Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn Eats

Autumn is my favorite season to cook in.  I love how so many of  foods naturally lend them selves to both savory and sweet flavors.  We've been eating good this last week, enjoying the vibrancy of color and flavor as much as possible.  Enjoying it so much, that I've eaten half the dish before even thinking to take a photo.  I think that's a sign of a good meal.

I've made beautiful, savory orange soups, two pies, a first attempt at Naan that I nailed, roasted chestnuts, and scrumptious fresh greens from Creeksong Farm, (our fabulous CSA that ends in just two weeks).

I'm sharing the recipes for two new dishes that will be staples in my fall cooking routine.  First, because they are both absolutely scrumptious.  Secondly, because they are both incredibly easy.   And new baby or not, all of us like home-ade food that is also easy, right?

Black Bean Punkin Soup

:: 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained thoroughly
::1 can of diced, roasted tomatoes, drained
::1 cup of diced shallots
::4 garlic cloves, minced
::1 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
::1/2 tsp crush red pepper flakes
::1 tbsp butter
::1 1/2 cups, or 1 16 oz. can of pumpkin puree (though I bet sweet potato or butternut squash would work well)
::3 cups of chicken or beef stock (I used beef the first time and chicken the second and both were different, but delicious)
::a big glug of red wine (about 1/2 cup)
::8 oz cook ham steak, diced
:: 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
::liberal salt and fresh ground pepper

Melt butter over medium heat in a dutch over or soup pot.  Saute shallots and garlic until soft.  Meanwhile, puree black beans and tomatoes in the food processor.  Add cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to the dutch oven.  Saute another 2-3 minutes.  Add black beans and tomatoes.  Then, stir in pumpkin puree, broth and wine.  Bring to a boil, then lower and simmer about 20 minutes.  Add ham and cook until heated through.  Stir in vinegar just before serving.

Fill your mug with soup and savor with crusty bread and a salad.  This is my new favorite meal.

And a new favorite dessert, Applesauce pie.  I stumbled on this recipe looking for one for fried apple pies.  This is a tad healthier, no frying involved helps that, and I dare say it is tastier as well.  Do yourself a favor and make this tonight.  Seriously, you will not regret it.  I know we (and anyone who comes to visit soon!) will be enjoying this regularly until we use up all this years applesauce!

  Applesauce Pie
adapted from and a smattering of other sites piled together

::a 9 inch pie crust, home-ade or  store bought
::1 cup of spiced apple sauce, home-ade if you've got it
::1 cup of sugar
:2 eggs
::1/2 cup melted butter
::1 tsp vanilla extract
::2 tbsp flour
::1 tbsp wheat germ (or more flour)

Beat the eggs.  Mix in all other ingredients, except crust of course.  Pour applesauce mixture into crust.  Bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Enjoy a la mode or plain, and try not to eat the whole thing in one day.

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