The Auroras of Autumn

Fall shmall.
My friend put an article from the Onion on Facebook last week about the obnoxiousness of fall-lovers. And I get it. You’re sick of our sweaters, our leaves, our pumpkins, our apples, our molasses, our mugs of steaming spiced lattes. Men wearing cardigans. Woolen booties. Black-rimmed glasses.


I guess I’m getting sick of talking about fall, but I’m definitely not sick of experiencing it. Wallace Stevens wrote about autumn, so doesn’t that give us some authorization to dwell on the seasons?

The mobile and the immobile flickering
In the area between is and was are leaves,
Leaves burnished in autumnal burnished trees

And leaves in whirlings in the gutters, whirlings
Around and away, resembling the presence of thought,
Resembling the presences of thoughts, as if,

In the end, in the whole psychology, the self,
The town, the weather, in a casual litter,
Together, said words of the world are the life of the world.

Take that fall-haters. I just went so emo I recited poetry. I have to admit, though–pumpkin-flavored drinks are weird.
Here is a fiberful fall weeknight menu item. I was trying to think of a way to consume a starchy base without soaking beans overnight or making pasta…again. I could eat pasta forever, but I imagine you would get sick of pasta recipes…I’m only thinking of you…I decided on lentils. They’re a great pulse (I had to look that up) because they don’t have to soak overnight, and you can use them as a base for any sort of vegetable goulash you have in mind.

I had all these Brussels sprouts and spinach to use up, so this concoction was born: I sautéed Brussels sprouts and spinach, and topped it all off with toasted, chopped walnuts. If your system is not used to this much fiber, dial back on your intake for the rest of the day. Consider that fair warning.

How are these in the same bunch?

Lentils & Sprouts for a Fiberful Fall Weeknight (did it)
Serves 2

1 cup dry lentils
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts
4-6 cups fresh spinach
1 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ lemon for squeezing
¼ cup (or how much doesn’t affect your guilt meter) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt & Freshly Cracked Pepper
Fancy olive oil for garnish

1. Cook lentils according to package directions. I cooked 1 cup of lentils in 3 cups of salted water for about 20 minutes, lid tilted. For softer lentils, 25 minutes should do it. I like mine to have some bite.
2. Toast and chop walnuts. Put walnuts in skillet (no oil or anything) on extra high heat, flipping frequently. The moment you smell something nutty, turn them out onto a cutting board. If you leave em in the pan, they’ll burn on spots. Let cool. Chop to desired fineness.
2. Prepare Brussels sprouts by chopping off the root, halving each sprout, and removing outermost leaves (discard icky leaves).
3. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Sweat onions for about 3-4 minutes, then add garlic. Cook 1-2 more minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
4. Add Brussels sprouts flat (cut) side down. This will make them all brown on that side, which is nice. When they seem pretty seared, stir them around. Add broth and bring to simmer, stirring and/or flipping sprouts. This whole process should take 8-10 minutes.
5. Add spinach and stir around until wilty.

Assembly: Put a mountainous layer of lentils in the bottom of a bowl (use a slotted spoon so you don’t bring too much juice with you). Top with Brussels sprout mixture. Add cheese and walnuts. Spritz with lemon (be generous — there are a lot of earthy flavors to counteract here). Drizzle with olive oil, if using. Finish with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

1 Stevens, Wallace. “An Ordinary Evening in New Haven.” Wallace Stevens: Collected Poetry and Prose. Literary Classics of the United States: New York, NY (1997). Print.


  1. Cassy Burleson · · Reply

    Really good … like the poetry and the recipe, too.

    1. So glad you’re enjoying the blog! Wallace Stevens always has an explanation…or, at least, an idea.

  2. Loved the Wallace Stevens poem. It makes me yearn for the fall. But, as you know, we don’t have fall here in Texas really. I saw a tree with fall colored leaves and thought of you. Anyhooooo…… I am going to try that recipe as soon as it gets a little cooler outside. I can’t wait to get to Boston in December. Miss you.

  3. […] but I won’t bore you with my photo experiments for too long. I can still justify myself, though. Last week it was Wallace Stevens authorizing me to go on and on about you-know-what (*cough, cough* — […]

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