All Posts In In Season

Primping Up Pumpkin — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 24th, 2012

pumpkin roll cheesecake
fall festYou’ve got your go-to pumpkin pie recipe stored away in the family vault and your world-famous pumpkin bread recipe hidden underneath your pillow. Who can blame you? These desserts are as fundamental to fall as apple picking, pumpkin patching or mulled apple cider drinking. We wouldn’t dare threaten all that’s tried-and-true, but there’s something to be said for trying something new with pumpkin this season.

Now that pumpkins are in season, go ahead and skip the can. Instead, grab a few sugar pumpkins, roast, puree and then cook ‘em down with loads of spices. Homemade Pumpkin Puree is freezable, so there’s no excuse for not having the fresh stuff on hand. According to HGTV Gardens, the longer a pumpkin rests off the vine, the sweeter it will become — so try and cure your pumpkins for two or more weeks before using.

When it comes to savory, pumpkin soup proves a fall mainstay. Rather than opting for a purely pumpkin blend, add an unexpected component with Rachael Ray’s Pumpkin Soup With Chili Cran-Apple Relish.

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Top 12 Lettuce Wraps — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 17th, 2012

grilled pork lettuce wraps
fall festNow that we’re really pushing into fall, lettuce probably isn’t necessarily the most on-your-radar type of seasonal produce. Fall is the time for cozying up to butternut squash soup and just-out-of-the-oven pumpkin bread, is it not? Well, believe it or not, it turns out this is the time to get your lettuce fix since the leafy green is in season.

According to HGTV Gardens, lettuce is one of the best-dressed vegetables at the market. Varieties come in a cornucopia of shades: green, red, purple, yellow, as well as variegated and mottled combinations.

Just because lettuce is on the must-eat list doesn’t mean we’re talking ice-cold salads. Nope, this week we’re all about one thing: lettuce wraps. In this rendering, lettuce is foundational. It packs the same hand-held functionality as a taco, and works as a stellar party appetizer or light lunch.

There are many ways to make your lettuce wraps, whether you’re going the veggie or the meaty route. Here’s just a taste.

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Fall Into Turnips — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 10th, 2012

herbed leg of lamb with roasted turnips
fall festThough potatoes prove a year-round hit, their starchy cousin gets special attention once fall draws near and the sweaters are pulled on. As a member of the root veggie clan, turnips are a comforting alternative when whipped with butter, roasted in the oven or glazed stovetop.

If you’re a meat-and-potatoes kind of person, it’s about time you give meat and turnips a chance, too. Consider it the perfect side for a casual weeknight meal or a traditional Sunday dinner. No matter how you prepare this root vegetable, it’s sure to comfort you to your core.

As far as a meaty meal goes, any hearty cut will do alongside a heap of turnips. Try Food Network Magazine’s Slow-Cooker Ham With Turnips or Herbed Leg of Lamb With Roasted Turnips (pictured above) for a star-crossed combination. Whip up Bobby Flay’s Turkey Pot Pie With Sage Crust or Food Network Magazine’s Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie for one-pot wonders brimming with turnip goodness. In that same way, Michael Symon’s Chicken-and-Dumpling Soup recipe for Food Network Magazine ladles bits of turnip, rutabaga, fennel, celery, carrot and, of course, chicken and dumplings into each rejuvenating spoonful.

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Stuff It With Spinach — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, October 3rd, 2012

pork chops stuffed with spinach
fall festLet’s talk spinach. It’s the green at the center of family dinner dramas and the barrier to many kids’ elusive desserts. More often than not, kids just don’t want to eat their spinach. And if we’re getting down to it, who can blame them? When spinach exits the freezer as a rock-hard rectangle and is defrosted into a soggy mess, who’s going to be down for a side of that?

Now that we’ve made it to October, things start to look up for spinach because each leaf is crisply in season.

We’re all about the classics like Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip. But sometimes you have to level with the little ones, the picky eaters and the greenaphobes sitting around your dinner table. Who knows, maybe incorporating spinach into their lives little by little could mean straight Creamed Spinach this time next year. When you want to savor this green — and satisfy the whole family — look to Food Network’s spinach-stuffed recipes to make everyone happy.

If a recipe asks for the frozen kind, go ahead and swap in the fresh stuff. This time of year there’s no need to defrost. Go for baby spinach to reduce stem clipping, too. That way, spinach can melt into your meals in the best way possible.

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The Rise of the Kale Chip — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, September 26th, 2012

kale chips
Where were you the first time you ate a kale chip? Sitting on the couch watching reruns? Mingling at your foodie friend’s last dinner party? After a lifetime of guilt-inducing potato chip munching, there’s something pretty eye-opening about digging your fists into a bowl of solid kale chips. Salty, crispy and undeniably addictive, each one triggers that same sensation as the potato variety without the, well, bodily consequences.

Now that we’re inching into fall, each leaf of sturdy kale is in season and as pristine as ever. Use this to your advantage. As the weather gets colder and our food gets richer, going with the smart snack is probably a noble choice.

With just a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of sea salt, it’s easy to make homemade kale chips. Trust me, Food Network Magazine’s Kale Chips (pictured above) aren’t rocket science, but if you’re looking to get inventive, we’ve got just the thing for you.

Kale chips come in many forms, just like your favorite bag of potato chips. Accentuate the classically sea-salted with Guy Fieri’s Crispy Kale Chips With Lemon, which adds a shot of citrus and some crushed red pepper. Or churn up a Lemon Mayonnaise that serves as a perfect match for a dip-bound chip.

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The Multipurpose Potato — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 19th, 2012

four cheese scalloped potatoes
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In the past weeks, we’ve feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. For the last installment of Summer Fest, we’re exploring potatoes.

Taken straight from the sack, potatoes are pretty bland. But with just a little love — and butter — they become a force to be reckoned with. And let’s face it: They’re as versatile as they are comforting. Yukon gold or russet? Baked or smashed? Now that the most satisfying crop of all is in season, there’s no telling what could end up on your dinner table tonight.

If you grow your own potatoes, did you know they can keep for upwards of six months or more? Fresh potatoes can be eaten immediately and are prized for their tender, new skins. But potatoes can also be cured in a dry, room temperature space to allow skins to slightly desiccate. Keep them in the dark and they can store for upwards of six months. For more great tips like this one, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s something to be said for a quality baked potato. You know, the kind that’s sliced down the middle, perfectly moist on the inside and inundated with toppings. Food Network Magazine’s Twice Baked Potatoes pack in leeks and chive-and-onion cream cheese, while the Neelys’ Twice Smashed Baked Potatoes recipe goes the broccoli and double-cheese route.

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Let’s Go Apple Picking — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 12th, 2012

french apple tart
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring apples.

If you live in the Northeast, the introduction of apple season means more than a wide-eyed experience in the produce section. Instead, it means a trip to the farm for some apple picking. Donning your favorite comfy outfit and making your way into the country, this trip should be one of the first things you do when the air becomes crisp and the leaves turn golden. Don’t be afraid to pick apples by the crateful this year — Food Network has plenty of ideas to keep you busy.

For breakfast, drizzle maple syrup over Ellie Krieger’s Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes, blend Fuji and Golden Delicious apples together for Alton Brown’s 10 Minute Apple Sauce and eat a warm, hearty Zucchini and Apple Bread fresh out of the oven.

With so many apples, try incorporating a few into lunch and dinner, too. Tyler Florence’s classic Roast Loin of Pork With Baked Apples embodies everything that’s good and hearty about the fall, while this recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas brings an unconventional edge to a Tex-Mex mainstay. As for sides, look to simple Baked Apples and an Israeli Couscous With Apples, Cranberries and Herbs.

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Stuck Between Summer and Fall — Meatless Monday

by in In Season, Recipes, September 10th, 2012

Zucchini Gratin
When it comes to cooking in early September, things can get a bit tricky. After all, fall’s first apples are landing on grocery store shelves and you’re starting to crave comforting meals again, but it still feels like summertime outside. So how do you cook the season when you’re sweating it out in steamy temperatures even though signs of fall just can’t be missed? Our end-of-summer recipes are sure to get you through these last few humid weeks. Check out a few of our favorite vegetarian selections below, then tell us what your favorite in-season dish is these days.

Ina’s Zucchini Gratin (pictured above) combines the best of summertime ingredients while celebrating hearty textures that are so typical of autumn. She fills this five-star casserole with light, in-season zucchini, but mixes it with a warm, creamy sauce of nutmeg and milk before topping it with crunchy breadcrumbs and gooey Gruyere cheese. Just a few minutes in the oven is all it takes to turn out a completely meat-free side dish that’s at once flavorful and satisfying but not altogether rich, thanks to the filling of fresh produce.

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Better Beets — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 5th, 2012

salt roasted beet carpaccio salad
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring beets.

Now that we’ve rolled fresh into September, the in-season stud of your next grocery loot is, inarguably, the beet. The root veggie may almost exclusively come canned, but it will arrive in no such packaging this time around. We mean it — spiky can openers and shiny cylinders are banned from your shopping bag from now through October. We’re talking fresh ones — and only fresh ones.

If you plan on growing your own beets, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tips like getting an annual soil test to determine if you’re missing any nutrients or micronutrients. Beets are sensitive and grow irregularly in the soil if you have a boron deficiency.

But what does it mean for a beet to be fresh? To start, the colors can range from the quintessential deep magenta to vibrant gold, white and everything in between. Not only that, but going can-free ensures that BPA and other chemicals don’t weasel their way into your sweet, pristine beets. In the end, the biggest perk is pretty clear: Everything is simply better fresh.

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Eggplant: Champion of the Meat-Free Meal — Summer Fest

by in In Season, August 29th, 2012

eggplant
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring eggplants.

As far as produce goes, eggplant stands out as one of the few items that can truly carry a meal. I mean, think about it. When dinnertime rolls around, who’s really down for an entire entrée of green beans, carrots or onions? Not me. Eggplant, on the other hand, is meaty and versatile, so there’s no need to give it side dish-only status. Once the slick skin is slid off and it’s all sliced up, it just takes the right addition of heat to take it from its raw, bitter form to supple and slightly sweet.

Now that eggplant is in season, this is the time to give it a headliner position on your dinner table. They’re pretty good throughout the year, yes, but sometimes the smooth purple skins of out-of-season ‘plants are tainted with bruises or the shape is even deformed — and that just won’t do. Rest assured, however, that with the season ranging from July to October, you can find eggplant at its absolute peak for most of the year. As you transition from summer to fall, treat it as the centerpiece of your meals. These recipes should get you started.

If you plan on growing your own eggplant, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tips like how far apart to grow each plant — do not over-plant, as eggplant will produce very well and over a long period of time.

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