A Sense of Autumn

How Autumn affects the senses… Ah! My favorite season!

I think I love nothing on Earth more than brightly colored Fall leaves. I always loved seeing the vivid yellows, oranges and reds around my native Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland and Virginia. When I was a teen, we lived in an old house in Northern Virginia with many different types of trees and they were beautiful in the Fall but, oh!, when they fell the mixture of the colors and shapes in piles on the ground it was my favorite part! I tried to take pictures, but old snapshots could never do justice and now, the pictures are fading.

When I lived in Idaho and Colorado, there was little color in the trees. Here in North Central Kentucky, the colors are seldom bright.
(The best I could find on a good year…but even those trees are now gone.)

The best of Autumn colors in N.Central KY.

The best of Autumn colors in N.Central KY.

 

I also love the clear, deeper blue skies in the lower humidity of the Fall.
As for smells, again, when I was young, burning leaves was not a pleasant smell, but common enough that if I were to experience it now, I am sure that many memories would be evoked. It is illegal to burn leaves just about everywhere now, so I may never know. I do miss having a fireplace.

Of course, smell and taste of cool/cold weather foods makes a comeback this time of year. My wall oven heats most of my small ranch house, so I never use it in hot weather. Once coolness returns, cookies and coffee cakes, roasts and chickens warm up the house via the oven during the evenings or biscuits and cornbread make the place toasty in the mornings.

The beef, pork or chicken bones and scraps I saved all Summer now go into the stockpot, or soups and stews may simmer on the stove all day.

Salads, slaws and corn-on-the-cob may be the vegetables of choice for the Summer, but now root vegetables take their place. Here is a recipe that can be made plain or in a short crust that is a family favorite. It is a hit with guests as well. Here is the version from my easy entertaining and recipe blog here at WordPress, Tonette Joyce: Food, Friends, Family:

Baked Autumn Vegetables en Croute…or Not ( with Vegan options)
Vegetables: One large sweet potato
Two large parsnips
One large turnip
Two large carrots or 1 cup of baby carrots
Boil individually until barely tender; peel and slice into short, thick strips.
Glaze:
¼ cup butter
2 Tbsp. Honey
dash of salt
1tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Vegan: omit butter and honey; use margarine and sweetener of choice.
In a saucepan, melt the butter with honey; add salt and ginger, plus vanilla extract. Pour over the vegetables, toss them to cover. You can bake these as they are and freeze them to serve them alone or to fill pastry with them later. You can also place them in the pastry, bake it and freeze it, ready-to-go.

Rustic Pastry
1 cups of flour
6 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cream
Egg wash (white of an egg, beaten with 1-2 tsp. water)

Mix all the four and butter, (in processor or with pastry cutter). Add the salt and cream. Knead into smooth dough and roll into a round-ish shape, keeping the pastry about ¼ inch thick. (It should not look perfect; it’s ‘rustic’.) Brush the inside with the egg wash. Place glazed vegetables in the middle. Pull the sides up toward the middle, pinching in as needed. (Do not try to make it meet in the middle.) Press the ends down and around and press down on the top; brush with more of the egg wash. Wrap well and freeze, or bake at 375F until the pastry is well-browned. Cool completely and wrap well, zipper-bag store and bake warm to serve.
Vegan: Substitute margarine for butter, 1-1/2 Tbsp Almond or Rice milk for cream.
Omit egg wash, use melted margarine.

Any tart, savory or sweet, should look much like the pictured Brie en Croute

Any tart, savory or sweet, should look much like the pictured Brie en Croute

This will look very much like above, Brie en Coute, a warm appetizer for a cool evening:( The directions below are for individual-sized brie appetizers. I usually make a whole one.)
1 Rustic Pastry
1 Baby Brie
Small amount of Topping
[I often use Cranberry Relish, which I posted here, at 4F, 1H, under “Relish Cranberries”on October 24, 2014 ]
Or Use a jarred all-fruit
Or pie filling ,(added nuts, optional)
Or Butterscotch/Caramel ice cream topping; add nuts

Roll and cut small rounds of pie crust . Place very small portions of brie in the center; top with a very small amount of topping of your choice. Fold the crust around the cheese and topping and pinch to close. (Try to keep them closed or at least, keep the opening on the very top.
Brush with egg wash,(beaten egg mixed with 1 tsp water.) to create a nice golden brown.
Place on a greased baking sheet,(can use oil spray), or use parchment paper.
Bake @375F until golden brown. Serve warm. May be made ahead and re-heated carefully.

[Want to go Gluten-free or Low-carb? Omit the ‘croute’!  Bake the vegetables alone. For  the Brie,  let it sit to a warm room temperature and hour and place warmed topping over it before serving.]

The feel of cool air send me to my cedar closet for sweaters and wraps. The thin, breathable cotton shirts I wore all Summer are exchanged for synthetics in layers or heavy cotton pullovers before the woolens come out for Winter. Comforters make their way back to the beds and “throws” are on every chair and sofa for sitting around reading or watching TV and movies.

Dry leaves rustling in the wind or crunching under foot is the quiet, yet biggest, sound of Fall for me. Of course, there is the continual debates on whether it’s too cool to keep the windows open; it seems that seldom is more than one person comfortable at any one time either way!

I think I’m covered my senses in Autumn.

Did I make you think of any more?

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About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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5 Responses to A Sense of Autumn

  1. jeff7salter says:

    I’m one of those people who can’t read a recipe and make much sense of it. But if you recommend it, I’m sure it tastes terrific.
    Yes, I love the feel, sound, and look of brightly colored leaves.
    As far as weather goes, it seems this very night we’ll be down below freezing… so all those comforters and sweaters you just retrieved will come in handy.

    Like

  2. The recipes sounded great. We started baking here the past few days. Chocolate chip muffins, my sister was surprised when told they were from scratch (she thought we used a box mix), it was a lot of fun. We’ll be baking this weekend as well since we are having a dinner party.
    I would love to someday have a wall oven. I bet your house smells wonderfully this time of year.

    Like

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Love your post. The veggies en croute sounds amazing! Someday I’ll have to try it, if the kitchen king in the house ever takes a day off. He does let me make soups and stews, and I love using leftover meat and carcasses to make them.

    Like

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