Autumn Leaf in Nagasaki

I have this great method for making baked apples. I throw some trail mix (the kind that has only nuts and dried fruits, no chocolate) into a food processor and whiz it until it’s chopped tiny. Then I add some butter, a surprisingly small amount of brown sugar, some vanilla and nutmeg, and a lot of cinnamon and give it another whiz to fully combine. I store this “dough,” which is really a compound butter, in a covered butter dish in the fridge.

Whenever someone wants a baked apple, for desert, for a snack or even for breakfast on a nippy morning, all I have to do is core an apple, put it in a ramekin, jam the hole full of dough and nuke it in the microwave for a few minutes. The dough leaves the nuts and fruit as stuffing and makes a perfect caramel and that heavenly smell gets the family out from under warm blankets when the first crisp mornings hit. You always know autumn is here when I make the “dough.”

It’s a perfect fall day here on the Island of Long and I’m thinking tonight may be a good night for the first fireplace fire of the season. You always know autumn is here when I go buy a big box of fatwood.

Last weekend was surprisingly chilly at the 2 HS football games I attended, so this weekend I’m packing away my shorts and tennis shirts and trying to remember where I stored my winter clothes (I never seem to use the same spot twice). You always know that autumn is here when I resurrect my big Irish sweaters.

And I think this may be the weekend for the first batch of beef stew with root veggies. You always know it’s autumn here when I have a pot on the stove going low and slow.

So what are the things that mark this change of seasons at your house? Is it canning and preserving your or your farmers market’s harvest? Is it planting the mums and the spring bulbs? How does fall come to you?