Quick. What does fall mean to you?
As one who leans in the “Pollyanna” direction, I try to look forward to what fall has to offer instead of mourning the loss of summer’s long, warm days, sunshine and lush foliage, and super fresh veggies.
I admit, somewhat grudgingly, the cooler air feels good. Dressing in layers to accommodate the changing temperatures isn’t too much of a burden.
Let’s look at what we’re exchanging for the wonders of summer: the locusts are back. Actually, they never exactly leave but we hear them at the end of the day now. For some reason, the cadence of locust song has always appealed to me. It takes me back to sitting on grandmother’s screened porch in North Carolina at the end of a summer day, listening to locusts and crickets and watching the lightning bugs. (Of course, they’re actually saying good-bye before a long hibernation.)
It’s high season for football. High school Friday nights, college games on Saturdays, pro teams on Sunday and Monday be sure to layer if you’ll be in the bleachers. A blanket’s not a bad idea and warm footwear for sure.
It’s time to plan ahead. The holidays are not far away. Plan or be caught short two days before gift giving time.
Speaking of planning ahead. Spring is six months in the future. It’s time to plant bulbs for the flowers you hope to see when the weather starts to warm next March, April and May.
Going away for vacation next summer? Make those reservations now to be sure you can go where you want when the time comes,
Whew! Are you tired yet? For now, just live in the moment. The weather’s getting brisk. Days are shorter. It’s time to think about the joys of cocooning. Think warm, cozy spaces indoors. Time to read, study, relax at the end of the day and those savory, hearty colder weather meals that cook slowly and perfume the air in the whole house. Yum! This one’s from The Food Network be sure to save it. You’ll want to make it again.
PORK AND BRISKET CHILI
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder in 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 pounds beef brisket, in 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 15 ounce cans black beans, undrained
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped, plus more for topping
1 to 2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 tablespoon sauce from the can
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Grated cheddar cheese and/or sour cream for topping
Season the pork and brisket with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper each.
Combine the black beans and their liquid, the tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, chipotles and adobo sauce, the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon salt in a six quart slow cooker.
Add the pork and brisket and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for eight hours. Taste season with salt if needed. Serve with cheese, sour cream and red onion.
Serves six to eight.
Linda Conway Eriksson can be reached at email@example.com.