Food for Thought: Fall food is finally here
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 22:09
With the autumnal equinox come and gone, fall is officially here, and that means that tons of delicious food just became in vogue. Fall is the season for apples and pumpkins, liberal use of nutmeg and cinnamon and sweets galore. Almost everyone knows and loves the fall staples: apple cider, pumpkin pie and the always-welcome Halloween candy. But what else can you do with these seasonal delights? What other wonders do these foods and spices have to offer?
Let’s start with apples. Apple cider and apple pie are both great, the latter especially with a healthy dollop of vanilla ice cream. But apple can also be used to make delicious apple-walnut bread that’s perfect for breakfast and light snacking. Apple can also be a great addition to a muffin recipe. I’m partial to apple cranberry muffins; I find the cakelike consistency of the muffin works fantastically with the chewiness of the dried fruit.
Now, apple doesn’t have to be solely used in pastries and desserts – it can also be used as part of an entrée. Only last year I learned that it is frequently used in the form of applesauce with pork chops. In lieu of that, you can also slice apples and serve them alongside a maple glaze. Apple can also be a great ingredient to put in a salad that needs a touch of sweetness. I recommend using it along with almonds and a citrusy dressing. You can even combine apple with pumpkin in a curried pumpkin-apple soup!
Pumpkin is a lot more versatile than apple and is a definite favorite flavoring for the season. Pumpkin can be a great addition to all manners of breakfast food, from pumpkin pancakes, waffles and donuts, to muffins, bread and scones. Flavors that pumpkin works well with in this context are cinnamon, chocolate, banana and peanut butter. Unsurprisingly, this means that pumpkin is a great ingredient in all kinds of dessert as well. I’ve always had a soft spot for pumpkin ice cream, but pumpkin cheesecake narrowly edges it out. Cinnamon and gingersnap work well with pumpkin desserts, which range from pies and pudding to cookies and crispies. If you’re feeling particularly classy, pumpkin can be used to make a mean crème brulee.
Aside from the sweets, pumpkin can add texture and subtle flavor to savory foods as well. Consider this fall oddity: pumpkin cheddar mac and cheese. It sounds strange, but the mix of sharp cheddar and pumpkin spice is the perfect blend for the increasingly chilly Storrs night. In fact, cheese and pumpkin can be excellent bedfellows. Add a little pumpkin puree to some butter, sour cream or Greek yogurt and stir it into some pasta (then sprinkle on some parmesan cheese) – you won’t regret it, I promise.
That said, there are some that don’t appreciate the plethora of pumpkin recipes that the fall seems to spawn year after year. To them I have only this to say: “Great! More for the rest of us!”