Fall vegetables bring to mind the hearth, coziness, beautiful autumn colors, hearty food and interesting one dish and multi-dish menus. We think about roasting, caramelizing, thick rich stocks, braising and sautéing when we think about the preparation of root vegetables and the other succulent vegetables which brighten up farm stands and markets all over the country at this time of the year.
I hope that all of you enjoy Fall Vegetables as much as I do. What’s fun about the change of seasons is that we are forced into creative ways to cook with the new bounty of the season. In this way, your food is never boring and you don’t get stuck eating the same foods day in and day out.
Here are 3 recipes and buying tips featuring some fall vegetables: beets, parsnips and pumpkin.
A zero waste salad where every bit of an ingredient is used. Not only do I love the beets deep red hue, and their sweetness, but I really get a kick out of using the whole vegetable, root and the greens. In this salad the beets along with the greens are used and for the dressing, the orange zest along with the oranges are used as well.
You can forgo boiling beets by roasting them in foil and avoid the mess that comes with the red staining on the pots.
Buy beets that are firm with smooth skins and tops attached. They should have a deep, rich purple-red color. Choose small to medium beets as they are usually sweeter and more tender. Beet tops should be fresh looking and dark green, not wilted or slimy.
Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2004
6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 medium oranges
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the greens from beets. Remove and discard stems. Chop the leaves coarsely and set them aside. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast for about 1 hour, until tender when pierced with fork.
2 Let beets cool. Peel beets and then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.
3 Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. When greens are at room temperature, squeeze them to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets.
4 Zest the orange, then cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using a paring knife, cut between membranes to release segments (this is called supreming).
5 Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture.
6 Whisk oil, garlic, orange zest in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.
The parsnip is a root vegetable that is a relative to the carrot, although much paler they do resemble each other. Typically parsnips are part of the main ingredient in a soup base or roasted for a richer flavor. For this dish the parsnips are roasted into a caramelized deliciously sticky texture, which makes them so moreish. You will not be able to resist them.
Choose parsnips that are firm, unblemished and small or medium in size (about 8 inches long). Large parsnips may have woody centers but, unlike carrots, broad tops are not an indication of woody cores. Parsnips range in color from pale yellow to creamy white. Avoid limp, shriveled or blemished parsnips with moist spots or a lot of tiny hairlike roots.
2 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced
5 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
Salt to taste
1 Preheat oven to Roast at 375F
2 Parboil parsnips in a stockpot under a medium high flame for 4 minutes.
3 Drain, then put in an ovenproof dish, and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast 45 minutes.
4 In a bowl, mix maple syrup and mustard together, and pour over parsnips when done. Roast for another 5 minutes more to set the taste.
The original recipe for this soup was made famous by the Jerusalem Ramada Renaissance Hotel, however I added more depth to this by adding some warming ingredients like cinnamon so that it would be more suitable for the Northeast climate.
Choose pumpkins that are heavy for their size and free of blemishes.
2 large yellow onions, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
7 cups water
1 ½ pounds pumpkin, cubed or 1 ½ 15- ounce cans of pumpkins
1 medium white potato, peeled and cubed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
½ cup apple sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable soup mix (Gluten Free)
1 tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup half &half creamer
pine nuts for garnish, optional
1. In a stainless steel pot under medium high flame, sauté onions in oil until golden. Then stir in ginger.
2. Add the water, pumpkin, potato, applesauce and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 35 minutes. Let it cool.
3. With a hand blender, puree vegetables until smooth.
4. Add soup mix, salt, cinnamon, pepper and maple syrup and continue simmering for an additional ten minutes.
5. Stir in creamer and remove from heat. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.