There's a chill in the air that has me wearing socks in the evening, and snuggling up closer to my husband at night. It has me wearing a sweater out to the chicken coop in the early morning, and craving the tastes of autumn.
I know. It's still summer. Technically. But the temperature in the evening is just a few degrees shy of woodstove-weather, and I find myself leaning eagerly towards those cozy fall evenings of reading and knitting in the kitchen.
For now, I will settle for a taste of something I don't make in the heat of summer:
Today is our CSA pickup day, which means I have to use up last week's produce to make way for fresher fare. Three chairs pushed up to the island, three little paring knives, and at least three admonitions to be careful!
Celery is an easy thing for small hands to slice.
Mama cuts the onions to save little eyes from more tears than usual.
and zucchini are all added to the pot, sauted in coconut oil, with salt, pepper, and basil, till tender. Add six cups of stock, 3/4 cups yellow split peas, and 1/2 cup of rice. Simmer for 45 minutes, then whiz up till smooth. I have a feeling my children will proudly eat this soup without complaint, since they had a hand in its creation.
Their cooking zeal was not quite quenched, so out Jude went to gather apples from our old tree. With much paring and carving out of brown spots, we had enough to create a crisp topped with flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, cinnamon, and butter.
When the older two headed out to gift the chickens with all our seeds, peels, carrot ends and onion tops, someone was left behind to ensure that the apple crisp spoon was not neglected. Let no spoon go unlicked is her motto in the kitchen.
Lest you think, "Oh, her life is so idyllic! Her children are so responsible! She always says yes when her kids ask to help!", let me just add that Violet cut herself while slicing an apple, and wept, "I can see my skeleton! I can see the inside of my body!" (it wasn't quite THAT deep, but this girl does have a flair for the dramatic), and Jude protested mightily (for over an hour) when I confiscated his knife after I caught him wielding it, machete-like, over an innocent apple). We talked again about safety, and he announced that I am the meanest mother in the world for NOT letting him cook.
Still, the mouth-watering scent of apple crisp cooking on this cool evening more than makes up for the tears and the mess and the patience required when cooking with children.