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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