Thursday, September 29, 2011

Changing Seasons

When I first moved to California from Connecticut six years ago, I felt like this place had no seasons. I take that back, I felt like it had only two seasons: warm and sunny (April through September) and cool and rainy (October through March). Since I lived for twenty-two years in a place that had four clearly defined seasons (COLD, warm, HOT/HUMID, cool), it was really difficult for me to adjust to two less-defined seasons. Over the last few years I've finally come to appreciate the small differences between the seasons here in California. I've noticed nuances that mark the beginning of fall, like cold mornings and the honking of geese in the early evening, and the sound of football games in my backyard at the high school behind us. 

One way that I've learned to mark the seasons is with the food I cook. Before I taught myself how to cook properly, I just made whatever sounded good at the moment. It usually wasn't very healthy, and usually had nothing to do with the season in which it was being made. In the few years, I've tried to prepare recipes that remind me of the season in which they are made. 

What this looks like is that our summer blueberry pancakes turn into autumn gingerbread pancakes. Summer quick-grilled veggies and grilled meat gives way to winter all-day stew and fresh bread. In the beginning of each of our (two) seasons, I'll go through my recipe binder and take out the old seasonal recipes and replace them with the new seasonal ones. I've been doing this for a few seasons now and each time it's so much fun to rediscover old favorite dishes that haven't been enjoyed in half a year.

While it's technically fall now, we're still having 90 degree days. I'm just waiting for 'real fall' to start. As soon as it's cool enough to leave the windows open and feel a cool breeze blow through the kitchen, I'm going to plug in our slow-cooker for the first time in months and make something hearty.

Irish Beef Stew

Some of my favorite seasonal recipes:
The pumpkin bread is my all-time favorite fall/winter thing to bake. I've baked this bread so much, I could probably do it from memory!

Christmas gingerbread pancakes: gingerbread pancakes with sprinkles and crushed candy cane. Truth be told, they don't look too good once they're flipped over, but the kids absolutely love that there's candy in their breakfast.

1 comment:

  1. I am going to pin this post to try some of your recipes. I love slow cooking too - it also works great with my schedule.