Pizza Margherita. And yes, that's an ice-cold diet coke.
Fall is an interesting time of year round here. Even though I’ve lived here over a decade, I don’t think that I’ll ever get used to it. It’s very different from the orange fire mountain autumns I grew up with, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. To me, fall here seems warmer than summer, I think because the marine layer is less likely to blanket us each night and the “shorts and sweatshirts” (coined by my Aunt Linda) evenings of summer turn into shorts and tee shirts evenings. But I love it. There’s so many things to love about fall here. The way the light changes, subtly at first and then forcefully as the sun shines at us more from the south. The light patterns on the hardwood floor in our south facing family room elongate a little more each day. For the first time in months I close the bright white curtains and the light filters softly through giving the house a cool glow. Another thing I love about fall here is the harvesting of the vineyard grapes. They do it at night, all night long, under bright spotlights and humming motors. There’s something about harvesting the grapes, at their peek, in the coolness of night. But the smell of fermenting grapes left on the vine, while a little strong when you’re pregnant, can be an earthy complement to the coming change of seasons. I also love the sparkling ribbons they tie to the grape vines every few feet—to ward off the birds (so I’m told), I’m not sure if it works, though, because I see all kinds of animals partaking of the steamy purple grapes. But the effect of the hills sparkling is our version of a sparkling snow covered hill.
But the very best thing about fall this year, are the long-awaited tomatoes from our garden. We planted over 20 plants and we have a veritable jungle of the red-candy goodness. The kids go out there and pick and eat them like they’re berries. Jane and Lily especially love them. So yesterday I decided to do something with these…and I was craving a pizza so I made a pizza margherita with fresh basil and steaming tomatoes. I sent Canyon out to get me ‘three large red tomatoes’ and he obliged and it was so hot outside, nearly 100 degrees. He came in with gloriously large red tomatoes and as I cut them open tendrils of steam wandered off the cutting board into the air above the mozzarella and basil. Real steam. These were HOT! So to add to my ever growing list of fall favorites: steamy tomatoes—right up there with fermenting grapes.
Post edit: I realized after reading this again that some people might think I'm pregnant. I'm not, just remembering the smell of the fermenting grapes when I was pregnant and recalling how my sister-in-law, Trieste, would get absolutely sick at the briefest smell of the vineyard in fall. She wouldn't even come over to our house.