Ok, so, I’ll admit it: I’m a freak. I love rainy days and all of the things that most people get all down in the dumps about - especially Autumn. Funny that - I feel so alive just as everything is dying back, going to seed, flying South, or getting ready for a long winters nap.
In his poem A Vagabond Song, Bliss Carmen kinda nails how I feel this time of year:
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.
There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.
I’ve been getting some impossibly fresh, much loved local produce. How could that not make anyone happy or hungry? Here are just a few things from the team here at AGD Michigan:
The first is a sort of a transitional dish - where Summer and Autumn hang out for a bit. The time warm sun and smoke off the grill is making way for warm spices, roasted roots, and low slow braises.
Roasted Parsnip Sliders with Applewood Smoked Blue Cheese, and Cranberry Shallot “Jam”
A few days after the sliders, I was on the hunt for some bitter’ish greens and got the call that there was some beautiful curly endive coming in so I did what I always do - ordered some and did my totally embarrassing happy dance.
The endive was amazing and it became this relatively simple yet decidedly delicious salad
Locally Sourced Salad with Curly Endive Salad, Delicata Squash, Cranberry & Caramel Apple Vin
Never one to stand around for very long either physically or mentally, well, the next thing I know my turtle sized brain got to thinking about a trip to Thailand a few years back and several phone calls and happy dances later these two came to life
This was originally planned as one dish - and somehow after I spiralized those beets, sweet potatoes, and zucchini into noodles they were so vibrant I couldn’t very well blanket them in a soup. So what was one became two - deconstructed if you will - though I’m four square against the use of that term.
The original dish was supposed to be: Thai Pumpkin Laksa with Charred Peanut & Pomegranate. Laksa is a soup/street food popular Southern Thailand street. It typically has a spicy broth with chicken, seafood, or pork and either rice noodles or vermicelli. Not being in Thailand or a Thai Chef, I figured I’d give it a geographic update with a little Midwest sensibility and Autumnal bling.
With a new sensibility and some bling, my Laksa became:
Rainbow Vegetable Pad Thai with Charred Peanut, Ginger Sauce and Torn Basil
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Thai Sweet Chili, Charred Peanut, Pomegranate, and Coconut Milk
Sadly, I don’t think anyone thought to slosh those beautiful noodles around in that equally beautiful soup because if they had - they wouldn't get it - light bulbs would have gone on all over the place. Missed opportunity notwithstanding, even if they didn’t get it I know what they got was pretty darn good.
After I cleaned up the kitchen in my head and recovered from my Thai trip jet lag, the next thing I know it’s Father’s weekend and given a fairly basic menu of burgers, hotdogs, and pasta salad I was feeling a bit sad really. But, then I opened the door and got this whiff of burning leaves and October sunshine and said to myself burgers and dogs be the best of what you are, but pasta salad, you/re all mine there is the potential for something special here.
I got to the kitchen early today, before morning blistered crimson. After I cooked off the pasta I just stared at it and smelled it - thought about the smell of those leaves and that sunshine the other day and this salad was born. It was mighty tasty and mighty pretty. The kitchen gets great morning light and I got sucked into the surface of it - the way it changed when I turned the bowl. I got sucked into it’s rolling landscape of pasta and vegetation - it looked like a nice place to live.
Autumn Cavatappi with Blistered Cranberry & Sweet Corn, Roasted Sprouts & Squash, Tart Apple, Woodsy Herbs & Maple Sherry Vinaigrette
Alas though, I ramble and really must step away from the computer. There's still some of this beautiful day left to enjoy and enjoy it this vagabond will. Thanks for trusting me enough to do this job, thanks for believing in me, for indulging my crazy and all the while making me better at what I do.