End of Summer Hibernation!

Comfort food is always embraced during the fall season, in the southwest the celebration is not without it’s treasures.  The smell of fresh roasted chiles, the outdoor grill gets going again and we gather around the fire pits to enjoy camaraderie, because if you have ever experienced Tucson summers you realize that we ‘Tucsonans’ hibernate in the summertime. But once the temperatures dip down into the 90’s we emerge from our air-conditioned homes to the outdoors once again.  Finally the Dog Days of Summer are ending, around these parts we don’t see much transition between the seasons.  However, we welcome with open arms the ‘cooling off’ to 90 degree temperatures.  Along with these cooling temperatures we welcome the transition into our winter fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, kale and winter greens.  We also see less sunshine which means less egg products as the chickens take time off to re-generate. The chickens start molting or losing and renewing feathers and also stop laying eggs for a short time.  At the Farmers’ Market we are seeing all the plethora of fall’s bounty.  We may not have the amazing colors in our trees, but at the farmers’ markets you will see fall’s colors bursting forth; pumpkins, eggplants, beets, swiss chard and many varietals of apples and winter squash.

This Caramel Apple Cake recipe is from Paula Deen’s, “The Lady and Sons” cookbook.
It is a delicious cake for fall, so fitting for a beautiful fall afternoon picnic or Sunday Supper.
Cake Recipe
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used local pecans)
2 1/2 cups diced apples;  Jonagold, Jonathan or Golden Delicious, Gala, Honeycrisp (to name a few)

Topping (optional)
¾ cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
3 ¼ cup butter

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Cream together sugar, eggs, and oil.  Add flour; mix together until well blended.  Add vanilla, nuts, and diced apples.  Spread into a lightly greased and floured
13 x 9-inch baking dish; bake for 45 to 60 minutes.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  When cake is done, punch holes in it with a knife, pour topping over warm cake.
Topping: Heat all ingredients together over medium heat; Bring to boil, stirring constantly; Let boil for about 2 minutes; Pour over warm cake