I love the Fall of the year more than anyone in the world. Really, I took a survey and I love fall more than anyone. It is the first of June and I am already dreaming of open windows, cool nights, fire-pits outside, early evenings spent in my kitchen with a big pot of something earthy, a nice glass of red wine and some blues music. I love the end of September when it is staying consistently cool, enough that you need to wear jeans and a sweater, and it almost smells like Halloween outside, with an occasional big orange moon hanging low in the sky. Alabama football just adds icing to the cake.
A few years ago, during early fall, Tom had the need to rewire some of our stereo equipment. I have these awesome wireless speakers, one in my kitchen and one on my screen porch, so I can listen to CD’s while I cook. My kitchen speaker is right by my stove. Somehow, the transmitter did not get plugged in, so when I turned on my speaker, it was not music that I was listening to, but the phone conversations of my neighbor! And not just any neighbor, but a neighbor I knew who was going through a hot and messy divorce.
Soon, these phone conversations became a guilty pleasure. I would listen to conversations with her friends, her lawyer and fights with the soon to be ex. I would hear well meaning friends offer terrible advice, and would occasionally hear her talking about me! Now I know this eavesdropping is wrong, and I confessed it to Susie in Tallahassee. I also confessed this to my mother.
For the entire fall, and well into winter and spring, every night around wine time, when I was in my kitchen starting dinner, Susie would call, ask me if there was any “action on the speaker” and ask me to turn it on and set down the phone. While I stirred my sauce, and drank my wine, Susie and I would listen to wild and crazy conversations. Then my mom wanted in on the action. She would call and ask me to set down the phone. Then Susie would beep in – soon, Susie and Mom would fight for the right to be the one listening over the phone to the speaker.
The worst day for me was when the divorce was finally over, and the neighbor sold her house and moved. That was the end of my guilty pleasure.
I do however remember one wonderful early fall night – windows open, red wine poured, and a big pot of meaty pasta sauce on the stove. I listened to juicy conversations, and stirred the pot. Fall is the perfect time for a perfect pot of spicy, saucy meat sauce to eat with pasta. Here is a recipe – Enjoy!
Saucy Meat Sauce
1lb sweet Italian sausage
1lb ground beef
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 container sliced Portabella mushrooms
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon salt
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 soup can beef broth
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 small can tomato paste
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
Saute chopped onion, minced garlic and salt in the olive oil in a large pot – saute on low-medium heat – slowly, until onion is very tender. Add mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes – then add sausage and beef and cook and stir until meat is browned and it is all cooked down together.
Add all the other ingredients, and simmer it on low for half the day if you can. Everybody likes it different – spicier, sweeter, so add more of what suits you.