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Posts Tagged ‘fall recipes’

I’ve been on a fall recipe kick lately – squash, pumpkin, apples, beets. I made the switch so fast from summer tomatoes and corn, it caught me by surprise. When I recently found myself with some extra butternut squash and no inkling (nor freezer space) to make soup, I thought about a sandwich. Specifically, it was a sandwich I had last spring at Bad Hunter, a Chicago restaurant. Their menu is interesting – mostly vegetarian but with a bit of meat here and there for flavor, creative dishes that are quite beautiful and with spectacular desserts. One menu item really struck a chord with me: a crispy squash sandwich.

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I’m drowning in apples right now. This happens every October/November and it’s not a bad problem to have. My farmer friend Pete had an orchard party and I did some picking – Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Valspar, McIntosh and who knows what else. I just wandered among the trees, putting whatever interested me into my bag so I’m not altogether sure what’s what anyway. My picking adventure resulted in soaking wet boots, two giant bowls that don’t fit in my refrigerator and a need to make some recipes packed with apples. A few days after the party, I made some apple fritters. Two apples down.

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Try as I might to resist, I’m getting twitchy for pumpkin. The amount of pumpkin/pumpkin spice products in the grocery stores is obnoxious and some things just have no business living in the pumpkin spice realm – check this list out. While I roll my eyes at the vast majority, there are a few things that I do love. The original, OG pumpkin spice donuts from my youth (still working on recreating those). My pumpkin bundt cake. A slice of a good pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. They’re delicious and invoke feelings of nostalgia in a way that pumpkin spice Cheerios or Oreos do not. Inevitably, as I pass the cans of pumpkin puree on the grocery display, one will go in my cart. Maybe two. Which is exactly what happened last week.

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This time of the year, I’m all about a cider donut. Much to my delight, they start popping up in shops, grocery stores and farmers markets for the next few weeks. Sometimes, when particularly motivated, I’ll make my own but I generally prefer to leave the frying to outside sources. This past weekend my friend Pete had his annual Harvest Party at his Michigan orchard and I did a little apple picking. It didn’t seem like a lot of apples at the time but … it was a lot of apples. Shocker. I came home and started combing my files for apple recipes. When I got to donuts, I knew I was onto something because while I love cider donuts I might love apple fritters more. It was apple fritter time.

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Every year I tend a small plot in a community garden not far from my house. I coddle and baby it all summer long and am usually rewarded with an abundance of something as well as a complete failure of something else. It’s always a learning experience. As September moves into October and fades into November, my interest and enthusiasm wanes a little with the season. It’s cooler and rain is more frequent so I don’t have to worry about wilting or watering like I do in the hot summer months. The plants still produce, especially the tomatoes which don’t seem to realize it will snow in a few weeks, but do slow down as the days get shorter. At this point, I just let it do its thing. In early November when it’s time to shut down for the winter and put the plot to bed, I throw anything remaining in a bag and deal with it back home. This final harvest usually contains greens, big bunches of green herbs, the string beans which seem to peak the day I have to clear everything out and a surprising amount of cherry tomatoes in all shades, mostly unripe green.

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