I love fall. It is my favorite season and the food is fantastic as well. Apples, winter squash, cabbage, pears, greens… they’re all terrific. I have been using apples, winter squash and cabbage a lot in the last couple of weeks. And with my no spend challenge coming up in November & December, these will be staples in our diet due to their ability to keep for long periods of time.
I find the best way to get deals on fall produce is through local farmers and the farmer’s market. I also know that occasionally you can get them very inexpensively at the regular grocery store when they go on sale. If you prefer organic, however, your best bet is the local farmer. Just 1 1/2 weeks ago I picked up 30 lbs. of apples, 40 lbs. of butternut squash and several heads of green and red cabbage from a local farmer. I hit up the farmer’s market again this past weekend and got 20 more lbs. of apples, 3 more cabbages and 3 buttercup squash.
Spiced butternut squash & apple soup (scroll down for recipe)
This one I found on the wonderful site 101 cookbooks, authored by Heidi Swanson. I was looking for some millet recipes and this one was the first I came across. I had all of the ingredients on hand so I went for it. It is delicious. I even liked this for breakfast. The millet is not soaked, but I think I will try it this week by toasting the grains first and then soaking with whey, then draining off the soaking water and proceeding with the recipe as written, taking the liquid down by 1/4 c. perhaps.
Autumn Millet Bake
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for the dish
3/4 cup millet
1 medium butternut or other winter squash or 1 small pumpkin, peeled seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh cranberries
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1 cup vegetable stock or water, warmed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds or coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 375F and grease a 2-quart casserole, a large gratin dish, or a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. (my note: I suggest using a wider casserole dish rather than a tall round one).
Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the millet and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and golden, about 3 minutes. Spread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Scatter the squash or pumpkin cubes and the cranberries on top of the millet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and the sage and drizzle with syrup or honey. Carefully pour the warmed stock over all. Cover tightly with foil and bake without disturbing, for 45 minutes.
Carefully uncover and turn the oven to 400F. As discreetly as possible, sneak a taste and adjust the seasoning. If it looks too dry, add a spoonful or two of water or stock. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top, and return the dish to the oven. Bake until the mixture bubbles and the top is browned, another 10 minutes or so. Serve piping hot or at room temperature.