes the great joy of eating seasonally. Months change, and so do our eating habits. Clearly, we’ve been appledated. But additionally, now we’re getting squashed, and pumpked, and yammed. And most of these autumn ingredients landed in this week’s soup.
We managed to accumulate onion, garlic, butternut squash, a yam, and [more] apples in our CSA this week: clearly soup in the making. So all of the above got roasted up, then blended, then cooked with vegetable stock, orange juice, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
And the fall variety was served. (Artichokes be damned.)
This is what my better half said to me this evening when sorting through our share: “We’ve gotten enough apples this season to make Steve Jobs blush.”
And then: “…Too soon?”
But truly, even our fair missed friend would agree that we have suffered the inundation of apple season. With our influx of apples, we’ve made applesauce, apple butter, appley meals, and apple deserts. We have been, for all intents and purposes, applified.
For some decadent examples, last weekend we indulged in heavenly apple challah french toast. (I also admit we went leafing… please don’t hate us.)
CSA share apples and radish salad with an apple cider vinaigrette. It had a very fall-like bite and a sweet crispy finish.
And the healthiest apple crisp you can imagine made with (obscene quantities of) apple, oatmeal, pecans, cinnamon, honey, salt, and butter.
Next up apple-butternut squash soup. Appley yourself.