We built a fire and simmered soup yesterday. Two of my favorite things about fall. Not very original, I know, but there is something comforting about the ritual and excitement that surrounds autumn and harvest time. I grew up in Lancaster, PA where you could throw a stick and hit a farm. This meant lots of festivals and hayrides, lots of pies and apple butter, and of course pumpkins. Real pumpkins, on the vine, not ones that are trucked in from some other part of the country and plopped in a grassy field. New Jersey farms, are you listening? After a failed attempt to pick apples this weekend (my friend Jenna recounts the tale of woe here), I decided to engage in some other fall activities, like making soup. I decided on my mom's beef vegetable, figuring the vegetables would cancel out a weekend of pie and cake. I know, I know. It's really easy, and I like the way it makes the house smell. I am not a fan of frozen vegetables, but in the case of this soup, they are perfect. Here's the recipe: 1.5 - 2 lbs of beef short ribs 3 12oz bags of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, green beans) 1 head of cabbage 2 cans of diced tomatoes 8 cloves of garlic salt and pepper Place short ribs in a large soup pot and cover with about two inches of water. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Add vegetables, tomatoes, chopped cabbage and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for at least two hours. This recipe can be tweaked to incorporate herbs or other vegetables, but I usually make it just like this. You can also add more water or a bit of beef stock if you need to. Now, a question for you: What's your favorite fall soup recipe? I'd love to try a new one.