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.
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.
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.
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!
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.