Monday, September 2, 2019

ATKT: Around the Kitchen Table -- Beginning or Ending? Book #giveaway




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Sheila Connolly: Happy Labor Day! Am I the only one who has mixed feelings about that day?

According to Wikipedia, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. That's the official version, anyway, but that's not usually the first thing most of us think of, because Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans.

And it's also kind of symbolic of the autumn harvest. Most of us are a long way from anything agricultural, but when I started writing the Orchard Mysteries, I started planting apple trees in my front yard. My eldest, a Northern Spy, is now 12 years old, and the apples are just beginning to ripen (it's always late--I've got other trees that are ready to go!). The Northern Spy is a good representative of New England: Originated in New York in the early 1800s, the tree blooms late to avoid late-spring frosts. Fruit is large, bright red, and exceptionally juicy, with a crisp tender texture. One of the best apples ever to grace a pie, yet delightful when eaten fresh. Ripens in October and can keep up to 5 months.

Northern Spy (not ripe yet!)
Hudson's Golden Gem (delightfully crisp--
if you ever come across one, try it!)
and neighbor/helper Henry,
who turned 17 this year

What about you? Do you have a favorite harvest fruit or vegetable? Or a favorite dish?

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Daryl: I love pumpkin and all the squashes. I'm particularly fond of acorn squash as long as someone else has cut it up for me. I don't "wear" fall colors, but I do like seeing them on a plate. The rich oranges, the hearty greens. One of my favorite ways to cook veggies is chopped up, rolled in olive oil and salt, and set to bake on a baking sheet at around 350 for 15-25 minutes, depending on the density of the vegetable. Yum. So easy. So tasty. One of the ways I love to eat pumpkin is baked in something sweet. Ha! Does it still count as a vegetable? Starbucks is all about pumpkin, so last year I made this gluten-free version of the Starbucks pumpkin scone. Delish!



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LESLIE: Our house came with a lovely old Red Delicious tree. The fruit needs a light frost to fully ripen and sweeten, and it seems like every year, we're fighting the black bears for the fruit. In fact, Mr. Right says we never have to wonder when the apples will ripen -- the bears will tell us!

Like Daryl, I love squash and have shared quite a few recipes here. Love pumpkin, too, but not in coffee. (You love it? Good! I'll give you my share of the pumpkin spiced lattes in the world, and we'll both be happy!) In scrolling through the archives, I discovered a wonderful recipe I posted my first year here that combines apples and pumpkin, Gingered Pumpkin Apple Soup

But no, I'm not inviting Mr. Bear. he can make his own soup.

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PEG: Hubby's family owns a wholesale produce company started by his great-grandfather in 1896. His grandfather was a civil engineer due to go to India to build a hemp plant but when his wife objected, he instead took over the produce business.  His grandparents used to move around according to the harvest season--winters at a home in Florida for the citrus crop, a stop in North Carolina along the way north to check on the peach crop, Maryland to visit their asparagus farm, a quick stop in NJ to check in at the office, and finally summers in Vermont at their apple orchard.  My father-in-law (also a civil engineer) took over the business from his father and now my brother-in-law (an electrical engineer) runs the company.  Ironically my husband doesn't really like vegetables unless they are smothered in hollandaise. And he's not an engineer
although he does think like one.


 I love the fall season and all the varieties of apples but I'm a summer fruit and veggie girl. Love making desserts with berries and peaches as well as dishes like ratatouille that take advantage of all the summer vegetables. Blueberry clafouti is a favorite summer dessert.  I've shared a recipe here:
https://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com/2015/07/its-as-american-as-blueberryclafouti.html
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By Labor Day, I'm usually ready for the heat of summer to go away. Plus I love the fall.  I like the leaves changing and the chill in the air, and most of all, pumpkin spice! I live it in my coffee creamer, in my waffles, and in my cornbread. Did you know that pumpkin puree can be substituted for butter, oil, and eggs in any recipe? And surprisingly, in something like chocolate brownies, you can't taste the pumpkin, but it makes the brownies super moist.


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LUCY BURDETTE: For me, this season is all about the peaches! We are almost always in Connecticut in the fall and we live near a place called Bishop's Orchards. They harvest blueberries, and raspberries, and apples in succession--I love them all but my very favorite is peaches. I come home with enormous baskets of them and let them ripen a few days on the counter. Then we eat them in everything! Stop back here on Thursday for my peach and cucumber salad recipe and links to other favorites...

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ESSIE: I love squash! Any kind, any time, any way. But my very favorite (at this moment anyway) is spaghetti squash. There are so many ways to enjoy this really flavorful and pretty side. Grill it, microwave it, bake it; add butter, add nutmeg, add salt and pepper; dice it, slice it, or the best yet, fork it out of the shell so that you have all those delightful threads of spaghetti to arrange artfully on the plate or bowl. It goes with just about anything and really, is so, so easy to prepare, once the initial slicing it in half is done. I've enjoyed it for so many years and suggest, if you've not tried it, there's no better time than now!

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CLEO COYLE: Fall is my favorite time of year, and I always look forward to cooking with apples and pumpkins, but Labor Day also marks the end of summer gardening. As a Depression era child, my dad and his big Italian family relied on their gardening to get them through hard times. As a result, we always had a large summer garden. At this time of year, the heavenly sent of cooking tomatoes permeated the house. If you’ve never made spaghetti sauce from fresh tomatoes, you owe yourself the experience of doing it at least once in your life. A few years ago, as a tribute to my late father, I shared a basic, step-by-step tutorial (along with a little more background about my family). For the recipe, with a free PDF, click here: How to Make My Father's Meatless Italian Spaghetti Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes. May you eat, cook, and read with end-of-summer joy! ~ Cleo 
                                                               

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VICKI DELANY: Tomatoes. I always say tomatoes are my one true love (after children and grandchildren of course). And, like most true loves, only the real thing will do. Since I moved to Ontario farm country, I've discovered the variety and marvelousness of heirloom tomatoes. I eat so many tomatoes at this time of year, I 'm surprised I don't turn red. Like Cleo, I make fresh pasta with cherry tomatoes (recipe provided last week), Italian bread salad (mostly made up of tomatoes). I make tons of soup and pasta sauce for the freezer, and freeze whole tomatoes (you don't have to blanch them, just cut off the stem and freeze) and they're fine for cooking with all year. I generally avoid supermarket tomatoes the rest of the year, because there simply is no taste to them, and fresh tomatoes are worth waiting for. 




What about you? Do you have a favorite harvest fruit or vegetable? Or a favorite dish?

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GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment and your email address to enter to win these terrific books from our authors. 

SHOT IN THE DARK, by Cleo Coyle (new paperback edition)
TOASTING UP TROUBLE, by Linda Wiken
THE DIVA SWEETENS THE PIE, by Krista Davis
SIFTING THROUGH CLUES, by Daryl Wood Gerber





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126 comments:

  1. I have visited a working apple orchard in Pennsylvania and watched a demonstration of the cider press and had some wonderful apple cider donuts and, of course, apple cider. I have a Harvest Apple candle that reminds me of that visit and of places that actually have an autumn -- here in South Texas, we have fall for about 2 days in November, if that! bobandcelia@sbcglobal.net

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    1. Celia, isn't it fun to visit one? I did in San Diego. ~ Daryl

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    2. Thanks for that apple cider donut reminder, Celia! I haven't done a pick-your-own apple orchard visit in years, and I'd sure love to do it again. (The fresh donuts are always wonderful!)

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  2. I love anything with pumpkin in it. rblmm69@yahoo.com

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    1. I'm still not sure about pumpkin coffee. Hmm. ~ Daryl

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  3. Don't really have any one thing favorite-I like most everything :) Except pumpkin which I am allergic to :(. We've been to an apple orchard before and saw how they made cider. LOve the Fall season best of all. So many beautiful colors and things. Vicki nvictoria77(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Aw, Vicki, how sad to be allergic to a basic food. I'm allergic to gluten, so I know your pain. ~ Daryl

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  4. i just love going to the orchard for apples. and cider slushies. then making good old apple crisp ....reminds me of my grandmother.....have to have some good vanilla ice cream with it

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  5. When we lived in Ontario every Fall we would pick apples. Such a wonderful outing. Spy's, Mac's, and this was always a special time for the family. I miss those days. I enjoy tomatoes and eat them everyday. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. Soon it will be out New Year and I make a very delectable apple cake every year which is appreciated and devoured by the family. Apples are my favorite and most enjoyed fruit since we grew up in an area which had beautiful apple orchards. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Happy early new year, Petite. Enjoy the apples. ~ Daryl

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  7. Fall is my favorite time of the year because finally the Texas heat abates & we have cooler weather after a long summer. I love pumpkin, spaghetti squash, apples and tomatoes too so reading this blog was a wonderful experience & makes me want to immediately use all of those foods! I never realized pumpkin puree could be used in so many ways Denise. I love cooking with it but have always used it only for baking pumpkin things.

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  8. I love fresh fruit. I love these authors too.

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  9. I love all the fresh apples for sure! aiellorima@gmail.com

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    1. Rima, you're the winner of this giveaway by random selection. We'll be in touch to get your mailin address. Congrats! ~ Daryl

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  10. I love apple slices with caramel dip or apple crisp

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  11. Would love to win! Looking for some new authors and series to read. Thanks for the chance. tessacaroli@gmail.com

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  12. Fall is my favorite time of year. Every year I take my kids apple picking. I love Honey Crisp apples. Hopefully they will be ripe when we go to pick them.

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