Since returning to the Bahamas 4 years ago, I, like many here have forgotten how drastic the seasons change in the north. There was always something special about autumn in Canada. The changing of the leaves and the cool nights so great for sleeping were always welcome. But best of all, the farmers’ markets! This is harvest time and there is more food available at this time of year than any other: tree fruits like pears or apples, unlimited kinds of squashes and the best tomatoes of the season. So many excellent choices are available to build your end of summer menu. Here are a few of my favourite fall menu items!
Butter Nut Squash Soup with Parmesan Croutons
• Olive oil
• 16 fresh sage leaves
• 2 red onions, peeled and chopped
• 2 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
• 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
• 1/2 fresh red chile, to taste, seeded and finely chopped
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 1/4 pounds butternut squash halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
• 2 quarts good-quality Chicken or vegetable stock
• Extra-virgin olive oil
For the croutons:
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 16 slices Ciabatta bread
• 1 chunk Parmesan, for grating
Put a very large saucepan on a medium heat and pour in a couple of glugs of olive oil.
Add the sage leaves and fry for around 30 seconds or until dark green and crisp. Quickly remove them with a slotted spoon to a bowl lined with paper towels - you'll use these for sprinkling over at the end. In the pan you'll be left with a beautifully flavored oil, so put it back on the heat and throw in your onion, celery, carrot, garlic, rosemary leaves, chile and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are sweet and soft. Add the squash and the stock to the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for around 30 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, make your croutons. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ciabatta slices, and press some grated Parmesan onto each side. Place in a non-stick pan without any oil and fry until golden on both sides.
When the squash is soft and cooked through, blend the soup with an immersion blender or pour it into a standard blender and pulse until you have a smooth puree* (but you can leave it slightly chunky if you like). Most importantly, remember to taste and season it until it's right for you. Divide the soup between your bowls, placing 2 croutons on top of each. Sprinkle with a few of your crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a swirl of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Roasted Pork with Caramelized Apple Salad, Maytag Blue Cheese and Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 (3 to 4 pound) boneless pork roast
• Salt and pepper
• 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
• 3 cups water
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 bay leaf
• 6 sprigs parsley
• 6 black peppercorns
• 2 tablespoons cold butter
Spicy Orange Vinaigrette:
• 2 cups orange juice
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red onion
• 1 jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped
• 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (regular will also work)
• 3/4 cup olive oil
• 1 tablespoon honey
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 1/2 cups Spicy Orange Vinaigrette
• 2 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored and quartered
• 1 cup watercress
• 1 cup frisee or other crispy bitter lettuce
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup black walnuts
• 4 ounces Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
For the Roast: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper and sear well on all sides. Drain off the fat, and add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Place in the oven and cook until the internal temperature of the meat registers 150 degrees F, about 2 hours. Remove the meat to a plate and remove the vegetables and herbs with a slotted spoon. Add more water if needed. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil and reduce by half. Whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the Spicy Orange Vinaigrette: Place orange juice in a small non-reactive pan over high heat and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Place reduced orange juice, vinegar, onion, jalapeno and chili powder in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Add the honey and salt and pepper to taste.
For the Apple Salad: Heat 3/4 cup of the Spicy Orange Vinaigrette in a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add the apples, cut-side down and saute until golden brown, turn over and saute until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes. Place the watercress and frisee in a medium bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of the remaining Spicy Orange Vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper and divide among 4 plates. Arrange 2 apple quarters on each plate, garnish with walnuts and blue cheese and drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette.
Pear, Apple and Cranberry Crisp
• 2 pounds ripe Bosc pears (4 pears)
• 2 pounds firm apples (6 apples)
• 3/4 cup dried cranberries
• 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the topping:
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
• 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Peel and core the pears and apples and cut them into large chunks. Place the fruit in a large bowl and toss with the cranberries, zests, juices, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish.
For the topping:
Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Place the baking dish on a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.
There are so many options for fall food that you should never be stumped as to what you can do for dinner. Take the time to try some of autumns’ best produce. You’ll definitely appreciate what the season has to offer.
And as always if you have any other food questions, drop by our website at www.ninetynineone.com and drop us a line in the Q&A section of the site. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have.
Yours in good eating,
~ Chef Tim
99/1 Food Service Management in Freeport is owned & run by Tim & Rebecca Tibbitts. 99/1 is a full service catering business serving scrumptious offerings with top quality ingredients. 99/1 also specializes in cooking classes, guided wine tastings & tutorials, drop off dinners & in home catering. www.ninetynineone.com 553-2426
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