With the beautifully vibrant changes in color in the trees, no one can deny that fall has arrived. The colder winds bring out the jackets, scarves and gloves. The crisp air is perfect for morning walks.
With fall’s arrival, our diet needs to change to foods that are more warming. The markets are now brimming with all sorts of squashes in earth tones and bright oranges that are hearty and good for us. Root vegetables are most popular during the coming months. The choices are endless. Here are some quick and delicious ways to serve root vegetables:
Daikon and Carrot Salad
This simple salad is very tasty and refreshing.
- ½ lb white raddish/daikon
- ½ lb carrots
- 3 stalks scallions
- 1 red pepper, cut in strips
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar or plain lemon juice
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1 Tbs maple syrup
- 3 Tbs sesame seeds toasted (optional)
Peel and grate the daikon; sprinkle with some salt and set aside for 30 minutes.
Peel and grate the carrots. Chop the scallions. Toast sesame seeds in a pan in the oven for 10 minutes, or in a pan on the stove stirring frequently so that they do not burn.
Drain the grated daikon. Combine daikon, carrots, scallion and red pepper. In a glass bowl combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour dressing over vegetables and toss well. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Warm Oyster Mushroom and vegetable salad
Oyster mushrooms or Tree oysters, known as Pleurote mushrooms in French, are very popular in French cuisine. They are large grayish beige mushrooms with a round funnel-shaped hat that grow in clusters on the trunk of trees. Unlike the common mushrooms we are accustomed to consuming, the Oyster mushroom gives a delicious taste to salads or cooked dishes. When fresh they need not be peeled and only need a quick checking over. Find them in the vegetable section of supermarkets.
The Oyster mushroom has a high nutritional value due to its high level of vitamins and proteins and its non-saturated fatty acids. The consumption of Oyster mushroom is said to reduce cholesterol levels and has been attributed anticancer properties.
I thoroughly enjoy these mushrooms any which way they are served.
- 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sliced fresh Oyster/Pleurote and/or Portobello mushrooms (cut into 1/4 inch thick)
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white portions only)
- Coarse sea salt (gray salt)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
- 1/2 chopped (1/4 inch) red bell pepper
- 1 large tomato cubed
- 3 cups chopped (1/4 inch) zucchini
- 3 cups finely chopped (1/4 inch) yellow summer squash
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 heaping Tbs corn starch mixed in ¾ cup water
In 12-inch skillet sauté onion and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat, until translucent. Add all vegetables and cook about 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Pour in cornstarch and water, stir everything thoroughly and watch the mixture become thick and delicious.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Serve over a bed of fluffy brown rice, or your favorite pasta, or as is.
Preparation 20 minutes
Fabulous Fall Squash soup
- 1 large onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic cubed
- 1 small butternut squash cubed
- 2 summer squash sliced
- 4 stalks celery sliced
- 2 carrots cubed
- 1 small spaghetti squash made into strands
Steam fry onions and garlic in water. Add light Tamari sauce and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add cubed vegetables and allow to sweat for 20 minutes. Cover generously with water and add spices to taste. Allow to cook for 45 minutes. At this point, this soup can be left as is, or it can be pureed and it will be a most tasty cream of squash soup. Add strands of spaghetti squash (baked for 20 minutes) last to simulate noodles.
Preparation: 20 minutes
Take slices of whole-wheat/white bread and rub with fresh garlic. Cut each slice into cubes, spread onto a baking pan, then sprinkle with sea salt, sesame seeds and some olive oil. Place the baking pan into the oven and bake at 250 for about 1 hour. We advise caution, for they burn very easily. Great garnish for any soup, delicious on any tossed green salad!
Variation: Whole wheat pita bread will also work very well. Halve every pita bread and cut into triangles and follow the above recipe.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Hearty Rice and Beans
This meal is the national dish in my native country, Brazil. The general population ate rice and beans called arroz e feijao, literally 3 times a day, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a full protein, it is very nutritious. For Brazilians it was very cheap and convenient. We used to eat the main meal of the day in school at lunchtime. Rice and beans was featured daily along with one other item for variety. Today, I consider this dish a comfort food and prepare it with some nostalgia for days gone by.
First, prepare the rice.
- 2 cups of whole grain short rice grain or aromatic brown Basmati rice
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbs Tamari sauce (light soy sauce)
- HERBAMARE to taste (a sea salt with sea weeds)
- 1 piece of Kombu (a sea weed)
- ½ cup of peas and carrots
- 1 Tbs oil
- 5 cups water
Use either the short grain Lundberg variety found in the health food store, or the aromatic brown Basmati, affording a nutty flavor to the dish and a wonderful aroma to the whole house
Check rice carefully for any bugs or other impurities. Sauté onion and garlic in water add Tamari sauce.
When translucent add the checked rice. Cover rice with water and include the oil. Incorporate the peas and carrots. Add HERBAMARE to taste. Add Kombu, and when done cooking discard it.
Preparation: 20 minutes
- 2 Tbs of oil
- 2-3 cups dark beans such as adzuki beans, Pinto or red kidney or Romano beans
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbs Tamari sauce
- HERBAMARE to taste
- 1 sheet of Kombu
Choose your favorite brown (dark colored) bean, like adzuki beans, pinto, red kidney, Romano beans etc. Soak, smaller beans, 8 hours and bigger beans for 12 hours. Sauté onion, garlic and Tamari sauce in water. Reserve to add at the end of cooking time.
Boil water in a 4 quart pot. Add the presoaked beans, cooking until beans are tender, about 2 hours, making sure that it stays in a lot of liquid.
Add Kombu, a sea vegetable to enhance mineral content. Kombu can be cut into tiny pieces and eaten with the beans or it can be discarded after cooking. Add the reserved sautéed onions and allow to simmer another 5 minutes.
Serve the beans over a bed of rice. Some like the rice to be the main feature while others like the beans to soak up all the rice! Delicious any which way! An all time family favorite!
Tip: Rice and beans freeze very well, each one separately, in their own containers, thus it is worthwhile to cook extra so you can put it together when you wish to savor it at any other time.
Preparation: 30 minutes plus pre-soaking
Fall Fruit Crisp
- 2 apples, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 ripe pears, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 peaches, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 cup frozen/fresh cranberries, thawed (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp. maple syrup, divided
- 2 cups homemade granola
- 3 Tbs transfat free margarine melted
PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Toss apples, pears, peaches and cranberries with flour and cinnamon.
PLACE fruit in 8-inch square baking dish. Drizzle with 2 Tbs of the syrup. Mix cereal, margarine and remaining 2 Tbs syrup; spoon over fruit.
BAKE 30 minutes or until fruit is tender. Serve warm.
Alternatively prepare it in individual ramekins and bake for 15- 20 minutes. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
Enjoy this wonderful but short season!