Fall

Tangy Sriracha Pumpkin-Parmesan Soup

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by Cathy Pollak

pumpkinsagesoupI'm pretending it's a crisp Fall day and I'm sitting in the sunlight enjoying a warming bowl of this creamy soup. The truth be told...I have the air conditioning turned down to 70 and I am enjoying this soup while wearing shorts and flip-flops. It's a little hot outside.

But the heat, did not stop me from making a spicy soup, in fact, I feel like it nudged me into doing it. We do love Sriracha around here. If you still haven't tried it, it's time!

And this soup is absolutely easy to throw together. Using pumpkin puree makes this an absolute time saver and there is no need for a blender to cream the soup. It couldn't be any more simplistic.

I have had a prolific sage garden this year. It has been growing like crazy. I need to get to work and dry some for the winter months. If you have never had fried sage leaves before, you are in for a treat. They are crispy, little, salty bites of goodness. The perfect addition to a creamy soup.

One Oven One Time: Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

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by Lisa McRee

roastedtomatosoupEven though summer is considered the pinnacle of tomato season, in many parts of the country the last fall harvest before the first hard frost brings some of the tastiest and meatiest fruits to market.

And this is a recipe that gives those end of season tomatoes a last hurrah in a hearty dish perfectly suited to fall…Oven Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup.

Best of all, this version lightens up the calories and the clean up!

The original recipe from the Barefoot Contessa calls for 6 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter…which adds 920 calories and 104 grams of fat.

Instead, we’re using fat free half-and-half to add the creamy richness…which cuts the calories per serving by more than half and removes virtually all of the fat.

And while the original recipe requires roasting the tomatoes in the oven for 45 minutes, then transferring them to a pot and cooking them on the stove for another 45, you can now cook everything in the oven….which frees you up to do other things and saves you the trouble of washing another pan.

Roasted Mushrooms with Vermouth and Garlic

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by Lisa McRee

mushdecon1Steak and Mushrooms…Yum.

Like Batman and Robin, Lucy and Ethel, Mr. Roarke and Tattoo, they were perfect together….with meat being the star and the mushrooms happy to play sidekick.

But not anymore.

By having some fun with the fungi, trying different cooking methods and flavor combinations, you can now give mushrooms the starring role.

Serving your steak as a side may bruise its ego a bit, but the only loss you’ll experience will be in your weight!

Try to use a mix of mushrooms if you can– some wild, some domestic– the different tastes and textures really stand out in this simple preparation.

Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies Filled with Maple Cream

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by Cathy Pollak

pumpkinwhoopieDid you know the "Whoopie pie" is the State Treat of Maine? I had no idea states had designated treats. I'm dying to know what the state treat is here...it better be candy bacon.

While making these I started thinking about why these tasty little cakes have such a silly name. I did a little research and found Whoopie pies to be a Pennsylvania Amish and New England phenomenon. I suppose this is why I never had them as a child.

Apparently the Amish women would bake up these little desserts (likely with leftover cake batter) and put them in their husband's lunches. The men would pull out these treats and yell, "whoopie".

So...this is where I laughed out loud. I just don't see a bunch of guys yelling out, "whoopie" for cake. Do you?

Oh well, maybe they did. It was a different time. It just sounds funny. There are also three states that claim to be the birthplace of the Whoopie pie; Maine, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. This little dessert has quite a history!

My Favorite Apple Crisp

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by James Moore

applecrispDespite the warm weather we’ve been enjoying in Southern California, a recent trip to my local grocery store reminded me that fall is here – pyramid-like mounds of pumpkins filled the entrance, flanked by bins of apples of every variety.

Although apples are available all year, they are particularly sweet and delicious this time of year. I generally mark apple picking season with a home-baked double crust pie, but some people still find it a daunting task. If you’re one of them, make apple crisp your signature fall dish.

This is one of my favorite recipes because it produces a thicker layer of “crisp” – which frankly is the best part. The chewy, buttery, caramel flavored brown sugar oatmeal laced layer compliments the apples perfectly. Choose a variety of apples from your local growers – and try to choose organic.

The average conventionally grown apple has more pesticide residue on it than any other fruit or vegetable. According to the Environmental Working Group‘s analysis of USDA data, “pesticides showed up on 98 percent of the more than 700 apple samples tested (yes, they were washed).”

Walk-Away Beets: Recipe for Diversion

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by Susie Middleton

beet-horizontal-1-300x225I work at home. Translation: I love a distraction. The kitchen? Definitely the number one destination for diversion.  Even on days when recipe developing is not on my to-do list, I like to wander in to my favorite room and concoct a little something every few hours. Something quick, something that might work for our dinner later.  Even better, something that might last for a few days.

Roasted baby beets (so ruby-red pretty) are the ultimate in quick-to-make,  slow-to-cook vegetable condiments.  By vegetable condiments (no, I haven’t lost my mind) I mean stuff like caramelized onions and roasted tomatoes—things that are so great to have in the fridge for tossing in salads, onto pizzas, into tacos—that sort of thing. Okay, so maybe roasted beet wedges are not quite as versatile as roasted tomatoes, but they do juicy-up a salad and give you a great excuse to warm up goat cheese or to toast pecans (just add arugula and lemon vinaigrette). Plus, maybe you’ve got excess CSA-beet syndrome like me. Remarkably, mine (wrapped in a damp cloth and stored in a zip-top bag) have kept for months in the veg drawer of my fridge.

An Apple Dessert for Two

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by Sue Doeden

donut ball bread pudding 015The applesauce doughnuts I made the other day didn’t stick around in the kitchen very long. Off they went to the guys at the gas station, to the owner of the tea shop in town, along with one of her customers who happened to be in for a cup of tea, and a few to my friends at the food co-op.

Fourteen little doughnut balls remained on a plate on my kitchen counter. My two-year-old doughnut-ball-loving grandson lives hours away from me, so this time, I couldn’t share with him.

I decided to surprise my bread-pudding-loving husband. I mixed up a liquid mixture, rich with egg and butter, sweet with white and brown sugars and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. Broken doughnut balls (there were only 12 little balls on the plate by this time. Apparently, there is a doughnut-ball-loving person right in my own house.) took a long bath in that liquid before I stirred in some chopped apples.

There was just enough to fill two ramekins. Breakfast in bed on a chilly autumn Saturday morning? Dessert by the fire after dinner? If you decide to serve this for dessert, it can be baking while you’re eating dinner. If you decide to serve it for breakfast, it can be chilling while you’re sleeping.

Fragrance of fall. Warm. Delicious. Comfort. Just for two.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Grilled Plums

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by Joseph Erdos

grilledplumsPlump, sweet, and juicy—these are the best-tasting plums. Late summer brings with it all the different types of plums—colors of white, black, red and shapes of round and oval. There are too many varieties to list here. And don't forget pluots, a cross between plums and apricots. I love to eat them fresh—and you know they're good when the juices run down your arm. But as you've seen by reading here, I also adore plums in simple, homey desserts.

Instead of the typical preparation, these plums are grilled. Grilling fruit is not a typical technique, but it's great for bringing out the flavor of fruit, especially when it's a bit underripe. Imagine pineapple slices, peaches, or nectarines on the grill. These fruits nicely caramelize, especially when they're brushed with a sugar mixture. And what goes better with warm fruit than ice cream? This is a dessert to savor spoonful by spoonful.

With just three ingredients, this recipe is almost a nonrecipe. Brush the plum halves with a mixture of sugar and butter that caramelizes on the grill. Serve with ice cream, like my lavender-crème fraîche ice cream, which lends a unique flavor to the dessert. Take the opportunity to grill some fruit before summer ends!

Arugula Soup with Parmesan

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by Joseph Erdos

arugulasoupThis past summer I've grown more arugula than I've known what to do with. This fall the arugula has been looking better than I ever expected. Lately I've been coming up with ways to use it all before the frost comes. But there's only so much raw arugula one can eat. So I've started cooking with it, making sautés and even soup. Most people would think that arugula is not for cooking, but in fact many European recipes use arugula. In Italy, arugula is enjoyed in pasta dishes and on pizzas. It can also be made into a very flavorful pesto that can be used in pasta or spread on sandwiches. There's a lot more to arugula than salad.

This soup features the pungent and peppery flavor of arugula. A rind of Parmesan cooked into the soup adds salty flavor. The mascarpone cheese stirred in toward the end enrichens the texture of the soup. Since arugula has a tendency to become stringy when cooked, the soup is best puréed until silky smooth. Serve the soup with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of fruity olive oil to complement the flavor of the leafy green. It's great enjoyed as an appetizer soup or even a simple dinner when paired with crusty bread. There's no better time to grow arugula and enjoy this soup than the chilly months of autumn.

Cream of Celeriac Soup with Herbed Crostini

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by Joseph Erdos

celeraicsoupOft unknown and underutilized, celeriac or celery root is a vegetable with white flesh and knobby light-brown skin. Its texture is not far from parsnips. Its flavor is like celery: fresh, bright, and almost citrusy. In fact they are related. The celery root grows green stems and leaves above the soil surface that look much like celery and can be used just like celery. The greens have a more pronounced celery flavor but the stems are woody and hollow like bamboo. The herb lovage, another celery cousin, is like this too. The stems can be used as straws in mixed drinks like the Bloody Mary or my take on the Tom Collins.

One of the most common recipes for celeriac, especially in French cuisine is céleri rémoulade, which is a slaw of mandolined or julienned celeriac dressed in rémoulade, a mayonnaise-type sauce. You will also find celeriac prepared as creamy soups or puréed side dishes that resemble mashed potatoes. Though I love céleri rémoulade, since it is now fall, I chose to prepare a classic rendition of cream of celeriac soup. The accompanying recipe for herbed crostini makes a nice complement. Serve the soup as a start to an elegant holiday dinner. The celery flavor awakens the palate in preparation for more food to come.

 

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