Hands are wetter.

Fingers are stiffer.

Raindrops sneak down our bare arms.

apple orchard

u-pick apples

Long sleeves offer but little protection as we pick apples on a rainy October day. In fact, the rain ceased about an hour before we got to the orchard but left the air permeated with an almost tangible moisture. It’s neither drizzle nor mist, but it’s there.

I can see it.

I can see its miniscule beads in Nicole’s eyebrows. I try to wipe them out, but she says “Нет!” (“No!”) and runs away.

fresh apples

California apple farm

images of apples

We think about warmth and food but don’t make haste to call it a day. We are soaking up the day as is and looking forward to coming home. To turning on the fireplace and the stove. Gas stove.

After using an electric stove for almost a decade, it is a luxury to cook on gas . . .

hearty soup

I’ll make soup as soon as we are there. A medley of root vegetables, a couple just picked apples for brightness, and cream will make a hearty soup. Creamy and smooth.

I am glad Mom and I tackled a batch of пирожки с капустой (hand pies stuffed with cabbage and caramelized onions) last night. We’ll dunk them in the soup. No bread needed.

wild apples

apple and root vegetable soup

hot hand pies

I am a huge fan of soups. I do like salads. I think I can subsist on those two alone for the rest of my life. I use a lot of root vegetables in my soups. As a matter of fact, they are a must in my household. Potatoes, celery, carrots, turnips, beets. Not only do they make tasty soups but they also add a layer of aromatic flavor to homemade stews and stocks. When I make creamy soups, I like to brown them a bit to intensify their flavor.

Russian cuisine

baked hand pies

When the food is ready, we’ll squat down to it around our little coffee table by the fireplace, a feeling of comfort and contentment over us.

We’ll rewind today and make plans for tomorrow.

It’s because of days like this that I love fall.

images of fall

fall colors

Fall Is Settling In

There will be a lot of crunching tonight. The apples are so crisp—Gala, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Cameo. We still have some crab apples from our backyard tree left.

Apples are a great favorite of ours. I sometimes wish I could write a blog just about apples. I even thought of a name for it. An Apple a Day. What do you think?

Maybe one day . . .

For right now I will leave you with the recipe for my apple soup on this blog.
Recipe for Olga’s Original Orchard Fresh Apple Soup

Ingredients:
1. 3 tablespoons olive oil
2. 1 medium shallot, diced
3. ½ green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4. 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes
5. 1 celery stick
6. 2 medium turnips
7. 2 medium carrots
8. 5 (1 liter 250 ml) cups chicken or vegetable stock
9. 1 large Golden Delicious apple
10. 1 large Granny Smith apple
11. ½ (125 ml) cup heavy cream
12. 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
13. Freshly ground pepper, to taste
14. Dash of nutmeg
15. Fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish

Directions:
1. In a large stockpot, sauté shallot and bell pepper in hot olive oil over medium heat until tender, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. In the meantime, dice potatoes, celery, turnips, and carrots. Add to pot and stir to coat with olive oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until veggies are lightly browned.
3. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil; then reduce heat, and let simmer, covered, until veggies are softened.
4. Dice apples and add to soup; let simmer another 15 minutes.
5. Using an immersion blender, puree soup in pot; or let cool slightly and use a blender or food processor to process until smooth. Return soup to pot and add cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; heat through.
6. Serve garnished with parsley.

Makes 6-8 serving