What’s Cookin’? – Fall Edition

These are the days I don’t need any excuse to turn on the oven. There is a little chill in the air, and anything warm sounds good. My neighbor is somehow still bringing me tomatoes, although with every gallon he swears it is the last. Our CSA is winding down, and I don’t like that one bit. I certainly am not looking forward to food shopping on a regular basis again. In order to make this trip to town as infrequently as possible I have spent the past month stocking our freezers. I bought 18 whole chickens from one neighbor, and 40 pounds of salmon from a local woman who goes to Alaska every summer to fish. I hope to get a bunch of pork from another local farm that Tom has a barter with. (I LOVE that kind of business.) The cow that we bought back in the spring has been feeding us nicely too. You can say the barnyard – and the wide ocean blue – will be well represented on our plates as the months turn colder.

In anticipation of the upcoming holiday cooking season, I have also embarked on a thorough kitchen clean-out. I’ve rearranged some cabinets. Threw out a bunch of stuff I don’t remember buying. Took stock of ingredients: noting what we have a lot of (flour, chocolate chips, baking chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla), and also noting what we need to buy (sugar, wheat berries, olive oil, coconut oil). I like to run an efficient kitchen – especially at this time of year. I’m sure we will start pulling out the recipe books soon to plan Thanksgiving, Vincent’s and Tom’s birthdays, not to mention Christmas. Expect lots of updates and recipes in the coming 2 months. Anyway, here’s what’s been showing up on our table lately.

* Coconut Rice has been a nice warm snack in addition to an easy side dish. I make it by using 2 cups water and 1 cup coconut milk to 1 cup dry white rice. Prepare as usual. It comes nice and creamy. It is good topped with cinnamon and honey or with sea salt.

* My cure-all elixir has made its seasonal debut. It is great for whatever ails you, even if you just have a chill you can’t shake. Fill a mug with chicken stock, crush in half a garlic clove, add a liberal spoonful of coconut milk and a nice pinch of sea salt. When we are sick I also add crushed red pepper (for respiratory ailments), ginger (for stomach stuff) or lemon (for sore throats).

* Butternut squash soup is a fall staple here. I just had a wonderful version at a friend’s house: pureed butternut squash, roasted red peppers and coconut milk. She served it with brown rice, garnished with chopped nori. Oh it was good!

* Baked potatoes have been great to have in the refrigerator. I have been baking them in bulk (usually 10 at a time). We have them for dinner that night and then grab them for lunches and snacks later in the week. If there are any left on the weekend, they go in Sunday’s frittata.

* For nighttime snacks the boys have been having either hot cocoa (made with baking cocoa and agave) or hot milk with cinnamon alongside their toast. It is a little bit of warm goodness before we tuck them in at night.

* This is my mother-in-law’s apple cake recipe. It makes a big cake and just gets better the next day.

* Vincent’s new favorite recipe is the national dish of the Philippines: chicken filipino adobo. (Jude’s review: “It is so good!”) And although we haven’t tried it yet, if you browned the chicken first, I bet it would be yummy and oh-so-easy to do in the crock pot.

* My friend Jennifer made this pie for our Michaelmas celebration, and I am still dreaming about it. Normally, I am not a pie maker, but I may just have to amend my ways.

*This post by Rachel over at Clean has revolutionized my stock making. Keep the lid on! What a great simple tip!

*Tom reminded me of a soup we used to make when we were first married. It was called Dutch Farmer’s Soup. Saute a large onion in 3 tablespoons of butter in the bottom of a large soup pot. Cut a cauliflower, 3 medium potatoes and 4 large carrots into chunks. Add vegetables and 8 cups of chicken stock to pot and cook until vegetables are tender. Serve with thick slices of sourdough bread topped with melted, smoked gouda cheese.

What’s been cooking at your house lately? Do tell.

7 thoughts on “What’s Cookin’? – Fall Edition

  1. I’m just like you, and I feel like cooking and baking up a storm when the weather turns cool. Unfortunately, the weather is still much too hot for my liking where we live, so we’re avoiding the oven. I think I might try your coconut rice in the rice cooker, though!

    When you eat your baked potatoes for meals or snacks, what are you using for toppings? My kids turn their noses up at potatoes (for some odd reason), and I’d love to remedy that. Even using them as pizza toppings hasn’t helped them change their minds!

    • Hey Patraq,
      I’ve been using the baked potatoes as a taco base (instead of a shell). So we’ve been piling on meat, beans, cheese, salsa, etc.

      I like the idea of pizza toppings – definitely going to steal that idea.

      Do they like sweet potatoes? Topped with butter, cinnamon and a little sugar or chopped nuts, they are yummy.

      Sheila

  2. Greetings Miss,
    I have read this post not less than 3 times. I feel inspired to cook just reading it. And, you know what, we just got back from the grocery where we bought ingredients for a veggie soup from Moosewood CookBook. (:

    When I had serious post-partum depression after Dinah’s birth, I looked so forward to watching the Barefoot Contessa cooking show — it was like watching prosac (: Your blog reminded me of it. Was I ever going to buy creme freshce in glass bottles from my local market? Am I ever going to buy 40 pounds of salmon from a local woman? Most likely not. But I sure liked Thinking about bartering with a farm neighbor for 40 chickens (;

    The best sentence of your post — “Expect lots of updates and recipes in the coming 2 months”. Well, not “the best” as in the most lovely, “the best” as in that I can’t wait for more.

    By the way, I am already planning a Sunday Frittata for this weekend (:

    Thanks!

    Xo,
    Mama

    • You make me laugh.

      It takes all kinds, you know. I love to cook, but I hate to garden. I have no desire to keep farm animals, and let’s not even think about salmon fishing in Alaska. But I love, love, love getting my food from these people – we live such different lives and yet we find common ground.

      Maybe like us, yes?

      Wish we could chat over a bowl of that vegetable soup.

      xo,
      S

  3. Great idea about the taco base. I rarely serve sweet potatoes. That’s because I don’t care for them. But I should start making them for everyone else – good reminder.

    We got the idea for potato toppings when we lived in Miami and we ordered from an Argentinian pizza place. We got a pie with French fries and fried eggs on top. Sounds bizarre, but it was the best pizza we’ve ever eaten!

    • Tim – I have missed you around here! I bought eggs this morning and thought of you. Actually, I have purchased a lot of eggs since I posted about those long-ago-eaten 90 eggs that you commented on.

      Bessie was “live and wild” as my neighbor would say when I made the initial purchase. However she was delivered to the butcher and brought back to us in nice little packages.

      The only live animals we own are a dog, a cat and some fish. Any others I speak of are in an edible state. Although I can testify to the grand life they led prior to that.

      Actually my “beef” neighbor just sold all his cattle last week and I am slightly beside myself. It’s the talk of this small, little town. I tear up every time someone mentions it. I see those cows every day and it about breaks my heart. Crazy, I know. Especially from this Jersey-girl. Tom thinks I need to stop hanging out with farmers and become a vegetarian.

      Anyway, love to you, Carrie and the kids.

      xo,
      S

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