Fall Round-up: 5 Tastes of the Season (Cinnamon Ice Cream, anyone?)

Happy Fall! This past weekend (Sept. 21st) marked the official start of fall and I‚Äôm loving it. The chill in the morning when I walk to the bus stop is the best! ūüôā Plus, I got to bust out the fall boots. I‚Äôm not normally one to jump on trend bandwagons, but I have to say I really want some¬† knee-high cable knit socks to wear under those boots to up the cozy-factor. (Sounds cute right?)

Anyway, I know you don’t come here for fashion commentary. This post is a round-up of fall recipes I’ve put on the blog before, but deserve to get more attention now that I have (slightly) more readers. You newbies might have missed out on these classics!!

For my birthday a couple weekends ago I went apple picking with my in-laws at Stribling Orchard in Virginia. The day was lovely, the apples were plentiful, and the ensuing pie was delicious. I canned four quarts of applesauce, which used up most of the haul, but also made a pie and am working out an apple crumb bar recipe that will hopefully be posted soon!

In the meantime, enjoy the tastes of the season with these 5 recipes!

Homemade Chunky Applesauce

Homemade Chunky Applesauce

Apple Cider Cake (ridiculously appley)

Apple Cider Cake ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Cinnamon Ice Cream (what else should go on that pie?!)

Cinnamon Ice Cream~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup ~ Erin's DC Kitchen

Oh heck, here is a bonus one! Sweet potatoes shouldn’t be forgotten this time of year! ūüôā

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Candied Bacon

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Candied Bacon ~ Erin's DC Kichen

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Butternut Squash Soup

Thick, creamy and satisfying. Not always words you can use to describe soup, but they definitely apply for this butternut squash soup!  I love the slight natural sweetness you get from the squash that mingles with the warmth from fresh cracked pepper and chicken broth.

I paired this with cheese, apples and crackers to make a complete meal. ¬†You could also serve it alongside a warm, gooey-cheesy grilled sandwich. ¬†Or maybe a first course at Thanksgiving? Nom nom nom. ūüôā

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 4 lbs butternut squash
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • salt to taste

Preheat oven the 375¬į. Cut the squash into¬†manageable¬†size pieces and roast on a tray, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove and peel off skin. The flesh will not be fully cooked through, that is ok. Cut into 1 inch pieces, along with the celery and put into a large saucepan. ¬†Quarter the onion and add to the pot.

Partially dissolve the bullion cube in the cup of hot water. Pour it into the pot along with the broth, pepper and bay leaf. Bring it to a boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring often. The squash and celery will start to soften and dissolve into the broth. Remove the bay leaf and any pieces of celery that are particularly stringy. Working in batches, puree the squash and vegetable mixture until smooth. Return all the mixture to the pot, taste, and add salt if needed.

Serve warm and enjoy!

– Erin

Split Pea Soup

My childhood memories of food are strong. Each season had a special dish my mom would make only¬†at that time of year. If you really love something and it only comes around once a year, I guess it makes a big impression on you. ūüôā

This soup is a signature from my mother’s kitchen every Fall. It¬†gets a punch of flavor from smoked ham hocks. They are a¬†must! ¬†Don’t skip ’em, not even bacon is a suitable¬†substitute.

It does take a while to simmer on the stove, but it is so worth it. ¬†I remember walking by it several times over the course of what felt like an entire afternoon, checking to see what progress the peas has made.¬†Time seems to crawl when you are young; it¬†definitely¬†doesn’t take a whole afternoon to make this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup!

Now in my kitchen, the turkey towels make an appearance between October and Thanksgiving. ¬†I love them very much. It’s my way of welcoming Fall, alongside a bowl of this lovely soup.

Homemade Split Pea Soup

  • 1 lb green split peas
  • 2 large meaty ham hocks (1 1/2 lb)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced¬†carrots

Place the ham hocks in a large saucepan and cover with 2 quarts of water. Simmer very low for 1 hour, skimming fat off the water occasionally.  Remove the ham hocks and pull the meat from the bones, set aside. Keep the water, and add more to it if it cooked down to less than 2 quarts.

Rinse the peas and add to the water, along with the onions, carrots, celery and herbs. Bring to a low boil, then decrease heat and cook on low, slowly, for 1 to 2 hours- or until the peas, carrots and celery have all dissolved into the soup (minimal chunks left behind). Cook with the lid off because you want some of the water to evaporate, which helps the soup get really thick.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir the meat in 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers, yum!

Enjoy!

– Erin

Apple Cider Cake

Fall and hot apple cider go together like chocolate and peanut butter, so how about hot apple cider cake! Yes please.

I went to go visit my sister in law this past weekend in Charlottesville and brought her and her husband some of this cake. My father in law snuck a piece before we got there and happily proclaimed “It’s so appley!” ¬†I doctored a spice cake mix with my homemade chunky applesauce and cinnamon apple butter in place of oil.

My whole apartment  smelled heavenly while this baked :-). Right after you pull the cake out of the oven, you pour a glaze of apple cider and brown sugar on top. This makes it so moist, I almost want to call this a spoon cake!

Moist, delicious, and oh so appley.

What else is there to say? You’ve got to try it!

Apple Cider Cake

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup chunky applesauce
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbl brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350¬į. Grease a 9×13 pan and lightly flour the bottom. ¬†In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, applesauce and apple butter and beat on medium speed with an¬†electric¬†mixer for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the greased pan and bake for 32-35 minutes. Remove from oven and evenly pour the hot apple cider glaze over the cake.

For the glaze: While the cake bakes, mix the apple cider and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Heat through and keep warm until ready to use.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: Do you have a favorite way to doctor cake mix?

Skinny Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Chilly weather, falling leaves, a steaming bowl of comforting soup.

This is a soup you can feel good about. It is rich and full of flavor from homemade chicken stock, not from heavy cream or cheese that can weigh down so many other chicken and rice soups.

Pair with a hunk of country sourdough bread.

Heaven.

Don’t be¬†intimidated¬†by the idea of making your own chicken stock. It is easy, honestly. Just follow these simple instructions, and you will be so happy you did- the homemade stock is so much richer, darker and flavorful than store bought! Your soups will start tasting even more amazing. ūüôā

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock (see below)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 chicken bullion cube (or 2 tsp granules)
  • 1 cup turnips, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
  • 3 cups roasted chicken (see below)
  • optional: bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste

Combine the stock, turnips, carrots and celery in a large pot. Boil the water and dissolve the bullion cube in it, add to the pot. Simmer gently over low heat for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare rice- I used 1/2 cup dry wild rice and cooked it in water, salt and butter. During last 10 minutes, add in the chicken. Just before serving the soup, stir in the cooked wild rice.

Homemade Chicken Stock (yield 4 cups)

  • 1 large leek, washed
  • 3 large carrots
  • 3 large celery stalks
  • 8 cups water
  • Sprinkle of Herbes de Provence
  • One 5-6 lb roasting chicken (yield 3-4 cups)

To make stock, you need bones. I like to roast a chicken in the oven and use the roasted meat in the soup and the leftover bones to make stock. Prepare a 5 or 6 lb roaster chicken by rubbing with olive oil and seasoning with rosemary and thyme. Roast at 400¬į for 25 minutes, then reduce temp to 350¬į for another 30 minutes, total time depends on weight of the chicken. When finished, let cool to the touch, then thoroughly pull all roasted meat off the bones. Set aside for the soup.

Strip any excess skin or large hunks of fat from the carcass and place into a large stockpot, along with the carrots, leek and celery. Pour in 8 cups of water. The chicken and veggies should be mostly covered, add in some more water if they are not.¬† Set a lid askew onto the stockpot and turn the heat to medium-low. When the water begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Cook for 5 hours at this temperature; the bubbling should be very slight, like 1 or 2 bubbles per minute. It will look like it isn’t cooking at the super-slow bubble, but it is.

DO NOT BOIL OR SIMMER.  Doing this will ruin the stock by incorporating the fat, resulting in cloudy greasy broth. When finished, pour the stock through a cheesecloth into airtight containers and refrigerate overnight. The fat will rise to the top; skim off with a spoon or by gently laying a paper towel over the top surface.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: Do you have any tips on how to make good meat or vegetable stock?

Harvest Roasted Potatoes

I’m so excited it is finally fall! This is my favorite season, it has the best sports (football and basketball), the best weather (pull out the sweaters!), the best holidays (Halloween and Christmas, hello?) and the best food (candy corn pumpkins, apple cider donuts, stuffing, sweet potatoes, acorn squash and anything pumpkin ).

Fall also employs some excellent cooking techniques. Cranking up the oven and roasting is ok now that the temperature hovers in the 50’s and 60’s. Or simmering a pot of soup on the stove all afternoon while you watch some Michigan State football :-). These are the things I look forward too.

This recipe officially kicks-off fall cooking for me!

These potatoes are warm, toasty and crispy with flavors of rosemary and sweet apple. My husband and I ate them up for dinner as a side dish to pork. Next time, I want to try tossing them with some roast chicken and greens for a comforting warm salad. Yum!

Harvest Roasted Potatoes

  • 1/2 lb golden fingerling potatoes (about 12-15 small)
  • 2 small apples, roughly quartered
  • 2 thick slices of shallot
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400¬į. Wash and dry the potatoes and apples. Don’t peel them; roasting brings out a deliciously unique flavor from them, I guarantee you’ll like it! Roughly quarter the apples, the pieces shouldn’t be too small or else they will get mushy while roasting. Break any really large potatoes in two.

On a foil lined baking sheet, spread out the apples, potatoes and the rings of shallot, then drizzle generously with olive oil. Shake the pan back and forth to evenly coat. Sprinkle the rosemary, salt and fresh cracked pepper over the potatoes. Shake the pan again to coat.

Roast at 400¬į for about 40 minutes. Halfway through cooking, turn the potatoes over with a spatula. This helps then brown evenly all over.

Enjoy!

– Erin

Question of the Day: What is your favorite fall flavor?