Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Excited About Fall: Culinary Delights and Musings on Food and Roots

I'm excited as the next person about the crisp feeling in the air. I love the pumpkin candles, the sweaters, and the (eventual) scarves and possibly, boots. But I think the hallmarks of Fall for me can be boiled down to one simple thing: good food.

Although I was born and raised in the South, I wasn't raised on particularly Southern fare. I can appreciate a plate of grits or a full-on Southern brunch, Paula Deen style. I like the polite manners, the heartfelt please and thank you, but I just canNOT eat comfort food for every meal. #concrete

It's/ that's not my original cup of tea! If you can imagine with me for a minute, my Mom was born and raised in Minneapolis/St. Paul, went to the U of M (go golden gophers!), and is known to make her own version of the traditional Swedish and Norwegian staples.  She is actually in Northern Norway visiting cousins at the moment; she is traveling with her sisters and spouses, seeing fjords, and surveying the wonderful mountain ranges. And I'm sure she is eating fish!

My Dad brought gentility to the dinner table and honestly, I think we all work out our own diet with fear and trembling (because as Americans we all drive past Taco Bell on the way to work-- my husband Stephen calls it Taco Smell- for good reason!). Thus, I'm trying to work out what exactly it is that I like to eat.

During the first near-decade of our marriage, Stephen and I lived in downtown Annapolis. Imagine Rory goes to Yale, and gets acquainted with polite company and gentlewoman-manners! :) (ok, that's a stretch and not the best example, but you get the idea!!) We loved the quaint streets, the deep roots of history, and the American traditions that fed into the capital of our country which is so nearby! #gonavy! #yay

I think during that time, I established my eating roots and where they landed me:  that my education mingled with my Northern and Scandinavian roots could equal an Annapolis bed and breakfast.  I could have shopped at Trader Joe's till I dropped. Instead I dropped some serious moolah at Sam's Club, which I now thoroughly regret. Yet we tried many restaurants, and ate our fair share of crab feasts....

Being raised in the Souther, I think you've got the perfect recipe for charm in Mary-land: not too Northern or Yankee, not too Southern or "redneck."

And so in that vein, I bring you the culinary delights of Fall, to me! Follow me as I teach you how to make it, and add a little "lesson" to each recipe.

1. Creamy, Gingery Butternut Squash Soup

I found this  Fun recipe for butternut squash soup, but decided to tweak it just a little bit. My primary alteration was the addition of a tablespoon and a half of ginger.  This was finely minced ginger, but grated might be preferable. 
Lesson: Don't blow a month's wages on Campbell's Soup in bulk! #dontstealfromthehungry #overconsumption
also, this is comforting but not terrible for you! 

The recipe I came away with was this:

Creamy Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash cut in half vertically
1 onion diced
2 tbsp. of butter
1 1/2 tbsp. ginger
2 tsp. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
2 c. vegetable stock
1 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Bake the squash on 400 degrees for about 40-50 minutes. Meanwhile, brown the onion in butter, add garlic and oil and half of the ginger and simmer for a good while. Add chicken stock and cream and simmer until squash in the oven is soft and can be scooped out of its skin. 

Scoop it into your soup, then blend in a blender or with a stick blender. Simmer a bit longer to get the juices really cooked in.

If you like fresh ginger, this recipe is gold!

2.  Healthy Yummy Pancakes with Walnuts

I made the mix the night before, to simplify the process the morning of.  The flaxseed is a powerhouse, and strong coffee mixed with whupped cream is a must or a maybe! Lesson: pancakes can be very good for you! And kids love them!

Walnut & Blueberry Flaxseed Pancakes
1 1/2 c. flour
2 tbsp. flaxseed
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4c. milk
2 eggs
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. honey or brown sugar
1 c. chopped walnuts
Combine your dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and cook in butter! Serve with molasses or blueberry syrup (and butter).


3. Good Carrot Soup, add turkey meatballs

Lesson: turkey makes an amazing meatball, for half the fat #cutthefat

Peel and chop up 8 carrots.
Add to stock (I used chicken because of the flavor, but vegetable stock would work too)
Add a chopped up onion and about 1/2 a clove of garlic.
salt and pepper— now and later!
Cook to simmer for 30 minutes.
Add to vitamix, set to Hot Soups and run program.
Add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and a large pour of whole milk or cream.
Salt to taste

Delicious— almost buttery in flavor and so easy!

For meatballs:

  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup grated ­Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp milk (or water)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
Add raw meatballs and simmer about 10 minutes or until cooked through!

So delicious... I hope you try one of these recipes, and soon! :)

A few more Fall treats to check out:

lesson learned: gourmet food takes more time, but the results are delicious as the company is delightful. :-0 :-)

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