I got a good peach crop this year, and set aside 15 pounds to make a batch of salsa. I'm just about out of roasted and peeled chiles from last year, so before I can make salsa I needed more chiles.
So I headed out to the garden with a basket and clippers, and found plenty of green California chiles on my six plants. Next comes one of my favorite fall food prep activities - roasting the chiles (I've written a how-to for the whole process: roasting to char the skins, leaving the chiles to sweat in a bag, removing the skins and seeds (gloves on!), and then freezing or canning them for use throughout the year here).
Roasting chiles just says fall to me. I guess because I always pick a nice September evening to spend out on the deck. Even though the nights have started getting cooler, the days are still warm, and the shadow of the house on our east-facing deck feels good. The chickens scratch in the yard below; the sun still shines on part of the valley floor and Prison Hill to the east. I lift a chilled glass of a crisp Sauvignon Blanc in my annual silent toast/prayer of thanks for another harvest, and fire up the propane grill. The wonderful smell of roasting chiles soon fills the air, as I use my tongs to flip and turn the chiles.
This year, my sweet husband fetched home a Take-n-Bake pizza from the little shop down the street. He dressed it up with more veggies, fresh from the garden, before putting in the oven, and soon brings a plate out to me. Wine and pizza and a peaceful evening out on the deck - this truly is one of my favorite fall rituals.
By the time I've gone through all the chiles in the basket, the shadows have fallen across the valley floor. The last light of the setting sun makes a pinkish glow on the Pine Nut mountains. I have a lot to be thankful for.