From Traditional to Trendy
Apart from the delicious colors are the delicious foods of the fall and the eagerly anticipated reconnection with the kitchen. Cooks make a silent “how do you do” with their ovens, as the baking pans and recipe boxes return to counter tops. This is the time when the fragrances of roasting meats mingle with sugary spices, when dinners are served on china, rather than paper plates, and friends and family jockey for position at the dinner table.
The time-tested traditional favorites seem to automatically land on each menu. We’ve got three of our favorite recipes here for the most traditional seasonal favorites: fall salads, stuffing, and fruit pies.
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Put on that apron and get cookin!
Roquefort Pear Salad
Tangy Roquefort blue cheese, fruity sliced pear, creamy avocado, and crunchy candied pecans are all pulled together with a mustard vinaigrette.
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 10 min
1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
3 pears – peeled, cored and chopped
5 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pecans
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.
2. For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.
3. In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve. Serves 6.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 426 | Total Fat: 31.6g | Cholesterol: 21mg
Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
Freshly toasted bread cubes, turkey sausage, chopped apples and dried cranberry combine to create a tasty fruited stuffing for a 10-pound turkey.
Prep Time: 15 Min Cook Time: 25 Min
Ready In: 1 Hr 40 Min
3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
1 pound ground turkey sausage
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cooked turkey liver, finely chopped (Optional)
3/4 cup turkey stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F (175 degree C). Spread the white and whole wheat bread cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until evenly toasted. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage and onions over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the lumps until evenly browned. Add the celery, sage, rosemary, and thyme; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes to blend flavors.
3. Pour sausage mixture over bread in bowl. Mix in chopped apples, dried cranberries, parsley, and liver. Drizzle with turkey stock and melted butter, and mix lightly. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236 | Total Fat: 11.6g | Cholesterol: 80mg
Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie
Apple pie is baked on top of a caramel-pecan layer, then inverted after baking for a delicious twist on the traditional apple pie.
Prep Time: 30 Min Cook Time: 50 Min; Ready In: 2 Hrs 20 Min
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
6 cups Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a 9 inch deep-dish pie pan, combine pecans, brown sugar and margarine; spread into a single layer. Roll out dough, and place bottom crust over pecan mixture.
3. In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into crust in pan. Top with second crust. Fold edges of crust over, and flute to seal edges. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
4. Place pan on foil or cookie sheet during baking to guard against spillage. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender.
5. Cool pie in pan for 5 minutes. Place serving plate over pie, and flip to invert, being careful not to come in contact with molten sugar. If some of the nuts stick to the pan, remove them with a knife, and place on pie. Allow to cool for 1 hour.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522 Total Fat: 33.2g | Cholesterol: 0mg
The Veggie, Vegan and Gluten Free Phenomenon
While the satisfying tastes of time-treasured traditional favorites never disappoint, there is always another side of food: The trend-makers that have us tasting new delicacies we never thought to try. A while back, the word was fusion, as Asian influences combined with foods from many different cultures. Recently, it was the small plate phenomena, which was great for sampling new flavors, but left hearty eaters pulling into a diner after dinner. Now the trend is vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. Area restaurants in growing numbers are adding vegetarian and vegan choices to their fare.
Vegetarian cooking is nothing new. In fact, many cultures like Indian, African and Asian have broad and diverse selections that have been developed over hundreds of years. You don’t have to be a full-fledged vegetarian to enjoy these delicious choices. Adding one or two vegetarian-based dishes, like couscous, falafel, or even spinach pie to your weekly menu is a great idea. They’re full of fiber and plant-based proteins, rich in minerals and vitamins, low in cholesterol and offer a wake up to worn out taste buds.
You’ll be amazed at all the items you’ll discover including vegan chili and steak sandwiches, made with soy protein, and culture driven classics from Kosher kitchens; from samosas, the pea and potato pastry dumplings from India, to lentil and mushroom barley soups. Some restaurants like Jesse’s Café in West End Long Branch and Kaya’s Kitchen in Belmar are totally dedicated to the lifestyle and offer very traditional American style foods. Others, even long standing favorites have expanded their menu options. The real explosion is coming in the continuing development of quality proteins that have the texture the American palette can handle. Omer Basatemur, Owner/Chef of Kaya’s Kitchen, has been a vegetarian for 12 years. He preaches a diet rich in moderation, even within the vegetarian world. Try different tastes, protein sources and textures.
“The meat substitutes are comfortable choices, but don’t be afraid to try some more exotic items,” he suggests, like those from his native Turkey. “My burgers have converted many a confirmed meat eater. We introduce people to the new world by giving them tastes they recognize,” Omer continues. “We are a 100% organic restaurant, something I think is critically important. The good news is that prices for both vegetarian and organic foods are dropping as more people seek out these selections. “
Another rapidly growing section of the food market is gluten-free. These selections were developed to address the needs of those who have a wheat-based food allergy known as celiac disease, although the expanding tasty fare is now enjoyed by people who want a purer plate. Frozen and ready to go gluten-free products are available in many specialty markets like Tuscany Foods in Oakhurst.
Be adventurous and give these trends a try. Remember, Secretariat didn’t eat burgers…he won the Triple Crown on a vegetarian diet.