Today is officially the last day of summer. But here in Vermont summer gave way a couple of weeks back to chilly mornings and sunshiny crisp days. Woodsmoke has begun to drift lazily around the village at night. That crisp, clean, dry smell of autumn is in the air, so stunning and surprising every year, a smell forever connected to bright colors and fresh apples and the first fires of the season.
We tied cornstalks to all the porch posts and stuck little hydrangeas in and around the corn. The raccoons come at night and try and steal the cobs and the dogs go crazy. Yesterday we scattered pumpkins around the porches and a few gourds. So the colour on the ground is just a little bit ahead of the trees. The leaves at the top of the mountains have begun to change and just at the very tippy top of our old maple too. Change is in the air. You can feel it coming.
Fall has a taste as much as a smell. This time of year my thoughts go wandering toward pork chops with a bourbon glaze, next to a pile of orange and yellow squash with brown sugar and sage. Apples and nutmeg, cinnamon and sage. We dug up all the potatoes this past weekend and so a gratin must be coming. We have a sixteen year old who is thankfully not too old to appreciate warm apple bread just out of the oven when he gets home from school. My Gram’s chicken pot pie sounds just about right too. Maybe with some cheddar biscuits and baked figs.
It’s time —How about those pork chops squash for supper?
Here’s my best gratin recipe too for another night instead of the squash.
Serve both supper versions with a wilted spinach salad with a little mustard bacon and balsamic dressing.
Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops
- 4 tbls strong Dijon mustard
- 2 tbls packed dark brown sugar
- 2 (ish) tbls bourbon
- 4 thick center-cut bone-in pork chops
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper and a little garlic powder
Prepare a medium-hot grill.
In a bowl, mix together the mustard, brown sugar, and bourbon. Rub the pork chops with the garlic and dry seasoning, then brush with half the glaze.
Place the chops on the grill. Grill until the chops are slightly charred and cooked, about 20 minutes. Brush with the remaining glaze before serving.
Roasted Butternut Squash
2 medium butternut squash
6 tablespoons (ish) sweet butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
salt and pepper sage and nutmeg and cinnamon
3/4 cup pecan pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle nuts on top. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.
- 4 pounds mixed baby potatoes
- Gobs of heavy cream at least 2 cups worth
- ½ stick sweet butter
- 2 fat sprigs each fresh tarragon, sage, and rosemary
- 2 garlic cloves
- Salt and pepper and nutmeg
- 1/2 cup grated good strong Parmesan reggiano
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Halve the potatoes and toss them into a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, put the cream, butter, herbs, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, to infuse the cream with flavor. Season with more salt and pepper.
Pour the hot cream mixture (through a strainer) over the potatoes, (discard the herbs and garlic), if there is not enough cream to go 3/4 of the way up the potatoes then pour some additional cream on top to make up the difference. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked top has begun to get golden