Monday, October 26, 2009

Flavors of Fall

We're at the peak of fall color in the mountains! My only regret is that it doesn't last longer! Fall is my favorite time of the year... the color outside my window as I write this is a brillant display of reds, golds and oranges with a BRIGHT blue sky (umm, Carolina blue maybe??). The house smells like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and all the other good winter spices. Its cool enough outside to make it cozy inside. Yesterday, I spent time on the deck painting with my water colors - a feeble attempt to capture the color. Then, a long lazy afternoon of reading (thanks to Cousin Carol) in a sunny spot with the sounds of football in the background as Bill sat glued to his recliner and mesmerized by the TV.

Foods of fall should be a cookbook in itself.... warm baked Soft Ginger Cookies, Apple Dumplings, Apple Crisp, Autumn Vegetables and Pork Roast, Baked Winter Squash.... and on and on... now, what to cook today?? How about....

Roasted Pork with Fall Vegetables
For all you non-root veggie lovers - substitute peeled acorn and/or hubbard squash for the rutabaga and turnip roots.

2 small onions, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup cubed peeled rutabaga
1 cup cubed peeled turnip roots
2 cups cubed sweet potatoes
1 (16-oz.) package baby carrots
1 (2 ½-pound) boneless pork loin roast
2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine (or apple juice, cider or more broth)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1 ½ teaspoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Remove onion from pan. Add remaining oil and vegetables to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently.

Place pork roast on rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle roast with sage, ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange vegetables around roast; sprinkle vegetables with remaining salt and pepper.

Bake at 400° for 50 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160°. Remove pork and vegetables from pan.

Place pan over medium heat; stir in broth, wine and mustard, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with pork and vegetables. Yield: 8 servings.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Its feeling more "fallish" every day!

The weather today was cold and damp, but that makes it feel even more like Fall. Granted, the clear "Carolina blue" skies are preferred, but with the leaves getting more color each day, it still feels like Fall!
We have fresh apples! Crunchy, crisp, tart, sweet and ooooohhhh so good!
Many thanks to our dear friends for thinking of us and bringing us our first bag of this fruit of the gods. Nothing makes it feel more like fall than fresh apples. Even Murphy, our dog, loves them! When I slice through one, he's at my side in a flash, waiting on a small bit to fall his way!

I'm not wasting much, so poor Murphy is out of luck. But, I will be making favorite apple recipes... starting with something like this....


1 cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup finely chopped toasted pecans
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
½ gallon homemade style vanilla ice cream, softened
½ cup apple butter
½ teaspoon ground apple pie spice
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
4 tablespoons butter
4 Fuji (Pink Lady, or other crisp tart apple), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup (or pancake syrup)

Combine graham cracker crumbs, pecans, butter and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well. Press mixture onto bottom and up sides of 10-inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until set. Set aside to cool completely.

Spoon half the softened ice cream into the cooled crumb crust. Combine apple butter with apple pie spice. Top the ice cream with half the apple butter mixture. Swirl into ice cream with a sharp knife. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup pecans. Repeat with remaining ice cream and apple butter. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup toasted pecans over top. Return to freezer overnight or until ice cream is firm.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet. Add apples and cinnamon; sauté until apples are almost tender (about 8 minutes).
Stir in maple syrup and cook until mixture is sticky and apples are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

To serve: Cut Apple Butter Ice Cream Pie into wedges. Top with warm apples. Serve immediately.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Baking makes your house smell scrumptious!

Pumpkin Muffins
Add raisins, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, walnuts, cranberries, etc to this recipe for additional flavor!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup fat-free buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce

Preheat oven to 375°.
Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, granulated sugar, and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
Combine pumpkin and the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool muffins in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack.