Savor the Season

Erin Coopey By Erin Coopey 12.16.09
Savor the Season
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I just love this time of year-- not only because I think it’s beautiful, but also because when there’s a chill in the air, I am ready for chili, stews, roasting meats, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pies and caramel apples. 

It’s a wonderful time of year for food and you can still find a wide variety of seasonal produce.  Among the cornucopia of autumn produce are: apples, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celery root, cranberries, fennel, mushrooms, pears, pomegranates, spinach, and a variety of winter squash including acorn and delicata.

Here are some delicious ways to celebrate the season:

"It's a wonderful time of year for food and you can still find a wide variety of seasonal produce"

Wild Mushroom Toasts 

Clean and coarsely chop a variety of mushrooms like Chanterelles, Shitake, Cremini, Porcini or white buttons, then sauté them in some butter with a little minced garlic.  When they are soft, try adding a splash of dry sherry or brandy.  Let it simmer away, and then add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon some of the buttery mushroom goodness onto toasted slices of artisan bread and you’ve got a simple but elegant autumn appetizer.

Prosciutto and Pear

Try wrapping paper thin slices of Prosciutto ham around wedges of ripe pears.  Sprinkle with a bit of freshly cracked black pepper and you’re done.  You can offer them as appetizers or use them as a garnish for a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and toasted pecans.

Potato and Celery Root Puree

Here’s a new twist on mashed potatoes!  Substitute celery root for half of the potatoes you intend to mash.  Peel the celery root and boil it with a touch of salt, as you would regular potatoes for mashing.  When the celery root is fork tender, mash it together with boiled potatoes, butter and cream.  Add a little salt and pepper and you’ve got a delicious and different side dish. I think you’ll find the subtle celery flavor perfect with roasted pork.

Sautéed Apples 

What a wonderful way to enjoy the taste of an apple pie without all the work.  Sautéed apples are terrific on top of oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast, and make a delicious accompaniment to roast turkey or pork tenderloin.  Slice 4 tart apples, peeled or un-peeled, and sauté in ¼ cup butter.  As the apples begin to soften add ½ tsp of cinnamon, and ¼ cup brown sugar.  You can also add a pinch of nutmeg if you like.  Stir until the sugar has melted and you are ready to serve.

What are your favorite cold-weather meals? Are there any recipes that especially make you think of fall or winter?

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  • ChefErin By ChefErin
    01.22.10  

    sdet1s2 - What a delicious sounding combination! - Chef Erin

  • sdet1s2 By sdet1s2
    01.21.10  

    The Wild Mushroom Toasts sound wonderful! I like to marinate baby portobello in a little balsamic vinegar - then saute with a bit of garlic, salt & pepper and toss with baby spinach, crumbled goat cheese or gorganzola + grated parmesan cheese and put on top of a flat bread, for a healthy little pizza.

  • hypnicjerk By hypnicjerk
    01.18.10  

    Both the "Pear" and the "Apple" recipes/ideas were great! You have a true believer (and follower) in me! The White Bean and Sausage soup sounds great. Maybe you'll have a chance to share that recipe with us, too!

  • ChefErin By ChefErin
    01.15.10  

    All - Soups are so perfect this time of year - and typically, a great way to lose some holiday weight. I made a White Bean and Sausage soup the other day. Delicious and a great source of fiber. - Erin

  • aprilhaigler By aprilhaigler
    01.07.10  

    Sautéed Apples make the house smell GREAT for the holidays! To me it is not Christmas without the apple smell in the house!

  • mooneykell By mooneykell
    12.28.09  

    Loooooooooooooooove the apples! yum yum!

  • CindyF By CindyF
    12.25.09  

    Proscuitto and pear was delicious. I served it Christmas eve along with other appetizers and everyone enjoyed it and said how unusual it was!

  • Taller By Taller
    12.24.09  

    I love to make Taco soup and also vegetable soup and turkey chili.

  • jlindseyc By jlindseyc
    12.23.09  

    as soon as the first cold day arrives I love to dig out my crockpot to make lots of different chilis and soups.

  • heartnredding By heartnredding
    12.19.09  

    Ah.. winter! Thoughts of pumpkin pies and turnovers! Lots of baking! Breads and muffins! Cookies and casseroles! What compliments come when company arrives and the aromas are everywhere! Think I'll go bake something.

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