Sunday, September 30, 2012

more coolage, less normalcy

As hot as summer was, fall arrived right on schedule - early even, shouldering its way in in a succession of days that alternated between the 80s and the 50s. This morning is an unequivocally fall day - most of the leaves have turned, and there's grey mist hanging on everything. Fall is like that friend whose spouse you can't stand - you're glad to see them, but it's never just them you have to deal with. It's not even the cold of winter that I mind as much - there's a good chance New England has settled into a pattern of mild winters punctuated by extremely cold or snowy ones - it's the darkness, which is so so much worse at northern latitudes.

I'm definitely very affected by that darkness, and have trouble waking up in the morning - despite being a morning person the rest of the year - and just as much trouble having any energy throughout the day. I have a Philips blue light - they didn't give me a free sample or anything, it was a Christmas present - and it works wonders, but it's still not as good as, you know, spring.

But for now it's fall. It's fall and I'm drinking my coffee waiting for Meet the Press to start, after which I'll get back to work on a horror story. Let's get you caught up in the meantime on the doings round the kitchen.

First, I won the internal poll in the Marx Foods cocktail/mocktail contest, and selected the Japanese juice sampler - bottles of yuzu, kabosu, and sudachi juice! - as my prize. Very very cool, and congratulations to Scofflaws Den, winner of the public poll.

Two important notions Caitlin had! First, corn and okra fritters - a basic fritter batter recipe (I winged it - flour cornmeal buttermilk egg baking soda and salt - and added more flour after the first few) with corn off the cob and chopped up okra, fried up in the deep fryer and served with deep-fried Cornish game hen and drizzled with honey:

Okra and corn fritters, cornish game hen

And a sandwich that started out as "what if we did a tomato sandwich Croque Madame style," i.e. in a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg and cheese sauce; my tweak was to replace the ham with leftover corned beef:

Croque madame tomato sandwich
And then! Nikki and I did our annual green chile / apple exchange - I sent her a box of apples (which I should have packed better, since the chestnut crabapples were crushed in transit), she sent me this:


So many chiles!

I made green chile mac and cheese and green chile cheeseburgers, as I always do. But the new thing ... oh man. You know, we have been doing this for some years now, and I was aware that green chile apple pie existed. I don't know why this was the first time I made it. This is the "test pie" - a hand-pie of apple and green chile filling inside puff pastry, just to see whether it was worth doing a full pie. It was.

Green chile apple pie
Green chile apple pie

Maybe you're thinking, why the fuck would you put vegetables in your apple pie, and I don't even have to go off at you about how the fruit|vegetable divide in cooking is recent, artificial, and mostly imaginary - because the green chiles just don't play like a vegetable here, they play like a seasoning. Like ginger or cinnamon. What vegetal character they have just accentuates the sweetness of the apples - the way sharp cheddar does, maybe? - and the heat goes perfectly with apple pie spices. It works really, really well.

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