If you are the kind of person who looks for changes that occur with each season, even subtle changes, you might notice that the leaves are not as bright as they were during the summer. Their beauty is not in any way diminished, it is just different. The Fall palette is everywhere. Inside my home, autumn is reflected in the color of the tablecloths, candles, floral arrangements, and even in the foods that come from the kitchen. The bright greens, reds, and yellows of summer vegetables are gone, replaced with oranges, purples, burgundy, and softer shades of green. The youthfulness of summer is just a memory, overshadowed by a more mature Fall season, a season that presents us with a range of colors, a more complex season. We leave a certain kind of fun behind, but in its’ stead, we welcome inspiration. Who can help but sigh when looking out over the Hudson River Valley, seeing shades of every color, mixed together by Mother Nature, our greatest artist. We attempt to duplicate her sense of color in our fall kitchen. We roast root vegetables that mimic the purple and orange leaves that take our breath away, we braise stews and large cuts of meat, reminiscent of the earthy tones of fall, flecked with herbs, like leaves still clinging to the trees.
The shift comes in other ways as well. We slowly move away from outdoor activities to puzzles and board games that we can play in the quiet and warmth of our homes. Beach Boys give way to “Autumn Leaves.” I begin to think about new dishes using this palette, celebrating the new season, and welcoming it into our garden, our home, and our landscape. Like a friend I haven’t seen for a while, I can’t wait to spend time with her and see what we can create, together.
Winter Squash Baked with Garbanzo Beans and Dried Cranberries
One large piece of winter squash, cut, and hollowed it.
2 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tb olive oil
Mix oil and cinnamon and rub into the entire inside surface of the squash. Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees till flesh is easily pierced with a knife. About 30 minutes.
4 brown onions
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup dried cranberries
1 large can garbanzo beans, drained
2 tsp honey
Slice onions in wedges and place in frying pan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain onions and place in dry frying pan with the olive oil. Increase flame to medium heat, add honey, and allow onions to caramelize, lowering heat after several minutes till you achieve the desired golden color. In a large bowl combine garbanzo beans, dried cranberries, and a dash of salt and pepper. Add 2-3 Tb pomegranate molasses and adjust seasoning to taste. Gently spoon filling into hollowed out squash, gently cover surface with caramelized onions, cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 350. Great side dish for brisket or roast chicken. Serves 6-8