This is the time of year when I love being in the kitchen. Although here in Los Angeles we do not yet have autumnal scenes such as the one above from Woodstock, Vermont, our weather is getting cooler and there is a definite nip in the air. I think the season makes its presence felt in the kitchen, which for me is the heart of the house. My kitchen is beckoning and I have been organizing and getting ready for fall cooking and baking.
The kitchen table is set with autumnal colors
I always buy a few new cookbooks that feature fall recipes
Cooking is central to this time of year. As I go through my cookbooks I am searching for my favorite fall recipes. These are cozy dishes that make my house feel warm and welcoming, and that use seasonal ingredients. There are two recipes that I make each fall that have become family favorites. The first one is Roasted Fall Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza. This recipe is from Martha Stewart. It is perfect for a fall dinner at home. With a fresh green salad and a glass of wine it is a perfect meal.
Roasted Fall Vegetable and Ricotta Pizza
I make this savory pizza with a whole wheat dough and two big platters of roasted vegetables. You can substitute regular pizza dough if you like, but the whole wheat adds a special flavor. Ricotta and mozzarella cheeses are layered in with the vegetables. Fresh rosemary is sprinkled on top. These are fall vegetables that include red potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and onions. You will love this delicious pizza on a cool fall night.
Spooning the ricotta cheese on top of the roasted vegetables
My second favorite fall recipe is an impressive cake. Cooking with pumpkin is a must at this time of year and of course there is the ubiquitous pumpkin pie, which I love. But I also try to find other desserts that incorporate this wonderful ingredient.
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
One of my all time favorites is Pumpkin Spice Cake with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting. I make it every year. This recipe was featured on the cover of "Country Living" magazine many years ago. It is a three-layer cake with delicious pumpkin flavored cream cheese frosting. I make the cakes the day before and frost them the day I am serving it. It is one of the best cakes I make and people go crazy for this moist, tender and flavorful cake with its luscious frosting. I love its homespun and rustic look. It is always a big hit.
As the weather gets cooler and we go into nesting mode, there is a comforting feeling of warming ourselves by the stove. Maybe that is a hark back to novels I have read where the kitchen is the warmest room in the house. It's a nostalgic feeling but it still feels true for me. I live in the kitchen at this time of year, from brewing coffee in the morning, to cooking dinners at night. There is the treat of snatching cups of tea in the afternoon and dreaming over cookbooks. My computer is on my kitchen desk surrounded by cookbooks and I do most of my work here. When I am stressed out nothing is more therapeutic than getting in the kitchen and making a big pot of soup or baking a cake. The fragrance that wafts from the kitchen and fills the house is the essence of fall for me and it all emanates from the kitchen, the true hub and haven of my house.