Welcome Fall

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. --Julia Child

Fall is officially here and I am ecstatic!  I love fall.  The colorful leaves, warm sweaters, apple-picking, the chill in the air that hints of cozy evenings by the fire.  The produce is lovely this time of year--going to the farmer's market is a must.  I love love fall. And, I love the food.

Fall is when I get out my beloved No-Knead Bread recipe from the New York Times and make a loaf every weekend. If you have flour, yeast, salt, water and a dutch oven, it is the easiest thing in the world--and there's nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread to help you ease into Monday.

Rivaling fresh-baked bread is fresh-baked fruit crisp, and I've made two in the past week.  I got my lovely box of food from my organic co-op and there were so many plums, peaches, pears and apples this time, that I had to do something or risk them all turning to mush.  So, I peeled them and cut them into bite-sized chunks and put them in the bottom of a casserole dish until it was almost full.  Then, I mixed together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup almond flour (you can use ground almonds), a dash of almond extract, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar (you may need more or less, depending on how ripe your fruit is, so be sure to add more/less to taste), a pinch of ginger, and several dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon. Then, I slowly poured in some melted butter (about 10 TBS), stirring it into the dry ingredients with a fork until crumbly. I let the crumb mixture sit for about 15 minutes before I covered the fruit with it and baked in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes, until brown and bubbly.  (Those apple-cinnamon scented candles we buy don't hold a candle--pun intended--to the aroma of a fall fruit crisp baking in the oven.)  Scoop the still warm crisp into bowls and top with homemade vanilla or ginger ice cream-- or even whipped cream does the trick.   What a treat!

Happy Fall!