Autumn Sampler
by Julie Badger Jensen

Autumn menus brim with brilliant shades and burst with flavor and nutrition. We celebrate the season’s most colorful fruits and vegetables . . . pumpkins, squash, pears, plums, apples and more. As we gather the harvest, the fragrance of the season fills our homes and hearts. Down to earth autumn dishes full of flavor and old-fashioned charm permeate the kitchen.

As the sun moves lower in the sky and the days grow shorter, all living things prepare for winter. Food is a part of the change. The countryside becomes a Renaissance tapestry, rich and warm as farm stands and markets are piled high with the ripening harvest. The connections between food and seasons remain strong as we gather AROUND THE TABLE.

PUMPKIN BISQUE

Can be served hot or cold

Deliciously subtle flavors of Fall

Bisque

1 cup pumpkin

2 Tbs. finely chopped onion, sauted in 1 Tbs. butter

1 / 3 cup sour cream

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup light cream

1 / 4 cup brown sugar

salt to taste

Garnishes

parsley

additional sour cream

chives

In a bowl combine all bisque ingredients. Beat mixture smooth with a rotary beater. Cover and chill the soup. When ready to serve, garnish with parsley, dollops of additional sour cream and chives. If serving hot, warm slowly over low heat. Do not boil. Serves 4.

COUNTRY SPARERIBS

Hearty smoked flavor

You’ll love this one!

Spareribs

5 lbs. country spareribs (meaty)

Bake ribs in broiler pan covered loosely with tin foil for 30 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove foil and drain fat.

Sauce

2 cups ketchup

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce

1 / 2 cup barbecue sauce (Bullseye brand works well)

1 onion cut up and sauted in 2 Tbs. butter

Combine all sauce ingredients.

Pour sauce over baked ribs. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Return ribs to oven and cooked uncovered for 1 1 / 2 to 2 hrs. Baste occasionally. If you like lots of sauce, double the sauce recipe. Great over baked potatoes.

OVEN ROASTED VEGETABLES

Caramelizes natural sugars

Great with spareribs or many of other main dishes

2 medium potatoes, cut in medium cubes

2 medium sweet potatoes, cut in medium cubes

1 large red onion, cut in large pieces

2 large carrots, cut in shape of carrot sticks

3 garlic cloves, crushed or minced

3 fresh rosemary sprigs cut in 1″ cuts (dried whole rosemary can be substituted)

large handful of green beans

1-4 Tbs. of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix until evenly coated with olive oil. Place in greased or non-stick baking pan in one even layer. (Cooking time increases when double layered.)

Roast in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees. Lower heat to 375 for another 15-20 minutes or until done.

High temperature roasting caramelizes the natural sugar in vegetables and concentrates the flavor. Cooking time depends on the density and size you cut the vegetables. Any vegetable can be used.

CHEESE SQUARES

They’ll melt in your mouth!

Can make ahead and freeze

1 loaf white unsliced sandwich bread

1 jar (5 oz.) American cheese spread

1 / 2 cup (1 cube) butter, at room temperature

Remove all crusts from sandwich bread (an electric knife works well). Cut loaf lengthwise. Then cut crosswise to make about 16 squares. Place on a cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze.

Mix cheese and butter. Remove bread squares from freezer and spread with cheese butter mixture on all sides except bottom. Place on greased cookie sheet and refreeze until ready to serve.

Remove from freezer and broil until lightly browned.

Variation

Follow same procedure except mix 1 square butter with 1 / 2 pkg. (.07 oz. size pkg.) Italian salad dressing mix for a spicy, garlic taste.

COUNTRY PUMPKIN TORTE

The fragrant aroma of Fall fills the air

2 2 / 3 cups flour

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

3 / 4 tsp. baking soda

3 / 4 tsp. salt

3 / 4 tsp. ground cloves

1 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 / 4 cup dark molasses

4 eggs

1 cup milk

3 / 4 cup canned pumpkin

1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger

1 recipe cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour three 9 or 8 inch round baking pans; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and cloves; set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening for 30 seconds; beat in brown sugar, and molasses.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for an additional 1 minutes after each egg. In a small bowl stir together milk, pumpkin, and ginger. Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin mixture, mixing well until combined. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 22 to 28 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cakes for 10 minutes and then remove from pans.

To assemble: Place one cake layer on serving plate; spread with one-third of the cream cheese frosting. Top with the second cake and spread with one-third the frosting and top with the third cake. Use the remaining frosting on the cake. Makes 16 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese

1 / 2 cup butter

2 tsp. vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar, divided

1 Tbs. lemon juice

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Slowly add 2 cups of powdered sugar and lemon juice, beating well. Add 2 additional cups of powdered sugar, and beat well. If necessary add additional lemon juice or powdered sugar until frosting is spreading consistency.

BAKED PEARS WITH GRAPE SAUCE

Refreshing, flavorful and healthy

6 large pears, peeled, cored, and halved

Juice of 2 large lemons

1 Tbs. butter

Grated zest of 1 large lemon

1 / 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup grape jam

fresh cream, to pour over the fruit when serving (optional)

1 large bunch red grapes, optional for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Protect the peeled pears from darkening by moistening them with lemon juice. Use the butter to grease a 10 or 11 inch round baking dish or a shallow 9×13-inch baking dish.

Arrange the pears in a starburst pattern in the round dish or side by side, spoon fashion, in the rectangular dish. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and cinnamon.

Bake the pears about 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes with 1 / 3 cup of grape jam, using a total of 1 cup (reserve and heat the rest for spooning over the pears at the table).

When the pears are easily pierced with a knife, remove them from the oven. If the pan juices are runny, tip the baking dish and spoon the juices into a saucepan.

Boil for 5 minutes, or until thick and caramelized. Pour the juices over the pears. Pears may be served warm, cool, or at room temperature. Pouring a little fresh cream over the fruit is traditional.

QUICK CARAMEL CORN

Loved by kids of all ages

Great last for a last minute treat

2 cups brown sugar, packed

1 / 2 cup butter or margarine

1 / 2 cup light corn syrup

5 quarts popped popcorn

Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour over popcorn, stirring until all corn is coated. Turn out onto clean cool surface; spread out. When totally cooled, break into pieces.

 


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