The house smells of garlic, curry, and chiles. I've been cooking a lot the last several nights, doing a traditional Indian smelt curry, a traditional red chile pork, and green chile stew. So the house smells wonderful and we have enough leftovers for all our lunches this week.
The red chile pork is far more simple and tasty than I'd expected. It's just New Mexican dried red chiles, cleaned, toasted, and reconstituted before being blended with pan-roasted garlic. I then just cooked pork shoulder in the red chile sauce for a few hours, until it just fell off the bone and is so tender it just melts in the mouth. It's warm but not so hot as to blow my head off, and it would probably make a magnificent base to a chili if I'd used beef chuck roast instead of pork. It's cool to know what part of the animal makes good, super-tender braises. Add tomatoes, peppers, onions, hotter minced garlic, beans and maybe some chipotle for smokiness and heat and it would make a great chili.
I also found a recipe for flour tortillas that are soft, chewy, and resilient to rolling vast amounts of food together. They've been making lunches really easy.
Fall is making it easy to think in terms of hearty, hot dishes. The cool, clear, sunny days are magnificent. Jet and I went on a 'walk' yesterday where we didn't get very far, but we enjoyed every inch of ground we did cover. Dandelions, white with age, trailing stars of white fluff in a stream against Jet's dark blue jacket. Shadows feel the the same as sunlight on gritty blacktop. Jet marched across a field of prickers, thorns, and dried grasses, crunching with each step, to triumphantly claim an orange gas line flag. He kept it for much of the walk, and when he finally got tired of it I snuck back and put it back in place. The trees are all turning gleaming gold, burning red, and the leaves are falling, swirling, and blowing with the winds. The branches are baring their resistance to the winds, and getting ready for the storms of winter.
I've finally transplanted my herbs back into their indoor pots, though they sit outside so long as there isn't a threat of frost or freeze. The parsley is going crazy, and bushing out like a mad mop of greenery. I keep cutting it and drying it and wondering how many lasagnas I'm going to have to make to use it all. The marjoram died back in the worst heat of the summer, but it has a very firm, solid bush of white and green in the center again, that's growing tentatively next to my thickening garlic chives. Yum. I think they'll winter well, along with the large rosemary I'd bought in the spring. The rosemary has made lovely, fragrant oil for rubbing onto steaks for a marinade with balsamic vinegar and other herbs. Mmm...