As summer heat dies down, cool fall brings a welcome change. One of the many delightful things about fall is that it also brings another round of delicious fruit and vegetables. The fall harvest brings new flavors to the table. We love to use the panoply of fall possibilities to create new dishes for our private cooking classes. We love watching the local farmer’s markets fill up with all kinds of new possibilities. These are some of our personal fall favorites.
Carrots are the foundation of many kinds of dishes. We use them to create broths that serve to enhance many of our favorite recipes. Today’s consumer can find not only classic orange carrots but many other kinds of colored carrots. Rainbow carrots have become increasingly popular in recent years. Make a hearty fall vegetable soup with chopped carrots. Slather the carrots in olive oil and roast them to create a big salad.
Grapes are one of the autumn’s best treats. Look for the green type as well as smaller varieties such as deeply colored concord grapes. Grill to bring out even more intense flavor. Grapes are a wonderful thing to place in a tart or just serve chilled during a warm September evening. Grapes work extremely well with other kinds of fruit. They’re also extremely portable, making it easy to bring a cluster with you to work or school.
Figs have a subtle flavor that speaks of golden skies and the Italian countryside. We love them with different kinds of cheese including ricotta and Parmesan. They’re also wonderful left on the grill for a few minutes. Grilling brings out the soft interior. Serve with a drizzle of your favorite balsamic vinegar or some flavored honey. Or just appreciate them dried as a convenient snack while you’re out leaf peeping.
While pears are often available for much of the year, it’s during the fall that they truly come into their own. If left alone to ripen for a few days, classic Bartlett pears are typically full of juice. Slice them in half and then top with mascarpone cheese and a bit of chocolate and caramel sauce. We also love the many other types of pears on the market right now. Anjou pears, Comice, Bosc, Forelle and Seckel are some of the most widely available varieties across the country as fall continues.
Versatile Sweet Potatoes
Fall is sweet potato season. Filled with lots of good quality calories, they make an excellent change from standard white potatoes. Place sweet potatoes and roast in the oven for the perfect starter. Cut them into quarters, gently fry and serve as fries with a medium rare steak. The bright orange color lets your table come alive with wonderful shades of deep orange and brown.