September hasn’t yet departed, but temperatures have dipped and there’s that telltale scent of autumn’s arrival.
Here, even in the city, autumn comes alive. Shop window displays captivate with the colors and textures of the local harvest, inspiring culinary visions. Yet faceless pumpkins of varied shapes and sizes will become jack ‘o lanterns, soup or pie? Bunches of tender, baby carrots cry out for a delicate stock to bring out their blush and flavor. Plump green grapes look the most pleasing, but I know that the softer blues and even nearly blacks could be sweeter, gentler. Shiny, bulbous peppers, red, yellow and green, perch awkwardly on their lopsided cheeks; which will have the right pleasant bitterness for a sauce? I breathe in their aromas. The yellow will do. Gnarled, fibrous cabbages seem to squat in wait for rebirth as a hearty German Gruenkohl dish.
I look forward to time in the kitchen with Nils. What shall it be? Pumpkin soup, a specialty in Austria, is without question. With snips of local chives and a drizzle of Austrian pumpkin seed oil. Certainly. Carrot and ginger bisque? Ah yes, I will excavate the cookbook shelf for that recipe. Tuscan vegetable soup? Definitely. A round of crusty bread and it’s a meal in itself. Ah wait, I forgot to mention that mushrooms are in season. A Viennese Chanterelle (Eierschwammerln) Goulash!
The approaching chilly weather seems not so threatening now. I think only of the warmth and comfort that these dishes bring. Perhaps the vendors selling fresh roasted chestnuts on the street will return this weekend. Ah, and we will surely spend time at the weekend taste testing local “Sturm” (also known as Must or Federweisser), a “young wine” that’s a little like a slightly alcoholic grape juice. It’s available locally for a few short weeks per year. It’s delicious. Perhaps a little bit too much so.
In case you haven’t yet guessed, this week’s Impact Effort will be related to our local harvest season. We’re not yet sure what that means and what it will look like, but it will involve food. Good food, good drink, and taking advantage of all that our local harvest has to offer.
How about you? Does your local area have specialities being harvested now? This may be the perfect time to experiment with buying local, if you’re not already doing so.
: Don’t forget to submit your Slacktivist Impact Effort
! Submissions can be made until midnight EST, Tuesday, October 5th, 2010.
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