Daily Archives: 14 September 2011

What’s that Nip in the Air?

Wilson Farm Gets Ready for Fall

Fall doesn’t officially start for another week or so. How does the weather just know? I know, I know. Its nature, and there’s a cycle to the seasons. But as soon as Labor Day weekend is over, there is a noticeable nip in the air that says “summer’s coming to an end”.

The arrival of apples at the farm stands and farmers market says it too. We picked up a bag of Red Gravenstein apples. These are tart and sweet, good for cooking and eating. It’s one of the old-fashioned apples that you don’t see much anymore. Gravensteins are a particular variety that my father remembers from his own childhood, not from some bucolic farm experience, but something his produce seller father (my grandfather) used to bring home in late summer. My dad’s memories of these apples are strong, and he has (mostly unsuccessfully) sought them out. I’ve been slightly more successful. This year, I saw an ad in the local Maine paper, we so stopped by Sweetser’s Apple Barrel and bought a bag.

Closer to home, as of last week, the caramel apples at Wilson Farm are in. These are my fall indulgence. Who can resist a juicy, crisp apple enrobed in caramel and then rolled in chopped peanuts? I know I can’t. I limit myself to one a week, and I savor it by cutting it into quarters and eating it over several days. So, so good!

As the end of summer rapidly approaches, we are making the most of the corn and tomatoes, and the grill. We are a “charcoal” house, so once the weather gets cold, outdoor cooking ends until spring. It’s just too hard to keep the fire going when you’re fighting with the weather. We talk about getting a gas grill to use in the winter, but never seem to justify it. There is still another month or so to grill outside, but the days are numbered.

Howard grilled a top round steak from Chestnut Farm. It was a little chewy, not the most tender cut of meat, but tasty. It was a big steak, too big for one meal. With the leftovers, I made this Latin-flavored salad that we always enjoy.

Latin-Flavored Steak Salad
Serves 4
Adapted from The Thrill of the Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

1 – 2 cups (or more) diced leftover steak, ½-inch cubes
½ cup diced red onion
5 – 6 scallions, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
10 – 12 radishes, halved, then sliced thin
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lime juice
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp Tabasco

Place steak, onions, scallions, peppers, radishes, black beans, and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a jar, make the dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and Tabasco. Shake it until combined well.

Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.