Well friends, I am plum-tuckered, spent, zapped and officially feel as if I could sleep for the next two months; I’ve been traveling since September and I haven’t been home much these past several weeks. But I also have to say that I’ve never been more inspired, humbled and ready to tackle new projects than I am now . . . that is, after I sleep for the next two months . . .
The light. Have you ever noticed how the light changes with the seasons? The days are definitely shorter but the light seems ‘cooler’ as well but maybe that’s my imagination? I don’t know if getting older makes me more aware of my surroundings or if it’s because I’m a photographer and videographer who’s always looking for the light, looking for the details, looking for the story – but I notice the tiniest of details as Mother Nature begins her march into a new season.
Hard Cider has quite the colorful history here in America; in fact, during Colonial times in the Eastern States, Cider was more popular than beer, wine or whiskey. It was far more difficult to grow grains for beer than it was to grow apples so seeds were brought over from England, orchards were established and cider-making was as popular here as it was in England. By the mid-1800s, the New England states were producing nearly 300,000 gallons of cider every year.
And here we are, Wednesday, the first Wednesday of November 2013 in fact. The fall-colored yellow, red and oranges leaves of our trees frame our windows with a canopy of brightness; they cling to gnarled branches before floating to the ground in wispy groupings before turning a caramel-colored brown and are mulched into the lawn for the season. 2013 has been a grand year, albeit travel-heavy, but the work has been rewarding.
And suddenly, it was September. The Professor and I are home this month and we’ve been taking advantage of ‘no travel’ by tidying up our abode – fresh paint on walls, dusting everything in the rooms from floor to ceiling and moving furniture around. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as ‘fall-cleaning’ but if there is, this is what we’ve been doing.
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Musical pairing – Downtime by Vonda Shepard
Until about three months ago, I’d never heard of black rice, or ‘forbidden’ rice. But during one of our stays on Vashon, Chef Danny made a pot of black rice and served it with a simple pork loin roast and some roasted vegetables; not only was the rice a hit but it looked beautiful on the plate too. I finally found a source in my area, tossed it in my rice cooker and 30 minutes later, voila – perfectly cooked black rice.
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Musical pairing – Holy Moses by Washington
This is one of those recipes I’ve wanted to share for a couple of years now; the anticipation of fall and the harvesting of concord grapes makes me feel nothing less than giddy. But Concord grape season is short, my attention span is short and one of three things has happened: (a) I completely miss said Concord grape season, (b) I remember Concord grape season but can’t find any at my local store and (c) by some miracle I actually remember Concord grape season, find said Concord grapes and make this fabulous recipe . . . but then I forget to take photos . . .
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Musical pairing – So Small by Carrie Underwood
My oldest son and his family moved to Indiana last month; the last year without Alice has been difficult and everyone felt they needed a new start – new job, new home, new beginning, moving forward. So they packed up their house in New Hampshire, along with Alice’s brother, Doug, 3 Labrador dogs and hit the road heading West to Indiana.
You’ve heard me say many a time that I am not a baker . . . meaning I can follow a recipe and bake cookies, cakes and pies but understanding the science of baking or understanding the math of ratios . . . well, that isn’t my forte’ . . . in fact . . .
A few weeks ago I asked Smith Bites Facebook fans to tell me what, if anything, freaked them out about cooking on Thanksgiving . . . outside of worrying about no leftovers, people said ‘making the pesky gravy’ was their number one fear . . . so for anyone with ‘gravy phobia’ we’ve put together this very short ‘how-to’ video on how to make a simple roasted gravy . . .