Here in north Texas, the seasons are not so much defined as a slow mosey between the traditional two months of cool (also referred to locally as Winter) and the various pretend-seasons of Really Warm, Hot, and Hotter’n a Pistol. So it helps a transplanted northerner like me to occasionally do stuff that makes me feel a little more like there’s a change in the day, if not in the air. It matters less whether I do things that welcome the incoming time of year or ones that celebrate the last-hurrahs of the ending one, or, as often as not, things that bridge the gap in that same sidelong saunter as the so-called changes occur.
Since I do love autumn as much as any season, and it’s perhaps one of the less visible ones hereabouts, it’s fun to pull out recipes and treats that speak to me of the setting of summer’s sun and the rising of a harvest moon. I’m not a pumpkin fanatic like so many seem to be, and they, along with other squashes and root vegetables, are available pretty much all year long, but there is admittedly something compellingly autumnal in the scent and taste of these, roasted and seasoned just so. Anything that reinforces my sense of time, particularly when things get busy as they have been lately and I forget entirely what day it is, let alone what season. So here I am once again posting my Tuesday post on a Wednesday. I may be becoming more predictable than the seasons!
For a very easy to make little sweet that can pass for either a side dish or dessert, as need be, sweet potatoes or yams are a nice leaning-into-autumn treat that have more fiber and nutrients than the usual fluff, and are still both sweet and mild so they can be blended with quite a range of tastes successfully. In this case, I mean both our tastes and the number of flavors that meld well with sweet potatoes. As the end of summer is not yet fully fled, I can still find some juicy, ripe peaches, too, that magnificent fruit pregnant with late-season sun. Coincidentally, they share a warm, rich color palette with sweet potatoes, so they can be a lovely stealth ingredient in this dish, waiting to surprise tastebuds with their delectable and desirable intensity.
Sweet Potato-Peach Fluff
Baked or roasted sweet potato, peeled and pureed thoroughly. Equal amount of ripe peach flesh, uncooked, peeled, and also pureed. Blend them together thoroughly, adding (to your taste) browned butter, lime juice, salt, ground cardamom, and cinnamon. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold. A nice chilled glass of hard cider or freshly crushed non-alcoholic cider would not be amiss to wash this down, and it would go wonderfully with anything from a cheesy mushroom gratin to roasted duck breast, pit smoked ham to grilled cruciferous vegetables with walnuts. Or a big scoop of dulce de leche ice cream!