The Finest is Fall.

You know that famous quote? The one about living in a world with Octobers? I know that it’s cheesy, but let’s be completely honest: Lucy really knew what she was talking about, and I really am glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

So, let me briefly recap what’s been keeping me so busy this fall: Square Cafe, Foster the People, our new ball of fur – Buxton, my brothers’ football games, Granny and Claude’s 25th Anniversary party, Avenue B, Hofbrauhaus, Triple B Farms, my boss’s wedding, 72 Hour Film Festival, Bassnectar, my birthday (and a deluxe dinner at Casbah), a visit from Megan, Emporio, and Pitt’s Homecoming football game. I’ve been busy this fall.

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What a wonderful fall it’s been.

With fall also comes football season, which is – much to the chagrin of my sports-loving father – something I could take or leave. Sorry ’bout it. My favorite thing about football season, however, is the cooking. The men sits on the couch, soaking in every play of the game, refreshing his fantasy football score every few minutes. He’s entranced by the dancing figures in black and yellow, and he only snaps out of his Steelers-induced stupor during commercials and when dinner is served. So, in an attempt to steal his attention for a few short, lip-smackin’ minutes, I hit the grocery store, shopping list in hand.

On tonight’s menu is angel hair pasta with shrimp and white wine pasta. A light, warm dish for a cool, fall evening.

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Ingredients: Angel Hair Pasta / Shrimp / Lemon / Dill / Garlic / White Wine / Cold Butter / Olive Oil / Salt + Pepper

Directions: Cook pasta is heavily salted boil in water according to the package instructions. / Drain, saving some some pasta water for later. / Finely chop dill and garlic. / Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and sear shrimp for three to four minutes. / Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about two minutes. / Deglaze with white wine. (I suggest a dry, fruity Riesling, the universal companion to seafood cuisine!) / Stir in cold butter to thicken the sauce, then season with salt and pepper. / Toss the pasta in sauce. / Add lemon juice and sprinkle with dill. / Salt and pepper to taste. / Serve warm, with a chilled glass of your leftover Riesling.

And what’s a fall dinner without a seasonally appropriate dessert? Enter: Pumpkin Pie cupcakes. Pumpkins are one of my favorite things about this season. I love the flavor, the smell, the look of mini pumpkins sitting on my mantle, everything. I’ve never liked pumpkin pie, but it’s always been a family favorite. I’d rather have a cupcake. So, here we are.

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Ingredients: Flour / Pumpkin Puree / Sugar / Eggs / Vanilla / Evaporated Milk / Pumpkin Pie Spice / Salt / Baking Powder / Baking Soda / Whipped Cream

Directions: Preheat oven to 350˚. / In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. / In a separate large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, vanilla and evaporated milk. / Add in dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. / Fill lined muffin cups 1/2 full. / Bake for 20 minutes, and allow to cool for 20 minutes. / Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. / Top with whipped cream. / Sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, if desired.

Happy Fall, everyone!

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