Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Bliss

I had the day off yesterday and it was glorious. Billy, Ellie and I took a trip to a quintessential country town in New Jersey where both my parents grew up. Nothing's changed since the days on my grandmother's farm where I used to spend time as a little girl. That farm is the source of my favorite childhood memories, and I've made it a sort of unofficial tradition every Fall to return back to this magical place...just to see it and remember. It's here where I fell in love with the idea of home.

There's a farm for apple picking behind the General Store in town, so the three of us wandered through the orchards picking Jonagold, Macoun and Empire. Baked apple desserts mark the beginning of the Fall season!

Is it me, or is there something special about apples with their leaves in tact? They make a beautiful centerpiece on my farm table at home.

Inspired by the cooler weather, I made a classic dinner of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. One word: yum. The recipe for this soup is super simple and so delicious you'll never want tomato soup from a can again. I loved the open-face grilled cheese crostini with sharp English cheddar; they were perfect for dipping.

Saute 2 chopped onions and 2 minced cloves of garlic in 6 T of unsalted butter for about 15 minutes. Add a 28 oz can of whole plum tomatoes, 3 cups of chicken stock, 2 t sea salt and pepper (to taste). Bring to a boil and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. You can pour small batched into a blender until smooth, or use a nifty immersion blender and voila.

For the crostini, saute one clove of minced garlic and an herb of your choice (I have thyme growing in my kitchen...just a few sprigs is all you need). The aroma will fill the air in about thirty seconds. Turn off the heat and lightly dip pieces of baguette (or whatever you have) into the flavored oil. Shave cheddar cheese over your crostini and put under the broiler.

The apple crisp recipe is one of my all-time favorites. The ingredients are sinful. (Well...really just the two sticks of butter, but what are you gonna do? Why do you think it tastes so damn good?)

Preheat your oven 350 degrees.

For the filling, combine the ingredients and pour into a baking dish.

6-8 apples
1 t orange zest
2 t orange juice
1 t lemon zest
1 t lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 t cinnamon

For the crumble, you can combine with a blender but I just use my fingers. I love to mash the cubes of butter with my hands; it's a fantastic way to get my frustrations out. Note on the crumble: you might suspect that you've done something wrong because it looks like a floury mess when you mix it together, but have no fear. It will be divine when the butter melts and turns the flour and oatmeal into this crispy, crunchy topping. I told you it was sinful! Cover the entire apple mixture with the crumble and bake for 50 minutes.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small cubes

Fruit Crisp recipe courtesy of Ina Garten


  1. This all sounds so delicious, Chrissy! Perfect for Fall. Beautiful photos too!

  2. This post makes me realize how much I miss being on a farm...hmmm...thanks for inspiring a gentle apple-picking trip! Love and light :)

  3. For any of you who are Gluten-Free use a mix of rice and/or corn flour with Gluten-free oats. This is equally yummy! Thank you for the fall blessing Chrissy-Peace from New Orleans