Savor the Season

   By ChefErin  Dec 16, 2009
13

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:

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 | SEATTLE, WA
Jan 22, 2010

sdet1s2 - What a delicious sounding combination! - Chef Erin

sdet1s2 by sdet1s2 | Cleveland, OH
Jan 21, 2010

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 | Seattle, WA
Jan 18, 2010

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 | SEATTLE, WA
Jan 15, 2010

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 | BETHLEHEM, PA
Jan 07, 2010

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 | WARTRACE, TN
Dec 28, 2009

Loooooooooooooooove the apples! yum yum!

CindyF by CindyF | AMSTON, CT
Dec 25, 2009

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 | Silver Creek, MS
Dec 24, 2009

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

jlindseyc by jlindseyc | LEXINGTON, KY
Dec 23, 2009

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 | Redding, CA
Dec 19, 2009

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.

pjclayton57 by pjclayton57 | Oceanport, NJ
Dec 18, 2009

I make a lot of soups like French Onion or Italian Wedding soups. I make chicken homemade stock and then use the chicken to make things like pot pies, tacos, etc. I also like to make stuffed baked apples - yummy accompaniament to go with many dishes or to use as a dessert!

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Dec 17, 2009

The sauteed apples sound yummy! In the winter I tend to make more chili, hot dishes, soups and meatloaf...all the warm cozy comfort foods!

basilandcatnip by basilandcatnip | GARLAND, TX
Dec 16, 2009

Prosciutto and Pear sounds interesting. I don't think I have a favorite recipe. During the winter though it's nice to have soups, chili's, hot cocoa, warm adult drinks available. I love to try new things so I try variations of those with interesting ingredients or twists like serving them with other foods not normally thought of to serve with it.