Give me long hours of daylight, give me flip flops and sunshine, give me the beach and shorts, give me peaches and ice cream and fresh picked corn on the cob – I’m a summer baby and my seasonal preference has asserted itself over the years. Which makes the undeniable arrival of autumn all the more gloomy. Yes, the colors can be pretty, as long as the leaves cooperate. Yes, the smell and sound of crunchy leaves underfoot offer a unique appeal to the senses not found in the other three seasons. But, in general, I wish summer wouldn’t fade into fall. Except for one thing. Oven season has arrived and I kind of welcome this change to slower cooking.
In oven season we leave behind the quick, quick pay attention method of cooking on the grill. We can relax if something is left in the oven an extra five minutes because you didn’t hear the timer, unlike the grill which demands your immediate attention.
In oven season you can turn on the oven and not worry about melting in a hot kitchen while you prep your dinner, not be concerned about your cookie batter being too warm to bake, or your whipped cream deflating before you’re ready to serve it. The rest of the house is cool enough to absorb the extra heat kicked off in your kitchen.
And so last night I went full on oven with dinner. I made the herb roasted chicken cutlets that are briefly treated to a stovetop moment before popping the pan into the oven; potatoes were stuck in to bake even before I began to cook the other dishes; and the other half of cabbage head that was hiding in my refrigerator from last week was sliced, oiled, seasoned and baked as well. You really can’t find a much easier way to cook a flavorful, warm dinner, which is at least some comfort now as we can only enjoy summer in the rearview mirror.