This is a story about a cooking experiment. I won’t call it a total failure, but it certainly wasn’t a success. It started yesterday at the last farmers market of the year (tear). I was browsing the locally produced flours and the rye flour caught my eye. My mental Pinterest board flashed to all of the buzz I’d read about the rye chocolate brownies from The Violet Bakery Cookbook. People loved them in the Piglet, the New York Times praised them, and there was a lot of discussion about them in the comments on Lottie and Doof. The interplay of dark chocolate and rye was something that took bakers by pleasant surprise and it made me very curious. I’d wanted to make them, but I never thought I’d find rye flour in Springfield. But here it was!
Other than popcorn–which is a necessary and always stocked staple–Hal and I don’t really keep snacks in the house. This is a departure from how I grew up, when we almost always had chips and cookies and probably half a bag of peanut M+Ms in the kitchen cupboards. My mother had the kind of willpower that allows a person to eat half a single serving bag of candy and put the rest away (she also had a wonderful habit of having a teeny dish with just one or two dainty little spoonfuls of Breyers chocolate ice cream before bed)…something I did not exactly inherit from her. So, in my own home, I tend to mostly stay away from having snacks hanging around. But sometimes and on some occasions, a really snacky snack is called for. Say, for example, when you’re getting ready to watch the second debate in an increasingly horrifying presidential election, and need comforting treats to get you through. Times like that call for the snacking big guns: chocolate dipped potato chips.
We’ve been hung up on pumpkin season for the past few weeks here at butter poached, but we can’t forget that it’s apple season, too. As I’ve written before, apple season is impressive in central Illinois. The farmers market is dominated by tables of multiple apple varieties: Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Gala, Jonagold, Rome, and Fuji, to name a few. By the time I decide which couple of apples I want to try for the week, I find myself carrying at least a few pounds of loot. If I want to treat myself the next Saturday with even more apples, I have to make fast work of my weekly haul. My latest, greatest way to put apples to an exceptionally tasty use is this roasted applesauce from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.
As Laura said a few weeks ago, there’s always room for more pumpkin. Especially when you’ve chosen to spend your life with a person who brings up pumpkin pie all year round, who finds a way to work pumpkin puree into cocktails, and for whom you have a secret Pinterest board called “for H” made up almost entirely of pumpkin recipes. I know that as a culture we’ve reached a mega pumpkin overload, what with our lattes and Cheerios and even potato chips that now come in pumpkin spice flavor. But let’s not let that overkill (seriously, chips. why???) distract us from what a fantastic ingredient real pumpkin really is, in both sweet and savory dishes. My most recent reminder? Pumpkin pasta sauce.