Fall means a return to my kitchen. Sounds crazy, but true. In the summer, I cook outside - I grill everything and only eat meals that don’t require the use of my stove or oven because our house doesn’t have air conditioning. Salads made from fresh produce from my backyard garden are on the menu at least 4 times a week during the summer, otherwise, I can’t keep up. Fortunately, I LOVE salads. Watch your e-mail for a salad blog - I have a formula that works well for variety, taste, crunch, macronutrients, and pizazz. With salad, you are only limited by your own imagination.
To me, autumn means cozy comfort foods that meet my five basic requirements:
Easy to make
Relatively quick - one hour or less to make 1 protein + 2 vegetables
Gluten and dairy free
I have assembled four of my fall favorites.
Of course, you can add or substitute whatever ingredients or condiments sounds good to you or you have on hand. Some like rice and sour cream with their chili. Others enjoy a white cheddar in place of the gorgonzola in the salad. Whatever your taste preferences or pantry status, substitute to your heart's content. The true beauty of cooking is the freedom to alter recipes to suit you and those who enjoy your meals.
I’d love to hear how you like these recipes and if you made some substitutions or additions that others would enjoy! Fortunately for us, I prefer to make dishes that are versatile and can be easily adapted for your food preferences and/or sensitivities.
My mom definitely never made this chili, but I am a native Coloradoan, so I love this dish. The slow cook is worth the time because the flavors really meld together this way.
Colorado Green Chili
6 large cubanelle or green bell peppers
4 large poblano chiles
3 red Fresno chiles
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 (2.25 lb) boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt) cut into ¾ inch pieces
2 cups chopped yellow onion
6 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ c chopped fresh cilantro STEMS
2 tsp chili powder
1.5 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp brown sugar
1.25 tsp kosher salt
4 large tomatillos, finely chopped
3 Tbsp masa harina (available in your supermarket international aisle or at a Latin market). If sensitive to corn, omit.
¼ c chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Preheat broiler to high.
Combine the Cubanelle, Poblano, and Fresno chiles on a foil-lined pan; Broil 20 minutes or until charred on all sides, turning after 10 minutes.
Wrap peppers in foil. Let stand for 10 minutes. Peel peppers; discard peels, stems, and seeds. Chop peppers and set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add ⅓ of pork to pan and saute for 5 minutes or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Repeat procedure twice with remaining pork
Return pork to pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to pan; Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add cilantro stems, chili powder, oregano, and cumin; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in stock; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in peppers, sugar, salt, and tomatillos. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1.5 hours. Stir in masa harina; cook for 20 minutes or until chili thickens and pork is very tender.
Serve with chopped fresh cilantro.
Fresh sliced or cubed avocado
Chicken, gorgonzola, pear and walnut salad
This is truly the perfect combination of crunch, savory, balanced, warm, tangy and melt in your mouth delicious.
6 cups or 2 bags of mixed organic greens
2 poached organic chicken breasts, chopped Into pieces
1 cup toasted or raw walnuts
2 large ripe pears chopped into pieces
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese (omit for DF or choose vegan gorgonzola)
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Divide the salad greens on to four plates.
Place the chicken, walnuts, pears, and gorgonzola cheese on top of the greens.
To make the dressing, mix the vinegar in a bowl with salt and pepper until the salt dissolves.
Beat in the oil, whisking constantly.
Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Drizzle the dressing onto each plate and serve immediately.
SWEET POTATO SALAD
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 lb.)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
4 strips of sliced cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 c. dried unsweetened organic cranberries
1/2 c. crumbled feta, or vegan feta (or omit)
1/4 c. freshly chopped parsley
½ c. pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground paprika
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and red onion in oil then season with salt and pepper.
Distribute them evenly on sheet in a single layer. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl or in a medium liquid measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, and spices. Gradually pour in oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss sweet potatoes with dressing, cranberries, feta, pumpkin seeds, chopped bacon and parsley.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Make it meal
Add in grilled chicken sausage
Serve on a bed of mixed greens
Top with 1 - 2 fried eggs
BAKED FRUIT DESSERT
This fruit bake is made using fall and winter fruit, such as apples, pears and persimmons.
You can use any type of apples for this dish, but I prefer firm apples such as Gala or Fuji. I love baking Bosc pears, but other varieties will also work. Persimmons aren’t often baked, but they are truly amazing. However, choose non-astringent persimmons which are still firm when ripe such as Fuyu persimmons or Vanilla persimmons from Spain. Most grocery stores carry these, but you may also find them at your local Farmer’s Market.
This recipe is also very versatile because you can use these ingredients interchangeably. For example, if you don’t have persimmons, you can bake the apples and pears, or if you don’t have apples, you can bake the pears and persimmons etc. The cranberries add vitamin C which is helpful this time of the year.
2 apples, cored and sliced
2 pears, cored and sliced
2 persimmons, sliced
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
4 Tbsp melted coconut oil
Core the apples and pears. Remove the top leafy part from the persimmons and slice the fruits into uniform wedges. If some of the fruits are softer than the others, cut them into bigger pieces than the firmer fruit because softer fruit will cook faster. Add the cranberries. Spread the fruit in the baking dish in an even layer.
Squeeze out the lemon juice and pour it evenly over the fruit. Sprinkle the lemon zest and cinnamon over the fruit.
Melt the coconut oil and pour it over the fruit.
Bake at 350 F for 35 to 45 minutes or until the fruit is soft.
Toss the fruit before serving to make sure they are evenly covered in the pan juices. Serve warm.
Serve with a frozen dessert of your choice such as ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.
Add 1 cup of chopped walnuts to step 1.