LA Autumn

Our neighborhood smells like guavas, which is apparently a sign of autumn in Los Angeles. The heady smell greets me as I leave the house and begin the long walk to the train.  Down the street there is a pomegranate tree covered with enormous red globes that look ready to split, persimmons are turning from green to a yellowy orange and a few red apples are showing at the top of the trees.  I am longing for a garden instead of the moonscape of sand and snake plants that our landlord has created in the front yard.

It’s been a year since we moved here and though it’s still strange, it’s definitely a place I’m happy to call home for the moment.  The neighborhood lawns have begun to sprout tiny plastic graveyards and skeletons dance in doorways.  The mornings are dark and still – just me and the skunks strolling about.

This is one of our breakfast standbys. With a pot of coffee, it means a long, lazy morning of lounging about with cats.  It was 90 degrees over the weekend, but I braved my tiny, oven of a kitchen and made this anyway.  Today it’s cooler and I’m hoping that was summer’s last gasp.

There are a million recipes for Dutch Babies floating about, but this is mine. It’s endlessly adaptable for whatever season it happens to be or whatever fruit has fallen into your basket.

Apple Dutch Baby (serves 2 generously or 4 more parsimoniously)

¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup milk
4 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons butter
2 apples, cored, peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices
scant ¼ cup brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 450F.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together the salt and flour, then add milk, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the melted butter until blended.

In an ovenproof 10” skillet, melt the butter. Add the apples and sauté over medium heat until soft.  Add the brown sugar to the pan and stir for a few minutes until it melts.  Turn off the heat.  Spread the apples across the bottom of the pan, then pour the prepared batter on top.  Bake for about 15 minutes until browned and puffed.

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