Festive Recipes Highlight Fall Ingredients

Fall has always been my favorite season. I feel like it has such a nice balance. The summer heat finally cools down, but the winter cold hasn’t set in yet. You can look forward to a new school year and get excited about old holiday traditions. For me, fall is a combination of freshness and coziness, and fall foods are no different.

I’m not a food authority or a chef by any means. I have watched the Food Network for years, but I’ve only recently started trying out my own recipes. But even without extensive expertise, I have a lot of fun cooking and I like sharing food with others. When fall begins I hope you enjoy trying out these recipes in your own kitchen.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup (makes 2-3 servings)

When I first started brainstorming recipes, I immediately thought of pumpkin. It has a quintessential fall flavor and it has a great color too. This past Christmas, I got a new cookbook with lots of Indian recipes, and I wanted to try using some of the spices in those recipes in a different way. And so this soup was born. It’s creamy and filling with pumpkin and would also be delicious if you use two cups of frozen butternut squash as a pumpkin substitute.

Photograph by Brennan Johnson

Ingredients:

1 can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

2/3 cup coconut milk

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/2 tsp. red chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

fresh mint or basil

Process:

1. Heat the pumpkin purée in a pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the spices. Add salt and pepper to your taste.
2. Add the vegetable broth and coconut milk and let simmer.
3. Add some fresh mint or basil for garnish.

Cranberry-Citrus Salad (makes 3-4 servings)

You could call this a late autumn salad because citrus fruits are actually in season in the winter. Sure, I’m straying from the theme a little, but it’s tasty! And like any salad recipe, substitutions are not hard to make. If you prefer walnuts to cashews, go for it. If you want to add cheese, feel free.

Photograph by Brennan Johnson

Salad Ingredients:

4 cups spinach

1 cup arugula

1/2 cup craisins

1/2 cup cashews

Dressing Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

3 Tbsp. orange juice

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp. oil

pinch sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Process:

1. Mix greens, craisins and cashews together in a large bowl.
2. Whisk lemon juice, orange juice, Dijon mustard and oil together in a smaller bowl. Add pinch of sugar and salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle dressing over salad. Enjoy!

Vegan Broccoli Pesto (makes a lot)

I absolutely love pesto. It tastes great on all kinds of foods, like pasta, grilled cheese sandwiches and roasted vegetables. It takes a little bit of time, and nuts aren’t cheap ingredients, but fresh pesto is definitely worth it. Plus, this makes a large amount, so you can pour it in a mason jar and keep eating it for weeks.

Photograph by Brennan Johnson

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped broccoli

1 cup chopped basil

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped pistachios

1 cup chopped almonds

4-5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup water

Process:

1. Mix chopped solid ingredients, olive oil and lemon juice together in a large bowl with a spoon.
2. Add solid ingredients to the food processor or blender in small batches. Spoon out a little bit of the mixture, pour some water in the blender, blend until it is a chunky paste and then add another couple of spoonfuls until the process is complete.
3. If you want to add cheese to your pesto either Parmesan or Romano would taste good, but this recipe works without cheese as well.

Cheesy Pear-Apple Pies (makes 5 small pies)

For this recipe, I hoped to draw from a dessert I had when I was younger. Some days after school, my mom would make baked apples and it was always an exciting treat. I also took a little bit of inspiration from one of the pie-baking characters in the television show “Pushing Daisies,” which aired too close to the writers’ strike to get the airtime it deserved. My mom added Gruyère to the pear pies she frequently baked for her estranged aunts, and I wanted to try something similar.

Photograph by Brennan Johnson

Crust Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 stick butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup shredded Gouda or Gruyère cheese

1/4 cup ice water

Filling Ingredients:

1 pear, chopped into small cubes

1 apple, also chopped into small cubes

1 Tbsp. flour

1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Process:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and smush in with a fork or with washed hands.
3. Mix in the cheese.
4. Add ice water to form dough. Set aside.
5. In a smaller bowl combine all filling ingredients.
6. Roll out your dough with a rolling pin  and cut into five small circles. Lay them out on a baking sheet or cutting board.
7. Spoon filling into one-half of each dough circle. Be sure not to overfill them; you want to leave room to seal the edges of the little pies.
8. Fold the non-filling half of the dough circle over, making five semi-circle pies. Seal by squishing the edges together with a fork. If you’d like, brush a little extra butter or egg wash on top of each pie to get a golden brown crust.
9. Place pies on a cookie sheet and bake for twenty minutes, then let cool.




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