All Posts In In Season

Patience Is Key: Cooking with Concord Grapes

by in In Season, October 22nd, 2013

Jelly DoughnutsI question my sanity every year I set out to make my first batch of Concord Grape Muffins for the season. It takes a level of patience to stand at the counter and remove the tiny seeds from each grape with the tip of a paring knife. By time the 8 ounces of grapes I need for a dozen of muffins are ready — after 15 to 20 minutes — I’ve either hit a state of nirvana and can imagine myself seeding a few more pounds, or I swear I’m never doing something so silly again.

Then the muffins come out of the oven, bursting with fragrant pockets of Concord grape jelly. That’s exactly what happens to the grapes as they bake. Once I realize that making these muffins is really two recipes in one — homemade muffins and homemade grape jelly — the effort it takes to prep the grapes is well worth the reward. It also saves me from having to spread jelly on a muffin, and that extra 60 seconds means I’m one minute closer to gobbling up seconds.

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Fleuri’s Curry Lentil Soup — The Weekender

by in In Season, October 18th, 2013

Fleuri's Curry Lentil Soup - The WeekenderI’ve worked from home full time for just over two years now. Other than the inevitable occasional stir-craziness, I love everything about reporting to my little home office each day. Truly the only thing I really struggle with is what to eat for lunch each day.

During the warmer season, it’s easy enough to throw together a salad as my midday meal. Once the days start to cool, however, a giant serving of crunchy greens is the very last thing I want. That’s when I put operation soup into effect.

On Sunday afternoon, I make a pot of soup that I can eat from all week long. Then I can scoop a bowlful out each day at about 1pm. Paired with a few crackers or a piece of toast, it makes lunchtime so much easier.

I like to go for vegetable-based soups for these lunchtime meals because they hold up well during the course of the week. Split peas are good, as are roasted pumpkin with coconut milk soups. Right now, my heart belongs to Fleuri’s Curry Lentil Soup from Rachael Ray. It’s creamy, it keeps like a dream and it’s just perfect for The Weekender.

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10 New Ways to Devour Carrots — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 17th, 2013

Angel Hair Pasta with a Walnut-Carrot SauceIf there’s any veggie taken for granted, it is undoubtedly the carrot. It’s not that we don’t eat ‘em. Please, we down carrots by the bagful — so often, in fact, that we might forget the veggie’s possibilities with all of our mindless munching. Here we go beyond the slick, shrunken realm of the baby carrot by zeroing in on bold preparations. These recipes take carrots by their roots, evolving snack time’s favorite veggie by rethinking the many, many forms it can take.

1. Shaved: For a fresh salad that leaves the leaves of lettuce behind, all you need is a vegetable peeler. Food Network Magazine’s Carrot-Cashew Salad shaves and transforms carrots into ribbons of ethereal crunchiness.

2. Pureed: Switch up your little tubs of packaged apple sauce for Tyler Florence’s Carrot, Mango and Apple Puree for Food Network Magazine. Just roast, puree and snack.

3. Pickled: Pickled Dill Carrots by Food Network Magazine inject the root veggies with zesty acidity, perfect for munching right out of the jar.

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Let’s Talk Chestnuts — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in In Season, October 14th, 2013

Let's Talk ChestnutsMy knowledge of chestnuts was rather limited until my husband and I cooked our first Thanksgiving dinner back in 1995. While many people have fond memories of chestnut stuffing on Thanksgiving, my family’s stuffing of choice came out of a box. That changed once Michael and I started celebrating the holiday together.

Every year he’d set about prepping his “kitchen sink stuffing” filled with dried bread cubes, apples, crumbled sausage, celery, carrots and, yes, chopped chestnuts. As time went by, we tweaked the recipe. I taught him how to finely chop the vegetables and properly saute them, so they would almost melt into the stuffing. I began making homemade stock to swap in for the canned kind he used. One year I even managed to convince him to skip the sausage and make a vegetarian version for me. The one ingredient that always stayed in the mix, though, was chestnuts.

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Turnips Revisited — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 10th, 2013

Crispy Turnip Gratin for Food Network's Fall FestPut down those potatoes, people. Here at FN Dish, we’re spending a little quality time with one of the most under-appreciated veggie around: the turnip. Odds are it’s not the star of your fall spread. Heck, maybe you’ve never even cooked this root vegetable before. Well, now that turnips are in season, they’re smaller, sweeter and bound to woo you.

More closely related to peppery arugula and radishes than beets or even potatoes, turnips come with loads of benefits. Not only do turnips add a quick zip to sides, mains and more, they’re also inexpensive, meaning you can load up on them at the store. Turnips are loaded with nutrients, especially if you hang on to the greens. Saute, roast, mash or blanch your turnips. Hey, you can even take ‘em raw in a salad.

Turnips are capable of making a statement on the table. Food Network Magazine’s Turnip Gratin with Almonds (pictured above) comes out of the oven bubbling and sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs, while Herbed Leg of Lamb with Roasted Turnips gives turnips a celebratory edge.

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Greens with Spiced Butter and Fresh Ricotta — The Weekender

by in In Season, Recipes, October 4th, 2013

greens with ricottaI am of the belief that collard greens are perpetually misunderstood. Most people I know think these greens can be served only one way — paired with a hunk of smoked meat and cooked until they’re limp and olive-colored.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against this particular approach and have always appreciated a serving of long-braised greens. It’s just that I think it’s time to broaden our approach to the humble, healthy collard. Who knows, maybe we’ll make it as popular as its cousin kale!

My collard conversion started a few years back. I had gotten yet another bunch in my CSA share and needed desperately to free up some space in the crisper. Without time for a long braise, I decided to treat the collard greens like Swiss chard.

I cut them into thin ribbons and sauteed them in olive oil with lots of slivered garlic until they were just limp. My first bite was uncertain, as I assumed they’d be tough and chewy (because why else would you need to cook them for hours?). But I was delighted to discover they were tender and had married deliciously with the garlic.

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Cook Pumpkin from the Patch — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 3rd, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Rice PuddingPull on your first sweater of the season and the craving for all things pumpkin spice immediately sets in. This traditional flavor hinges on seasonality, influencing our lattes, air fresheners and baked goods as soon as the air turns crisp. Though pumpkins from the patch may lead to stoop decoration, they never seem to reach the table. We use canned store-bought pumpkin year after year and pie after pie.

The canned option is convenient, often coming with spice and without the daunting task of dismembering a whole pumpkin. Though getting down to the flesh of a pumpkin — especially that of the smaller, sweeter sugar pumpkin — is a rewarding undertaking. This fall, do more with pumpkin than carving grinning jack-o’-lanterns. Slice it into chunks, use it for its seeds or transform it into a homemade Pumpkin Puree, like Alton’s. These recipes using fresh pumpkin are a great place to start.

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Behind the Booklet: Bonus Canned Pumpkin Recipe

by in Food Network Magazine, In Season, October 2nd, 2013

pumpkin pastaNothing signals the beginning of the holiday season more than pumpkins do, and just as they start showing up on front porches across the country, they make their way into our kitchens too. Of course it’s possible to cook using fresh pumpkin, but I think that for almost every application, canned pumpkin puree just works better. Fresh pumpkin tends to be a little watery, but canned puree is smooth, rich and flavorful every time. Canned pumpkin is a delicious addition to all kinds of dishes, sweet and savory, and Food Network Magazine’s October booklet has 50 inspiring canned pumpkin recipes for the holidays.

The Pumpkin Pasta Alfredo (pictured above) and Pumpkin Oatmeal are two of my top picks, but another of my favorites didn’t make the list: Curried Pumpkin Ketchup. This spiced ketchup is really easy to make and is truly delicious. In the test kitchen, we sampled it on fries and loved it, and I think it would taste great slathered all over a meatloaf sandwich.

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50 Things to Make with Canned Pumpkin, Yes, 50

by in Food Network Magazine, In Season, September 30th, 2013

50 Things to Make with Canned PumpkinComing up with 50 of anything for Food Network Magazine‘s monthly 50-recipe booklet can be daunting — in the past, the booklet has featured 50 tacos, 50 stuffed potatoes and 50 muffins. But this month Food Network Kitchens tackled a single ingredient: canned pumpkin.

Put this fall favorite to good use in soups, scones and more.

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Apple Galette with Goat Cheese and Sour Cherries — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, In Season, September 27th, 2013

Apple Galette with Goat Cheese and Sour Cherries - The WeekenderThough I adore the strawberries, plums and peaches of summer, by the time fall rolls around each year, I am ready for apples. To me, they are a sign of cooler weather, cozy evenings and a slightly slower pace of life.

When they’re in season, I often buy apples by the half bushel. One of my favorite local orchards offers an amazing deal at our Sunday farmers market. You can fill up an entire crate of apples for $20. It means that they’re able to move a mountain of apples and I feel like I’m getting a bargain. The only trouble is that I then have 20+ pounds of apples to eat, use and preserve.

And so, I get to sorting and cooking. I fill up one whole crisper drawer with the best-looking apples for eating whole or slicing to dip in peanut butter (that is one of my all-time favorite snacks). I make applesauce, apple butter and little jars of honey-colored jelly.

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