Monday, October 15, 2007

Changes in the Weather Bring Changes in the Kitchen

I love how it feels like Fall. Although Indian summers are not unusual in New York, it has felt like the summer heat has been lingering a bit too long this year. This past weekend, however, it really felt like the seasons had changed and Fall had arrived. The weather was cool and crisp, and if I could speculate, I would imagine the leaves on the trees changing colors and falling to the ground. But, really, how could I know that from my small New York City apartment?

The change in seasons really brings out my best culinary inspirations. In May, for example, I start anticipating the fresh produce, the great farm stands, vine-ripened tomatoes and all the wonders that make summer cooking great. Similarly, in the Fall, I get excited about cooking in cooler temperatures, letting the oven stay on a bit longer and eating heartier meals. The Fall in New York also brings some new vegetables to the farm stands and green markets like beets, brussel sprouts and squash.

This past weekend, on an autumn high, I made a great “Fall” meal complete with a very Fallish vegetable dish. I actually followed a recipe from this month’s Bon Appetite magazine – a brussel sprout and shallot hash. The recipe was so simple to make and took very little time. You begin by sautéing thinly sliced shallots in a bit of butter with some salt and pepper until they are almost caramelized. Once the shallots are near caramelization, add a bit of apple cider vinegar and about a teaspoon of sugar and reduce. After the vinegar has been reduced, remove the shallot mixture and sauté your thinly sliced brussel sprouts (trimmed, cut in half and then thinly sliced) in some extra virgin olive oil until tender. Once the brussel sprouts are just about done, add the shallot mixture and cook it together.

The dish was very hearty, healthy and satisfying. We ate this dish with the apartment window open and feeling the cool Fall night air in the background really made the meal. I look forward to more seasonal cooking this Fall - despite the nasty rumors I hear that the temperature is supposed to reach 72 degrees in New York City this week...

Until next time…

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