Saturday, October 23, 2010

Backlog blog #1: Autumn bake-a-thon

What is it about the fall that makes you want to bake your heart out? For the few weeks before I moved I was cooking like crazy. This was partly due to a large harvest of apples for the organization Lettuce Link. Morgan, Adam and I picked close to 200 pounds of apples from a huge tree in Ballard. The ones that weren’t nice enough to donate to the foodbank we took home in giant bags. K and I cooked from my 2 bags of apples for about 3 weeks. This included apple sauce, multiple apple crisps, and two apple pies plus two mini turnovers:

The one with the heart cut-outs was for our friend's birthday and the one with the owl and "mouse" cut-outs was for us:

The apple bags also provided a giant pot of apple butter, using my grandma’s recipe. This led to my first ever canning experience. It was easier than I thought!

I was also prepping for this year’s chili cook-off. I won in the vegetarian category last year with Mole chili and knew I needed to bring it big time this year. So, I did a weekend of trial chili cooking and made three experimental versions including lamb and fava beans, eggplant, and avocado. I started everything from scratch, including roasting my own tomatoes and other veggies (the start of some applesauce is also pictured):

Eggplant chili was not my best idea ever. The rest of it was tasty, but non of it was award winning. So, I started from scratch and did experimental chili weekend #2, this time with 3 versions of what I ended up submitting. Here is round 1; close, but no cigar:

Then one weekend K and I started going crazy in the kitchen and produced a ton of muffins and apple bread, and also this pot of wild rice, squash, and sage soup that we made up based on what we had in the house and brought to some friends who just had a baby. It was like Thanksgiving in every mouthful, which inspired my second chili idea. More on that in the chili cook-off post!

Even though it's no longer my kitchen I think many more such inventive and productive days will take place there. (That is some foreshadowing for a planned "jamming and canning" day taking place tomorrow . . . I can hardly wait!)


AmberAnda said...

This all looks SO delicious. Nothing says fall like tons of apples, and congrats on your first canning session!

Erica said...

Fall does make me want to cook. Something about the season makes me want to produce things of all nature. Halloween costumes from scratch, knit object, crochet amigurumi, and so much food of all varieties. Glad you're a kindred spirit :)