Category Archives: autumn

celery root mashed potatoes

Celery Root Mashed Potatoes

november 15, 2018

celery root mashed potatoes

Sure, the Thanksgiving holiday usually has turkey as the centerpiece of a bountiful spread, but it’s really all about the sides, right? Ask folks what they like to see at the table and they rarely mention turkey—they rhapsodize about the sweet potatoes, the green beans, the pies and yes, the mashed potatoes which are destined to cradle all that silky turkey gravy. Continue reading

smoky tequila cider cocktail

Smoky Tequila Cider Cocktail

november 2, 2018

smoky tequila cider cocktail

 

A well-crafted cocktail (or mocktail) is a refreshing start to dinner. You can’t go wrong by following the seasons and employing ingredients that speak to whatever nature is serving up, so local apple cider is the star of this fall beverage.

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garlic roasted peppers

Garlic Roasted Peppers

october 18, 2018

garlic roasted peppers

I’m finally getting around to reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which food choice and overabundance are believed to have engendered paralysis in today’s kitchens. With so many options in our crowded market aisles, we sputter at decision time. What to have for dinner? We have good intentions. Colorful vegetables are purchased at grocery stores with the operative plan being to cook them up on the weekend and enjoy them all week. Excitement turns to dismay when we see these same vegetables staring at us reproachfully from the way back of the shelf four days later, unchopped and uncooked. We are time-challenged and over scheduled. Continue reading

caramelized apple mini cakes

Caramelized Apple Mini Cakes

october 4, 2018

caramelized apple mini cakes

Some years back I purchased a couple extra large muffin tins. They have been used exactly once. Instead of donating them to my local thrift shop, I decided to put them to proper use and make little cakes with gorgeous and fragrant local apples. These cakes are the perfect size for a single indulgence and easy to prep and bake. My guess is that they freeze well, but these treats never got to that stage. They do, however, age well at room temperature for a couple days and become more moist and dense on day two—so there was some restraint on my part. Having tasters helped, because six mini cakes is such a burden to consume all by myself! Continue reading

autumn fruit salad

Autumn Fruit Salad

september 20, 2018

autumn fruit salad

A visit to my local roadside stand tells me the seasons are beginning to change. Sure, there are still tomatoes and cucumbers and squash, but now we see the first autumn apples and crisp Asian pears. Soon there will be fragrant apple cider and pumpkins of every color and stripe. I love combining local produce to bridge the seasons, as with this spring’s Asparagus and Shiitake Stir Fry, marrying the tender spears of spring asparagus with the last of winter’s butternut squash.  Continue reading

Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricots

september 5, 2018

herbed goat cheese stuffed apricots

Knowing apricots were in season, and feeling certain I had seen them at markets, I began to dream of ways to serve them as a one-bite appetizer, preferably with a cheesy filling. But my local markets only carried red apricots, which resemble tiny plums and have the aroma and flesh of the standard golden apricot. And so, red apricots became my friend.

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Butternut Squash Gratin

november 10, 2017

butternut squash gratin

 

Each year at Thanksgiving, folks divide up into two camps. Sweet potato and no sweet potato. For the sweet potato lovers, further subdivision yields the sweet sweet potato side dish aficionados  (marshmallow people, I’m talking to you) and those who insist on savory sweet potato dishes at the holiday table, like my Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes. Me, I like it all. I grew up with what my parents referred to as candied yams, sweet potato chunks swimming in a sweet glaze and more of an afterthought to the meal. It was our duty to serve them, but no one was clamoring for their presence. And if memory serves, they were canned and not fresh, an oddity because of the global availability of sweet potatoes in autumn. Continue reading

Chicken and Asian Pear Salad

october 27, 2017

chicken and asian pear salad

Rotisserie chickens are everywhere. Everyone sells them : grocers, big box stores, specialty carryout restaurants and food trucks. You buy one, eat half for dinner, then wonder what to do with the rest. The options are many, from simmering the remainder for soup or making a mayonnaise-based chicken salad, to simply slicing off pieces for your lunchtime sandwiches. Roasted chickens are the ultimate convenience food for time-strapped people who love the taste without the fuss and mess. But on occasion I have looked at the ingredient list of some of these chickens, and there are words that sound suspiciously like a science experiment and there are also fake flavoring agents masquerading as “natural flavor” enhancers which certainly don’t do us any favors. Continue reading

Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes and Apples

october 18, 2017

brown sugar sweet potatoes and apples

It’s not the easiest thing to plan fall menus when the humidity and temperature are still elevated past September. The calendar, however, clearly shows autumn is in full swing and I am getting mentally prepared. Local summer produce has an inner time clock that tells production to halt making way for fall delights like squashes, sweet potatoes and hearty greens. There is change in the air. A stroll around my  local farm stand with beautiful rusty-dusty sweet potatoes and fragrant multi-hued apples tumbling from bins and boxes can bring back my inspiration every time this season of bounty rolls around. Continue reading

Apples and Oranges Cocktail

december 2, 2016

apples and oranges cocktail

 

 

Forget everything you ever heard or read about moonshine. Forget the still-in-the-woods scenario, the comical backwoods fellers trying to stay one step ahead of the revenuers (think Andy of Mayberry), the shadowy figures skulking around parking lots peddling their hootch.

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