Autumn's Splendor

by Keith Fisher

You’ve got to love the weather we’ve been having lately. A few years ago, I cooked in a Dutch oven cook off held on July fourth, in a place that formed a natural wind tunnel. We set up our booth with the cooking table between us and the hot wind. By the time we presented our "burnt offerings" to the judges it was close to one hundred ten degrees in our tent.

There isn’t much you can say about that kind of heat except, wow, or some other, more graphic expletive. I had to rest for a week after that one, and we didn’t win anything. Since then, I’ve left Independence Day open for family outings in the mountains, not cook offs. I still cook, but only in places with cool breezes and shade trees.

Now that the weather is getting cooler, it’s the perfect time for a family cookout. Get out there, and enjoy cooking on a fire. Drag your portable fireplace into the middle of the driveway and invite the neighbors over to roast hot dogs.

With school in session, it’s a great time to get into the mountains. It’s probably too late for the family reunion, but Friday night camping trips can be wonderful because you don’t have to compete with the majority of the summertime crowd. Get up early on Saturday and polish your breakfast making skills. If you’re a writer like me, it’s a great time to get those words down on paper, laptop, or AlphaSmart--before the family wakes up.

As a kid growing up in the state of Utah, I discovered I had two favorite times of the year. Spring, because of the new growth. The world is warming up, and people are getting ready to plant their garden and cast their shoes off. And fall, because we are cooling down. Nature begins to show its magical splendor with all the colors of the rainbow before the winter cold sets in and the colors turn gray.

Fall was also the time in my youth, for deer hunts and bird hunts, End of the year fishing trips, and getting ready for ice fishing. It’s the time I miss my grandfather most. He was our camp cook and I remember the breakfasts he used to make. His quiet wisdom and loving hand, his patience in trying to teach me to wait for the fish to bite instead of reeling in my line every four minutes.

I love fall. It’s the best time of year for feasts. Thanksgiving dinner, Halloween, tailgate parties, and all the little events in between, in the relative comfort of cool temperatures.

Since it is getting cooler, I decided to post a soup recipe, but which one to post? I finally picked a quick chowder I developed while serving a mission in Nova Scotia.

Tuna Fish Chowder
By keith Fisher
12-inch deep Dutch oven

2 cans Tuna
about six potatoes cubed
1 pound of bacon fried and broken into bits
one small onion diced
2 cans, or three hands full frozen corn
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2-3 cups milk
2 pkgs fresh mushrooms
flour and water for a roux

Cook bacon, set aside. Dice potatoes and onions and boil together in enough water to cover. When potatoes are soft, drain 3/4 of the water and add milk.

Next, add Mushroom soup, tuna, bacon, and corn. Let simmer. Add extra milk if desired. When simmering, add your roux to thicken. Put mushrooms in at last minute, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Return to the Neighborhood.

1 comment:

Nichole Giles said...

I agree, fall is a beautiful time of year. And I've never considered using Tuna fish for a chowder. Interesting idea.