Between blowing winds and transitional weather, geese gathering overhead and leaves crunching underfoot, there is no denying that autumn is in the air. It's a time for collecting our thoughts about the blur of summer and just all we actually did -- and, perhaps what we plan to do next summer. It's a time to think about locating the snow shovel and pulling out those warm winter boots. And, it is a time to finally bring in the last of the garden.

For me, autumn is also a time when I can do a few events outside of the focus of my intense summer-centric business. This week, I found myself in Anchorage at the University of Alaska's culinary arts program at the Lucy Cuddy Center. I was the guest chef for a celebratory dinner featuring Alaska cuisine. Students, alumni of the culinary program, volunteers, and instructors all worked side-by-side to prepare a five-course dinner for 300 people.

When I was asked to design the menu that might reflect an Alaskan cuisine, I knew carrots had to find a prominent spot in the lineup. I've grown carrots in our garden ever since my first attempt at a little three-row plot in the back of our house on Sunrise Drive in Anchorage in the early 1980's.

Recommended: Get the recipe for Chef Kirsten Dixon's carrot curry soup.