September 22, 2011

autumn roses

After spending the whole summer indulging myself in a bounty of fresh summer fruits, I was still not quite ready for apples. Sure, I saw the season's first apples as early as mid August, but I like them the best in late fall, and usually pass up those early-autumn varieties. And quite frankly, I wasn't done with summer fruits just yet. After all, in just a few months there will be few fresh fruits available but apples at the stores, so why hurry now?

Yet last week or so at a local green market, I found something that intrigued me, and it happened to be apples.
The tag read "Rose Husk", and according the leaflet that came with them, it is a variety of apples that smell like a rose. And sure enough, when I sniffed the lot of them, I did smell rose - or something close. They smelled like apples, of course, but there was definitely really sweet and floral note to it.

The leaflet suggested that you put one of those apples in a room or a car, as if they are a room/car fragrance. I could easily imagine that. What was more interesting to me was this little note that said "they are OK to eat"; what did they mean, exactly, by this? We guessed that they would be not inedible but not palatable, but not certain. Since nobody at the market could answer our question as they had never tried them either ("they are a new variety and just arrived today", they said), I decided to find it out by myself and took a case home with me.

And quick googling taught me that Rose Husk is a relatively new cultivar developed and marketed as ornamental apples, and perfectly edible raw - unlike, say, crab apples. That said, they weren't exactly tasty; let's just say I wouldn't bother to eat them raw, especially when there are plenty of other apples that taste great cooked or uncooked. Yes, "they are OK to eat". Precisely.

So our next question(s): would they taste good/better when cooked? And would they still smell like a rose when cooked? Would they make apple jam that smells like a rose?

September 9, 2011

autumn in the air

Temperatures still climb up to near 85F/30C degrees during the day. Cicadas are still loud when the sun is out. But you can feel the breeze slightly cooler and less humid, and the carpets of green rice plants are slowly taking on a shade of gold. September seems to bring along autumn in the air, a little by little, as apples and pears are gradually replacing plums and watermelons at the market.

You might think I should be over with all those summer fruits after doing quite a lot with them. But really, I never seem to be able to have enough of them, quite literally, as they disappear from the shelves faster than the summer heat fades away.
So I am going to wait for a little longer before I eventually give in and pick up those fruits of autumn and winter; for now, I will savor season's last peaches and perhaps figs and prune plums that make a short appearance as summer slowly turns into autumn.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a few things with you:

- Do you cook while on vacation? I do, whenever I can - and even if you don't, reading these will inspire you to do so on your next trip: Cooking on Vacation, where several bloggers (myself among others) talk about what they like to cook, etc., on vacation by answering a few questions, set by Clotilde.

- What inspires you? For me, these would be the thing, at least for now; as I worked on the questions set by Charlie of sweet little French inspiration-oriented website les petites robes noires, I was amused to realize that, even though any of the topics I was given was not specifically related to food, I still talked (mostly) about food anyway - I must love food, right?

- Days may now be growing shorter as we head to autumn, I still dream about my short visits in Helsinki during my latest trip to Europe, in late June and early July where the days were the longest of the year; here is a set of photos I took from there - not too many food shots, but I've been trying some Finnish recipes since I got home in Japan, and I'm hoping to blog about them sometime soon.

And now, this is what I made with my fruits the other day: roasted fruit salad with salted butter. Like many other recipes created by Trish Deseine, it is simple and beautiful, and has been one of my real favorite ways to enjoy fruits of late summer and early autumn ever since I first made it several summers ago. It makes perfect breakfast on those chilly mornings that we are having now here in the mountains. September does bring along autumn in the air.

Hope you are all enjoying mild September weather! -cx