Some folks say that during the warmer weather months their mind wanders, drifting toward laziness but for me, the wander begins early fall. Those first early mornings of chill make me want to roll myself into a tight ball under the covers and drift right back to sleep another fifteen minutes, then another fifteen minutes.
Following my early morning chat with the Mom’s at the bus stop and a smiling wave to my grandson, the J-Dude, with clear view of the double windows before the bright yellow school bus spurts forward I make my way back down the narrow street on either side of the short walk home. Early chilly days expose the first of crumbled brown leaves crunched and torn against the stones lining the pathways making space for the new varied shapes and hues that will shortly highlight the color splendor covering blacktops in between surrounding green lawns.
Beginning to appear on front stoops and mailbox gardens at neighbors homes I note displayed mums, yellows, whites, rust and deep purples set alongside pumpkins and gourds.
Apples and root vegetables have abundantly appeared at local farms and markets.
Fall is here and I want to cook, freeze foods fall clean, move some furniture around, decorate.
To plant kale and spinach in the garden, pick apples, go on a hayride and run through a corn maze with the J-Dude. Read those glossy magazines sharing yet again the ‘best fall pies ever’.
Listen to jazz music, and hear Frank Sinatra sing Autumn in New York. Light candles, hear clinking of bulbous round glasses filled with red wine sharing time with friends. Buy firewood and build a big crackling fire, or two, or three or more.
Sidetracked are some of the activities in preparing for the weekend Team Family Tailgates and twice weekly travel, harmoniously coinciding.
Traveling to different places and taking in the scenic routes along the way is an added bonus in the fall assuring miles upon miles of changing leaves producing spectacular colorful views before spending an afternoon in the fresh air watching a match of my favorite sports team then later sharing the Tailgate Table between players, coaches, families, friends and fans.
Temperatures falling into that perfect climate range last weekend enabled the scenario providing a broad range of foods on the Tailgate table with an in-between season delight such as using lots of fresh garden mint and parsley from my garden along with the last of the fresh tomatoes creating today’s Bulgur Salad.
Accompanied with the Bulgur Salad, I prepared Turkish Style Kabobs that we ended up grilling two days since we had a half grill malfunction shortly into the first game day preparation.
Believe it or not in the somewhere over two hundred skewers prepared, I actually forgot to photograph a couple of Grilled Kabobs.
Still, both of the game weekend entrée items went well with some of the other fall specials peeking their way into our menus such as fresh local apple cider, and spiced fall cookies.
Meanwhile, though I’ve merely begun most of my fall to-do list, in the shopping segment I have purchased a La Caja China grill roaster. La Caja China even fits into my fall wander as I dream up the preparation of a whole pig that we shall cook on our front yard on the evening the Team and visiting families come to dinner early November.
This will also be the final Division 1 collegiate tour in Pennsylvania for my youngest, Alex the Athlete, as the following day marks her final ‘league’ game in collegiate sports.
Sort of sad like the brown crunchy leaves lining the narrow street and at the same time like the beautiful shades and hues of colored leaves ushering in a future new type of bright season ahead.
Later as mums take to wither, gently interwoven the earlier frenzy of fall activities culminates a satisfaction, the bounty from the gathering, the collecting, the creating, warm comfort foods, a hot apple pie, the glow of a fire. Each entwined in the list beckoned among fall inspiration and tasks to measuring volumes through love and memories, wonderful sports memories, friendships and good times. Truly joys of the shared table.
- 2 cups prepared Cracked Wheat Bulgur
- 2-3 Cucumbers, small size, Kirby cucumbers with thinner skins, seeded if desired, then chopped
- 2-3 small Tomatoes, seeded, if desired, chopped then drained to remove excess liquid
- 4 Thin Scallions, chopped
- 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup Fresh Mint, chopped
- Juice of 2-2 1/2 Lemons, seeded and strained
- 1/8 cup Olive Oil, or a bit more
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Rinse Bulgur and prepare according to package directions
- Prepare vegetable and herb ingredients and juice lemons
- Once Bulgur is cooled, fork through to separate the kernels, gently stir through ingredients one at a time
- Stir in lemon juice, then olive oil and salt and pepper, check seasoning, adjust to taste
- Cover and refrigerate until fifteen minutes before serving, taste and adjust seasoning again, adding in a little more lemon juice if desired, serve at room temperature
The day before the event prep the tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers, mint, parsley and lemon juice into separate containers. Spread cooked bulgur across a long glass dish or plastic container gently forking so that all of the grains are separated then gently stir through 1 Tablespoon olive oil and refrigerate covered until travel time.
Before Traveling again gently fork through the bulgur so all grains are separated. Add in the ingredients one at a time, stirring gently between each addition. Next, stir in most of the lemon juice keeping a little aside in a tight fitting travel container to add to taste at serving time. Gently stir through the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Check seasoning before serving at room temperature.