Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall Cooking

As soon as the temperatures settle down here in New England and the days start to get shorter I find myself spending more and more time cooking in my kitchen, browsing my recipe box and Pinterest for wonderful new creations.

We ended our summer with a large Lobster Bake this year and it was a hit.  I wish I had taken pics!  I set the table with special lobster plates (the plates actually explain how to eat a lobster!), a red and white checked table cloth, shells and lots of bright yellow flowers  We had corn chowder, coleslaw, corn on the cob, salad, sausage and maple syrup corn bread.  It was a fun festive way to end summer.

photo courtesy of Google Images

I've now moved onto more fall inspired meals that just make you want to curl up with a blanket and sit by the fire.  Last Sunday we enjoyed the most amazing Beef Barley Soup posted by Yvonne Pratt over at StoneGable.    This soup was simply delicious served with a garlic bread, a nice crisp salad and dry red wine.

Yvonne's gorgeous photo!

This is a slow cooker recipe that could not have been more easy to prepare.  We were having guests for dinner on Sunday so I decided to put the soup together Saturday afternoon and cook it all night so I would have all of Sunday free to do whatever I pleased.  It was the best idea if I do say so myself! The added benefit was being able to skim any fat off the top of the soup after I refrigerated it for the day Sunday!  Another benefit was the beef just melted in your mouth (I slow cooked it for 10 hours).  If you would like to try this recipe, click here and then please hop over to Yvonne's and let her know how fab it was.

Monday of this past week I made a tasty chicken stock that I let simmer the entire day.

Chicken stock is so much better made from scratch rather than purchased.  For me the key to a good stock is simmering it for hours (at least 5) therefore letting the stock condense a bit (more water evaporating).  Whenever I have a chicken carcass left over I either make a stock right away or I put it in a zip lock back and freeze it for later.  This particular stock was made from 2 carcasses that had been hanging out in my freezer.

I throw in whatever veggies I have on hand...this stock got onions, celery, carrots and green pepper.  Toss in some salt, pepper and minced garlic and magic just happens all there by itself on your stove.
Strain it all, refrigerate the stock and skim the fat off the next day.  Freeze the rest and enjoy it when a recipe calls for stock.  Delish!!

Last Friday night we had friends over for dinner and I thought it would be fun to have an interactive meal.  I have made cauliflower pizza crust in the past and it was a huge hit with Gary.  He asks for it all the time.  We had a total of 6 of us eating so I made 7 crusts ahead of time and simply stored them on parchment paper as they waited to be pre-cooked.  Here is the recipe I used from Eat.Drink.Smile.

Everyone brought different toppings and made their own pizzas.  What a fantastic fun evening that was.
Here is a pic of my personal creation.

Half was butternut squash, sage, pine nuts and goat cheese.  The other half was green pepper, eggplant and walnut spinach pesto.  I also served a light healthy salad I found on Rhoda's blog Southern Hospitality.  She didn't have an official recipe but explained it was cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, onions, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  All I know is it was yummy!!

Another evening was a breakfast sausage, smoked gouda quiche made in a spaghetti squash crust served along side a fall salad make with cranberries, chopped pecans, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar & olive oil.

I came across spaghetti squash recipes for crusts on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try.  I was not disappointed!

Just cook your spaghetti squash in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45minutes (till fork tender), once cooled shred it with a fork.  Spray your pie pan with non-stick spray, line your pie pan with the squash and then cook for about 30 minutes to remove some of the moisture.

Once you have removed the 'crust' from the oven you can go ahead and fill with your favorite quiche fillings.  I tend to just use what I have on hand and this time it was fresh breakfast sausage from a local farm, chopped sage and mushrooms leftover from my pizza night, a little smoke gouda and plenty of swiss.  Of course eggs and good cream.

Cook at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, let cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.


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1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry...did you say cauliflower crust?!? I've never heard of that but I'm certainly intrigued!!

    I love a good ho-made :) chicken stock...I make it all the time. Unfortunately, I also end up making gravy out of it more often than not. Not exactly waistband-friendly. :/



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