Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

From Dish Rachelle:

You know what’s awesome about Thanksgiving food?  We take generally healthy ingredients – poultry, potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, cranberries – and find a way to douse them all in butter, sugar, fat and salt.  It’s indulgent, it’s American, and it’s amazing.  My Mom makes some of the best turkey and stuffing I’ve ever tasted and her cousin always brings a great broccoli and cheese casserole, which is fluffy and rich and makes broccoli taste like junk food.

For this post, I tried to make a side dish that’s decadent enough for a Thanksgiving table, but also might be served at a dinner party year-round.  That meant no frizzled onions and no condensed soup or soup mix (1950s-era staples that I generally avoid but are totally acceptable on holidays).  I call this Broc’n’Cheese because it came out tasting like that all-American pasta classic – but with broccoli.  Perhaps it could be a good alternative to mac for a gluten free guest?

This recipe can be doubled or tripled or gazippled for Turkey Day…


2 large heads broccoli, florets only

2 tblsp. unsalted butter

¼ cup flour

2 cups milk

½ cup grated good-quality extra sharp cheddar

½ cup grated gruyere cheese

pinches of the following spices: nutmeg, garlic powder, paprika & mustard powder

½ cup breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 350.

Cut and rinse your broccoli florets.  (Reserve the stems for another recipe.)  Steam the florets until bright green and cooked al dente.  Let stand, uncovered, while you prepare the béchamel.


Melt 1½ tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan and add flour, whisking quickly to create a very light roux.  Lower heat to medium and add milk, whisking away the lumps.  This is your béchamel sauce – keep whisking as it gets hotter and thickens, making sure the sides don’t scald.  When it starts bubbling slowly, bring the flame down to low and add dashes of the spices (less than a teaspoon of each) and S&P.  Add cheese and stir until melted and all the spices are combined.

Spread the steamed broccoli out into a baking dish and pour the cheese sauce over it.  Quickly melt the last ½ tablespoon of butter in a small frying pan and add the breadcrumbs.  Toast in butter 1-2 minutes and then pour it evenly over the broccoli and cheese.  Bake the casserole for about 15 minutes or until cheese sauce is bubbling.

Let stand a few minutes and then serve!  You won’t feel guilty about trying three different pies because you ate your broccoli – drenched in cheese, butter and milk, of course.

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Apple Tarte Tatins

From Dish Danielle:

There are many pastimes synonymous with upstate New York, but none are as epitomizing as apple picking in the fall. There is something deep inside my upstate bones that pulls me towards apple trees every autumn. I can’t always make the big trek to my hometown, but luckily there are many incredible orchards dotting the perimeter of our beloved city, the BIG APPLE, (…heh). This year, not only did I go apple picking with a couple of dear friends — we visited an orchard not too far upstate that is ALSO A WINERY. This means you can buy a bottle of wine, and then yes…oh yes, tuck that bottle under your arm and head into the orchard to sip and pick. It was quite the fall afternoon…followed by several weeks worth of apple tart making/recipe tweaking. The below recipe is a mash-up of several attempts to perfect my method, taking very clever baking cues from some seriously saucy dishes.

1 large round pie crust: use Julia’s recipe
8 large apples, cut into medium slices (you don’t want them too thin)
6-8 hibiscus tea bags (or another nice aromatic variety)
boiling water
1 lemon, zested and juiced
ground ginger
1c brown sugar
1c white sugar, and a small handful more
½ tsp ground nutmeg
6 tbsp butter

Toss tea bags into a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them—enough so that when the apples slices are added, they’re submerged. Add half of each sugar, and a few liberal pinches of ginger. Add the lemon zest and ½ the lemon juice. Whisk so the sugar dissolves and the tea steeps well (taste the liquid and add any of the above to your liking). Add sliced apples. Let them sit, completely submerged, for 45mins, jostling them now and again. While you’re waiting, make your crust if you’re doing it from scratch.

Preheat your oven to 375.

Strain the liquid from the apples into a small pot. Place over a high flame and allow it to reduce to a thicker drizzle to top your finished tarts with. Toss strained apples with the remaining sugar, the rest of the lemon juice, a few more small pinches of ginger, maybe a few grinds of nutmeg, and cinnamon if it’s to your liking (I didn’t use it).

Place a large cast iron over a med-low flame and set the butter in to melt (I used several small cast irons and made mini tarts). Once it’s melted, take a small handful of white sugar and sprinkle it into the butter. Now, pull the cast iron off the heat and arrange your apple slices however you’d like. Pile them high because they’ll shrink a bit during this next step.

Once your apples are in the cast iron, place the pan back over medium heat and essentially allow the sugar/butter/apples to ‘boil’ for 10 minutes or so. You want the juices to be bubbling up on the sides and to turn amber in color. Remove from heat. Roll out your pie crust. Carefully place it over apples and tuck it inside the edges of your pan.

Pop your tart into the oven for 15-20 minutes and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the pan has cooled down, gently run a knife along the outer edge of the tart to loosen it from the pan. This is the hardest part: lay a large plate or cutting board over the top of the pan and flip the whole thing quickly to invert the tart. You may have to use a small offset to get the most stubborn slices of apples off the bottom of your pan, but you’ll make it pretty again with some of your reduced tea/lemon/ginger drizzle.

Use a bakers brush and paint the inverted tart(s) with the reduced drizzle.

Slice and enjoy fall’s bounty!

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From Dish Amelia:

Late summer into fall is as exciting to me as early spring. Spring’s bleak odorless stage features the easily spotted first-time life sprouting pale crisp colors into the air. The transition to fall gives us robust summer bounty which is almost bittersweet, and there is a pressure to make the most of it. Honeycrisp apples appear, and the first yearning to make cozy dishes, like oatmeal, pumpkin soup, and mushrooms on polenta. You can make anything in the fall and spring, just like you can wear anything you like, flip-flops or boots, jackets for chilliness or fashion. You can make light bright food with huge basil, heirloom tomatoes, and shaved vegetables galore. It’s a toss-up whether I’ll go for hot coffee or iced. On a recent shorts-and-sweatshirt clad trip to the farmers market, I discovered piles of oval Italian plums. Not seeing a ton of other fruits I figured I would just cook with these somehow and I went on my way. Once home I washed and split the plums and tasted them to see what I would do. Six or seven plums later I had to act so as not to make myself sick, and so I would cook with them as I had told myself I would. Man they were SO good. Luckily I made an excellent plum chutney which lasted longer than the fresh fruit, but not by much.

Adapted from Susan Spungen from Bon Appetit/Epicurious

6-7 plums (Italian or otherwise) pitted and chopped (I did not peel them)
1 small red onion, finely diced
3 carrots, peeled into thin strips and finely diced.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 T chopped garlic
scant 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1 T mustard seeds
a few liberal shakes and grinds of cumin, cardamom, coriander and black pepper
1 bay leaf
kosher salt
1/4 cup water

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan. Cook the onion and the carrot until they begin to soften, and add brown sugar, water, vinegar, spices, garlic, mustard, leaf, and salt. Cook until this becomes very fragrant, then add plums, cover and simmer gently for 8 minutes. Uncover, stir and cool until thickened, about 20-25 min. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cool.

Apply to anything and everything. I ate this several times on a tortilla with scrambled eggs and arugula. Revel in the sun and clouds of the season, before they slip away.

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From Dish Nicole:

We are in the home stretch of summer SLD’ers. Last weekend was Labor Day weekend and even though I do not get the summers off like my teacher friends, it still pretty much means the end of summertime activities. I have had a wonderful season of weekend getaways, weddings and beach excursions, but alas all good things must come to an end. The post Labor Day weather here in NYC has been rainy and humid which all you commuters know is not fun. I am beginning to long for cool, crisp fall weather. Today being rainy, again, I wanted to create a meal that wouldn’t send me out to the grocery store to get supplies. Luckily I have a stocked pantry and some leftover roast chicken breast in the fridge so I could easily create this light and spicy chicken, orzo and lime soup. I think that the summer citrus flavors combined with the warm soup base perfectly represent seasonal transition.

Here is what you will need:
¾ cup Orzo
6 cups of chicken broth
2 chicken breasts- cut into bite sized pieces (I used pre-cooked chicken but you can start with raw breasts)
6 cloves of garlic- thinly sliced
1 medium red onion- diced
2 jalapeno peppers- seeded and thinly sliced
The juice from 2 fresh limes
1 large tomato- seeded and chopped
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
(Yields approximately 6 servings)

Start out by heating the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the diced garlic, jalapenos and onion until the onions soften and start to brown.

If you are using raw chicken, add the diced chicken and cook until it’s cooked through. If using precooked chicken, add the diced chicken and sauté for about 1 minute and then add the chicken broth, lime juice, cilantro and tomato. Reduce the heat to simmer. This is a good time to take a taste test and season with salt and pepper. I for one like soup a little on the salty side but this soup doesn’t really need too much, thanks to the lime juice.

For the next step, you have a couple of options: If you plan on eating the soup right away and not having any leftover, you can add the orzo right into the broth and serve once the orzo is cooked completely. If not, I suggest cooking the orzo separately and add per serving. This prevents the orzo from getting too mushy and absorbing all of the broth while waiting in the fridge to be consumed once again. So once you have made your orzo cooking decision, your kitchen should be completely fragrant with limey, garlicky soup smells and anyone in close proximity will be salivating. So serve it up piping hot with some tortilla chips and you have yourself a crowd pleaser.

The next day at the office I found myself shopping online for new leather boots. I brought in the leftovers for my coworkers to sample and it passed the test with them as well. I think I am ready for the fall.
This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.

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From Dish Erin:

I know what you’re expecting. Some sort of pie or Autumnal side dish for Thanksgiving. But I’m forgoing the obvious this month and taking a trip to Korea. Think of it as a healthy way to prep for the holiday overindulgence that’s about to happen.

Korean restaurants are sort of like dry cleaners in NYC–there’s one on every corner. It’s a cuisine with really distinct flavor components, thanks to the liberal use of chili paste and intense flavors (which is always the key to my heart). One of the most ubiquitous Korean dishes is Beef Bulgogi, which literally translates to “fire meat.” Thin slices of meat are marinated in a mixture of spices and sauces that create a salty/sweet/spicy flavor that’s uniquely Korean. I was craving it tonight, but since I had a hamburger for dinner last night, I opted for salmon instead of beef.

For marinade
1 large garlic clove, peeled
1 scallion, chopped roughly
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce like sri-racha

2 salmon fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 shallot, minced
cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps sliced
2 cups baby bok choy, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

Blend all marinade ingredients in mini processor. Pour into a medium sized bowl, nestle the salmon in, and marinate about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange fish, with some marinade still clinging, on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer any marinade in dish to small saucepan. Roast fish until just opaque in center, about 8 minutes. Bring marinade in saucepan to boil; set aside and reserve for glaze.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add shallot and using garlic press, press in last remaining garlic clove. Cook for about 1 minute. Add bok choy and mushrooms. Stir-fry until mushrooms are tender and bok choy is wilted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide vegetables among plates. Top with salmon and brush with remaining glaze.

Enjoy and express your gratitude for being able to recreate Korean delights in your American kitchen. Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

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From Dish Rachelle:

There is nothing like cutting into a pumpkin.

As those closest to me know, I have, since early childhood, been obsessed with Halloween: costumes, Jack-o-Lanterns, candy, witches, monsters. I’ve always had a bit of a dark side, and each year, as the weather changed and the crisp smell of falling leaves filled the air, I was eager to indulge it. As if that’s not enough, I am madly in love with wigs, makeup, hats, crazy outfits and weird characters, so any chance I get to play with those things (and not look like a certified nutter) is pretty darn exciting. I even had a Halloween-themed bridal shower so I could double-down on dress-up this October.

Anyway, pumpkins. I love them, too. Each year while I was growing up, my parents took me to the pumpkin patch so I could pick just the right one to carve. And although I’m kind of disappointed in myself when I admit that it’s been a while since I’ve made a legitimate Jack-o-Latern, I still get that fluttery feeling as I poke a knife through the hard flesh and feel it penetrate to the soft, stringy center, inhaling that fresh squash-y smell…

What was I saying about that dark side? Cutting (get it?) to the chase: Halloween pumpkins aren’t eating pumpkins, but sugar pumpkins are in season. So. There are lots of great recipes that take them beyond the pie shell, and hopefully you’ll like this one.

Start by making pumpkin puree. You’ll need:

1 sugar pumpkin
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 325. Cut your sugar pumpkin in half and gut it, reserving the seeds and pulp. Spread a bit of olive oil on a baking sheet, season your pumpkin with S&P, and place it cut side down in the oil. Bake for about 30 minutes, until flesh is soft.

In the meantime, prep your seeds by removing them from the stringy orange pulp. I did this under running water, over a sieve, and unless you’re naturally meticulous, don’t drive yourself crazy – you will lose some seeds in the process, and you might not be able to remove every ounce of pumpkin. Put the seeds in a bowl. You might even get all willy-nilly with said bowl and spill half your seeds on the floor in the process, but don’t worry. Just toss whatever remains in some olive oil, S&P and spread out across a baking sheet (I covered mine with a silpat) and throw them in the oven with your pumpkin. These should bake for about 20 minutes – check on them at least once to make sure they’re not burning.

As tempting as they are, don’t taste your pumpkin seeds fresh out of the oven. Let them and the roasted pumpkin halves cool – to busy yourself, start prepping your chili.

1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic, kept whole and crushed under the flat side of your knife
1 lb. lean ground turkey
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 sugar pumpkin’s worth of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 chipotles, canned in adobo sauce, roughly chopped (go ahead and add more if you like a lot of spice)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
Hot Sauce (optional)

In a cast iron or soup pot, saute onion, celery and garlic over medium heat, until translucent. Add your ground turkey, season with S&P, and mix with the wilted vegetables while breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Saute until cooked through.

While the turkey is cooking, you can make your pumpkin puree. Scoop the flesh out of the roasted pumpkin shell into a food processor. Process until smooth. At this point, there are tons of things you can do with your fresh pumpkin puree. I contemplated turning it into a soup, but as you all know, I’m trying to branch out.

Once the turkey is cooked, add the spices (cumin, oregano, cocoa powder and chili powder) and stir until fragrant – about 1 minute. Add chipotles, tomatoes, and pumpkin puree, and stir to combine. You might think that pumpkin puree is a strange addition to chili, but there’s reason behind this madness: first of all, it adds a subtle autumnal flavor. More importantly, it brings texture to your turkey chili. Using a lean meat, it’s difficult to achieve that silky mouth-feel that comes from cooking fatty ground beef. The pumpkin brings velvety thickness in a healthy way, much like apple sauce can sub for butter in vegan baked goods (or so they say).

Cook your chili over low heat, mostly covered, for about 30 minutes. I used that time to make some sweet buttermilk cornbread, which is delicious, and also helped me get rid of the buttermilk that I bought to make biscuits a month ago and has been sitting in my fridge. While we ate, my cat, who has quite the adventurous feline palette, confirmed that cornbread is in fact his favorite food. He helped himself to some cat-sized bites as my back was turned:

Add black beans and season chili with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste. Let cook for another 10 minutes, and then serve with reduced fat sour cream and a sprinkle of roasted pumpkin seeds.

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From Dish Paige!:

Even though it snows in October now, it’s still most decidedly Fall (or Autumn if you’re fancy), which brings us ever closer to MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY OF ALL TIME, Thanksgiving. My reasons for loving this holiday are pretty simple: 1) I loooooooove stuffing, specifically my mom’s sausage stuffing and only varietals thereof and 2) as someone with drawing skills at the Elementary level, I really like making that “turkey by tracing your hand” picture. All of this brings me around to last night’s dinner, which I stumbled upon in what I would consider a moment of genius.

1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
3-4 slices crusty bread (I used an amazing multi-grain rye, but go crazy), cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 sausages (I used a combination of sweet and spicy Italian, but again, use what you like)
5 sprigs of thyme
2 leaves of sage
A handful of dried cranberries
A sprinkle of breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 475.

Place the prepared acorn squash in a roasting dish, lightly drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash halves in the oven until they are fork tender, about 35 minutes. Remove the squash from the oven and carefully scoop out the pulp into a bowl, leaving about a 1/4 inch buffer around the shell. Save the shells for later.

While the squash is in the oven, lay out your bread cubes on a baking sheet and lightly toss with olive oil, put them in the oven and crisp up into crouton form. Don’t forget about them like I did, unless you like “slightly” burnt croutons.

In a pan, saute the onions and celery in olive oil until they begin to soften. Remove the sausage from the casing and add to the vegetables, making sure to break up the big pieces of sausage. Just before the sausage is done cooking, sprinkle in the thyme and the sage and mix well. Add this mixture, along with your NOT BURNT croutons to the reserved acorn squash pulp and stir to combine.

Lower the oven to 350.

Scoop the stuffing into the reserved acorn squash shells, sprinkle with the dried cranberries and breadcrumbs and pop back into the oven until the stuffing is heated through, about 25 minutes.

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