Cozy and Comfy: Fun Fall Recipes

The days are getting shorter but your food options are getting longer, as these fun fall recipes should attest.
By Roger Doiron
October/November 2010
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Butternut squash lasagna is one of many fun fall recipes you can prepare for a family dinner or potluck.

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Fall is all about transitions. Long days grow short. Warm nights turn cool. Nature’s deep shades of green become yellow, red, orange, and brown. Fall cuisine represents the transition from the fresh flavors of summer to the hearty, warm fare of winter. But while the sun may be moving toward its lowest point in the sky for the year, fall represents a high point for cooks and eaters.

The large selection of seasonal ingredients available in most places make possible an endless variety of fun fall recipes, such as roasted root vegetables and apple nut muffins. The exact time when warm weather foods end and cool weather foods begin varies from one region to another and from one year to the next. To identify the moment fall begins, I simply consult my “basil barometer.” When the first frost wipes out my basil (whatever part of it hasn’t been transformed into pesto), I know a new season is upon us.

It’s always a little sad to say goodbye to summer, but I take comfort in knowing the cooler temperatures are sweetening my broccoli and sharpening my appetite for delectable dishes, such as the five at the end of this article.

What’s in Season?

The following foods should be in season and available in most of the country during fall.

Herbs: borage, chives, cilantro, dill, garlic, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme

Salad Greens: arugula, beet greens, corn salad (mâche), lettuce, mizuna, spinach, tatsoi

Cooking Greens: bok choy, collard greens, kale, mustard, Swiss chard, turnip greens

Garden Veggies: artichokes, beans (snap and dry), beets, Belgian endive, broccoli, broccoli raab, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, Chinese cabbage, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, kohlrabi, leeks, okra, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, winter squash, yams, zucchini

Fruits: apples, cranberries, figs, grapes

Wild Edibles: beach peas, burdock, cat brier, lamb’s quarters, purslane, red clover, wild berries, yellow dock

Animal Products: eggs, milk and meat from pastured animals; deer, elk, moose, pheasant, turkey

Fish: bass, bluegill, crappie, trout, walleye

Nuts and Seeds: almonds, butternuts, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts

Mushrooms: bearded tooth, bolete, chanterelle, coral, fairy ring (Scotch bonnet), lobster, maitake (hen of the woods), matsutake, oyster (mousseron), porcini, puffball, shaggy mane, shiitake, sulfur shelf

Fall Recipes

Butternut Squash Lasagna
Roasted Root Vegetables
Caldo Verde: Portuguese-Style Kale and Potato Soup
Carrot Apple Nut Muffins
Simple Cabbage Salad

Roger Doiron is a Maine-based food and garden writer and director of the nonprofit group Kitchen Gardeners International. 

Post a comment below.


10/22/2010 11:32:45 AM
I made a variation on the butternut squash lasagna by adding a layer of mixed ricotta cheese and chopped cooked spinach, and it was really tasty. Personally I find that the squash is just a little too sweet, so if I make it again I'll probably use a tomato sauce instead of the bechamel. Another variation would be to make this with pureed white beans cooked with garlic and some kale; I bet even kids would eat that and be none the wiser.

10/8/2010 11:39:23 AM
Your Butternut Squash Lasagna sounded interesting, but I couldn't find the recipe. Are you sharing it?

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