No, I am not in New York. I know everyone is in New York. Life has been so awfully real in the last few years that Rhinebeck hasn't been what it once was for me. In the very beginning, it was Meg and Gene in sweaters I had knit for them, Dan dragged along for the ride, and a few barns and a couple of tents of things I had never seen before. There were no crowds, no lines, and it was a small slice of heaven for me, really. I am at my core a simple person with simple values who prizes small and undiscovered above all. That was a long time ago, before books, weddings, and grandbabies. Maybe next year, or maybe not - it depends on when this next book launches, I think.
But it is still autumn in New England - my New England, the one I've known since I was a pup. The colors change, the tourists come and take a gander, and clog up route 91 with their craning necks and indecisive speeds. Should we go fast? Should we go slow? Or can we just not make up our minds?
This week I spent a fair amount of time just being "in" autumn, as I prefer to know it. Girl and I went for apples in a local hill town, and made a splendid apple butter. I bought sweet pie pumpkins. I shredded and pounded ten pounds of cabbage into the Harsch for future sauerkraut. Tonight I chopped up an apple, added some extras, and stuffed a pumpkin. I am calling it dessert. Want to see?
First, cut the top off of a tiny sweet pumpkin or two, and hull it/them with their tops. Then combine the following in a small bowl:
1 tart apple, cored and chopped
2T brown raisins
1 quite small sweet potato, peeled and chopped (about a half a cup when all's said and done)
2T brown sugar
1/4 cup apple butter (substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce plus a bit each of cardamon, cinnamon, clove and allspice)
2T butter cut into small pieces
Oil the outside of the pumpkin, including the top, with your choice of high-temperature oil (I chose peanut). Fill with the apple mixture, packing a bit as you go. Leftovers here went into a buttered custard cup to cook, but you can do what you will with them, if there are any. Place the top on the oiled, filled fruit and roast in a 375 degree oven for about an hour, or until the side of the pumpkin is easily pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit - so it is still warm, but not too hot for what comes next!
Scoop some of the pumpkin stuffing and a bit of pumpkin meat into a dessert bowl. Top with rich, creamy premium vanilla ice cream. EAT ALL OF IT!
Happy Harvest, and may God smile on you as much as He's smiling on me!