Friday, September 21, 2012

Just Like That

Three days ago Cora was running around naked in the back yard, alternately soaking in her pool and drying off in the sun. Three days ago I didn't need to worry about layering clothing, or anything we left in the yard being rained on.

That was three days ago. Today we are wearing wool socks. Today the sky is grey, I reached for a scarf, and the girls wanted to cuddle under a blanket after they woke.  Harlow is teething terribly, she is super grumpy and has seemed on the verge of getting a cold for weeks. I woke feeling like I have a scratch in my throat and decided to head into the kitchen, where these battles are usually fought in our family, beginning with crushing endless garlic cloves. Today I have put away the pluots, and melons and the smell of sauteed onions, garlic, potatoes, and roasting squash are wafting from the kitchen.

Just like that it has become fall. Sure, there may be a few more sunny days, where it's hard to decide if a sweater is needed, but really, the change has come. I don't remember a seasonal change feeling this abrupt in the entire seven years I have called Portland my home. Perhaps it's because we were spoiled by an amazing string of weeks of beautiful sunny days throughout August and September, so that when the change came it came fast.

While I am observing my own personal mourning for the sun, I find that I am simultaneously anxious to get this show on the road. I love Autumn. Every single thing about it. While the Pacific Northwest lacks the glory and pageantry of my native New England, the change of the season here is still very satisfying, quiet, and sacred.

Yesterday we got some late afternoon playground fun in, finding this gigantic old metal spiral slide. They just don't make 'em like this anymore. It was almost too intimidating to attempt, and after three runs Scott thought he might vomit.

I'm telling you, this thing was FAST.

Climbing up to the sky with daddy right behind.

More and more every day, Cora is able to find new ways to play with her baby sister.

My heavy old friend the Dutch Oven was resurrected from it's hiding spot today. Hello old friend, time to get busy creating glorious comfort food. 

Today I made this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was exactly what we needed. Warm, comforting, uncomplicated, and incredibly delicious! 

Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home
2 teaspoons good olive oil
2 cups large-diced yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups large-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes
1 cup French green lentils (7 ounces)
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons mild curry powder
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.
Meanwhile, place the canned plum tomatoes, including the juice, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse several times until the tomatoes are coarsely chopped. Rinse and pick over the lentils to make sure there are no stones in the package.
Add the tomatoes, lentils, broth, curry powder, thyme, salt and pepper to the pan. Raise the heat to bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for about 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Check occasionally to be sure the liquid is still simmering. Remove from the heat and allow the lentils to sit covered for another 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, season to taste and serve hot.
Source: Smitten Kitchen, link here.

Happy Fall Everyone!

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