It's hard to know what to root for this time of year: More of this sensational summer weather, long dinners on the patio, meals at home that come together almost too easily with just a sliced ripe tomato and some cheese to start, something off of the grill for the main, and peak season fruit to finish. Or for the soothing cool mornings of autumn, sweater weather, the coziness of meandering walks through dry leaves, trips to the pumpkin patch, apple sauce and cider.
So, while I'm not quite done with the zucchini, eggplant, peppers or with my lunchtime staple for the past month--tomato sandwiches (and I've got dozens of huge tomatoes ripening on the vine)--I've been thinking a whole lot about my favorite flavors of fall.
Chanterelles. When these meaty fall mushrooms appear on menus in town, I cannot resist. Langdon Cook's column from this month's Seattle magazine is a good way to get your mouth watering (buy Cook's new book on the mushroom foraging underworld here and go see Lang read from his new tome tonight at Elliott Bay, 7pm). And watch for a feature story on local mushroom foragers, also by Cook, in our October issue.
Butternut squash. In April I feel like throwing them through the window, I'm so tired of winter squash. But somehow, come fall, I'm ready to roast them, make risotto with them, and make my favorite quick bread, the Squash Harvest Loaf from Macrina (recipe linked here).
Oysters. Sure, you can eat oysters all year round. And I like a cool kumomoto in July, too. But there's nothing--nothing--like sitting at Elliott's oyster bar on a chilly, dark night, sipping a cool martini, and slurping and chewing your way through the two dozen+ local varieties available in the "r" months. There are oyster bars all over the country; none of them come close to the variety and skilled shucking at Elliott's.
Beer. Yes, football too. But beer tastes right this time of year, doesn't it? I look to Washington Beer Blogger Kendall Jones for my autumn recs, or I just head to the Pine Box or Gastropod, where I'll happily drink whatever the beer man suggests.
Pasta. Wide pappardelle dressed in silken bolognese, fine tajarin in sage-scented butter. We have so many fine pasta houses, and after filling my belly all over Seattle last fall, I shared my favorite Italian pasta dishes in our January Noodle issue.
Afterwards, you'll need a long snooze with a good book. But that's a given.