I like Halloween. Notice I didn't say love. For one, I'm not a sweets person - candy just ain't my thang. Secondly, I get anxiety over buying something that I will only wear once and I hate clutter. The mere thought of an attic filled with old costumes makes me twitch. I'm odd (read: OCD), what can I say? However, this year I felt differently about the holiday. I don't know what it was - new city, new attitude? But, I found myself stocking up on candy and making my own costume!
It takes a lot to shock the masses in San Francisco. On any given day I can walk into town and see the same two naked old men sitting in the square (cross-legged, mind you), casually reading their newspapers like it's just another day. And for everyone who walks by, I guess it is just another day because I seem to be the only one who stares (and rubbernecks). It's unbelievable. I could walk out my door in nothing but a babushka and barely get a second glance. So this Halloween I decided to blend in and dress up. I thought I'd wear a costume that gave a nod to my new state, and since every third person was already dressing up as 'The Beard', I decided to take a more feminine direction. I dressed up as our generations "California Girl":
that ridiculous video, which is a dress made up of one of the worst candies to date:
Recall my former "kitchen" in the West Village and you'll understand my enthusiasm.
Despite the heat in San Francisco, I have had my oven on high, roasting and braising my Fall favorites as if Autumn were actually here. I am officially obsessed with any and all types of squash and I interchange them all fairly liberally. I used to stick loyally to butternut squash merely out of familiarity. But lately I have developed a sick obsession with sugar pumpkins, which I find have a more delicate flavor and are far less pumpkiny than I feared. Plus they look cuter on my countertops. Here are a few wonderful recipes I've stumbled upon this season. Go crazy:
- Apple-sage-gruyere muffins from Cannelle et Vanille.
- Butternut Squash Risotto from The Wednesday Chef
- Everything on NyMag's top 11 recipes from famous NY Chefs - particularly the cauliflower.
- Leeks Vinaigrette a la Orangette
- Spicy Squash Salad with Goat Cheese and Lentils from the Smitten Kitchen.
- Barbecued Pork and Apple Kebabs
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon from Serious Eats
However the absolute essence of Fall for me is the smell of my Mother's Apple Crisp in the oven. Cinnamony, buttery, apply goodness - served piping hot over a spoonful of real vanilla ice cream - Breyer's to be exact. So while I can't see or feel home anytime soon - I can certainly taste it:
Mamma Iss' Apple Crisp:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2t salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup oats
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3lbs of Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced.
- 2T lemon juice
- 1/2t. ground cinnamon
- Real Vanilla Ice Cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, white sugar, oats and salt.
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium/low heat.
- When melted, add oat mixture, stirring enough to combine, but maintaining a lumpy consistency.
- In another large mixing bowl, combine the apples with the lemon juice and cinnamon.
- Transfer apples to a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with oat mixture.
- Bake until fragrant, golden and bubbly, about 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool for ~10minutes. Spoon over a dollop of ice cream.
And while baseball has always signified Spring and the Yankees in my world, I must give the appropriate praise to the San Francisco Giants and their adoring fans. Though I don't quite understand how blissful celebration aligns itself with lighting mattresses on fire, you all made the walk home the other night more than interesting. My neighborhood:
"West coast represent, now put your hands up!"
- The Heat