Last week I picked up a selection of beautiful Fall veggies from my local farmer's market. At the time, I didn't know exactly what I was going to do with them, I was just purchasing by color. Rust colored sweet potatoes, purple eggplant, white and purple turnips, orange carrots, red onion and red and yellow bell peppers, they looked like a late summer sunset. I wanted to use them all together, the colors were so gorgeous, so I decided to roast them. Simply tossed with good olive oil, salt and pepper and some fresh sage leaves, they got caramelized, chewy and sweet. I served them to my book club group and then had enough leftover to do a salad for lunch (popular when I had Wren Café). A bit of mild goat cheese on the top and arugula underneath with a drizzle of apple cider balsamic vinaigrette and you're good to go. So delicious!
Roasted Veggies (leftovers make a terrific salad)
Any Fall veggies that you like such as:
a few sweet potatoes, sliced thinly
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced thinly into rounds
1 turnip, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
1 eggplant, quartered and sliced a bit chunky
add cauliflower and broccoli if you like!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss all with a good amount of olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper, place on a sheet pan (or two) and roast, stirring every 15 minutes or so until soft and caramelized, about 30-45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
For a wonderful Fall salad:
Chill leftovers and place atop arugula that has been tossed with some apple balsamic vinaigrette. Sprinkle with a bit more vinaigrette and some mild goat cheese.
Apple Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 T apple balsamic vinegar (available at Marisolio in Murphys)
6 T good olive oil
salt and pepper
1 t Dijon mustard
2-3 fresh sage leaves (optional)
Whisk Dijon with the apple balsamic, slowly add olive oil, whisking to emulsify. Salt and pepper to taste. Add in some chopped fresh sage if you like, or sprinkle on top.
My friends Eric and Christine Taylor have been tending their garden and business,
Outer Aisle, in Murphys for over 25 years. They specialize in both rare and heirloom varieties of vegetables. Every other week, they send out a box of amazing, seasonal veggies to their CSA participants for them to get creative and eat healthy. They have a passion for their plants that is infectious. I visited their garden yesterday to pick up some dried corn stalks for my Fall decorations and I was fascinated by the seemingly endless rows of hearty, leafy greens. There were several varieties of kale, collard greens, chard and radicchio, all a rich green color, tinged with purple, red and yellow. Especially intrigued by the wide, flat collard green leaf, I imagined a hearty filling wrapped up inside, topped with a fresh tomato sauce, baked to bubbly perfection. The perfect warm and comforting dish for our entry into Fall. Oh, and if you'd like to join the CSA program with Outer Aisle, here's the link! https://outeraislefoods.com/foodhub/
Stuffed Collard Greens with Spicy Tomato Sauce
*3 large, fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped OR 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes with their juices, chopped roughly in a food processor
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a bit more to drizzle over the rolls
1 small clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
pinch of sugar, optional
splash of white wine
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups cooked spelt
12 collard green leaves, plus a few more to chop and add to the filling
1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed
4 T finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for the top
2 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
Stir spelt into pot of salted, boiling water. Reduce to a steady simmer; cook, uncovered, until tender, about 50 minutes. Drain and let cool.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, add wine and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, add collard greens in batches to a pot of salted boiling water and cook until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs and let cool. Trim off stems and thick ribs. Reserve 12 large leaves, chop any remaining leaves. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coarsely mash beans in a bowl. Add cooked spelt, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, cheese, sage, and any chopped collards. Stir to combine. Season with 1/2 tsp of salt and a grind or two of pepper. Working with one collard leaf at a time, arrange 1/4 cup filling in center. Fold stem end over filling. Fold in sides. Roll collard over to form a bundle, overlapping ends to seal. Transfer, seam-side down, to an oiled 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread sauce evenly over stuffed collards. Cover with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling and collards are tender, about 30 minutes. Grate a bit more Parmesan over the top and serve immediately.
* How to peel and seed a tomato
Make a cross hatch at the base of each tomato with a sharp knife. Remove the core at the stem end. Drop into a pot of boiling water for one minute. Drain. The peel will slip off easily. Cut in half at the 'equator' and gently squeeze out the seeds. Chop as needed.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"