This is my favorite time of year. There are many reasons: college football, Thanksgiving looming, and cozy sweaters among them. Living in San Francisco, where the leaves don’t really change color and the air only gets warmer during autumn, I can definitively say that my favorite part of my favorite time of year is the produce. Almost everything is in season right now. At today’s farmer’s market, I picked up ruby red tomatoes, brussels sprouts, a butternut squash, a pomegranate and a pear, each the size of a softball, and giant plumes of kale. I also bought the sweetest beets I’ve ever tasted, with gorgeous, leafy fronts still attached and crisp.
This time of year, all I want to eat are soups and salads of various permutations. Roasted vegetables, some kind of grain, a vinaigrette, chopped nuts, and a dusting of some kind of cheese seem to be on a daily rotation right now. I roasted today’s butternut squash, and tomorrow I plan to simmer it with chicken stock, sage, cayenne, and maybe a bit of cream. With cheese toast, it will make a perfect lunch for a few days this week. My beets have been roasted and peeled, and I can’t wait to eat them with orange zest and lightly pickled red onions. I’ll sauté the greens tomorrow with olive oil and garlic, and toss them with pasta and walnuts. The pear and the pomegranate will shortly be folded into guacamole for a seasonal treat.
As for the tomatoes and the brussels sprouts, well… I could eat either of those in any number of forms. Some of the tomatoes will likely become bruschetta as a final adieu to summery weather. We’ll eat it on slices of grilled bread with a bottle of sparkling wine, and it will feel like life couldn’t possibly get any better.