Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October Best

My harvest table with gourds, flowers, and pumpkin from the grocery store, of course. Nothing fancy.

I truly love October and the essence of autumn. For those that live in the north or have traveled to the north during this time of year know how beautiful the leaves look when they change colors. How the smell in the air is reminiscent of leaves burning on a crisp, cool night. Bundling up as a kid on Halloween to go "trick or treating" and sometimes braving the rain and dampness just to get some candy.  The eagerly awaited day that marked the beginning of "Sweater weather" and strutting around in your cozy finery! Flinging on a tweed blazer, jeans, and riding boots to run some errands and catch a drink with friends. It's amazing how the climate and time of year can conjure up images and transport you to a moment or semester in life that everyone has in common on some level. I'm getting misty...I digress...
Anyways.. I love October and this is my "October Best"- an homage to Oktoberfest without all the beer and brats. Enjoy!
These spectacular pumpkins have me rethinking my tablescape however...
 More chic pumpkins...
 This would've been so apropos at my wedding! 

 Always lovin' me some victorian silhouettes! 
(All pumpkin images from Pinterest)
And here's an oldie but goodie from one of my past holiday tables... gold spray painted mini pumpkins!

What's fall without indulging in some old faves like cider & donuts, apple pie, pumpkin bread, hearty soups? Here's what has been wetting my whistle as of late:

Big Apple Pancake- makes for a simple and glorious breakfast treat!
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 large sweet apple (gala, golden delicious or honey crisp which is what I used), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4"w wedges
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Seasoned 10-11" heavy cast iron skillet or other ovenproof skillet

Preheat oven to 450 degrees w/rack in middle of oven. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat, then transfer two tablespoons to a mixing bowl or blender. I used a mixing bowl (of a kitchenaid stand mixer but any bowl or blender will do). Add apple wedges to skillet and cook, turning over once, until they soften, about 3-5 minutes. (I added a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon to the apples while cooking but this is optional. I just wanted a sweeter outcome). 

While apple is cooking, add milk, flour, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon (optional), and salt to butter in bowl (or blender) and mix/blend until smooth. 

Pour batter over apples and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until pancake is puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately. You will think about syrup but it's not necessary. Trust me. This pancake ends up tasting more like a crepe and has a light delicacy that the maple syrup would completely mask and be too heavy. 

Look out delicious but predictable pumpkin pie: Pumpkin Cream Pie will give the old standby a good run for it's money... and waistline! Well, in my case - my waist isn't the only thing growing! I have thighcaps...Yes, thighs that have lost the graduating line onto the knee and have melded as one limb: the thighcap! It's the new cankle! This is still going on my Thanksgiving Menu, however! 
Recipe here.

What's Octoberfest Best without some pretzels... These look infinitely better than my frozen Super Pretzels! I think I have to start baking my own...
Oh lord, if I could imbibe right now, this would be the drink I'd be concocting this month in the spirit of ghosts and glamblins (my girly goblins)! Drinks courtesy of the new book by Daniel Boulud, Cocktails & Amuse-Bouches.
(enlarge image for recipe)
Side note: *Champagne foam: In a mixing bowl, pour 4oz of warm simple syrup, add 1-1/2 sheets of gelatin, and stir. Add 12oz of Champagne. Pour into a Thermo Whip with 2 gas cartridges. Keep refrigerated. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Now I need a "thermo whip" for my cocktails! 

And for him...
(enlarge image for recipe)
Side note: *Spice syrup: Bring to a boil 2 cups of water with 2 rounded cups of white sugar, 8 cinnamon sticks, 8 cloves, and half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Let steep in refrigerator for a day, then strain mixture into a clean, sealed container. Can be kept refrigerated for up to 3weeks. 

Olfactory therapy...my fall scents! Heavier, spicier, sexier for the season! 

Fall fashion never fails... however in Florida it's sort of a let down. Let me live vicariously for a moment...
Something for the fellas - if we saw this specimen walking around South Florida..it'd be like seeing water in a desert. No one dresses this well or looks this good...(except you, honey, if you're reading) where I live. All things considered.
Just a crazy ol' orange bag.... kidding, of course. Holy grail. Rose gold watch ain't too shabby, either.