Tuesday, September 22, 2015

To Autumn

Fall retains the air of fresh beginnings.
"To Autumn" is a poem written by English Romantic poet John Keats (October 31, 1795 -February 23 ,1821). The work was composed on September 19, 1819 and published in 1820 in a volume of Keats's poetry. It was the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes."

"To Autumn" has been regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in the English language.
Although personal problems left him little time to devote to poetry in 1819, he composed "To Autumn" after a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening. The work marks the end of his poetic career, as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn", Keats died in Rome.

The poem has three eleven-line stanzas which describe a progression through the season, from the late maturation of the crops to the harvest and to the last days of autumn when winter is nearing.
To Autumn
by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Wild Rice Salad with Cranberries, Butternut Squash and Toasted Pecans with Maple Balsamic Dressing
Cook's notes: This splendid autumn salad includes some of Minnesota’s very best natural ingredients. Butternut squash works well for this dish because the squash holds its shape beautifully after being roasted. The combination of nutty wild rice, a simple maple dressing, and fresh herbs are not only delicious together, but their vibrant colors combine to make one stunning dish. Consider a time saver by making the wild rice ahead and toasting the pecans. The dressing can be easily doubled.
This wild rice salad was previously posted but it's such a great fall harvest dish I am reposting. My company loved every bite. Recipe from the "Smitten with Squash Cookbook' and serves 4.

Ingredients Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or Cranberry Pear Balsamic 
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Ingredients Salad:
  • 2- 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped butternut squash
  • 1- 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 4-5 cups torn baby spinach leaves or chopped romaine
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks, both white and green parts or green onions
  • 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or cashews
  • 4 cups cooked wild rice, warmed
Directions:
  • Place all dressing ingredients in a blender and mix well. Refrigerate until needed
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread squash evenly on baking sheet and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 
  • Roast squash for about 20 minutes or until fork tender, stirring once during the roasting time. Set aside.
  • In a measuring cup place dried cranberries or cherries. Pour boiling water over it and let set for 15 minutes. Drain. 
  • In a large bowl, combine leeks or onions, cherries or cranberries, basil and wild rice. Stir dressing into salad; taste and adjust salt level if needed. Place mixture on spinach leaves or chopped Romaine. Top with pecans.
  • Serve dish at room temperature.

2 comments:

  1. Perfect poem and perfect recipe for the first day of autumn.

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  2. 'To Autumn' is a fantastic bit of work, perfectly conjures up images of autumn in just a few short lines. Thanks for sharing :)

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