Faking Fall

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":
No, no, no, not THAT one. Alas, my 'cupcakes' aren't big enough. I chose her more tasteful(?) outfit from that ridiculous video, which is a dress made up of one of the worst candies to date:
And my furry friend was a dinosaur for the fifth year running. My poor future children.
I realize that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Fall (eh, hem - above). But I just can't get enough. No, really - there's not enough Fall here in San Francisco. I say this as I sit in Dolores Park in a tank top and loads of sunscreen. Yes, it's a beautiful day out - I should really count my blessings, but I am ready to move on. I'm told Fall is on it's way and that it comes disguised as 'Winter' in San Francisco, but I simply can not wait. Fall has always been my favorite season of the year. The smell of the first day of school (I'm a huge nerd), the feel of a new soccer season (a huge jock), the taste of Fall's harvest (and a fatty at heart). Some of my favorite comfort foods coincide with my favorite season: roasted butternut squash, sugar pumpkins, earthy Brussles sprouts, warm bowls of chili, fiery buffalo wings and of course, every form and derivative of apples - cider, sauce, pie, and martini. Now that I have a big girl kitchen to play in, I have been doing a ton of cooking. 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:

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
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, white sugar, oats and salt. 
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium/low heat.
  4. When melted, add oat mixture, stirring enough to combine, but maintaining a lumpy consistency.
  5. In another large mixing bowl, combine the apples with the lemon juice and cinnamon.
  6. Transfer apples to a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with oat mixture.
  7. Bake until fragrant, golden and bubbly, about 40 minutes.
  8. 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


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