Food Thoughts

This is the time of year that the wonderful warmth of summer gives way to cooler nights slowly drawing into cold with winter approaching in the not too distant future.

The garden is trying to push out the last tomatoes and jalapenos; the lettuces are just coming in again since they love the cooler weather anyway.

It is time to harvest seeds from the chives and and basil plants. I grow Thai and sweet basil every year. Thai basil is not the easiest to find so once I had a plant that went to seed, I just harvest the seeds for next year. I no longer have any issues with finding Thai basil.

I thought about pulling up all the plants yesterday but couldn’t bring myself to do so with lots of fruits still in stages of development. Even though the plants look horrible this time of year, they are still trying to produce; an effort I have to honor.

The last tomatoes

I love to make soups and stews this time of year. Especially using the local fall produce; squashes, pumpkins, root vegetables that make fabulous dishes. The various squashes are full of fiber and great vitamins and minerals, they make great decorations on your table or counter before you cook them.

October and Halloween! Caramel apples, popcorn balls, apple cider, bonfires, “somores”, toasted marshmallows on a stick, crisp fall air and softly falling multicolored leaves. I adore this part of the season.

October is a month of change. Time to think about the end of the year, what we have done and what still needs to be done. Luckily, with the advent of cooler weather, strapping on the running shoes gives the opportunity to sort it all out while clearing the brain through exercise.

I suppose it has a lot to do with my birthday that comes on the 20th of the month. I find I want to exercise more and reflect on goals and accomplishments with the hopes  and intentions of being in a better place when the aging day arrives.

What does October conjure in you?

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Sardine and Anchovy Pasta

Charlotte Cooks

I hope you enjoy watching the show! Here are the recipes from the featured episode.

Sicilian-Style Sardine and Anchovy Pasta with Bread Crumbs

Ingredients

For the bread crumbs:

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each, coarse salt and coarse black pepper

For the pasta:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oil packed anchovy fillets
  • 2 four ounce tins of sardines, packed in oil
  • 1/2 pound linguini or spaghetti, cooked to al dente in salted water, drained and cooled with cold water to stop cooking.

Directions:

To a large skillet preheated over medium heat, add 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and chopped garlic.

When you can smell the garlic add bread crumbs.

Stir bread crumbs until deeply golden in color.

Add parsley and a liberal amount of salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon of each. Remove bread crumbs from the hot pan, put them in a bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to heat and add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Add anchovies and sardines to the pan and sauté over medium heat 2 or 3 minutes.

Add hot, cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with sardines.

Add bread crumbs to the pan and toss thoroughly to combine and evenly distribute the mixture. Adjust seasonings to taste with pepper and salt.

Taste before adding salt as the anchovies typically are salty. You may not need to add any more.

Top it all off with a shaving of a good quality of Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!