The New York weather means business this year. Labor Day has come and gone and the autumnal air has wasted no time in literally blowing in! (I hope this doesn’t mean that there will be snowflakes the day after Thanksgiving…)
Most people are quite appalled when I tell them that I don’t like fall, perhaps I will always have that anxious “back to school” feeling, despite the fact that I haven’t gone back to school in 5 years…They berate me with an ongoing list of reasons why they “OMG love fall!”: sweaters, pumpkin-stuff, Halloween, apple-picking, warm cider, blankets, colors, leaves, many aspects of coziness, etc. But you know what? I call bullshit. No hay ride, hot toddy, football game, flannel shirt, or bowl of butternut squash soup is better than that first feeling of summer in New York, when the sun wakes long before you do, and the days are so long that you start questioning whether that spring forward of clocks is actually an hour or maybe more like 4…
BUT, rather than wallowing in the thought that I won’t be Oneida Lake-side in my bathing suit, sipping a glass of rosé (I know, I know), for another 365 days (waaaahhhhhh)…I may just be…embracing this autumn season. And I think I cracked the two secrets to welcoming this blustery season….
First, if you have never traveled in September…I highly suggest you do. If you’re lucky, the summer weather usually hangs on just for another week or so past Labor Day. Crowds are gone, lines are gone, and the markets are overflowing with the surplus of late summer fruits & veggies that still need a home before the cold arrives.
While the rest of the country was sleeping in on their “last day” of summer, Dustin & I were on an early flight to Las Vegas to meet up with his family for a mini Hassard family vacay/road trip/ignore the fact that summer is ending & just keep the party going for as long as we can thing. We spent 4 days in Vegas, one night in Salt Lake City, and the remaining few days in Eastern Washington, where is family lives. Total drive time was about 17 1/2 hours, in which I got to drive through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, & Washington. Who knew all these states existed out there?! This East Coast gal sure didn’t!
It was a wonderful and much-needed trip with his family, who has so many parallels to that of my own that I find the lines between Hassard/Yacobush so frequently blurred, which makes for loving their company, personalities, jokes, and quirks practically effortless.
While we were sad to leave them, return to New York, and go back to the day-in/day-out hustle and bustle of life, upon our arrival we were greeted with autumn. The summer feeling had left, and rather than being here to witness its departure, with bouts of anxiety & lamenting for days on end…I was off laying poolside in Vegas drinking margaritas completely distracted…a truly wonderful coping mechanism for children of all ages with separation anxiety!
Secondly, for a beautiful adieu and parting with the delicious peaches of August while welcoming all the apples that us New Yorkers are about to binge on, make this compote & put it on everything. It tastes like the innards of an apple pie with a kiss of summery-peachy goodness to pay tribute to everyone’s favorite season (don’t deny it) that is officially over…
Note: I doubled this recipe in order to have extra to freeze & save for the colder months ahead; had no issues doubling, cooking times stayed the same as well. I also small diced the apples & peaches rather than just 8 wedges. I wanted a compote with smaller bites of fruit pieces, it’s a “mouthfeel” thing. Here is the original version…
Bon Appétit’s Apple & Peach Compote
-2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, each cut into 8 wedges
-2 ripe peaches, each cut into 8 wedges
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
-1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. ground ginger
-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
-1/2 C. apple cider
-1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
-Toss apples, peaches, sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, & salt in a medium bowl. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high.
-Once butter is melted, add fruit mixture & cook, tossing occasionally, until fruit is golden brown & caramelized, 5-7 minutes.
-Add cider to skillet, reduce heat to low, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding splashes of water if liquid reduces too quickly, until juices are syrupy & fruit is tender, 20-25 minutes.
-Let cool slightly, then stir in lemon juice.
-Serve over hot oatmeal, yogurt, vanilla ice cream, or simply eat it out of the pot like I did. Would also make for a wonderful pairing with a savory and salty pork dish. Enjoy!