Autumn Harvest Dinner
by Julie Jensen

Fall ushers in a change of pace with down-to-earth, hearty and healthy foods that reflect the vibrancy and color of the season.

Autumn is the golden season when soft sunlight is seen through red maple leaves and the landscapes glow. There is a crisp, freshness in the air. Geese are heard in the fall skies as twilight descends a little earlier.

Autumn signals a change of pace . . . a time to follow winding country roads, leaves rustling underfoot, or bike down rolling hills of aspen and pine. There are walks through orchards fragrant with apples ripening. Garden vines hang heavy with squash and green beans.

The aroma of country kitchens is in the air . . . savory dishes laced with rosemary and sage and piping hot biscuits from the oven. Down to earth, hearty and healthy foods warm the season with vibrant colors and flavors of crimson cranberries and red peppers.

Fireplaces and candles glow as the richness of harvest time is shared . . . AROUND THE TABLE.

The following menu for six is brilliant with color and variety; full of the tastes and textures of the fall season. Let family or friends join in the preparation. Make memories . . . together.

BAKED PORK CUTLETS

Tender, moist and flavorful

6 boneless pork chops

2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs, finely crushed

3 Tbs. parmesan cheese, freshly grated, if possible

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 cup plain yogurt

Combine cracker crumbs, parmesan cheese and garlic salt. Coat each pork cutlet with yogurt. Dip both sides into crumbs. Place in greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

CONSOMME RICE

Delicious and fast to fix

A wonderful accompaniment for pork, chicken, or beef

4 Tbs. butter

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 2/3 cup minute rice

2 cans consomm beef condensed soup (10 oz.)

1 cup water

Saut onion in butter. Add rice and heat until golden. Add consomm and water. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat, put on lid and let stand for 20 minutes or until moisture is absorbed into rice.

Add sauted mushrooms, toasted almonds, and sprinkles of herbs, such as sage or rosemary, as desired.

GREEN BEANS AND PEPPERS

Seasonal and healthy

Green string beans, fresh from the garden or market (to serve six)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced lengthwise in strips

2 green onions, finely chopped

2 Tbs. butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Wash green beans. Trim ends as needed. Drop beans into boiling water and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Pour off hot water.

Saut green onions in butter on low heat for 5 minutes. Add red pepper and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Toss beans, peppers, and onions together.

YELLOW SQUASH

Colorful and mellow

Yellow Squash

Brown sugar

Lemon

Salt & pepper

Butter

Bake cut, seeded squash (cut side down) at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Turn squash over and cut into desired serving pieces. Score tops. Sprinkle each piece with 1-2 tsp. brown sugar, squeeze of lemon (about tsp. on each), salt, pepper and butter to taste.

For a festive touch serve in mini pumpkins. Cook squash as directed above. Remove from skin and mash squash and seasonings. Set aside. Cook mini pumpkins about

1/2 hour at 350 degrees. Cut lids off. Remove seeds and discard. Remove flesh from mini pumpkins and mix with squash mixture. Carefully fill mini pumpkins and place pumpkin lid on top. Serve warm.

APPLESAUCE

Complimentary to pork

Adds just the right tartness

6 apples (pared, sliced, and peeled)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tsp. lemon rind, finely grated

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until tender. Serve as a side dish.

REFRIGERATOR BISCUITS

No need to wait for dough to rise

Keeps for a week in the refrigerator to use as needed

1 package dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

5 cups flour

3 Tbs. sugar

1 Tbs. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 cup shortening or butter

2 cups buttermilk

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand 10 minutes. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter. Combine buttermilk and dissolved yeast. Stir into dry mixture, working only until moistened. Put in a large covered plastic container and refrigerate several hours, if possible, before baking (can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week). Carefully roll out on a well-floured surface 1/2″ thick. Cut with 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Yield: 3 dozen biscuits.

CRANBERRY DESSERT

An extraordinary blend of flavors

The sauce is a must!

3 Tbs. butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 cups fresh cranberries

Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add sifted ingredients and milk to creamed butter and sugar. Blend well. Fold in cranberries. Pour into a greased 8x8x2 inch-baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve with butter sauce.

Tip: Buy cranberries in season (often only available during Fall months) and freeze for use during the year.

BUTTER SAUCE

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla or almond flavoring

Combine butter, sugar, and cream. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

SET THE TABLE AND GATHER AROUND.


2001 Meridian Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.