Finally, fall is here! The leaves are changing colors and it's noticably brisk during my morning runs. I've been really enjoying my runs lately, and have been feeling much better about running than I was during my last half marathon - but we'll save that for another post. Today, I'm here to talk about food - yummy, sweet and savory, heart-warming fall food.
Fall is without a doubt my favorite season. I have always been a bit of a nerd (go figure), so fall meant back-to-school time and all the excitement that came with it. The shiny new shoes and new fall clothes, brand new pencils and binders and books.....it still makes me happy to walk through the "back-to-school" stuff at Target (which is now out in mid-July?!?) and bask in the anticipation, even though my school days are over. But aside from all that, fall meant more warm, hearty meals - soups, meatloaf, even the cookies and candy of the holidays. And my favorite of all - pumpkin.
There's something about pumpkin that just warms your heart. It's sweet but can be savory, it reminds us of Halloween and Thanksgiving at the same time - and any food that can be carved for amusement and also eaten in zillions of ways has definitely earned its place as a favorite.
But lately, my status as a member of a CSA has been creating quite the challenge for good old pumpkin. I have yet to receive anything pumpkin related in my CSA boxes, which means that I have less time for making pumpkin-themed goodies, and more demand for recipes with other fall vegetables. Overall, this is a good thing - believe me, I will always make room for pumpkin lattes and other baked goods, but I could use to branch out once in a while.
I have been using the internet for most of my recipes lately, mostly because I'm simply too busy right now to get too creative on my own. Of course I'll modify recipes, and throw in a little of whatever veggie is languishing in the fridge - but I don't have time to think things through and create something all my own. Which is ok - because there are lots of good recipes out there! Some of my favorites include:
Sweet Potato Pancake from Healthy Tipping Point - I modify this one by using pumpkin instead of sweet potato - I rarely have time to make any sort of sweet potato mash in the morning. I've also added instant coffee to make a "Pumpkin-Spice Latte Pancake."
Oat Bran - I add something new each season, or as new fruit comes into season. This summer was all peaches and blueberries with maple almond butter, and now this fall is fresh CSA apples with either honey peanut butter or maple almond butter.
Egg and cheese sandwich - No recipe required for this one! I ordered some free-range eggs from the CSA (I'm sure you could pick them up at Whole Foods or TJs), and at least once a week I enjoy an egg, omelette-style, with cheddar on a sandwich thin. Yum! Not so much a seasonal favorite - but definitely a hearty breakfast to warm you up.
Roasted Turnips - I just had these last night, and they were tender, juicy, and slightly sweet. Not bitter at all - probably my favorite dish with turnips in it, ever.
Roasted Kohlrabi - These little vegetables look like tiny alien babies - I wasn't exactly sure what to do with them. The recipe is super simple - just some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and parmesan - but it does wonders. I now can actually say that I love kohlrabi! If you haven't tried it yet, you should.
Mark Bittman's Autumn Millet Bake (from 101 Cookbooks) - This is a great way to put together a bunch of autumn vegetables in the same dish. Super easy (although a bit time-consuming), and definitely very versatile.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes - This one is terrific as a side dish, or even as dessert. I'd imagine that they might even be good with cinnamon ice cream!
Pumpkin Scones - These are a must-have for fall, and a close match for my favorite Starbucks scones. My favorite part is that these are a little lighter than Starbucks' but just as tasty.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies - I didn't follow this specific recipe, but it looks like a pretty decent one. I can't say I've gotten these to come out exactly cookie-like - ever - but they are always delicious, and despite the strangeness of the pumpkin, they're always gone in a matter of minutes at work.
Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread - I've made this at least once per fall since I first saw it at Starbucks. I don't think they have it in stores anymore, but it's so tasty. The cinnamon adds a bit of intriguing flavor, and keeps it in the "warming" fall flavor category.
For anyone who's recently been plunged into the fall temperatures, or just encountered their first kohlrabi at a CSA or farmers' market - I say embrace it! Fall is about warmth, family, and feeling at home - make sure it's full of fun food choices as well.