Fall Food

comments: 112




















Aw, yeah: I cooked and baked and brewed. Buttermilk oatmeal bread, hearty mushroom and sausage pasta sauce, pumpkin spice pancakes, and homemade chai. All of it was very good! (The raviolis, by the way, were these, and they were AWESOME awesome awesome — I am really weird and picky about my ravioli because we do not have the same brand here that my mom used to buy when we lived in Chicago [she says it was Mama Celeste? does that brand still exist in the Midwest, or beyond?], and these are the closest I've ever tasted to those, my childhood favorite food, so I'm rather joyful now, because I just love ravioli, and you know how there are some things that you just want to taste a very certain way?).

(Speaking of, calling all Chicagoans now living in Portland: RUN to Bridge City Pizza in Woodstock [or just past Woodstock — or maybe it's still Woodstock there]. Oh. My gosh. You will completely freak out. The guy [nicest guy ever] who owns this place is an actual south-sider and he actually makes Chicago pizza the way Chicagoans think of pizza. And cuts it in sqaures. And puts it in the big white bag with the staples at the end that is transparent with cheese grease by the time you get home. You guys, this is the pizza. This is not the stuffed pizza. This is not the thick-crust pizza. This is the heavy, cheese-and-sausage, white-bag pizza. And you know what I'm talking about. Tell him the girl from River Forest [me] and the guy from Elmhurst [Andy Paulson] sent you. [And if any of you are from River Forest and you grew up eating River Pizza, you may start almost-sobbing like I did.] It really, really tastes like home. Andy actually called the pizza place back after we got home with our pizza the first time we tried it and he said, "This actually changes the whole city of Portland for us," and I was just standing in the background chewing and nodding vigorously with tears streaming down my face, unable to speak.)

I'm kidding. But he did call and say that. And I think his voice had a little quaver in it.

Mimi and I walked up to the get the chai ingredients yesterday in the rain. It's been raining for a couple of days, though it is still warmish, which is just delighting me. In the effort to get the mud room space ready for the pantry (which arrives tomorrow), I've been thinking about what's going in the pantry, and thinking about how to reorganize all of our kitchen storage space in general. I started to get a little excited about cooking again. It's really been a while. It's hard to admit this, but summer food just doesn't appeal to me that much, cooking-wise. This past year I really haven't cooked that much because of the baby, but now that she's older and much more willing to hang out with me in the kitchen for longer stretches, and now that it isn't four thousand degrees in the kitchen and we can use the oven again, and now that it's pouring rain and there really isn't anything calling us outside ('bye river, 'bye park, 'bye woods) for days at a time, I guess I finally hear the call of the Dutch oven. Of the slow-simmering sauce. Of the bread that takes hours to rise. Of the chopped onions, the butternut squash, the apple pies, of the long, lazy, candlelit mornings, of the bubbling Irish oatmeal I so love, of the spicy chili, or the black bean soup. Yeah. I like fall cooking a lot. I'm pretty excited about it again, especially because every day Amelia is trying new foods, and this girl loves to eat!!!

Anyway, that pasta sauce above was really nice, especially, I thought, because of the green pepper. A little sweet, but I like it sweet. The pumpkin pancakes, well, yum; we've made those many times and I think they are my absolute favorite pancakes. That's just a good recipe. (And I do have one of those beautiful crepe pans [mine's from the Mirador] that makes making pancakes pure pleasure.) The bread was good and dense and salty. The chai was a little too delicate and a little too rich; next time I will make it stronger by cutting the milk to only one cup (instead of four) and adding one more cup of water, and keeping everything else the same.The flavor was just what I was looking for, but I want a bit more intensity, on a cold, rainy, glistening, beautiful, cozy little old September afternoon.


Oh, fall is just the best, for so many reasons! And soon your little muffin will have a birthday!

Mmmm, homemade chai! I've not gotten that ambitious yet though I confess I think I've pinned more than a few recipes on how to do that on pinterest. It is my fave Fall/Winter beverage besides a good hot cuppa. You know, I live in the South and have never had Chicago pizza. Your description makes it sound delish! Can't wait to see all the yummy things you cook up in your Fall kitchen. It is a wonderful time of year for food indeed. :)

There's nothing quite soul-satisfying as Fall baking.

I predict shops everywhere are going to see a spike in their sales today and tomorrow... lots of spices, and oats, flour, yeast, milk, bacon, butter, pumpkin-ess! Personally, I don't think I'll have any peace until I've had some chai... you plant inspiration seeds, Alicia!

Oh I know how you feel about finding foods from back home.
Gosh I miss it all, ravioli, pizza, wings, deep fried things.
It all just has a different taste in the midwest.
Maybe cause it is comfort and home that I miss that go along with the flavors I remember.
Your days always so amazing and full of life.
I will soon love your posts on the dark fall days you will have while we are still roasting in the sun. ;)

I'm a picky pizza girl from Elmhurst myself. Please ask Andy if he remembers Robertos. Hands down, the best pizza I've ever had. If your new Portland place is anything like it, you are one lucky family. Happy fall!

Love your beautiful pics. I love fall, and the fall comfort foods....

Homemade chai is wonderful. That pizza sounds like a revelation, I'm so glad you're able to have it.

Yes, I hear you about nor being inspired by hot weather cooking or food. Only so many BBQs and salads and then I'm bored.
Cold weather cooking is so varied with the soups and the casseroles and cakes,pies, roasted vegies etc. We're approaching summer here in Australia: bushfire and sun burn season. Not happy!

Looking foreward to seeing your new pantry: will it be like Laura Ingalls' in "Those Happy Golden years" ??

mmmm, I am so looking forward to Fall cooking too. The flavors are all so comforting and rich without being too heavy. I think I could live on soup and bread every day.

One of my favorite fall foods is to fill the crockpot with a little broth, slices of sweet potatoe and sausage (or kielbasa) and just let those two flavors play together. A little apple is good in there too.

One more week until my kitchen remodel is done and then I'll probably need to take a day off work just to COOK ALL THE THINGS!

I have been tapping my foot impatiently waiting for cooler weather to start REALLY cooking as well! I not a fan of summer cooking either, and I think we grilled one time this season! That is how much we are just not into it.
We had a nice soaker of a storm this past Saturday here in the SF Bay Area, so it has really cooled things down finally.
I'm making a nice little soup tonight even though it is still in the eighties here. :)

Amelia is getting so old!!! And so cute! It always amazes me how completely cute babies can even get cuter and cuter, but they do! So glad for you that she's a good eater, cooking is so much more fun with good eaters around. I'm so happy to be getting rain and a taste of our PNW winds. After looking at so many blogs doing fall porches, I thought it would sure be funny to do a post on our fall porch, with everything constantly blown around unless it's nailed down, lol. Need to find the darn camera charger. *sigh*, I LOVE, love, LOVE fall and winter, though I do sooo wish we'd get some good snow. I could ramble on and on in my rainy day blissed out state, but I'll stop. Can't wait to try those recipes, they look so good. Also- it's fall!!!! Yay!!!

Oh, I need to make that ravioli & sauce. Like, stat. My husband has some weird issue with beef & mushrooms in the same dish (it tears up his stomach, bad) but I'll use a turkey sausage and go for it.

I love fall foods. I am always reinvigorated to cook in the fall and baking too. I knew it was rainy there, as my daughter posted on her facebook page that thank heavens Portland was back to "normal" with their weather. I made butternut squash muffins last week and have 2 pie pumpkins sitting on the counter waiting for me...

Your bread is beautiful! (Oh, I knew I should have made some bread this morning.)

Mimi's hair is getting so long and pretty. She's suddenly looking more like a little girl rather than a baby. When did that happen?? She's so sweet.

Never been to Chicago but I feel as though I need pizza in white paper now. :) All of us who grew up somewhere other than where we now live probably have something equivalent, and mine is a Farmer's Sausage from Canada. And if I found a local place that made it---I would sob. For probably hours.

Great autumny post.

You definitely made me hungry!!! Everything looks soooo yummy. Love the little sweater thus far. You should look into the sweater pattern " In threes" it would be so adorable on Mimi ;) Enjoy your cooler days.

YUM--in response to your whole post! Hold on tightly to these days with your little darling. Mine are in school now and I miss the baby days so much. We are all so busy now (even though I make sure we don't overschedule) and I miss the kinds of days you are living now!!

You just reminded me of something I had completely forgotten...and it made me smile. My 100% Italian family always ate Mama Celeste raviolis too. We're a particular crowd, eh?

P.S. I grew up in the far north suburbs and still live here.

Kendra Lydick says: September 23, 2013 at 05:10 PM

Oh little Amelia just gets prettier with everyday.

Your posts always bring joy and warmth to my heart. Thank you for sharing your everyday life with us ( and the amazing recipes!) I'm going to make the "Sour Cream Apple pie" real soon.

I want to butter Mimi and eat her up between slices of that bread. Is that wrong?

Did you see my latest Ollallieberry?!?!?!

And this black bean soup is killer:

Yay for Fall Cooking!

I made your sour cream apple pie for work and needless to say there was not a crumb left. Delicious. I am thinking the oatmeal bread is next.

What beautiful bread! I made a soleum vow to make my kids school lunch sandwich bread, but quickly fell off the wagon. Might have to try again.

I don't think I knew Andy was from Elmhurst. We lived there a year on East Park Avenue, and loved watching the trains go by from our window. I also loved walking to the York theater (dollar movies!), and a few other places, and the white lights in the trees in town in winter. The tree lined streets were so beautiful. I love those kinds of neighborhoods.

Fall is my favorite season! Right now it's raining and I'm thrilled. Bedroom window will be wide open tonight.

Mimi is such a serious little miss in those first few pics. What a sweet girl. Isn't it wonderful getting to see the world through her eyes? :)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com