Favorite autumnal flavors to spice up your kitchen

February 23, 2012

Food, Food, Nutrition and Diet, Recipes

Long gone are the winter root cellars filled with potatoes, squash, pumpkins, cabbage and apples, as are the days of canning and blanching corn, cutting it off the cob and freezing it along with the other vegetables.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

Fall is a time for comfort foods, which happened to be the topic of many lively discussions with my relatives at a recent visit to the family wheat farm in the state of Washington. Long gone are the winter root cellars filled with potatoes, squash, pumpkins, cabbage and apples, as are the days of canning and blanching corn, cutting it off the cob and freezing it along with the other vegetables. The foods were all organic, but we did not really know about organic in those days. All of it just tasted wonderful.

Here are some delicious and creative fall recipes to make with organic foods from your local farmers’ markets.

Roast Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue


  • 1 (15-inch) baguette, cut into 1/2-inch slices (7 ounces total)
  • 1 (7-pound) orange pumpkin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2-1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (6 ounces)
  • 2-1/2 cups coarsely grated Emmental cheese (6 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat oven to 450° F, with rack in lower third of oven. Toast baguette slices in one layer on a baking sheet until tops are crisp and bread pale, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Remove top of pumpkin by cutting a circle (3 inches in diameter) around stem with a small sharp knife. Scrape out seeds and any loose fibers with a spoon. (Reserve seeds for another use, if desired.) Season inside of pumpkin with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk together cream, broth, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl. Mix together cheeses in another bowl. Put a layer of toasted bread in bottom of pumpkin, cover with about 1 cup cheese and about 1/2 cup cream mixture. Continue layering bread, cheese and cream mixture until pumpkin is filled to about 1/2 inch from top, using all of cream mixture. (You may have some bread and cheese left over.) Replace top and put in an oiled small roasting pan. Brush entire outside of pumpkin with olive oil. Bake until pumpkin is tender and filling is puffed — approximately 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours. Pumpkin can be filled 2 hours before baking and chilled. Serves 8 as main course or 12 as side dish.

Pumpkin Potato Purée


  • 1-1/2 pounds large boiling potatoes
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1/4 pound Italian Fontina cheese, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces; then put in a 3-quart saucepan with 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Simmer uncovered, until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes, then return to pot. Add butter and mash with a potato masher. Stir in pumpkin, warm milk, cheese, sage, vinegar, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Serves 4.

Creamless Creamy Squash Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound boiling potatoes
  • 1 pound winter squash, such as butternut, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 fresh pepperoncini (small Italian hot green pepper) or 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 3-1/2 cups boiling water or beef stock, plus additional for thinning
  • 1 crisp amaretti cookie (Italian almond macaroon), finely crushed (2 tablespoons)


Heat oil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over low heat. Add celery, carrot and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Stir squash, potatoes, pepperoncini and sea salt into onion mixture, then stir in 3-1/2 cups boiling water or beef stock and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Discard pepperoncini, if using. Purée soup in small batches in a blender and add more water as necessary, to thin to desired consistency. Serve soup drizzled with additional oil and sprinkled with amaretti cookie crumbs. Makes about 6 cups. Fried Apples Ingredients: • 8 medium Granny Smith apples, chopped • 1/4 cup butter • 1/2 cup brown sugar • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg Preparation: Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauté 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are tender. Serve as a side dish with breakfast or as a dessert. Serves 6.


Sources: and Joanne’s recipe box.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 5, Oct/Nov 2011.

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