The colors. The flavors. The fails.

But first, tempering late summer’s sizzling temps with a childhood favorite, Summer Borscht. Or Chłodnik, Khaladnik, or Svekolnik, depending on from what part of that great Russian-Lithuanian-Polish-Slovak melting pot of Eastern Europe you are descended.

Cold shredded beets in broth, chilled and topped with soured cream, cucumber and dill. Smacznego!

Figs, glorious figs. Those that I did nor snarf by the handful I turned into a Mascarpone and Fig Tart in a Pistachio and Black Pepper Crust. Just a hint of sweet and spice and a perfect dessert to welcome autumn.

Escabèche, where have you been all of my culinary life? Frenched pork chops bathed in a smoky paprika and vinegar marinade (escabèche), then fried alongside sliced carrots and blistered shishitos. The chops were melty delish and the entire dish was divine.

A snappy roasted red and golden beet salad with goat cheese, spiced pecans and a savory vinaigrette. Because I have never been into anything with the words, “Kale Salad” in the title.

Fesejan, a Persian dish of braised lamb with a ground walnut and pomegranate glaze. Paired with an old vine Zin, it was weeknight decadence.

And then I went 0-2 on Shish Barak, tiny Levantine lamb dumplings served with a yogurt-dill sauce. Dumplings should be a no brainer for me, right? But, no. My butt kicked on the first attempt, we placated ourselves with a delivery pizza and a bottle of the wine out of doors, enjoying the mild weather and the bats flying above our terrace. Results of my second attempt we “ate” solely to not waste the ingredients. I have not yet waved the white flag on this dish.

Culinary redemption came a day later with Twice Baked Stuffed Delicata Squash with Za’atar Roasted Chick Peas and Feta. Absolute deliciousness in every bite. There are days when it is blissful to not have the two courgette-hating offspring around.

Wrapping up this episode, Trader Joe’s offered cute little “Pie Pumpkins” on sale for just $1.99. I have never ever made a pumpkin pie from scratch, or even a pie from Libby’s canned pumpkin puree, but such is the clever marketing of Trader Joe’s. I bought the baby gourd, and then turned it into a Browned Butter Crusted Maple Pumpkin Tart with White Chocolate and Spiced Pecan Drizzle. Clearly I am the target demo for Trader Joes. I accept that.