September … the “do-over” opportunity of the year …a new leaf of the calendar while the trees send out “save the date” cards for October. But first, there are apples to be picked and hay wagons to ride. Pies to bake. Soup to simmer.
September … the “do-over” opportunity of the year … a new leaf of the calendar while the trees send out “save the date” cards for October. …
September sees ... kindergarteners holding tight to shiny new lunchboxes ... high schoolers gearing up for the season’s first pep rally … college students, lugging books and laptops, settling into new dorms, classrooms and their spot on the quad. … Parents wake early to pack lunches, wait for text messages or back-to-school night or parents’ weekend. They sigh audibly over scrapbooks of birthday parties so recently past.
September is filled with ... crisp mornings and warm sweaters … bright yellow school buses … new boxes of fat, waxy crayons … dog-walking weather. …
Doors open, doors close, staying ajar for reminiscence. Thanksgiving plans will be e-mailed next week, transportation booked to visit family for the winter holidays.
But first, there are apples to be picked and hay wagons to ride. Pies to bake. Soup to simmer. Leaves to rake. Closets to clean. Leaf-crunching walks to take.
Like a poem, the rest of September stretches ahead in a rhyme. Then October’s bright blue days and orange pumpkin nights. And early November winds. So much autumn yet to enjoy.
IVY LEAGUE BEETS IN ORANGE SAUCE
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan. Gradually whisk in vinegar and orange juice. Place over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring; cook, 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce is thick and bubbly.
2. Add beets; stir in orange juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Season. Just before serving, cut butter into pieces; stir in until melted.
APPLE-MAPLE BREAD PUDDING
Makes 6 servings
1. Whisk together eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a bowl until well blended. Add bread cubes; press into liquid to cover. Let soak at 30 minutes, occasionally pressing on bread cubes to keep covered with the liquid.
2. Preheat heat to 350 degrees. Generously butter a loaf pan.
3. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apple slices. Cook, stirring, until golden and barely softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the additional maple syrup and brown sugar, simmering gently for 1 minute, until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens. Set aside.
4. Add half the apple slices to bread mixture and transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Arrange remaining apples slices over the top. Spoon any remaining syrup from the skillet over the apples. Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.
6. Bake until puffed on top and apples are deeply golden. Remove from oven; let rest at room temperature 45 minutes. Brush apples on top with any syrup left in the skillet. Serve warm.
APPLE SLAW WITH HONEY-LIME DRESSING
Makes 10 servings
1. Make a dressing by whisking together mayonnaise, honey mustard, lime juice, salt, pepper. Set aside.
2. Toast pecans in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 6 minutes; set aside to cool.
3. Core apples. Leaving the peel on, cut into thin strips; toss with lemon juice; add cabbage, carrots, onion; toss. Pour the dressing over this mixture; toss again to combine. Refrigerate, 30 minutes to 2 hours for flavors to blend.
4. Stir in the pecans just before serving.
Linda Bassett is the author of “From Apple Pie to Pad Thai: Neighborhood Cooking North of Boston.” Reach her by e-mail at KitchenCall@aol.com.