All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey…The Mamas and Papas
Here in Miami, all the leaves aren’t brown, but the sky is grey and rainy, due to incoming Hurricane Ian. Yes, while the rest of the country begins to bundle up for the Fall nip in the air, we here in South Florida are still in the midst of Hurricane season, dodging bullets and crossing fingers the latest “tropical depression turned hurricane” doesn’t come our way.
But, good news! It actually is officially Fall.
The first day of Autumn was September 22nd- last Thursday. I usually take photos of my garden the first day of each season, but this year my little herb and vegetable garden is empty and covered with black plastic. I’m waiting until it cools down a bit to start planting.
Still, my starfruit are plentiful and avocados keep falling from two trees. I also have a beautiful butterfly pea plant with brilliant purple flowers and white, fragrant jasmine blooming, which give me a reason to go outside in this hot, humid weather.
Fall means all things PUMPKIN!
You’re either a pumpkin lover or a pumpkin hater. I fall into the first category, loving Pumpkin Lattes, Pumpkin Pancakes, Pumpkin Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Ice Cream. My favorite (and easy!) way to enjoy pumpkin, is to sprinkle a little Pumpkin Pie Spice into my morning coffee because (spoiler alert) most “pumpkin flavored” items, are actually just” pumpkin spice” flavored.
A couple weeks ago, when it was still Summer, I had leftover lobster and corn, so I turned it into one of my favorite ways to use leftovers and made a summery Lobster and Corn Pizza. For some reason, Monday’s became Pizza Day in our house (I think it was when we watched The Bachelor together in the Pandemic), where we would order a pizza from Miami’s Best and chow down, while watching “the most dramatic season ever”.
When making your own pizza, you have different choices for the crust. The easiest is to buy a pre-made crust, like Boboli. The middle option, is getting the pizza dough from the Bakery section of your grocery store. They also have a pizza dough in the can (Pillsbury), but I’m not a fan of this method. The most labor intensive option is making pizza dough from scratch. This is what I did for this pizza. It was a Bobby Flay recipe and, while good and not that hard, I feel the one from Publix Bakery tastes just as good. Just remember it needs to sit in the bag an hour before baking.
For my Lobster and Corn Pizza, I used Pesto as the sauce on the bottom, added cherry tomatoes, the lobster and corn and topped it with mozzarella cheese and chopped chives. Can you say Summer on a pie? It turned out great, as did the tomato sauce with basil and fresh mozzarella one I made, since the recipe made two balls of dough. Emma and Guillermo ate with us. While they stayed for Jeopardy, they did abandon us before The Bachelorette started.
Tuesday, I made an easy dinner of Marinated Chicken Thighs in Teriyaki sauce. They sell frozen ones at Trader Joe’s, already de-boned and de-skinned, which makes preparing them a breeze. Just marinate in your favorite marinade for a couple hours, then grill or bake.
I was excited to try my new Our Place Always Pan, which I purchased through Katie Couric’s newsletter during a Labor Day sale. Apparently Katie loves this pan, which comes in many pretty colors, and it’s supposed to take the place of 8 pieces of cookware. I sauteed red bell pepper, onions and carrots in the pan and they turned out great. It’s non-stick, so the vegetables slid right out.
Having said that, there are some rules with this beautiful (and expensive) pan. You can’t heat it over medium heat and never, ever use metal utensils in it, or it will ruin the non-stickiness of the pan. Also, it can’t go into the oven. I was trying to figure out how it replaces 8 pans, but it actually says 8 utensils. It comes with a steamer basket, lid, wooden utensil and a natural sponge to clean it.
While I like my Always Pan, for me- Cast Iron Skillets that can be heated to scorching, put in the oven and scraped with a metal spatula- offer the most bang for the buck. They are pretty much indestructible! But, the Always Pan is good for eggs and other delicate items you don’t want to stick and I like the idea of the steamer basket. So, there’s room in my kitchen for both Kumbaya pans. One’s a Mac Truck, the other a Maserati.
Inspired by a Cooks Illustrated Instagram post, I made Soba Noodles with Chicken (leftover from the night before), veggies (also leftover) and edamame in a peanut sauce. Trader Joe’s sells a tasty, Spicy Peanut Sauce should you not want to make your own. Soba noodles, a tradition Japanese noodle, are made from buckwheat flour, so are healthier than noodles made with white flour. They need to be soaked before cooking, They are low glycemic, high in B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals and contain all 8 amino acids.
Friday I had my first Miami Spice of the Season at TUR Kitchen (see previous post) and Saturday, out on the boat, enjoyed a Publix Italian Sub. Delicious! We were going to meet friends Doug and Heidi at Lorelie, but rain and lightening threatened, so we headed the other way to Gilberts, for a stiff drink and to listen to the band- Cutler Stew.
Sunday, I watched Wyatt and Phoenix for A.J., who is now the new Event Planner and Wedding Coordinator for Patch of Heaven Sanctuary in the Redlands. Dinner was Spaghetti Sunday with pasta, sausage, meatballs, sauteed peas, salad, garlic bread and Eggplant Parm that Emma made. I was planning on making Lemon Sorbet, but with watching the kids, Phoenix bonking his head, etc…, it didn’t happen.
Good news for Miami and Coral Gables!
Bon Appetit has a list of Best New Restaurants and three South Florida Restaurants- Los Felix, Paradis Book + Bread and Sunny’s Steakhouse– made the list. The New York Times Food Section announced their Restaurant List 2022 and two Coral Gables restaurants- Zitz Sum and Mamey– made the list. I’ve been to (and enjoyed) both these restaurants. Congrats to Chefs Pablo Zitzmann and Nivel Patel on this honor!
Did you watch The Emmys? I was so surprised to see Abbot Elementary’s Sheryl Lee Ralph in the audience. Nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, she was much more glammed-up (and younger looking), than the maternal character she plays on the show, which I love. She won and wow! She belted out a song (Endangered Species) acapella that captivated the audience; her speech following, was equally inspirational.
To anyone who has ever had a dream … and thought your dream wouldn’t come true. This is what believing looks like.Sheryl Lee Ralph
The Emmys gave me a whole new list of things to add to my “Must See” TV (or streaming) list, starting with White Lotus, which won a lot of awards. Also- Succession, Ozark, Ted Lasso, Only Murders in the Building, Killing Eve, The Morning Show, Yellowjackets, Hacks, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Dopesick, The Staircase, Pam and Tommy and Maid. Some of these I had heard of, some I’d started watching, but others, I had not.
I also read a good suggestion regarding streaming services in a AARP newsletter. They suggested to subscribe to just one or two streaming services, binge-watch the series you’re interested in, and then cancel. Right now I have six services and that’s just crazy.
Equally crazy, I’m bookmarking yummy-looking Fall Dishes like Chicken Enchiladas, Baked Vidalia Onions, Hasselback Sausages, Butter Pecan Cookies and S’more Donuts from Instagram to sample soon, in this “Fall” Season. Fall also calls to mind anything Apple– crisp, cold apples, Apple Martinis, Apple Cider, Apple-Glazed Donuts, Apple Strudel, Apple Fritters and Apple Crumble. I love apples!
It may be 88 degrees outside, with 90% humidity here in Miami but I want my Fall, darnit! Just like Sheryl Lee Ralph, if I can believe it, it can happen. Even Fall in Miami.
Up Next: Overnight Oats