Monday, September 27, 2010

pardon my french

It's officially fall, a time of year most Vermonters seem to love. I'd decided that I, too, was going to enjoy the season this year, but now that it has arrived, I ask you: What is there to enjoy about this oppressively low, colorless sky and high-of-50-degrees weather?

Fuck fall. Fuck foliage, fuck crisp, sunny days and cold nights, fuck pumpkins (not literally, please), fuck harvest festivals, fuck the smell of woodsmoke in the air, fuck hot, mulled cider, fuck wool sweaters and leather boots, fuck bike rides, fuck apple picking, fuck swishing through piles of fallen leaves.

Enjoying fall is like enjoying the view out the window of a crashing airplane. "Look, I think I can see the..." BAM! We're going down, bitches, and while the scenery might be pretty, this flight is going to end in a ball of flames in some farmer's field. And when I say "ball of flames in some farmer's field," I mean "dark, subarctic igloo of depression on my couch." So stop fooling yourselves: Winter's coming.

Summer Chickpea Salad With Local Tomatoes and Herbs
Adapted from

[This recipe is not as much a recipe as it is an idea for a simple, delicious salad. A salad that will not work come winter, as the tomatoes are a central component. So eat up.]

1 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
1–2 fresh chiles, seeded and minced [the kind of chile you use will depend on how spicy you'd like your salad—I used a serrano one time and a jalapeno another, neither of which made the dish particularly hot in the end]
2–3 handfuls of ripe cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size

2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1–2 cans chickeas, drained and rinsed
a handful of fresh mint, chopped
a handful of fresh green or purple basil, coarsely chopped

1. Add the onion, chile, and tomatoes to a bowl, and dress with the juice from 1½ lemons and a couple of glugs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the chickpeas in a pan over medium heat, then add 80% of them to the bowl. Mush up the remaining chickpeas and add these, as well. Allow to marinate for a little while and just as you're ready to serve, give the salad a final dress with the fresh mint and basil. Taste one last time for seasoning—you may want to add the juice from your remaining lemon half at this point or more salt and pepper. Top with crumbled feta cheese.


  1. So, are WE saying WE see no real value in the beautiful countryside, in the smell of woodsmoke, in the hot spiced cider and carbo-loaded foods that our bodies call out for as a result of the cycle of storing for the impending winter months? I think that is what WE are saying. Don't WE appreciate that the impending winter weather compels the Yachtsman to commit, months ahead, to a vacation in a land of warmth when he can hardly commit to dinner? Is that what WE are saying? Just asking.

  2. Ignoring the fact that you're the only person I know who doesn't enjoy Fall in Vermont, I have a food related question: may we skip the onion in this recipe?

  3. Ok, such a coincidence... Just this weekend, I had a conversation with my husband that went something like... "I f*ing HATE this time of year in our part of the country, because I SO miss fall in Vermont." Well, now all of my nostalgic sentiment has been effectively extinguished and I have closed my Norman Rockwell Treasury book and placed it back on the dusty shelf. Fine.
    Oh, and by the way, I might have dated a pumpkin once. No need to judge....
    Oh, and by the way, I miss you.

  4. And have you noticed how the leaves are turning 3 weeks earlier this year? Downright scary. I found myself counting the length of the upcoming brown season on the way to work this morning and realized I should expect 7+ months.

    Challah, a few details about that pumpkin may be just the distraction I need.

  5. DED and Sidekic AGREE!! Thank you for not being cheerful about it. And the prize for Best Fall Metaphor Ever goes to --- Gruel for Dinner!

  6. Amen! I have kicked up the dosage on the anti-depressant (That's right, I'm not afraid to out myself as a person who requires medication to stabilize my mood bitches!!!!), pulled out my light box and taken all of the those pesky CFL light bulbs out of their sockets. I'm ready winter, bring it on!

  7. And as the cherry on the cake of this shit ass fall day, the mister and I hopped in to bed with our plates of spaghetti and meatballs (the sauce on said dinner having been made yesterday from tomatoes from my garden) and watched last night's episode of Mad Men. It may not be your antidote to this weather, but sure is mine!

  8. His Momma, WE (that would be the Royal We, yes?) have no appreciation for fall, yet WE do love the yachtsman and his surprising willingness to commit to an Argentinean vacation. Perhaps he knows that WE will go crazy if forced to spend another winter in Vermont without a trip somewhere warm?

    Face, the red onions are certainly not mandatory. The original Jamie Oliver recipe called for the onion to be sliced, but since I don't like big pieces of raw onion in my mouth I chopped the (really quite small) onion pretty finely. I think this adds a nice flavor, but you could go without.

    I miss you, too, Challah. Plan on a visit from me in mid-March. We can take your Norman Rockwell off the shelf and see how he depicted mud season. Quaint, I'm sure.

    EBids, let's not count just yet, lest I drown myself in the lake at the thought.

    Sidekick & DED: Things aren't any better in Maine, I take it?

    I need some of what you're taking, Mojie, and I'm not just talking about the antidepressant. I'll take some of that tomato sauce, please, with a side of Don Draper.

  9. Nope. It doesn't matter how lovely the weather is (although lately chill and rainy has been the norm)...we know what it means...the crashing plane metaphor is spot on.

    And, just as we had spring several weeks early, and everything bloomed and ripened 2-3 weeks early, now the leaves are turning early. I think this means October snowstorm...

  10. I would certainly give this an A+ if I hadn't had to wait so goddam long for it. After a week or a year or however long it's been that I've been staring at that crusty scrap of bread I expect something that's going to make me laugh and cry and walk away a better person. Perhaps more popular, less irritable, younger, and more handsome. Or handsome. Keep trying. A little more than you've been trying thus far, and maybe a little more often. Maybe a little more cursing, too. Thanks.

  11. Even as as an unapologetic pro-fall girl, I can get behind this, mostly because I believe more swearing is nearly always the answer. More swearing and/or feta cheese.