Even when my garden is having a poor season, I dart out the backdoor at least once during each cooking session (sometimes through the front door as well) to snip some herbs, grab a lemon or toss the peelings into the compost pile. Tonight I made soup from beautiful butternut squash from the farmer’s market. As the squash baked (in my newly repaired oven, thanks handy husband!), I added the peelings and core of the onion I had diced for the soup and some leftover celery from the crisper to a pot of water with a few cloves of garlic. This very basic broth begged for some flavor enhancement. So out the to the garden I go, returning with a fist full of thyme and two bay leaves. The broth now finished, pleasant chartreuse, strained and steaming, left limp celery and onion trimmings in its wake, once again out the door to visit the compost heap.
It occurred to me with all this in and out as I cook, I would be well served with a holster of some sort for my slippers at the backdoor. I shared this thought with Greg, “Couldn’t we have a hook, just inside this cabinet by the kitchen door that would hold my flip flops, so I wouldn’t have to go searching for shoes in the middle of creating a meal?” “Or,” my brilliant husband offered, “You could just keep your shoes on, until you are finished cooking.” I tried to explain, “I’m a LaLone we don’t wear shoes. We have to be barefoot as often as possible, it’s in my blood.” Yes, I know I sound like a crazy person. But seriously, I can’t be the only person who likes to cook elaborate meals barefoot, then needs something from the garden and wants makeshift shoes at the ready? It sounds like a million dollar invention to me. I can’t figure out what you would call it though. “Kitchen Shoes” doesn’t have much zest to it. “Garden thongs” could be misconstrued. Perhaps I just need to stow a pair of flip-flops in my apron pocket and get over it already.
Other than the lovely butternut squash soup, I made an autumn salad with pomegranate seeds (from our tree in the front yard, see…another reason to go outside?!), goat cheese, candied pecans and an apple cider vinaigrette. I served some cheese, crackers and olives along with the salad, just because it seemed more delicious that way.
For dessert, I am trying to recreate something we ate in France near the Eiffel Tower at a restaurant called FL (which is funny if you are French and that is how you pronounce the tower. The FL tower. Get it?) I had one of my favorite desserts of all time there. Rice pudding with salted caramel ice cream topped with caramel corn. I made this way simpler by getting the rice pudding at Trader Joe’s and discovering that they currently have a salted caramel gelato. One scoop of rice pudding with a touch of vanilla stirred into it, a tiny drizzle of caramel sauce, followed by a scoop of the gelato and a few kernels of the popcorn on top for crunch = close enough to relive a Parisian night.