Traditions, as you may have guessed by now, have been a major influence in many of the posts that I share on this blog. It's the excitement and familiarity of annual events, foods and most of all time spent with family and friends that encourage me to write and share my stories and recipes. And now that we have officially entered my favorite time of year, the autumn harvest season, I thought I would share some favorite fall food suggestions with you.
The first weekend of autumn is the time when I prepare my jars of marinated eggplants. I started this tradition a few years back, and posted about it last September (you can click here for the recipe). I was inspired by my grandmother to start jarring eggplants. She would marinate and jar every year at this time so they would be ready for the holidays, so I was determined to keep that family tradition alive. I am very honored to say that this family recipe has garnered the most attention on my blog. To this day I am still getting nice comments about the post, and just a few weeks ago I was contacted by a woman named Lori who has a food blog of her own. Her family also jars eggplants and she was surprised to find that my recipe was almost the same as hers. So thank you Lori for the shout-out. Be sure to check out her fine food blog, Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a pumpkin junkie, so it goes without saying that I'm extra excited to dip into pumpkin foods, both new and traditional. Throughout this season I plan to share recipes for spaghetti squash and pumpkin ravioli. I'm also very excited to have my friend, Emma, share some pumpkin dessert recipes with you as we get closer to Thanksgiving.
Speaking of pumpkin, I have to tip my hat to Rita's Water Ice. The debate will always live on as to who has the best water ice, but in my opinion Rita's Pumpkin Pie and Caramel Apple cream ices are the ideal way to transition from summer to fall. Try going for the pumpkin ice with vanilla custard topping. Nice.
Nothing beats a crisp fall morning than a nice hot cup of coffee. An easy way to add some fall flavor to your next pot of joe is to sprinkle some cinnamon, nutmeg or my favorite, pumpkin pie spice, into your coffee grinds before brewing. If you're a fan of fall spices, you'll love this. Trust me. And what's a nice cup of hot coffee in the fall without a crisp, crunchy spiced wafer to dunk? My family gets a smile from ear to ear when those orange and black boxes start to appear in huge piles at the supermarket. Yeah, I know...they're sold year round. I don't pay attention to them until they're stacked a mile high in front of the store.
Wanna kick up your spiced wafers to dessert level? Add a smear of cream cheese. And if you're really in the mood for a treat, add a little bit of pumpkin butter on top of that. Fuggetaboutit!!!
Now I wouldn't be able to discuss fall foods without mentioning my new favorite seasonal treat — autumn beers. I have quickly learned to love the full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper beers that make their seasonal appearance, usually starting in late August. Each year, more and more brewers are jumping on the popularity of dunkel (dark) lagers, Oktoberfests and pumpkin ales. The beauty of it is that each brewer adds their own little twist or spin on the styles, so each version has it's own distinctive taste and the beer drinker benefits from the variety. I like to have a variety of each style on hand, but this year I hit the jackpot with the Samuel Adams Harvest Collection. It contains six different styles of beer, including Harvest Pumpkin Ale and what is one of my seasonal staples, their Octoberfest (yes, they spell it with a 'c'). So if you're interested in sampling seasonal brews, this is the best time of year to do so. Have fun, mix up the varieties and enjoy (and most of all, be safe).