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Fresh for fall: As seasons change, these recipes offers ideas for autumn

 

Jan Swoope

 

Even to the deep South, autumn finally comes. Temperatures tease us, hinting at sweater weather ahead. Daylight retreats, day by day, and nights are ripe for sitting out on the porch, happily hatching plans for Halloween costumes, holiday menus or letters to Santa.  

 

There are plenty of other reasons to love fall -- apples, pears, pomegranates and other produce hit their peak. In the kitchen, our minds turn from summer dishes to cool weather cuisine, to aromas associated with this cozier time of year 

 

Today''s food page offers recipes just right for fall. With apples, caramel and pumpkin in starring roles, these are autumn-friendly and will certainly appeal to the cook looking for something special. They range from a scrumptious caramel apple cake that will wow your family or garden club, to sophisticated recipes like a salad of roasted beet, onion and orange, with a sweet, nutty flavor perfect for a holiday dinner. Or how about caramelized onions and apples with brie, or a baked pumpkin risotto, to elevate dinner to a new level? 

 

As autumn settles in the South, savor opportunities for sit-down meals and intimate dinner parties. With a recipe or two from our page today, your gathering can take on a signature seasonal flavor. 

 

 

 

CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND APPLES WITH BRIE 

 

Two packages (14 ounces each) sliced green apples 

 

Two large sweet onions, sliced into thick rounds 

 

1/2 cup golden raisins 

 

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar,  

 

One packet (1.8 ounce) white sauce mix (such as Knorr) 

 

1 tablespoon fines herbes (such as Spice Islands) 

 

One stick (1/2 cup) butter, cut into small pieces 

 

No-stick cooking spray 

 

1/2 package (17.3 ounce) frozen puff pastry (one sheet), thawed (such as Pepperidge Farm) 

 

One wheel (13.2 ounce) baby brie 

 

 

 

  • In a large bowl, combine apples, onions, raisins, brown sugar, white sauce mix and fines herbes; toss well. Place mixture in a 5-quart slow cooker; dot with butter. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 12 hours. 

     

  • Forty minutes before serving, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with no-stick cooking spray; set aside. 

     

  • Unroll pastry sheet. Place brie wheel in the center of the puff pastry and wrap cheese by bringing ends of pastry together toward the center of the wheel. Carefully turn cheese over, folding pastry ends securely under wheel. Lay on prepared baking sheet, folded side down.  

     

  • Bake for 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes. 

     

  • Serve pastry-wrapped brie warm with caramelized onion and apple mixture. 

     

    (Source: "Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time," by Sandra Lee; www.foodnetwork.com) 

     

     

     

    ROASTED BEET, ONION AND ORANGE SALAD 

     

    1 pound beets, preferably very small ones 

     

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 

     

    Salt and freshly ground pepper 

     

    20 large pearl onions, about 1/2 pound 

     

    Two oranges, peeled and cut into wedges 

     

    2 tablespoons hazelnut oil 

     

    1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves (also known as cilantro) plus extra for garnish 

     

    1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 

     

    2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted and peeled 

     

    1 ounce pecorino, optional, grated on medium-sized holes of box grater 

     

     

     

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

     

  • Cut the stems and tails off the beets. Do not peel. Line the bottom of a baking pan with foil. Place the beets in the pan and toss them with half of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes. 

     

  • Trim both ends off the pearl onions. Then toss them with remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Add pearl onions to the beets and roast an additional 15 minutes, until beets and onions are tender. 

     

  • Peel and remove the membranes from the oranges with a sharp paring knife. Cut the oranges in half lengthwise and then crosswise into thin slices. Seed the slices, if necessary. 

     

  • Peel and quarter the beets. Lay the beets on a large platter. Top the beets with the orange pieces. Scatter the roasted onions around the beats. 

     

  • In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnut oil, coriander and orange juice. Whisk until well combined and season with salt and pepper. 

     

  • Drizzle the dressing on top and sprinkle with coriander, toasted hazelnuts and grated cheese.  

     

    Serve immediately. 

     

    (Source: Michael Chiarello/Elegant Holiday Dinner, www.foodnetwork.com) 

     

     

     

    CARAMEL APPLE CAKE 

     

    3 cups all-purpose flour 

     

    1 1/3 cups sugar, plus 1/4 cup for the apples 

     

    1 1/2 teaspoons ground apple or pumpkin pie spice blend 

     

    2 teaspoons baking powder 

     

    1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

     

    1 teaspoon fine salt 

     

    Four large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped (about 5 cups) 

     

    Three large eggs 

     

    1/2 cup vegetable oil 

     

    1/2 cup sour cream 

     

    Finely grated zest from one orange 

     

    Juice of one orange (about 1/3 cup)  

     

    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 

     

     

     

    For the caramel glaze: 

     

    1/2 cup sugar 

     

    1 tablespoon light corn syrup 

     

    2 tablespoons water 

     

    1/2 cup heavy cream 

     

    3/4 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped 

     

    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

     

    Pinch salt 

     

     

     

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan. 

     

  • Whisk the flour, 1 1/3 cup of the sugar, 1 teaspoon of the pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. 

     

  • Toss the apples with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pie spice and set aside. 

     

  • Whisk the eggs and oil together in another bowl. Whisk in the sour cream, orange zest and juice and vanilla. Pour egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon just until combined but still a bit lumpy. 

     

  • Using a slotted spoon, scatter about 1/2 cup of the apples in the bottom of the bundt pan. Put about 1/3 of the batter on top. Repeat, alternating with the remaining apples and batter, ending with the batter. 

     

  • Bake the cake until it pulls away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about one hour and 15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and invert onto a rack placed over a baking sheet. Cool.  

     

  • To make the caramel: Stir sugar, corn syrup and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the sugar is dark amber-colored caramel, about 15 minutes.  

     

  • Pull pan from heat and carefully pour in the cream (take care, it will splatter). Stir in pecans, vanilla and salt. Cool until caramel becomes thick and syrupy, then evenly pour over cake and cool until set. 

     

    (Note: It''s recommended to bake this cake the day before, so flavors and textures ripen. Glaze with caramel on the day you serve it.) 

     

    (Source: Food Network Kitchens , www.food network.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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