Ask people their favorite season and one often hears, “I love Fall!” The crisp air, the changing colors, sweater weather. People love it. Not me! Sure, I appreciate the boots and snuggly clothing, the rust, gold and amber leaves, the open windows at night. But Fall reminds me that winter is coming and I loathe that season most of all. The shortened daylight hours, the bare trees, the cold. You can keep it! Summer is my season of choice. But, here in the northeast, I have no choice but to accept my fate and look on the bright side. And there is one! It’s in the kitchen…
Fall is a time for savoring richer foods: squashes, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, beets, apples, pears, pomegranates, dates, grapefruit, onions, parsnips, rutabagas! Heartier fare is on the menu from now until spring blooms again. But this does not mean you have to sacrifice health and beauty. We all tend to cozy up with heavier foods this time of year. The warmth of food translates to the warmth of our bodies; a slower pace to our organs and systems, a tendency to hibernate. It all makes sense, particularly in our region of the country, and we should honor it. Doing so allows us to become sensitive to and remain in tune with our bodies; giving them what they need to sustain us through the season. Hibernation may trigger the desire for oh, let’s say creamy pasta dishes and cake, but hang in there for a moment! Enjoying the denser fare that nature has painstakingly and gloriously grown for us over the summer months will serve you nutritionally and satisfy those cold weather cravings you experience. And there’s lots of maple syrup to be had! Keep things simple, as always, to save on time, effort and to enjoy real, honest flavors…I love roasted sweet potatoes with sliced avocado over a bed of greens and plentiful mixed herbs and baked apples seasoned with cinnamon are delicious and make the house smell divine. Squash soups are a seasonal favorite and who can resist figs, this time of year?! I love a fresh sliced fig drizzled with raw honey as a snack or dessert….in a word, YUM.
Here are a several crisp weather day recipes to keep your taste buds happy and your body beautiful. They are properly combined, maximizing digestion and nutrient absorption, minimizing post meal gas and bloat…this means you may eat plenty! Enjoy the feast!
Carrots, Parsnips and Beets, too!
1 large zucchini, sliced as thinly as possible on a mandolin (thinner slices yield a crispier chip)
2 tsp. melted coconut oil
Preheat oven to 250 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Toss the sliced vegetables with melted oil making sure each slice is well coated.
Arrange slices on baking sheet, in a single layer and sprinkle with salt
Bake for up to 40 minutes checking frequently once they start to brown as they may reach a burn soon after browning. You want them golden and crisp but not burnt and bitter.
Roasted Squash Salad
Preheat oven to 400 degrees…
5 ounces arugula or baby spinach
Handful of mixed fresh herbs, chopped: oregano, parsley and basil are ideal
2-3 pounds Kabocha squash*, cut into 1/2 inch wedges
2 tbls. raw apple cider vinegar
2 tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
Bake squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for up to 30 minutes, until flesh is soft and edges are browned.
Combine oil, vinegar and garlic together and pour over greens and herbs. Place onto a platter and add squash. Season with sea salt and pepper and serve.
*This recipe is also delicious with Japanese sweet potatoes instead of, or combined, with the squash
Mustard Maple Roast Salmon
4 wild caught salmon fillets
2 tbls. maple syrup
2 tbls. dijon mustard
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Preheat broiler and set oven rack to 6″ below heat
Combine maple syrup and mustard in a bowl
Place salmon, skin side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
Pour maple syrup mixture evenly over salmon fillets and broil 10 minutes.
Chocolate Maple Macaroons
1/2 c. raw cacao powder
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/4 c. raw almond butter
2c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp sea salt
Line a plate with parchment paper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well combined and has the consistency of sticky dough
Using your fingers to shape 2″ balls, place macaroons evenly onto the plate and place in freezer for up to one hour. Enjoy chilled and store remainder (if there are any left!) in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 8 weeks.