Fall produce offers options to many dishes.

Fall produce – butternut, acorn, pumpkin and other winter squashes. Kale, brussel sprouts and other greens. Apples, pears and cranberries.

Need new ideas for cooking these wonderful old crops? Read on…

Apples and butternut squash cooked together make a delicious soup, with thyme, sage, or warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. A little blue cheese adds a unique flavor. Roasted squashes are sweet on their own, or pureed into a dip with garam masala and a little tahini. Add cubed roasted squash to a lasagna with a bechamel sauce and asiago cheese for a fall inspired dish.

Acorn squash is great baked with maple syrup, or stuffed with quinoa, feta, sunflower seeds and cranberries. Apples, sausage, currants and cornbread make a hearty filling too. Steam squash halves over boiling water or microwave whole (pierce well to avoid exploding gourds) for a tender option to baking. Cube squashes into your favorite stew recipes for color and antioxidants.

Spaghetti squash is a low carb alternative to pasta, and roasted pumpkin seeds are just a tasty benefit of the orange globe. Pumpkins are edible in savory or sweet recipes, adding vitamin A to your dishes. Think cake, bread, stews and risotto. A hollowed out pumpkin provides a festive serving bowl – just skip the Jack-o-Lantern cutouts.

Kale, collards and other greens can be bitter, pairing nicely with sweet raisins, apricots or roasted garlic. A touch of balsamic adds extra depth and a little tang. Add greens to soups, stews and even baked pasta dishes for an extra kick of calcium. If the bitter flavor turns you off, drop your greens in a boiling water bath for 1-2 mins, drain and saute to cut down the bitterness.

Apples or pears and cranberries are a natural pairing for applesauce, pie fillings, chutneys or strudels. Pears and pork are wonderful, cooked slowly with honey, broth and herbes de Provence. If you prefer, use thyme, cream and shallots.

Braise chicken or pork in apple cider or use to poach salmon. It is wonderful for basting your turkey, adding a sweet flavor to your Thanksgiving gravy.

Heat cider with cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel for a warming drink and homey room freshener.

Poach pears in simple syrup infused with lemon, orange or vanilla beans. Use red wine for a more dramatic presentation, adding orange peel, sugar, cinnamon stick and cardamom for more flavor. Bake apples filled with nuts and honey, orange zest, or an oatmeal raisin and brown sugar filling.

Sliced apple with a little peanut or almond butter is a quick energy snack, or chop an apple into cottage cheese with cinnamon and raisins for a great breakfast. Slice pears in a salad with blue cheese and pecans. Dip pear slices in chocolate for a decadent dessert or add moisture to a favorite spice cake recipe with chopped apples or pears.

Enjoy fall produce, eat local, and be creative! Good eating and happy holidays.

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This Friday afternoon, the good farm provided us with corn on the cob, beans, squash in several sizes and species (zucchini, crooked neck, summer squash and patty pan), carrots, and cucumbers.

I had a few spring onions left from last week, some haddock and fresh basil. I decided to make a fish stuffed patty pan squash. I sauteed the onions, then stirred in a chopped small tomato, 1/2 cup baby spinach, 1/2 cup panko, 5 fresh basil leaves, the juice of 1/2 orange and 1/2 teaspoon of cherry wood smoked salt. Soften a large patty pan squash in the microwave or by boiling 3-5 mins, scoop guts out and stuff with above mixture. Bake wrapped in foil at 400F for 15-18 mins. Delicious!

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Inside the squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, good start. The next day, I needed to use some of the squash. I layered sliced crook neck and green zucchini on top of a lemon thyme biscuit I crumbled in the bottom of a small baking dish with chopped scallions, a little cheddar cheese, and sliced tomatoes. I topped it with a custardy sauce of egg, milk, and chicken stock that I steeped fresh tarragon in, and added some chopped Brie. (OK, so I was using up some leftovers, shoot me). I crumbled the last biscuit on top, and baked covered for about 20 mins. Uncovered for 10-15 mins more until the custard had set. Delicious! Even good reheated the next day.
Tonight, roasted carrots and fennel (I was supposed to be making a blueberry kohlrabi and fennel salad, but couldn’t find kohlrabi), cod and the corn on the cob. As for the beans, I am still figuring out what to make and the mini cuke was eaten at lunch with some radishes. A dear friend dropped off more beans, 2 cucumbers and tomatoes from his garden…..I need to start getting really creative with these squash and beans. Fried green tomatoes and crook neck squash may be in order with my smoked chicken Wednesday.
Well another week in farm fresh produce. Hope your week is going well, eating better and enjoying the local harvest too. Bon Appetit!

Wow, the season is flying and we keep seeing amazing produce fresh from the farm. This week the farm gave us mezuna, shell peas, garlic scapes, green beans, strawberries, arugula, radishes and zucchini/summer squash. As there weren’t many strawberries, those will stay in my cereal bowl. The green beans will be sauteed and enjoyed next to the fish I will pick up tonight (the other half of farm fresh in our house).

Garlic scapes. Ummm…..yeah. Long strands of green with a little flower looking end to it.

Mezuna and garlic scapes


I needed to look this one up. I found out this is the top of the garlic (grows from the bulb) and is actually edible. Using it to impart a milder garlic flavor to dishes, I found out the most common use was in a pesto. I only had 4 strands, and couldn’t make enough pesto to coat a piece of toast, so I decided to chop them up and use as I would garlic. The mezuna is a green that can be eaten as a salad or tossed into dishes much like spinach, kale or swiss chard. It wilts quickly, is mild in flavor and has a very delicate leaf to it. Using some leftovers, I decide to do a sautee of the scapes, 1/2 chopped white onion, 2 ears of corn off the cob, 1/2 jicama chopped, and 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes in a little butter. Add a little salt and pepper, fresh basil and then the mezuna at the end – delicious and colorful. A perfect side dish to the egg stuffed meatloaf I made the night before.

Mezuna sautee

Egg stuffed meatloaf with veggies


Next – the peas were shelled, and pasta cooked. A little vegetable broth, lemon juice and zest, fresh basil (I wanted to do mint, but not a favorite of my husbands) and shallot were sauteed. We had some smoked salmon from Alaska we had been saving (it was canned, don’t get grossed out) so I decided to add that in to the pasta mix with the peas. Top with a little grated Asiago – yum! On the side, I had an arugula salad with orange sections, pecans and an almond oil vinaigrette and two very happy people for dinner. The lemon countered nicely with the smoked salmon, and the peas were nice bright green and delicious.
As for the zucchini – still debating whether to do a pancake, sautee it , roast, grill, or cut it into long strands like pasta, eaten raw. The radishes I love anyway, but was told by a fellow CSA’er that they are good roasted. I may have to try that one. I know the French sautee radishes in butter, so why not. In the meantime – get to your local farm stand, create your own delicious-ness, and please share your recipes and ideas, or any questions with me at Home Plate Advantage….I love to hear what others are doing out there. Bon Appetit!