Fall is my favorite season, a time when I put on chunky sweaters, admire the orange and red leaves, stay in on rainy nights near a roaring fire eating a delicious bowl of soup. Scratch all of that for me because I live in LA and it’s 85 degrees outside. If fall won’t come to me…
When I started to think about movies that capture that fall feeling, I realized they all happen to star Meg Ryan. Coincidence? I would be really sad to find out that Meg Ryan’s favorite season isn’t fall. Here are the classic Meg Ryan movies in order of theatrical release:
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
This classic is written by Nora Ephron and directed by Rob Reiner. It stars Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal as they attempt to answer the question “Does sex ruin a friendship?” I’ve heard that the movie is based on Rob Reiner’s post-divorce experiences. Though the fake orgasm in the restaurant scene is the most famous, I prefer any scene when Harry and Sally are simply walking and talking in the park.
Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Written and directed by Nora Ephron, this is the story of a boy who tries to find a new girlfriend for his father after his mom passed away. The film manages to create a connection between the two main characters, played by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, even though the two have very little screen time together. My favorite scene is when Rita Wilson, who plays Hanks’ sister in the movie, is talking about An Affair to Remember. It’s so funny!
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Five years later, Meg and Tom are brought together for another romantic comedy. She owns an independent bookstore and he owns a mega chain of bookstores that puts her out of business. It’s a remake of a 1949 movie called Shop Around the Corner which is actually the name of Meg Ryan’s bookstore. My favorite scene is when Meg and Tom meet in the cafe. I love the line when she says “Joe. Just call me Joe." As if you were one of those stupid 22-year-old girls with no last name. ‘Hi, I'm Kimberley.’ ‘Hi, I'm Janice.’ What's wrong with them? Don't they know you're supposed to have last names? It's like they're a whole generation of cocktail waitresses.”
Tuscan Kale, White Bean and Farro Stew
A warm and hearty stew pairs perfectly with any of these films. I read the Cookie and Kate blog every now and then and had bought the cookbook. The Tuscan kale, white bean and farro stew seemed was perfect. I pretty much followed her recipe but make slight tweaks in the execution.
1 large yellow onion
3 ribs of celery
6 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes
Any combination of herbs you like, e.g. thyme, rosemary, oregano (about 1 tablespoon)
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 cup farro
1 bunch lacinato kale
2 cans white beans
Salt and pepper to taste
Step by step
Finely chop up the first 4 ingredients in a food processor.
In a large pot or Dutch oven sauté the chopped vegetables in the olive oil. (I find the longer you sauté the vegetables and let them caramelize, the tastier the stew).
Add the diced tomatoes and herbs and mix. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. (Again, the longer you let this base simmer, the tastier it will get).
Add the farro and let simmer for about 8-10 minutes. (You may want to rinse the farro before adding to the stew).
Add the kale and white beans. Let simmer for another 8-10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
As with any soup, stew or sauce, it will taste better the next day so this is a great dish to prepare in advance and eat throughout the week. Though it will never truly look like fall in LA, watching these movies and eating this stew sure makes it feel like fall.
I’d love to hear all about your fall routines or traditions. Feel free to leave a comment.