“The breezes taste of apple peel, the air is full of smells to feel.” ~ John Updike, September

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The signs of a waning summer are most visible to me during evening walks with Jack, my six year old english yellow labrador retriever who’s anxiously awaiting to get out in the field and hunt pheasant – the promise of fall. With colder nights creeping in early and shorter hours of sunlight our walks have become a fleeting luxury. It was on our Thursday walk last week we happened to pass under an apple tree straight into a fragrant breeze of the sweetest smelling apples. The lingering scent is the inspiration behind this delicious fall recipe, the very one I used for a rustic barn themed wedding over the weekend.

Taking the effort to chill the apples, cabbage and fennel helps to retain crunch, producing a more vibrant coleslaw. Blanching helps to tenderize the fennel, and golden raisins are the perfect accompaniment to the tart, sweet dressing.

Apple, Celery, and Fennel Slaw // serves 12-16
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Christmas Entertaining, by Georgeanne Brennan (Simon & Schuster, 2005).

1 head green cabbage
Ice water as needed
1 lemon
2 fennel bulbs
2 Granny Smith apples
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins
4 green onions, including tender green parts,
thinly sliced
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons celery seed

Cut the cabbage in half through the stem end. Slice the cut face of each half into paper-thin slices. Place the sliced cabbage in a large bowl and add ice water to cover. Set aside.

Fill another large bowl with ice water and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into it. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat and add the juice of the remaining lemon half.

Cut off the stems and fronds of the fennel bulbs and remove any bruised or discolored outer leaves. Working with 1 fennel bulb at a time, cut the bulb in half lengthwise and cut out any tough core parts. Using the small julienne blade of a mandoline, slice each half into matchsticks and place immediately in the bowl of lemon water. When all the fennel is cut, transfer with a slotted spoon to the boiling water and blanch for 20 seconds. Drain the blanched fennel and rinse well under cold running water. Transfer to a fresh bowl of ice water. Set aside.

Working with 1 apple at a time, quarter and cut away the core. Then slice each quarter into matchsticks on the mandoline and place immediately in the reserved lemon water. Repeat with the remaining apples.

In another bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, milk, salt and mix together. Taste. The dressing should be both sweet and tangy, and the consistency should be pourable, not thick.

Drain the cabbage, pat dry and place in a large bowl. Drain the fennel, squeeze gently to remove excess water, pat dry and add to the bowl of cabbage. Drain the apples, pat dry and add to the bowl. Add the celery, raisins, green onions, parsley, and celery seed. Pour the dressing over all and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!

xo,

“The fields are a clock read in colors. As the days of summer passed, the palette of our world shifted.”
~Kristin Kimball, The Dirty Life

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My Grandfather harvests the best heirloom tomatoes at the end of summer, in the same garden I walked upon since childhood. When we were both much younger, he liked to eat his homegrown jewels with a simple sprinkling of salt, from where we stood gathered in the dining room I watched on with amazement. From him, I learned the most satisfying of meals begins with all the variations produced by a simple garden.

Roasted Heirloom Tomato Soup with Chèvre, Herbs, & Pepitas // serves 6
3 pounds heirloom tomatoes, washed, cored, and cut into 2-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 sweet onion, peeled and cut into eighths
¼ cup avocado or olive oil
Coarse ground pepper and sea salt to taste
Chèvre
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a roasting pan, evenly place the tomatoes, garlic cloves, and onion. Drizzle with oil.

Place the pan in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Place the contents of the roasting pan in a good quality blender and purée in small batches until smooth. In a saucepan, place the tomato purée over medium heat and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chèvre, pepitas, and fresh herbs. Enjoy!

xo,

“Life is too short not to order the bacon dessert”. ~George Takei

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I never considered the makings of bacon until our first two hogs were processed over a year ago. Like most of us, I assumed it was a modern American product pushed out of factories in white styrofoam and shiny packages. Nonetheless, there has always been something incredulously special about bacon. The crispy bite and wafting aroma was always welcome during a campsite breakfast or lazy Saturday morning brunch, and I invariably felt affectionate towards whomever supplied copious amounts of the good stuff – typically my parents – during my childhood.

This year I hope to master this delicious and speedy recipe from Dirty Oscars Annex, a local Tacoma favorite, featured on the Food Networks “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” A big thanks to Luke Ortiz, kitchen manager for sharing this recipe.

Dirty Oscars Bacon Candy // serves a crowd
1 pound good quality organic thick cut bacon (10/12 slices per pound)
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons coarse cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 350*

Fit a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bacon evenly on sheet. Liberally sprinkle with cracked pepper and brown sugar.

Place bacon in the oven and bake for 6 min. After 6 minutes, flip the bacon and continue to bake until golden brown, approximately 6 minutes more. Check often to avoid burning the sugar. Remove from oven and cool. Serve and enjoy!

xo,