Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon

Eat Your Greens
As a kid, I always used to laugh at my mother’s and grandmother’s attempts at adding more veggies to the thanksgiving table. I mean, let’s be real. I was only there for the bird and the carbs. You can keep your green beans, thanks. The older I have gotten though, the more I look forward to something to help digest the potato and stuffing carb bomb.

The green beans are still an important part of our celebration. But, in recent years we’ve included various salads as well, such as this recipe for Persimmon, Asian Pear, and Toasted Almond Salad. Now, I am not the biggest salad person. Some people, like my sister, have salads with everything. That is not me. I kinda have to be in the mood for a salad. And, even then, using the word salad might be a bit of a stretch. I like additions to my salads. Chances are if I have made a salad, it is not just a bowl of greens. There will be a random mix of things like pieces of various fruits, cheese, nuts (usually spiced or candied), or cut-up cooked meats like chicken or even better, bacon.

On a recent trip to Oregon, while y’all were dealing with the “bomb cyclone” and 50 feet of rain, I had the opportunity to visit Powell’s, my favorite bookstore. If you have never been to Powell’s bookstore in Portland you are missing out. If you have, well then, you know. I could spend days in there and still want more. On this trip, I found a Portland Farmers Market cookbook that I have been working my way through since I returned.

Amongst the pages of beautiful Pacific Northwest offerings, I found this recipe for Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon. It would be the perfect addition as something green and a bit different for your Thanksgiving table.

Fall Salad with Delicata Squash, Caramelized Apples, and Bacon
Adapted from the Portland Farmers Market Cookbook
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin

Stuffed Cinderella PumpkinOther
What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word Thanksgiving? If I had to guess, most people would say a turkey (followed very quickly by pie). It would make sense. Thanksgiving is the one holiday where everyone eats the same stuff…right?

Yes, turkey is what’s expected for your Thanksgiving feast. But, what if you don’t like turkey? I have a number of friends who are not fans of the majestic bird—either because of the flavor or the fact that it can dry out and feel like you’re eating sawdust. Plenty more can’t fit one in their oven. Most of those people choose to go with something different like a beautiful prime rib or a spiral cut ham. Either of these will please a crowd and screams of celebration.

That being said, presentation is everything. There is something about the drama of bringing a turkey or other roast to the table to carve that reminds you that this is not your typical Thursday dinner. I have thought about this a lot and I have always felt disappointment on behalf of vegetarians that they don’t always get to feel that excitement. Now, not being a vegetarian myself, I could be totally off the mark here. And, there are any number of ways to make an entrance with a vegetarian entrée. I would love to hear what those options might be.

In the meantime, I think this recipe for a Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin would fit that bill and make a fantastic entrance while still having all the drama and ceremony of a traditional carving.

If you have seen the cover of the November issue of Food & Wine you know what I am talking about. This Greens and Cheese Stuffed Pumpkin is gorgeous and would even work well as a fantastic side if you use a smaller pumpkin….

Stuffed Cinderella Pumpkin
Adapted from Anna Theoktisto for Food and Wine Magazine
Yields 8 Servings Read more…

Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter

Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard GlazeFallin’ for Pork
Fall is when pork shines. My family eats pork pretty much year-round—either as pork chops, or in tacos, or whatever. But, when the calendar flips to fall, I start thinking about juicy pork roasts. (Turning the oven on in the middle of July when it is 102º outside is a non-starter.) Fall flavors like apple and cinnamon pair perfectly with the mild flavor of pork.

But, the challenge with pork roasts is that they can dry out if you cook them too long. To solve that problem and to introduce the flavors of the season to the pork, I like to throw any roasts or chops that we’re having for dinner in a brine.

Brining is easy and you don’t have to do it for long periods of time. Pork chops, for example, only need to be brined for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how thick they are. (Double cut chops can go as long as 2 hours.) Over-brining will cause the meat to be mushy which is never pleasant.

There are so many brines to pick from. But, I am partial to any that include apple juice or cider. The end result is just a bit sweeter but not super apple-y. One of my all-time favorite brines for pork is our recipe for Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins. I use it 90% of the time, as it’s relatively quick and can be managed mid-week.

Sometimes though, you wanna go bigger.

This recipe for Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter is not a quick weekday whip-up. It is better left for a lazy Sunday dinner with friends and family watching the leaves fall from the trees. Serve this with some roasted sweet potatoes and/or Brussel sprouts and maybe our Barley and Pine Nut Pilaf for the best representation of Fall on your plate…

Brined Pork Loin with Molasses-Mustard Glaze and Apple Butter Recipe
Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay and the Food Network
Yields 4 to 6 servings Read more…

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of GarlicFall, Fires, and Garlic
September is a weird time in California. While the rest of the country is thinking about colored leaves, pumpkin spice, and has started pulling out their light sweaters, we here on the west coast are still battling 90-degree heat and, sadly, forest fires. What’s happening in Tahoe is heartbreaking. What would normally be a gorgeous Labor Day weekend to celebrate the last days of summer (at least according to the calendar) is now an ash-filled hazy orange nightmare. Makes talking about food trivial but, we still gotta eat…

There are a lot of reasons I chose this week’s recipe. First, this dish is the very essence of comfort food. French comfort food. With everything that is going on locally as well as across the globe, we could all use a little comfort right now. And, I think Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic will do just the trick. There are multiple versions of this classic dish, the most obvious being from Julia Child. I personally like my modified version of the James Beard’s classic.

Rosh Hashana starts Monday at sundown and for those who celebrate, this recipe is a tasty and flexible melt-in-your-mouth way to feed a small family or a large crowd depending on the size of your Jewish New Year feast. This is the second reason I chose this recipe.

The third reason is because you put it in a pot, throw it in the oven, and walk away for over an hour. (Preferably with a lovely, very cold glass of white wine). Since my daughter has practice that runs fairly late in the evening, a recipe like this is a great way to have a hot meal ready when she gets home and is ravenous.

Paired with crusty bread and your favorite salad on the side, this is a classic satisfying meal no matter what your reasons for choosing to make it.

That being said, thank you and Godspeed to our firefighters! L’shana Tovah to all who are celebrating. And, Go Falcons!

Chicken with 40 Cloves Of Garlic Recipe
Adapted from James Beard
Serves 8 Read more…