Monday, September 12, 2011

September Means Bringing in the Abundant Harvest!

September brings an abundant harvest of local produce.  Russett apples, a light, flaky tasty eating apple is available to make applesauce, pies, cakes and muffins.  Fresh local peaches are delightfully versitile as they can be preserved in a sweet syrup, pureed with only a small amount of honey, or even pickled with delicates spices.  Large juicy local red peppers are abundant in grocery stores to process and quickly make rich, meaty red pepper spaghetti sauce.  Tomatoes are pouring into markets for many practical canning projects at home from tomato soup bases to hot salsas to  be enjoyed in the winter months.  Many varieties of squash in early September are making an appearance in local gardens and can add substance to soups, stews, pasta sauces.  Watch for golden onions, shallots, green onions and spanish from your local producers.  They all are harvested at this time and many varieties if kept in a cool, dry and dark location will last well into the winter months. 

  Chutney Appetizers
Oven Roasted Garlic
               Autumn Vegetable Soup
Italian Muffalata
Beef Nachos with Hot Salsa Sauce
Jambalaya with Hot Salsa Sauce
Sweet Pepper Spaghetti
Zucchini Loaf with Nuts
Corn Relish Skillet Bread with Mexican Hot Peppers
Vegetarian Chili
French Peach Cake
Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Apple Raisin Pie

Apple Plum Chutney
Crabapple Plum Jam
Damson Preserve
Peach Chutney
Roasted Red Peppers
Peach Orange Conserve
Spiced Pickled Peaches
Bread and Butter Pickles
Espresso Liqueur

Autumn Vegetable Soup
This soup can be prepared on a Saturday morning when you have a few moments to gather what root vegetables have not been used during the previous week.  Each soup will have a slightly different selection of vegetables that has given it a particular warm autumn colour.  Each soup will have a slightly different bouquet and flavour as the herbs will vary, but the foundation is the root vegetable family i.e. potatoes, carrots, parsnips and rutabagas.  When your family is too busy for meal preparation, this soup with a scone or a slice of nutritious bread is a meal in itself.
2 tbsp olive oil  25 ml
2 whole golden onions diced
3 cloves garlic
2 large carrots quartered and sliced
2 parsnips quartered and sliced
3 potatoes diced
8 cups chicken, vegetable or beef broth 250 ml
2 tbsp each of basil, thyme, oregano and bay leaf
Using a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil and place diced onions and garlic to cook until translucent.  Add the root vegetables and cook for approximately 5 minutes stirring frequently.  Add a chicken, beef or vegetable broth and allow the soup to simmer for at least an hour.  Use a blender and a large bowl to puree about 1 cup (250 ml) of the soup mixture at a time and finally return the soup to its original dutch oven.  Add the herbs while it simmers for another 20 minutes.  When serving, add 2 tablespoons of rich cream and a leaf of basil or other herb.
Italian Muffalata
Using large baguette, slice lengthwise and remove soft bread with fingers.
Prepare 6 tablespoons of tempanade (mixture of finely diced olives and vinegar) and apply to one side of bread.
Apply 6 tablespoons  goat’s cheese  to other side of bread.
Roast 2 red peppers and lay them on the latter side.  Apply basil to the olive spread.
Close  the whole sandwich and let sit in saran wrap for 4 hours.   Slice diagonally  and serve with salads, and a sauvignon blanc!
Jambalaya with Hot Salsa Sauce
When there is a large gathering of family and friends, this dish is welcomed for its morsels of chicken and shrimp with bright additions of red peppers in season and available in abundance.  Use a slow cooker to provide an easy method of preparation putting the ingredients together early in the day, letting you plan the dinner party in a more relaxed way.  Serve with a fresh green salad and crusty European bread.
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1-2 large chopped red onions
3 cloves garlic
1/2 pound skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
1 large chopped roasted red pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fresh thyme 
black pepper to taste
1 cup white rice
1/3 wild rice
1/2 pound  shelled tiger shrimp
1 cup frozen peas
Saute onions, garlic and chicken with olive oil in a saucepan.  Add to your slow cooker.  Also prepare sausage pieces in the same way and add to the slow cooker mixture.  Add the broth and herbs as well and cook for 3-5 hours on HIGH.
After this initial cooking process has taken place, stir in the shrimp, roasted peppers and rices.  Cover and cook for another 2 hours.  In the last 15 minutes add the peas.
Corn Relish Skillet Bread with Mexican Hot Peppers
This very easy cornbread recipe can be made on an Autumn Sunday while preparing a hearty bacon and egg breakfast.  Once the bacon has cooked, reserve bacon drippings and 2 slices of bacon to be finely chopped into the cornbread mixture adding a smoked flavour to the bread.  I made this dish first on our farm in Prince Edward County on a charming wood-fired cookstove while staying at our friend's small home that we affectionately call the 'mini-house'.  The preparation was easy, the ingredients few, the rewards great.
Use an large old fashioned cast iron skillet for this traditional bread.  Pre-heat oven to 375-425 degrees.  Grease the plan with bacon drippings and return the empty pan to the oven for reheating.  
3/4 cup all purpose unbleached flour 175 ml
21/2 tsp double-acting baking powder 10 ml
2 tbsp  sugar 25 ml
3/4 tsp salt 3 ml
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal 300 ml
1 egg
2-3 tbsp bacon drippings 40 ml
2/3 cup milk 150 ml
1/3 cup corn relish 75 ml
1/2 jalepeno or habenero pepper 
finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 125 ml
Blend together dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, blend wet ingredients including the hot peppers.  Spread the batter into the hot cast iron skillet.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on the batter along with a sprinkle of parsley.  Bake for 25 minutes and serve with your favourite weekend breakfast.
French Peach Cake
This very traditional cake offers an easy way to serve fresh fruit to guests after the main course is being prepared.  Use berries in season, peaches, or any apple variety.  Pre-heat your oven to 425F.
2 cups sliced peaches 500 ml
2/3 cup white sugar 150 ml
1 tbsp cinnamon 15 ml
pinch of allspice
1 lemon
1 tbsp all purpose flour 15 ml
1 cup all purpose flour 250 ml
1/2 cup sugar 75 ml
1 tsp baking powder 4 ml
1/4 tsp salt 1 ml
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp melted butter 15 ml
1/4 cup milk 175ml
Slice fruit and place in a greased deep dish pie plate.  Sprinkle the peaches with sugar, cinnamon and allspice.  Grate the lemon and sprinkle on peaches, then squeezing the juice onto surface as well.  Dredge all with flour.  Finally, pour 2-4 tbsp melted unsalted butter over all.  To prepare the cake batter, sift dry ingredients together.  Then blend yolks, butter and milk.  Pour sifted flour mixture swiftly into the wet and spoon batter onto surface of cake.  Spread gently over surface and place in oven for 30 minutes.  Serve warm or with ice cream.

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