And POOF! Just like that, summer was gone. The telltale signs are all around us: Breath is foggy in the morning, cozy socks are back at the front of the sock drawer, scarves and jackets are shaken out of storage, and the produce at the farmers markets is taking a definite pumpkin-y turn. This, my friends, is fall.
That giant growl you just heard came from my ever-optimistic beloved husband who views the turning of the leaves as a personal metaphor for mortality. This is the same man who spends the first official day of summer in mourning because it means that the days will grow shorter until the year ends. Poor guy. Don't feel too badly for him, though. He lives with a compulsive baker and we all know that bread makes everything better.
Some of us, though, are not-so-secretly rejoicing. I've rustled up my fingerless gloves and my woolen caps for my morning strolls. I'm thrilled that I'm no longer sweating buckets near (not over, perish the uncouth thought) my canning pots. In fact, I'm upping the canning program in order to help keep warm until my husband finally acknowledges that summer has flown the coop and fires up the woodstove.
In the meantime, I will keep filling jars with little tastes of summer for my hibernating husband to put on his fresh bread. Jams and jellies are wonderful, but nothing beats cracking open a vibrant, ruby-hued jar of savory garden goodness when the brisk wind is blowing and the sky is gun-metal grey. Roasted Red Pepper Spread is just the thing to banish chills to the body or soul. You can't help but smile when you see the bright red jars with flecks of basil peeking out at you. And when you open it? It's everything wonderful about summer encapsulated in one little jar. The silky smooth, thick red pepper spread with the full taste -- courtesy of tomatoes, garlic, onion and red wine vinegar -- is at home dolloped on fried eggs, spread on toast, as a pizza sauce, or as a dip (either alone or stirred into mayonnaise or softened cream cheese).