Fresh Fig Tart with Honey-Orange Custard

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by Joseph Erdos

figtartFor a long time, the closest I had ever come to what I thought was a real fig was the dried kind or Fig Newtons. It wasn't until a family friend gave us a fig tree that I learned figs are actually fresh before they are dried. Not only that, but I discovered that fresh figs were worlds apart from the dried ones. We weren't the only family with a fig tree in the neighborhood. Italian and Portuguese neighbors had them too. That's because figs are native to the Mediterranean region, where they have been revered since ancient and biblical times. You can't not find mention of it in ancient Greek and Roman texts and of course the Bible's creation story. What would we have done without fig leaves?

For a number of years we were lucky to have our own Garden of Eden with a flourishing fig tree in the backyard. With much ingenuity we were able to keep it protected through many winters until one year it finally didn't survive the cold. But I can never forget how anxious I was all summer long as I waited for the figs to ripen. It seemed to me they always took so long. But fig season is late September, so I had to learn to be patient because there was nothing I could do to speed up mother nature.

Carrot Marmalade

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by Megan Martin

carrotmarmaldeIt dawned on me today - that if carrots were money, we'd be rich. Three long rows of yellow carrots that are nearly ready to burst out of the ground, wait just outside my kitchen window - and while I've been patient with these seeds-turned - gems, they now rest so patiently for me to make something with them.

I gathered the first large bundle of carrots last night, alongside my new favorite pals (three baby rabbits). While I rinsed them of the dark earthy soil, I began to plan a meal in my head. Roasting them came to mind...then quickly I second guessed myself.

"Is that special enough for these carrots? There must be something more I can do with these precious carrots. After all, this will be the kickoff recipe to our abundant harvest!"

Baked Apples with Maple-Walnut Sauce

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by Editors

bakedapplesIf you could only smell these...wow. It's apple pie without all the fuss. It's comfort food. It's home.

What an easy little recipe that gives so much flavor and taste. The cinnamon-laced juices are just incredible. Heaven on a plate.

Apples also made the top 20 in a USDA list of foods with the highest antioxidant scores. The richest concentration of antioxidants is found in the fruit's skin, how perfect since this recipe calls for unpeeled apples.

Halving the apples before baking them also saves cooking time and lets the fruit soak up all the amazing maple-ness and cinnamony goodness.

You are going to love these.

Indian Summer Apple-Ginger Sparkler

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by James Farmer III

applegingercider.jpgWhile apples are rolling in – out of Georgia’s orchards in lieu of peaches, this fizzy drink makes for a cool refreshment on an Indian summer day. After the first frost of autumn, our Southern climate often experiences warm days reminiscent of summertime before the onset of winter proper.

I love this time of year for its warm during the day and crisp at night and in the early morning. This drink is reflective of those temperatures. For if the day has a briskness in the air, serve it at room temperature.

If it is a warm Indian summer day, then serve over ice. Cinnamon sticks and candied ginger make for lovely garnishes and the ginger is a delightful snack too.

If it is a warm Indian summer day, then serve over ice. Cinnamon sticks and candied ginger make for lovely garnishes and the ginger is a delightful snack too.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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by Cathy Pollak

pumpkincheesecakeWho doesn't love pumpkin cheesecake (a million hands just went up, right?).  And who wouldn't love pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap-pecan crust?  Well you've come to the right place.

I often prefer pumpkin cheesecake to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, it has such a creamy, yummy texture and is a good addition to all the other desserts I will be making for the Thanksgiving dessert buffet.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1-1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

The Surprising Bartlett Pear

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by Russ Parsons

poachedpearsWe make a lot of fuss over heirloom peach varieties that date back to the 1960s and tomatoes that go back as far as the 1930s. But did you know that the Bartlett pear, that standard grocery store fruit, actually dates back to the 1770s? The Bartlett, called the Williams pear in England where it was first found, gets its name from Enoch Bartlett, who was the first person to sell the trees in the U.S. in the early 1800s.

"Barts" are the predominate pear grown in California, and there are two growing sites with very different fruit. The earliest pears were harvested in August around the Sacramento delta area. They are fine, but the ones being picked about now from the hilly orchards of Lake and Mendocino counties are much better.

How to choose: The best perfectly ripened Bartlett pears will be golden and fragrant and will have a slight softness at the neck. Don't worry if the fruit shows some russeting -- that's only skin-deep and doesn't affect the flavor.


Ode to the Apple

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by Joseph Erdos

odeappleWho can imagine fall without apples? I can't. Apples are probably this season's most popular and favorite fruit. Just before the leaves start turning apples come into season. Though some varieties can even be harvested in mid-summer, the most popular ones, especially those for baking and cooking, are available in fall. As far back as I can remember, apples have always played a part in my childhood. Every fall my family would go apple picking and cider tasting. We still do. I still buy a jug of apple cider and a bushel of apples every single time. Each year always seems to bring better and better apples, farm apples being the best. They are worlds apart from supermarket apples, which are picked months in advance. Nothing beats biting into a freshly picked apple.

My favorite apple varieties are the ones that balance tart and sweet, such as Jonathan, which has beautiful striated red and green coloring. I try to follow the maxim: "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." It's actually quite true, apples contain many antioxidants, which may prevent the onset of cancer and other diseases. Besides eating them out of hand, everyone knows and loves the all-American dessert, apple pie. No holiday in the fall and winter can possibly go on without it. I bake quite a few every autumn. I'm always looking to perfect my pie-making skills and find that right combination of apples to produce the optimal texture. Baking a homemade apple pie is worth the effort; it's just one of those essential American pastimes.

Roast Pumpkin Fondue Recipe

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by The Huffington Post

s-pumpkin-fondue-largeWe can't think of many things we like better than fondue. We're also pretty fond of cooking things inside other edible things. The confluence of these two circumstances makes Gourmet's Roast Pumpkin with Cheese "Fondue" one of our favorite cold-weather recipes.

This pumpkin fondue recipe, proof that simplicity does not negate decadence, is probably not something you should eat every day -- even if you want to, like us. You'll understand why as you begin to fill the cavity of your pumpkin with toasted baguette slices, cream, stock and more cheese than you'd initially thought necessary.

After you've filled the pumpkin and rubbed the skin with olive oil, it goes into the oven where the pumpkin itself does all the work. You'll hear an occasional crackle in there, the air will start to smell delicious. Beware of smoking ovens from overflowing cream -- this happens nearly every time we make this no matter how much headspace we try to leave inside the pumpkin.

Vanilla Cider Pork with Pears

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by Cathy Pollak

porkpearsPork, pears and cider are a very natural combination, one I love.  This recipe uses "hard" cider (with alcohol) because of its crispness and acidity.  Never had hard cider?  Look for it wherever beer is sold, it might be your new favorite adult beverage. 

It's very, very good and can be purchased year round.  Non-alcoholic apple cider works great too (not the Treetop or Mott's brand...real, fresh apple cider, which is easily found this time of year).

Anyway, this meal is pretty tasty.  The pork tenderloin stays juicy and the pears are pretty incredible too.  Paired with the easy to make wild rice, this meal is always well received at my home with thumbs up from the husband and my oldest son.  My youngest had spaghetti, he will come around one day.

This meal is also company worthy, it's very satisfying and looks and smells incredible while cooking.

Fall Farmers’ Market Minestrone

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by Susie Middleton

All I can think about today is soup. This may be because I have too many vegetables crowding up the fridge. After another round of recipe development and a pre-hurricane sweep of the garden, I am left with the clear makings of minestrone—everything from a five-pound bag of carrots to three awkwardly space-hogging baby fennel bulbs. I have a big basket of winter squash I keep stumbling over in the pantry, and I have a little handful of green beans I just plucked off the dying vines this morning. I even have a few cranberry beans that are finally ready to harvest, from plants that miraculously show very little storm damage.

Our storm damage, in fact, was minimal. Had circumstances been different—if Sandy hadn’t taken a left turn when she did—we would likely be facing a very different winter here on the farm. Instead the hoop house is still standing, the animals are all fine, and in fact, we have another flock of laying hens due to arrive here this week (more on that soon). So thankfully, Roy is building—rather than rebuilding. Now, of course, I hear that a big Nor ‘Easter is coming up the coast this week. So maybe we are not out of the woods yet. But still. I can’t stop thinking about Staten Island and the Rockaways and Seaside Heights. All those folks still without power and nights getting really chilly. And lots of friends on the coast of Connecticut with serious flood damage. We did have plenty of coastal erosion up here on the Island and flooding in the lowest harbor areas in the towns, but most homes were safe and dry (and warm).


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