Have you noticed the color of the sky at sunset, the change in the air in the evening, the arrival of spiders and their webs? Are you done feasting on tomatoes and other crops from your garden? You know that Autumn is here. I love to walk through the rustle of leaves, feel the chilly air in the morning, sweep our deck of leaves and maple seeds, and look for lots of acorns as a sign of a wet winter, and to gather with friends. What do you like to do to enjoy the best of Autumn?
The Autumnal Equinox last Friday ushers in the season and represents balance before the coming of winter. This period is celebrated in ancient religions and marked by events such as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The astrological sign for this period is Libra, with a scale as its symbol. In ancient Egypt, Horus and Seth, the powers of light and dark, battled each other as did similar gods in Norse and Aztec mythology. The Chinese celebrate with the Moon festival, honoring the harvest moon. From early times, we've understood the significance of the change in seasons.
At my monthly Craft Day, a friend brought me a decorated pumpkin to welcome Autumn. Our group sipped butternut squash soup, shared Stone Salad and homemade rolls, laughed, and talked while we worked to finish various projects some of us started a long time ago.
During the summer we sat outside, but last Friday we sought the warmth of a room with a fire in the fireplace. In California, the leaves haven't turned yet, but we felt the change in the weather and the change in ourselves as we reached for comfort and warmth as we head towards winter.
Butternut Squash Soup
2 tsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed (I use the pre-cut version from the grocery)
2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 small potato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 pinch of pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup sparkling apple cider
1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1/2 cup plain yogurt
Garnish with either more chopped apple or chopped pecans or both!
Roast butternut squash, 2 apples, potato in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cook onion in butter in a saucepan until soft. Add squash, apple, potato, ginger root, and pepper. Stir in broth. Cover and bring to a boil.
In a food processor, puree soup, in small batches, until smooth. Return to saucepan. Stir in apple cider and brown sugar. Heat to boiling. Garnish with a dollop of yogurt and apples and/or pecans.
Stone Salad is a great way to have a potluck lunch. Ask each person to bring one ingredient to add to salad greens that you provide. Add dressing and let everyone help themselves. This way no one has to work too hard to provide a delicious lunch!