Friday, October 17, 2008

Dictionary Friday (also Last Night's Dinner): Autumn

1.the season between summer and winter; fall. In the Northern Hemisphere it is from the September equinox to the December solstice; in the Southern Hemisphere it is from the March equinox to the June solstice.

2.a time of full maturity, esp. the late stages of full maturity or, sometimes, the early stages of decline: to be in the autumn of one's life.

Or, what it finally feels like today. Yesterday, the skies got a little bit gray and the wind knocked a few leaves out of the trees, but so far this fall, it's just been summer extended. I'm not exactly complaining...but I have been ready for sweater-and-squash season for at least a few weeks.

That's why tonight I'll be roasting a chicken and making my first Brussels sprouts of the season. And why last Saturday I put in about five really rewarding hours in the kitchen, making the following:

Cauliflower soup with chorizo breadcrumbs - This was delicious (even Dixon liked it) and had that potato-soup-but-healthier flavor and texture that cauliflower has. The breadcrumbs added a nice crunch and spice. My only complaint is that the recipe made so much. I froze some but still threw a lot out. I should have cut the recipe in thirds.

Butternut squash, shiitake and leek turnovers - These were really very, very good and not at all hard to make (thank God for storebought puff pastry). We ate them with a leafy green salad with parmesan and pumpkin seeds. Dixon liked these, too, and I can't even explain how happy I was to watch him pick out the mushrooms because he liked them best. Finally, some vegetables!

However, as good as these were, there was something off about the recipe. I made the filling as recommended, and rolled my pastry out to be a little bigger than the recipe suggested. Following the recipe, I put about 2 tbs. of filling in each turnover. However, I still had WAY too much filling. Also, the recipe recommends 2 tbs. of goat cheese in each turnover, on top of the filling. I reduced this to about 1 tbl. and probably could've gone even lower.

Having the extra filling worked out, though. I sauteed it with some sausage the following night, topped the whole mess with mashed potatoes and baked it for about 30 minutes, and it made a nice fall meat pie sort of meal.

Leek mac and cheese - This recipe caught my eye because it's in the F&W article about using ingredients that usually get tossed. I have thrown out my fair share of leek greens, so I was happy to find a way to use them. Especially in a dish that Dixon would eat (I don't count this as sneakily hiding veggies. It's obvious they're in there; they're just mixed with a bunch of cheese.)

Ultimately, this was probably a bigger hit with the adults than the kids (though the kids ate it). But it was a big hit. It's no orange Kraft, but it's really very good. Oh yeah, and I used a mixture of fontina and a little parmesan instead of manchego. Because I was too lazy to go to the market in addition to Giant.

So it's been fall in my kitchen all week, even though it's been in the 70s and 80s outside. I'm looking forward, now, to a little bit of a chill. At least the weather will finally match my dinner.


theminx said...

I love cooking hearty fallish food too! Those turnovers sound yummy.

One cookbook I always pull out when the weather turns chilly is Sarah Leah Chase's Cold Weather Cooking. You might like that one.

Joyce said...

I made the califlower soup this weekend. Great fall soup. I just finished reading "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant," Rob was out of town and I knew unless I made an effort I would happily eat scrambled eggs and oatmeal all weekend, the soup worked well. Super easy, and lots of it.


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