Fall

Shaved Pear, Celery, and Endive Salad with Bleu Cheese and Walnuts

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

shavedpearsaladPears ... the other fall fruit. Pears just don't seem to get their due respect, taking a back seat to apples, which are the symbolic fall fruit. But pears are exceptional in their own right. And even though they do get compared to apples, pears deserve single attention. If you love pears like I do, you know what I mean. Biting into a ripe, juicy pear is a moment to savor.

Pears are great eaten right out of hand, but they're also great in recipes—in sweet ones, like pies and crisps, but also in savory ones. I particularly like pears in salads, cut into slivers, paper-thin slices, or even roasted. Pear salads make an elegant appetizer for any dinner party, especially if you're celebrating the season like I'm doing. Pears are worth celebrating this season.

In this salad, pears join in with celery, endive, walnuts, bleu cheese, and pomegranate seeds. It's a flavorful combination all tied together by a honey and Dijon mustard vinaigrette. To get the pears so thin, start with very form but ripe pears. Use a mandoline to create the paper-thin slices. You can also cut the pears by hand into thin wedges. Enjoy the season!

Watercress, Seckel Pear, and Brie Salad: Safe to Serve for Company

Print Email
by Susan Russo

watercresspeargoatcheesesaladI don't think there is a cheese that my father doesn't like. He once received a pungent, powerfully-smelly Italian cheese from a friend; he described it as: "Good. Very tasty. With the smell though, you could never serve it for company, but if it's just for close family, yeah, it's good."

It certainly didn't stop him, or my family, from eating it.

At my house we ate a lot of cheese -- as a appetizer, on dishes, after dinner, or just for a snack. Unlike Reggiano-Parmesan and Grana Padano, brie was not a staple cheese growing up, but it's a staple in our refrigerator now.

In fact, there is currently a wheel of brie made from goat's milk in my refrigerator courtesy of Steve at Ile de France, (he has no idea how happy he has made Jeff). It has a remarkably silky texture and pleasingly tart flavor.

Though most typically served as an appetizer with crackers and cured meats, or baked into a puff pastry, brie is quite versatile. It enlivens paninis, enriches pastas, and makes delectable crostini and quesadillas. For a rustic dessert, pair it with nuts and fresh fruit such as grapes, figs, dates, and pears.

September Is the End of Summer and the Start of Fig Season

Print Email
by Susan Russo

figtomatosaladIt's September. Summer's over.

I'm probably the only person in San Diego who isn't sad that September has arrived. Why? Because September is the start of fresh fig season, and you simply can't be sad when you see fresh figs.

Figs are a sensual fruit. Their velvety soft skin emits a sweet, floral fragrance and often splits with juicy ripeness. They are the prized jewels of farmers' markets, and nowadays most major supermarkets sell them as well.

Figs are highly perishable, so buy them when you know you'll eat them in a couple of days. Otherwise, it's best to store them in an air-tight container lined with paper towel in the refrigerator for up to three days. Don't worry though. They'll never last that long. I don't care what the weather is like this September. As long as I have my fresh California figs, I'm good.

Orange Ya Glad it’s Fall?

Print Email
by James Farmer III

207Synonymous with autumn is the color orange. Pumpkin, salmon, persimmon, and rust abound throughout the garden and nature. From leaves to blooms to the fruits of the season, autumnal orange hues find favor with this Farmer. All I have to do is peruse around the garden and landscape and gather orange colored blossoms and fruit for an arrangement that celebrates the bounty of the season.

Planting snapdragons in the fall ensures mountains of this fun flower the following spring for the Deep South. Bronze Liberty Classic snaps are simply stunning, for they start out salmon and then are throated with golden/orangey/terra cotta tints as the blossoms mature.

This range of terra cotta to coral punctuates pansy and viola beds and spikes through glossy green parsley mounds for lovely fall color and spring delight. Since I’ve been planting them in the garden, I had a few stems to spare for an arrangement.

Great Aunt Irene’s orange, gold, and white bowl from the Far East (different family lore places it in different regions of Asia, so the Far East shall suffice) just spoke for itself as the vessel of choice for a festival of flowers, paying homage to a splendid color.

The snaps were a must and, thus, a pilgrimage through the garden commenced – the pilgrimage was now a hunt for orange flowers, fruit, and foliage.

Whole Grain Rustic Apple Tartlets for Two

Print Email
by James Moore

appletartI love rustic or “free-form” tarts. This recipe makes two perfect tarts and can be filled with just about any type of firm fruit – apples, pears, peaches, nectarines or plums – whatever is in season. I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Whole Grain Pastry flour and it gives the crust a perfectly tender, flaky, buttery crust.

Crust:

3/4 cup whole grain pastry flour (or unbleached all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4” pieces, chilled
2-3 tablespoons ice water

Pumpkin, Barley and Sage Soup

Print Email
by Cathy Pollak

pumpkinbarleysoupSoup weather has hit hard today, very rainy and gloomy all around.  A good day for a fire and just hanging out. 

With Fall in full swing, some type of pumpkin soup seemed in order.  This particular recipe is spicy (from the andouiile sausage) and a little bit sweet from the addition of maple syrup.

Served with fresh baked bread it was the perfect afternoon meal. 

This soup is so easy to make, no other pictures were necessary.  So enjoy the Fall season and hopefully you have soup weather too.

Pear-Apple Pie with Crunchy Streusel Topping

Print Email
by Cathy Pollak

applepear2It has really felt like Fall the past week or two, which has really had me in the mood for all things apple and pumpkin. However, today, the first day of back to school, we will be pushing 90 degrees here in the Willamette Valley.

The heat will be good for the grapes as we head into harvest over the next month.  The jeans and sweaters are ready to go, but will not make an appearance yet. In the Pacific Northwest, the weather changes in an instant so you have to be ready....luckily we are.

Our close friends from Northern California visited a couple of weeks ago, it had been a few years since we had seen them. They brought us these beautiful apples and pears used in this pie, harvested from their family farm in Central Oregon. Aren't they gorgeous?

I wanted a crunchy-sweet topping on this pie, I can't tell you how perfect it was. The pears and apples play together perfectly, creating the perfect textural balance. 

Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

Print Email
by Susan Russo

yam_vs_sweet_potato_h.jpg What is the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?
And here's the answer, according to the Library of Congress:

Although yams and sweet potatoes are both angiosperms (flowering plants), they are not related botanically. Yams are a monocot (a plant having one embryonic seed leaf) and from the Dioscoreaceae or Yam family. Sweet Potatoes, often called ‘yams’, are a dicot (a plant having two embryonic seed leaves) and are from the Convolvulacea or morning glory family.

Food Blogga Translation: Yams and sweet potatoes are different vegetables.

It turns out my local market has gotten it wrong too. What they have been labeling as yams are really red-skinned, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Apparently, sweet potatoes' skin and flesh ranges in colors, and they come in "hard" and "soft" varieties. It is the soft varieties, which become moist when cooked, that are typically labeled "yams" here in the United States.

Spaghetti Squash Salad with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts

Print Email
by Joseph Erdos

squash.jpgIf you've never had spaghetti squash before, you're in for a surprise. It's called spaghetti squash for a reason—the vegetable's flesh resembles strands of spaghetti after it has been scraped away from the skin. With a mild sweet flavor, spaghetti squash pairs well with just about any dish and can be flavored in just about any way.

Once you've roasted the squash, the flavor customization is up to you. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is simply seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. It's great as a base for meatballs. But this recipe goes a few steps further and includes some fall favorites, like dried cranberries and toasted hazelnuts. Enjoy it as an appetizer salad served warm or a cold side.

Now is the season for spaghetti squash. You'll find it sold among the other winter squashes, like butternut and acorn, in the market. Pick one up and make this super simple recipe. It's easy enough to make even on a busy weeknight.

A Nice Soup for Fall: Sausage & Bean

Print Email
by Elaine McCardel

sausage-soup.jpgThis soup, along with a green salad and some nice bread, is a great dinner for a chilly night.  This soup is loaded with sausage, beans and ditalini pasta.  It's really a pretty traditional "Pasta e Fagioli" soup, but with sausage. I've made the soup with turkey sausage, but you can use any sausage you like.  

I've used dried beans to make the soup.  You can certainly use canned, but if you've never cooked with dried beans, you should try it.  Some people are confused about dried beans and don't know how to soak them and cook them.  But there really is no mystery to it at all – it's very easy.  Soaking simply softens the beans so that they have a shorter cooking time. That's all.

And you don't really even have to soak them.  If you forget to soak them, simply cook them longer. I just throw the beans in a pot and cover them with water and let them soak all day. I drain them, add fresh water and then cook them until they are tender. That's it.

 

restaurant news

Bloodroot Restaurant
New England
by Michael Tucker

bloodrootladiesRestaurants aren’t supposed to be real. Real you can get at home. Restaurants are for fantasy of one kind or another. A shot-and-beer bar with sawdust on the floor can fulfill a fantasy or bolster...

Read more...
Kampuchea
New York
by Hope Stranger

kampucheadiningroom.jpgAlex and I have been dating for almost four months now.  We have shared several meals and conversations together beyond Casa Mono.  As our relationship has settled into a ‘monogamous’ place, we...

Read more...
Seafood Along the Rhode Island Shore
New England
by David Latt

riflosIf you've come to the area to enjoy great food, there's more to Rhode Island than just Providence. Hop in your car and head south. Everywhere you go, you'll be rewarded with wonderful meals in...

Read more...
Bread Lounge
Los Angeles
by Evan Kleiman

breadbarBread.  I love it, especially when it’s well made.  But I freely admit that I try to avoid it.  I’m of a certain age and weight when the dangers of too much free carb styling can take a toll.  But...

Read more...