Enjoy the harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables with these simple, delicious recipes.
By Janet Groene, F47166
Travel is at its best in fall, when side roads take on shades of gold and crimson and farmers hang out shingles proclaiming “Fresh Produce” or “Apples by the Bushel.” In most cases a pleasant human encounter goes with the purchase of fruits and vegetables freshly picked by the people who are waiting on you. Here are some recipes to try as you rove.
Six Weeks “˜O Muffins
This oldie is ideal for motorhomers. It produces a big batch of muffin batter that can last as long as six weeks while you bake one, two, or a dozen muffins each day. Vary each batch by folding in ½-cup of grated zucchini, carrot, or apple plus a pinch of cinnamon to two cups batter just before baking.
5 cups flour
1 15-ounce box raisin bran cereal
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 quart buttermilk
1 cup canola oil
Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl. In another bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix until everything is evenly moistened. Store in the refrigerator for up to six weeks. To bake, fill greased muffin cups two-thirds of the way full and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until the muffins are firm and springy to the touch.
Cape Ann Anadama Bread
Yeast bread requires extra time and work, but this recipe from The New England Clam Shack Cookbook ($16.95, Storey Publishing) will transport you to a land of salt spray and white sails. It can be made with an electric mixer, or just mix it with a wooden spoon.
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup molasses
1 packet yeast
1/4 cup hot tap water
2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl combine ½-cup of cornmeal with the salt and butter. Add the boiling water and molasses, stir to melt the butter, and let stand 15 minutes for the cornmeal to soften. Dissolve the yeast in hot water and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir the yeast mixture into the cornmeal mixture with 2 cups of flour, and keep adding more flour until the dough is elastic. Let the dough rise until it doubles in bulk. Grease a 9-inch-by-5-inch bread loaf pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cornmeal to coat the bottom and sides. Shape the loaf; place in the pan; cover lightly; and let stand in a warm place until the dough almost doubles in bulk. Heat the oven to 400 degrees, sprinkle the top of the loaf with the remaining teaspoon of cornmeal, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. The top of the bread should be golden brown and the bottom should sound hollow when tapped.
Note: Motorhome ovens can be quirky, so keep an eye on the loaf. If it’s browning too quickly on top, reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
Avocado Lime Salad
It’s handy to have a jellied salad in the refrigerator when you’re on the go. Grill a steak, cook sweet potatoes in the microwave oven, and bring out this salad to complete the menu. This recipe works equally well with regular or sugar-free gelatin and regular or fat-free sour cream.
1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 4-serving package of lime gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 large avocado, peeled and finely diced
3 scallions, white and light green, finely cut up
Cut up the cucumber finely, sprinkle lightly with salt, and let drain for 30 minutes. Pat the cucumber dry with paper towels. Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water and whisk in the mayonnaise and sour cream until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Fold in the cucumber, avocado, and scallions, and chill until set.
Bring out these crisp, creamy onions to go on burgers or steaks, or just to eat as a relish. Everyone will wonder what’s in your secret recipe.
6 large red onions (3 to 4 pounds total)
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup yogurt
1 teaspoon celery seed
Peel, trim, and slice the onions. Bring the water, sugar, and vinegar to a boil until the sugar dissolves; cool; and pour over the onions. Chill overnight and drain thoroughly. Whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, and celery seed and toss lightly with the onions. Serve as a cold relish or side dish.
Note: The vinegar mixture has a wonderful onion flavor and can be used again to marinate meat or chicken.
Harvest Vegetable Salad
Add hot corn muffins and serve this hearty salad as a main dish for lunch or a light supper. Beans and creamy mozzarella add protein to make it a whole meal. Best of all, it can be made up to two days ahead of time.
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 red or green sweet pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 cup bottled salad dressing with sun-dried tomatoes
1 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
1 15.5-ounce can light red kidney beans, drained
1 16-ounce package mozzarella cheese, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup fresh basil, snipped into strips
Combine the broccoli, cauliflower, sweet pepper, and salad dressing, and chill for at least two hours or as long as 48 hours. Just before serving, place a bed of romaine lettuce on each plate and fold the remaining ingredients into the marinated vegetables. Spoon the salad onto the beds of romaine. This recipe makes four servings as a main dish and up to eight servings as a side dish.
White Oak Hunting Lodge Quail
My trip up a quiet, countryside road recently took me to Valdosta, Georgia, where I picked up a copy of Southern Treasures, a large, spiral-bound cookbook from the Valdosta Junior Service League that combines two previously published cookbooks: Valdosta Recipes and Taster’s Luncheon. The group’s fundraiser cookbooks, filled with down-home recipes and sold to benefit good causes, are found in shops throughout southern Georgia. For further information, visit http://www.vjsl.org/, call (229) 244-8575, or e-mail email@example.com.
The Valdosta area is famed for its quail hunting. Now that this tasty bird is commonly found in many supermarkets, everyone can enjoy it. This recipe provides a foolproof way to prepare quail for a crowd.
24 cleaned, whole quail
1 pound butter
½ cup currant jelly
1 cup sherry
Place the quail in baking pan(s), breast side up. Melt the butter with the jelly and sherry. Pour the mixture over the birds and bake them at 250 degrees for approximately three hours, basting from time to time.
Grilled Autumn Bounty
Assemble your own colorful medley of fall vegetables, just as long as it adds up to five pounds. Grill them when you have a hot fire going, and then use the leftovers in omelets, quiche, or sandwiches with melted cheese. Fire-roasting the vegetables adds a great flavor you can’t get any other way.
2 pounds butternut, zucchini, or summer squash, cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 pound turnips, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound onions, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
If using butternut squash, peel it first. Put the vegetables in a large bowl or plastic bag. Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and tarragon and toss with the vegetables to coat them well. Place the vegetables in one or two grilling baskets “” don’t crowd “” and grill over hot coals, turning often, until the vegetables are golden brown and fork-tender.
4 large apples, peeled and diced (approximately 2 pounds)
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter
½ cup flour
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Mix the apples, cranberries, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a casserole coated with nonstick spray. Cut the butter into the flour with the white sugar and cinnamon; mix until mealy; and sprinkle over the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
Potluck Zucchini Casserole
Zucchini is so abundant at this time of the year that it deserves to star in side dishes such as this one. f
1 medium onion, diced
1 pound zucchini, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 6-ounce packages rice and wild rice mix
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
Sizzle the onion, zucchini, and garlic in hot oil until crisp-tender. Add the water in the amount called for on the rice package; bring to a boil; and add the rice and seasoning packet. Complete cooking according to package directions; fold in the tomatoes to heat through; and serve. This recipe makes 10 to 12 portions.
Note: This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated in the oven or microwave oven.
Pilgrim Toffee Squares
1 package graham crackers
1 ½ cups sliced almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1 16-ounce package chocolate chips (semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
1 12-ounce package white chocolate chips
1 stick butter, melted
Line a 9-inch-by-13-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick foil and cover the bottom with a single layer of graham crackers. (You won’t need the whole package.) Arrange the almonds, cranberries, and chocolate chips evenly atop the crackers and drizzle with the melted butter. Bake in a 350-degree oven just until the chips melt enough to be spread. Run a spatula over the melted chips to spread evenly, marbling the white and dark chocolates. Allow to cool thoroughly, then break into squares.
Books For Cooks
If you cook as a hobby and love authentic French country cooking, you’ll want to read Bistros and Brasseries: Recipes and Reflections on Classic Café Cooking ($29.95, Lebhar-Friedman Books) from the Culinary Institute of America Dining Series. This hardcover book has color illustrations that take you to the banks of the Rhone and the shores of the Mediterranean. The cookbook is very French, with precise instructions and few shortcuts. The good news is that it’s detailed enough for beginners who want to know how to make duxelles (a buttery paste consisting of chopped mushrooms, shallots, and herbs used to flavor sauces, soups, and other mixtures), bouquet garni (a bunch of herbs tied together or placed in cheesecloth used to flavor soups, stews, and broths), a proper stock, and satiny sauces as classic cooks do. Even if you don’t spend hours in the galley, you’ll enjoy this book as armchair reading.