It's that time of year when it's uncertain if we need to break out the electric blanket or the electric fan. It's cool and crisp enough in the morning to see your breath, warm enough in the middle of the day to break a sweat and freezing enough at night for extra blankets. I don't know if I want a Mai Tai or a mulled wine. To avoid all the wondering which drink will quell my thirst, I just have both! One less thing to worry about I say.
I have the windows open as I type and can hear both crows and finches. I see nasturtiums in full bloom and tomatoes withering on the vine. The disco ball I have hanging from a stake in the garden to scare off birds seems to have the opposite affect. So long as the rabbits are kept out, I will share my harvest with our feathered friends. In return, and as if to say, 'Thank you for the party ball Mary.' Birds stop, take a bath and sing to me. I figure it's a fair trade. Tomatoes for bird song. A little finch just did a song and dance for me! 'You're welcome.' I think to myself.
The leaves on the plum tree and the wisteria have begun to change slightly and critters are chirping. I am wearing a tank top, a fleece jacket and boots I am trying to break in for the winter. I sip hot coffee yet crave cold cereal. I am as confused as the garden it seems! Should I make ready for winter or renew my tan? Should I make a casserole for dinner or serve a cool, refreshing salad? Maybe a quick stovetop meal or (GASP) is take out the ticket? How about somewhere in-between? For example, most grocery stores offer rotisserie chicken and those shredded are delicious incorporated into an Asian-themed salad.
Here is what to do:
Make a quick dressing in a large bowl by whisking together oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, white or cider vinegar and touch of water. Next, whisk in dashes of roasted sesame oil and sugar. Toss in chopped romaine lettuce, shredded Napa cabbage and the rotisserie chicken you shredded too. Add in any yummies you have like sliced scallions, almonds, crispy won-tons, canned mandarin oranges and sesame seeds. One final toss and viola! A delicious dinner!
What do you drink and eat this time of year? Do you turn on the oven or serve a no-cook option. Do you fire up the stove, hit the ready-made meal section of the grocery store or order take out? Please share your meal ideas in the comments section.
Avid home cook and passionate instructor