Sunday, October 18, 2009

All Things Autumn

The weeks are flying by and the temperature has dropped in keeping with what we have expected. The leaves that shimmered brilliant red on our foliage field trip last week have become muted shades of yellows and browns. Leaves swirl and merrily skip along the streets of this city and the roads leading out to more rural areas as the days on the calendar dance happily into the heart of autumn.

Our Town House hosted a lovely annual meeting the other evening complete with unlimited wine, sushi and hors d’oeuvres. We met many interesting folks and are constantly surprised at how many of our neighbors are from New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts. It always pays to attend these meetings… you never know what you will learn! Those who know me well know my desire to be near a gym, especially one open 24/7! Well, wonder of wonders, we share a driveway with a world class hotel, and being the good neighbors they are their health club facilities…fitness center and heated pool…are available to residents on a complimentary basis. You can bet I was there the next morning….very nice, great machines and, I might add, boasting a lovely view of the lake and the snow-capped Adirondacks.

Yes, I said snow-capped. That day the highest peaks of both the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains looked as if a shaker of confectioner’s sugar was dusted atop them like a baker would dust powdered donuts. Rumor or legend (call it what you want) has it that once the mountains have snow the valleys can expect it in 4 to 6 weeks. That being said I appreciate the fact that I will be walking to work.

Work? Yes, work! finally….I decided to take a break from the world of education and pursue an interest I have had for many years. A management level position was offered to me at an institution that prides itself as being the premier specialty retailer in gourmet cookware, bake ware and food items. The invitation to work there was presented to me as “How would you like to have fun with us here?” Man oh man, it’s busy but it’s a great learning experience. I am in cooking heaven….but as my interests run, more like baker’s heaven.

Ah baking, yes I have made my fall specialty apple crisp this week and it was a big hit. I served if for dessert at a dinner party we hosted for some new Vermont friends. My husband is the food expert and he is happy to assign dessert to me as it keeps me from disrupting his kitchen operation. The kitchen remains his fiefdom if I am busy creating in my own little baking world. That man is happy and easy going but there is a reason he will relinquish the baking to me!

Here is my Apple Crisp Recipe. Feel free to add/subtract the optional ingredients to make it more to your personal taste. Most importantly, enjoy!

4 cups apples, cored, peeled and sliced

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup oatmeal

½ tsp. salt

¾ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. allspice

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

½ cup raisins

½ cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped walnuts

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place prepared apples into a lightly greased 8 x 8 inch lightly greased baking dish.

Blend the dry ingredients; blend the butter in with a hand held pastry blender until it crumbles. Top the fruit with this mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm topped with your choice of ice cream or homemade whipped cream.

What would a blog about Vermont be without paying some attention to the “leaf peeping” season? Yes indeed, that’s what people who travel up north to view the changing colors are fondly referred to as…leaf peepers!

We decided to play tourist one day and travel the beautiful Route 100. Voted as one of the ten best roads to travel in the US, it’s worth the trip anytime of year but especially during foliage season. It’s a 200 mile road running south to north up the state taking the traveler on a delightful journey. Route 100 weaves in and out of small rustic towns, then winds through the Green Mountain National Forest, cutting through mountains and back over the edge to reveal breathtaking views of valleys and their villages.

Antique shops, country stores, ski slopes, mountain vistas and waterfalls are all part of the experience. Take time to stop along the way to visit the attractions and photograph the show nature is putting on for its visitors.

My blog is for you to enjoy as much as I do. I have had so many enthusiastic comments from last week’s cauliflower recipe with readers happily sharing their favorites. Please send along comments to share with the rest of us!


  1. I will try that recipe, I love Apple Crisp. Keep the blogs coming Joanne, love it.

  2. Will do Eric. Its a great recipe. Enjoy and thanks for posting a comment, I love to get feedback.
    P.S. what were you doing up at that time?

  3. Joanne,
    We miss you here. We especially miss when you would bring us your home baked treats. Your blog had my mouth watering for a hot cup of tea and some apple crisp. I guess I'll just have to bake it myself.
    One of these days, I'll get up to visit you in your beautiful new surroundings.
    Until then, thanks for the blog. It's great fun.
    Love, Anita

  4. Hello! I am really enjoying your blog. With your descriptive details I feel as if I am there. Vermont sounds like an amazing and peaceful place to be this time of year... Fall. I would absolutely love it if my gym had a beautiful view as the one you described. Sounds truly amazing!

  5. Hi Anita,
    I miss you all so much. Really...I wish I could pack you all up and have you work in the library here. Its not the same. But...the area is beautiful, the people are from all over and very nice and there's much to do. I will stop by the RVCPL when I am in the area.

  6. Michele,
    Thank you for your comment. Its so nice to see all the posts on the blog. The view from the fitness room is amazing, this morning there were 2 sailboats out on the water! And...the price is right:)

  7. autumn is great. we don't have seasons in san francisco. :(

  8. I know,but San Francisco is a beautiful place!