Fall Foods Frenzy

Mother nature was running behind schedule this year. September 22 came and went but the autumn days forgot to follow. Come Halloween, I was racing around in short sleeves and flip-flops and my garden was thriving. And I live in the Midwest!

Don’t get me wrong, I love summer and am always sad to see it go, but this year, when the calendar hit mid-November and I hadn’t picked the season’s last harvest, my palate started to complain. “Where’s the chili? And why are we still eating fresh tomatoes and cantaloupe for Pete’s sake?” it asked. For weeks, I felt like I was caught in a time warp and didn’t know what the heck to make for dinner.

Then suddenly, the bottomed dropped out and my fall foods frenzy began.

The chilly weather prompted me to spend the afternoon in the kitchen baking bread, while the last of the tomatoes and green beans simmered in a substantial pot of vegetable soup.

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One-pot meals were created for dreary days; these Ucceletto Beans from Marco Canora’s A Good Food Day makes a big batch of wholesome comfort. For the best flavor, plan ahead and soak dried beans overnight. Go vegetarian or add browned sausage for a more hearty meal.

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A recipe for cider Dijon pork chops highlights the best ingredients autumn has to offer — apple, sweet potato and fennel.

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By Friday, I’m ready for a break and head to one of my favorite local restaurants for their signature dish — potpie. Big chunks of beef smothered with mushroom gravy and topped with puff pastry — delicious! Even my wine choice changes with the season. Goodbye light, fruity red, hello big and bold cabernet sauvignon.

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I’m content with chowing down on fall foods for the time being, but rest assured that, after a few months of casseroles, stews and the like I’ll be screaming for lighter fare!

How do you peeps who live in those states with few or no seasons do it? I’m serious. I can’t imagine eating a bowl of chili in eighty-degree weather. That just seems wrong! —Karen

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