While ladies (and a few gents) across America are going hog-wild for pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, there’s more to Fall than pumpkin patches and apple orchards. Don’t get me wrong – I love these ingredients and they will – and have already – make their way into many upcoming meals. That said, here are three of my personal fall favorites and some ways I enjoy preparing them.
1) Celery Root – Yeah, it’s freaky looking and looks like it might be the distant cousin to jicama, but I promise this is amazing. It is so deeply flavorful and can work well roasted, in soups, or as a vinaigrette base, to name a few. My favorite way to prepare it is to make celery root pureé and serve it with braised short ribs or another hearty dish like osso buco. It’s a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. A good rule of thumb is it makes a terrific accompaniment to any dish that includes celery because it pairs well with the flavor. I’m a big fan of Dorie Greenspan and she has a fantastic recipe I use for inspiration when making a pureé.
2) Shallots – Last year I grew french gray shallots in my garden and they were fantastic and very simple to grow. They’re already on my Garden 2015 plan (more to come on that down the road!) They were also incredibly useful to have on hand throughout the season because I use shallots more than anything else in my kitchen. They are my #1 item I always have in the house because they work with so many dishes. My favorite – and most common – use for them is to make my “house” vinaigrette. In fact, The New York Times recently published a similar recipe that I’ve been making for years – and they’re spot on that this beats anything you can buy in the grocery store. Here’s my take on the best way to prepare it (roughly – I rarely measure!) Just mix up in a jar, shake and enjoy! Oh – and it doesn’t expire. Just allow it to come to room temperature if you store it in the fridge as the fats in the oil will solidify.
Annie’s House Vinaigrette
– 1 shallot, minced
– 1 tbsp dijon mustard
– 2 tbsp champagne vinegar (other vinegars – especially sherry vinegar – will do but this one tastes best in my opinion
– 3 tbsp lemon juice (fresh – that pre-juiced stuff in the green bottles at the grocery store tastes to me like detergent – yuck!)
– 1/3 cup good olive oil (I use California Extra Virgin Olive Oil as my “everyday oil.”)
– 1/4 tsp celery salt
– 1/4 tsp pepper
Tip: I sometimes like to mix the shallot & vinegar first before adding the rest of the ingredients and let them sit for five minutes to really soak up the flavor.
3) Radicchio – This past spring I grew radicchio for the first time and thought I had grown the wrong vegetable because it came up green! That was, until, we had a cool week. That’s when I learned – fun fact! – that radicchio doesn’t turn red until it gets a little chill. The taste is pretty similar but there’s something about that fiery red bitter lettuce I really love. That’s probably why I think it really shines best in fall. I use radicchio most often in fall salad assortments, blended with arugula, kale, endive and a host of fall flavors. Here’s one of my favorite combos for fall salad. And – of course – there’s a vinaigrette with shallots to boot.
– Baby Arugula
– Roasted butternut squash
– Dried cherries
– Walnuts (candied walnuts are pretty amazing in this, too!)
– Maytag blue cheese, crumbled
– Diced apple or pear
Cider Vinaigrette: This recipe is an adaptation of a cider vinaigrette from Ina Garten who brilliantly heats the base of the vinaigrette first, bringing together the delicious flavors.
– 2 tbsp cider vinegar
– 3/4 cup apple cider
– 1 minced shallot
– 2 tsp dijon mustard
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp pepper
Combine first three ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until base reduces by about half (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in remaining ingredients. Ensure dressing comes to room temperature before pouring over greens or they will wilt!