Saturday, September 6, 2008

Fall is for food

For me, September starts off 4 months of truly inspired cooking. As the temperature cools, a warm kitchen becomes a cozy and relaxing place to spend an afternoon. Fall produce is rich with soft, starchy comfort foods, just think potatoes, pumpkins, squash, yams and apples; and cooking becomes an acceptable alternative to gardening.

If summer food is about simple and basic, such as the sweet and subtle acidity of a ripe tomato, than fall food is about complexity: layers of texture, flavor and smoky undertones. As a cook, in the Fall I feel like an artist, my paints are whatever ingredients I can get my hands on and my brushes are my Le Cruset pots and wooden spoons.

Every fall I pick a signature dish, I’ll cook it several times, tweaking it and making it my own before I release it on to family and friends. Last year, I settled on this chicken pot pie with lots of vegetables, dark meat chicken and a really creamy sauce; all covered with puffed pastry. It’s pretty damn good if I do say so myself. This year, I am toying with several ideas, so far I am thinking about these:

Sweet Potato Pie
I am in awe of the concept of vegetables in a pie. Sweet potato is my absolute favorite pie followed closely by pumpkin. Good sweet potato pie has a creaminess to it that I think would benefit from marshmallow and perhaps a little chocolate. hmmm?

Mashed potatoes
Mashed potatoes make me swoon, particularly when they have other notes like horseradish, leeks and bleu cheese.

A Quebec comfort food consisting of French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds. I think I can make this slightly healthier with baked fries, and really light gravy.

Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted...

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