Since the boy and I were having a full-out Fall weekend at “Deer Camp” last week, I felt the compulsive foodie need to make things that were cabin and cold-weather appropriate. The first morning started off with pumpkin brown butter waffles, but for dinner my mind went directly to soup and bread.
Soup, because it warms me from the inside out and makes me feel cozy. Bread because, well, I’m pretty obsessed with bread in all forms: sliced bread, flatbread, bagels pizza dough, naan, english muffins…you name a bread, and I probably love it. Especially biscuits, which hold a special place in my heart. Buttery, flaky, sky-high biscuits. I went through a phase in high school where I would eat a biscuit every single morning. I’d eat it alongside my cereal, of course, because carbs power you through the day (this is my logic and I’m sticking to it).
For this Deer Camp soul-food occasion, I decided that the soup would be a spicy tortilla variety with black beans and crispy fried tortilla strips. And as you may have guessed, the bread wouldn’t be your average sliced bread (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but buttery biscuits filled with shredded sharp cheddar and black pepper. Both of these things are perfect on their own, but together? They’re a Fall soul-food force to be reckoned with.
I’m in love with Fall in a big, bad way. This weekend the boy and I had a full-out Fall weekend, and I went a bit nuts with the baked goods. I should explain that when I say “full-out Fall weekend,” I really mean that I went to “Deer Camp.” Yes, the magical season of deer hunting is upon us, and the boy is walking around with the same gleeful, giddy smile that I carry all holiday season…so it’s like I get it. You know, sort of.
Across 70-acres of southern Wisconsin lies the elusive Deer Camp. I’ve actually mentioned this place before, but that was during the summer when it was but a pretty, lush, creek-lined property. Sure, it’s still beautiful, but here’s the gist of Deer Camp: It’s a house on a hill that’s barely visible from the road because of the tall trees that cover nearly every inch of the land. In several of these trees are strategically-placed tree stands. Where there aren’t any trees, there are food plots to keep the deer happy. Fat and happy.
To me, Deer Camp is just an excuse to hibernate, bake, and drink wine while gazing outside at the pretty Fall trees…and that is just precisely what I did. To start my Fall weekend/Deer Camp experience off the right way, I made the best Fall breakfast a girl (or boy) could ask for: brown butter pumpkin waffles.
I’ve mentioned before that I go through ridiculous food phases. For instance, in high school I would eat an Asiago bagel with plain cream cheese for lunch every day. And I mean literally every day. For the past two years, my phases have been concentrated on breakfast; Until recently, I’ve eaten old-fashioned oats with almond butter and honey every single morning. I’d bring it to work, I’d eat it on the weekends, I’d feel sad when I went out to brunch instead of having my oats at home. It was kind of sick, really.
The thing about these phases is that when they stop, they STOP , and are replaced with an aversion. In an instant I’ll be left without a go-to meal.
After my almond butter oatmeal phase abruptly ended, I was left scrambling for my next big breakfast thing. Enter Greek yogurt, fruit, and granola. Simple? yes. Expensive? ugh, yes. Greek yogurt is already twice as expensive as regular yogurt (because they need to use twice the milk), fruit is never cheap (especially if you try to buy organic), but granola? Why does granola think it should be so expensive? Get off your high granola horse.
Since my food phases are long-running and borderline obsessive, I knew I needed to cut the cost of at least one of the three elements of my new breakfast equation. So, here it goes…
Dear expensive boxed granola: You’re too into yourself. We’re done.
Dear Homemade Peanut Butter Nutella Granola: This is the start of something real and lasting. Can’t you feel it?
Since September 1st rolled around, I’ve been thinking about pumpkins, and what my first baking move would be this year. There’s just something so comforting about pumpkin baked goods; I think it’s a mixture of the warm spices, coupled with the feeling that you should be wrapped up in a blanket and drinking tea, or tromping through leaves on a sunny, but kind of cold, day.
While contemplating my first move in the kitchen, I kept coming back to my favorite pumpkin cookie recipe. These cake-like cookies practically begged me to transform them into bars so they’d be even fluffier, and allow more space for white chocolate chunks (one of pumpkin’s best friends) to make a home.
If you’re feeling the Fall fever like I am, you should probably grab one (or three) of these bars…immediately. They’re soft, perfectly spiced, and full of the warm-fuzzies an Autumnal freak like me craves..
Macaroni. Where do I start? It’s one of my favorite things, and it’s also one of the first things the boy and I made together nearly two years ago (d’awwww). We’re not talking blue box Kraft macaroni here, people. No, this is legit: start with a béchamel, fold in some fancy cheeses, top with bread crumbs and bake it so it gets all brown, crispy, bubbly, and ridiculous.
When I went to my garden last week, handfuls of tomatoes, both big and small, were ready to be picked. After having my fill of tomato salads, I decided these tomatoes deserved something special. Special and cheesy.