|Fall findings showcased on a platter by MONDAYS.|
I have noticed that even though the peak leaf change has long passed that the Japanese maples are just now at their peak. It's perfect because they really stand out against the trees that have lost their leaves or the other late changers, like oaks which are usually more muted in color. The colors were brilliant yesterday offset by the bright daytime blue sky. Fire orange, scarlet red, and deepest burgundy. On my drive into New Paltz yesterday, every where I looked was another stunning Japanese maple. It was a gorgeous day.
Last night the beauty continued at a friend's house. As the sun went down, the sky turned that winter-time cobalt blue, and Venus twinkled low on the horizon. Kids were running around (make them run around so they won't get up too early!), venison grilled on an open fire pit, and I served up the paté I made yesterday with sourdough toasts and grape mostarda. The zippy acidity of the mostarda cut the silky richness of the paté. We ate the tender venison sliced on a cutting board resting on a bench, just a piece of bread to wrap it up.
When it was fully dark (which is now 5 p.m. people!) a sky lantern was lit, and we all stared up into the night sky as it floated, tentatively at first, with determination as it got higher and further away. The baby, who was in her stroller was thrilled, her imperative shouts paired with pointing not gleeful, but serious and awestruck. The bigger kids all ran to follow the sightline of the lantern, standing at the edge of the road, until it was snuffed out.
Today we woke at 6 or 7, depending on whether you set your clocks or not. It's a quiet, homey day. If it wasn't already, it certainly is now the season to start hunkering down, and I'm still stuffing things in the freezer. Whenever I see late fall local produce, I buy a bunch and preserve it one way or another. The other day that meant blanching and freezing lots of broccoli. Today it means a pile of green Italian frying peppers. I've got caraway sauerkraut ready to be jarred and put in the fridge (I find that this is the best time of year for sauerkraut production) and a plum shrub (drinking vinegar) ready to be bottled. What projects are you working on for the winter?