Just two weeks ago, summer still traipsed about in her gown, lounging around the city like a lazy debutant. She would flop down, leaning against twin peaks, her hair mussed and a donut in her hand. Fall? she’d ask with a smirk. Yeah, I’ve heard about that. Whatever. Then she’d carelessly wipe the crumbs from her skirt and take her adolescent boredom down to the Mission.
I haven’t seen her in a few days though. The sunlight is slanting and golden, the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and I feel myself awakened by a charge in the air. Autumn being transitional, I always find this season to be more energizing than the lazy slump of summer. The winds blow and I fall back into my own skin. Or perhaps I’m like a cicada…having ripened and shifted under a cloudy shell, late summer finds me breaking out of what was protecting but has since grown far too small. Hello shiny self, nice to see you.
You know what else is nice to see? Familiar friends at the farmer’s markets and on the trees.
Have you had padron peppers yet? If not, go out today and FIND THEM. That’s an order…and as long as we’re ordering, I’ll have a whole plate, please.
There’s probably many ways to eat them, but the way I like best is how they serve ’em in Spain. Oily, hot and salty. I would also recommend a cold beer and even sharp sheep cheddar, if you like that kind of thing. Cook ’em around 5pm, just as you’re ready to put your feet up and watch the slanted sunlight turn everything into magic.
Rather than stir them around, let them get singed on each side. Keep gently rolling every 30 seconds to a minute. You want all the sides to be browned, a little bubbled, and soft. They can even get a teeny bit burned, but don’t over do it.
Let them cool on a paper bag. They should look like this when done. Give ’em another sprinkle of sea salt, grab one by the stem, and chomp. The little ones are mild, but the bigger ones have a nice kick. Keep your beer close by.
The other late summer joy, that is really just getting started, are APPLES.
We were just in time this last weekend to harvest our trees in Shasta. One tree was perfect, the other was already dropping softened fruit to the ground. Each night, a mother doe and her baby visited the orchard to crunch the fallen fruit. I made a point of making sure there was plenty on the ground each evening. (We also witnessed a fun piece of interspecies friendship, watching a stray cat stalk the fawn, who responded by leaping and bouncing about and then returning to mama to nurse. Mama’s milk must have tasted like apple cider).
Can you use a cattail?
We brought back enough for a pie or two. Last night we made crisp.
Vegan and Wheat-free Apple Crisp
4 cups thinly sliced apples
2 T honey
1/4 tsp spice
1 tsp arrowroot
pinch sea salt
Add all ingredients and stir until well coated.
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour (or a combo, like 1/2 c oat flour and 1/2 c rice flour)
1/2 tsp spice
1/2 c coconut oil
2 T honey or maple syrup
Mix ingredients, until mixture is crumbly and coarse.
Put your apples in a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle the topping…uh…on top. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Check the crust at 20 minutes in and protect with foil if it’s getting too brown. Let it cool for a bit, then serve it up.
On a totally unrelated, gratuitous note, there was a package from Ms. Rose awaiting me when we got home from our trip. It contained love and generosity and the bad-ass accessory of my dreams.
Autumn might be arriving, but in the Bay Area, this also means we are heading into our Indian Summer. Perfect timing for thrifted metallic dresses and harnesses.
Sadie of Lost Boys and Lovers custom makes these harnesses. They are featured in her etsy shop and oh heyyyyyyy she’s having a HALF-OFF sale. (Edit: I failed to mention before, but the necklace of AWESOME is via Flaming Hag Folkwear and Ms. Nicole)