Tuesday, October 6, 2009

So I finally like pears...

  Perhaps you were wondering what to do with all those plump, ripe pears in early September, rather than now.  This year an abundance of Bartletts spilled from our aged and natty backyard tree.  The tree came with the house and, if not for its fantastic explosions of spring blossoms, or its regular gatherings of chatty finches, it would have existed with charms unappreciated.  I won't say unnoticed, because there is no ignoring the routine swarm of fruit flies appearing out of nowhere, every autumn.  Pears have never been a favorite fruit of mine, but this tree has been able to change my point of view.  Previously we composted our pears or passed them on to neighbors.  But this year they simply looked different, and tempted me.  And I brought them inside and cooked them.  
  The following recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, December 1992.  Those cohabitating with a sweet tooth will be interested in quadrupling the sugar to meet the original intended outcome.  Pear butter is easily canned for future use by water bath.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall is here at last!

  Not that I wish the summer over by any means.  It's just that fall is my favorite time of year here in the Pacific Northwest.  The various maples are in the dressing room, changing coats from green to yellows, oranges, reds.  The spiders have grown round in recent weeks, and hang in their webs like grapes at harvest time, full of sugar and ready to pop.  We're relishing the last of the late-bearing fruit harvest as intensely as we did the early sets.  But it's the change of light that speaks first, and loudest - though the entry is usually soft.  Sometime in early September, the heat-washed, pale intensity of summer light just up and left, leaving no competition for the deep, warm shadowed hues of Autumn.  
  This is the light that means the most to grasses.  At least for the favors it shows them, I would assume.  Many species still hold flower stalks ripe with seed for next year's production - or proliferation, whatever the mode of existence.  And it's this richly buttered light that, when draped among the stalks, affects a captivating glow.  Here, the flower stalks of 'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed Grass, in such a light.