Getting Cooler, Getting Cooking

I am a cold-weather food girl. I know summer is the supposed to be the delight of enthusiastic eaters, what with all the tomatoes and corn and strawberries and peaches and other fresh-picked deliciousness – and it is all hard to resist – but fall is where it’s at for me. I love soups and stews and chili and pies and casseroles – anything that cooks slowly and makes the house smell delightful.

Roasted vegetables, pre-soupifying.
Roasted vegetables, pre-soupifying.

After spending the hot weather months eating too much takeout and going to too many restaurants (and consuming too many calories and spending too much money) I am so ready for the return of fall cooking. I went to the pick-you-own farm with sprite and Rudi on Saturday, and came home with all sorts of tasty stuff – apples, broccoli, spinach, squash, pumpkins (the eating kind, not the carving kind) and more. I spent a good chunk of Sunday in the kitchen, and came home and cooked dinner on Monday night for the first time in, well, longer than I can remember.

My first order of business was deciding what to do with the two acorn squash I had picked up. I settled on this Indian Spice Squash Soup recipe (though these quesadillas, suggested by a colleague of mine, sounded pretty tasty, too). I made a couple of modifications, as I generally do – I used two acorn squash instead of an acorn and a butternut, I added two extra cloves of garlic, and I doubled the cayenne pepper. (I wouldn’t recommend that last one unless you like a nice zing to your soup, which I do, fortunately.) And while I normally skip out on garnishes, I did do the honey and yogurt one as suggested, which turned out to be really delicious.

Indian spice squash soup and applesauce pie.
Indian spice squash soup and applesauce pie.

The other thing I made on Sunday was an applesauce pie, though not from the pounds upon pounds of apples I had just picked. No, I discovered that I had applesauce left over from last year’s apple picking hidden away in the freezer, so I decided to make room for this year’s bounty by turning the leftovers into pie. It doesn’t taste – at all! – like it’s been frozen for a year, either.

I went a little more out on a limb for Monday’s dinner, making this Chicken Sautéed with Apples recipe. The chicken and apples part sounded fine, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that the onions and mustard would work, but as it turns out, they did. I didn’t have Dijon mustard – much to my surprise – so I just used what I had on hand, Sweet Hot Mr. Mustard*, and it tasted just fine. The photo doesn’t look very appetizing (combination of using a green rather than red apple and trying the new photo editing options on my iPhone) but it was really pretty good.

Chicken and apples.
Chicken and apples.

I had grand plans tonight to cook up the spinach I picked with a can of chickpeas and throw in some Kalamata olives and Feta cheese to make a quick faux Middle Eastern dinner, but discovered – after chopping the spinach – that I had no chick peas. (This is more surprising to me than my lack of Dijon mustard. Chick peas are one of those things I always keep on hand, just in case.)  So, with a mound of spinach already prepped, I did the only other thing I could think of – make an omelet. Well, except that I had way the heck more greens than egg in it, so it fell apart entirely. Dinner, then, was a Feta-laden egg scramble. Yum!

Egg, spinach, and feta scramble.
Egg, spinach, and feta scramble.

And that’s what I’ve been cooking and eating. What have you been cooking/eating now that the weather is getting cooler?

* If you have never had this, it is the best hotdog mustard ever. Do yourself a favor and get some before the next grilling season.

5 thoughts on “Getting Cooler, Getting Cooking

  1. Common Loon October 26, 2011 / 8:34 am

    It all looks so good! Thanks for the inspiration! I’m not familiar with all of the spices in the soup recipe (garam masala?). Where do I look for that?

    • Sarah October 26, 2011 / 11:18 am

      I think Spice Island brand spices carries both the curry and the garam masala (both are fairly standard Indian spices) so if your supermarket carries them, you should be good to go. If not, do you have a World Market somewhere near you? They def. carry Spice Islands.

  2. Mom October 26, 2011 / 9:25 am

    Cool weather cooking/eating is my favorite too!! Could it be another inherited trait?? Let’s see, despite a doozy of a cold, I’ve been feeding it, no fever, soooo. 1). TENDERLOIN TIPS: grilled a small tenderloin & sectioned it for my favorite “brown & white food”. Had a container of French onion soup in the freezer, so adapted that, minus the mozzarella, for the gravy base, added a large sauteed portabella and served with fresh mashed potatoes and chunky fresh butternut squash. 2) Leftover frozen CHILI — always yummy. 3) Pan-seared center cut PORK CHOP simmered until tender in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (found courtesy of Janice at the cottage). Served with a baked & buttered only sweet potato & bear foot broccoli. 4) HAM & BEAN SOUP to which I added a cup of leftover homemade tomato basil soup, which made for a great taste. The above were “GARNISHED” with CHOCOLATE MACAROONS from Lone Maple kitchen. Sorry, no pictures 🙂

  3. Mom October 27, 2011 / 6:36 am

    DELICIOUS chicken dinner last night!!!!

  4. Mom October 28, 2011 / 5:24 pm

    @ Loon — I found the garam marsala in the Spice Island section of condiments today @ Wegmans, so am sure any good supermarket will have it. The aroma (tested at home!) is of mellow nutmeg — very nice — this soup is going to be my snow day project tomorrow! I’ll let you know.

    P.S. Cranked up the snow blower today — fresh gas & oil — and after 4 tries, wallah :). Hope I don’t need it but now know I’m ready!

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