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Fruits of Autumn

September 21, 2009

I’ve been in an appley mood lately. The boy and I had the day off after a long week of work and other things and decided that after a long walk this morning on the Rail Trail (on a perfectly gorgeous day) and go find an apple orchard up north by New Paltz. I’d been researching a few places online but alas got them mixed up when we went up. So instead of getting the intriguing-sounding Opalescent apples, like I originally wanted, I had to settle for a bag of Honeycrisps, which I know are fabulous. I also picked up packages of yellow peaches and purple-red plums for not too pricey. Cheaper than in the grocery stores, at least!

I made sweet Italian sausage with onions and spaghetti a few days ago and still had quite a bit of sausage left over. So I made the “sweet & sour” cider vinegar mix I made last time and sliced up some cabbage, carrots, a sweet potato, and some fennel bulb to bake in the oven. With the sweet potatoes, it took about an hour at 350-375 (my oven takes forever to heat up). I’d never had fennel before and I’ve decided that I don’t particularly enjoy it. It went well with the sweet Italian sausage because that was basil-fennel flavored, but I don’t think I’d want it with anything else. Unfortunately, I still have 3/4 of a bulb left! *sigh* Here’s the recipe:

Autumn Sweet & Sour Vegetables

1/4 head small green cabbage – thinly sliced
1/4 large bulb fennel – coarsely diced
2 carrots – sliced into rounds
1 large sweet potato – quartered and thickly sliced
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup mild olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch nutmeg
shake ground ginger
good shake ground garlic
large pinch salt
leftover caramelized onions
leftover sweet Italian sausage

Preheat oven to 350-375 F. Combine vinegar, oil, sugar, and spices in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Put vegetables into an 8×8″ or larger glass baking dish. They will fill an 8×8″ to the top. Pour dressing evenly over top, stir with wooden spoon to coat. Place in oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring at least once, or until sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and slide off. When sweet potatoes are done, place cooked onions and sausage on top and return to oven for additional 15 minutes. Stir vegetables and serve hot.

The vegetables will serve 4 as a side dish.

I also used a white peach that was bordering on overripe and one of the new yellow peaches I bought to make dessert.

Poached Peaches

1 white peach – washed, pitted, and sliced
1 yellow peach – washes, pitted and sliced
1/8-1/4 cup clover honey (note: it’s easier to drizzle straight from the bottle, instead of dirtying a measuring cup, just guestimate the amount)
dash cinnamon
2 cups very good vanilla or sweet cream ice cream (we love Stewart’s Philly Vanilla) divided

Place peaches in small saucepan over low heat. Drizzle with honey. Add cinnamon. Cook gently until peaches are very soft and near-translucent and juice has thickened slightly. Serve warm over ice cream. This could also be topped with sweetened heavy cream or whipped cream. Serves 2.

The peaches were amazing. As they were cooking, they smelled delicious, though very reminiscent of canned peaches, which was a little strange. We only had a tiny bit of ice cream left and it was nice to have it mainly as a topping for the peaches, instead of the other way around.

All in all, it was a lovely dinner! And now there are leftovers for the boy on Wednesday, when I’m up to class. Thursday or Friday I think I’m going to try and make a plum clafoutis, or maybe an oatmeal quickbread. And/or these oatmeal cookies I found on Orangette. I’m feeling the lack of baker-ing these past weeks. I’ve decided that once I get a schedule down with work, that Saturdays are going to be cleaning days and Sundays are going to be baking and cooking days. Mondays will be fun days (teehee!) since the boy and I will have them off and will be spent gallivanting around during the daylight hours. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights will be homework time. Tuesday and Wednesday nights will be class time. Thursday and Friday nights will be grocery shopping/movie-watching/cuddling the boy nights. It should work out pretty well if all goes as planned. : D

Speaking of movie watching and boy cuddling, it’s time to go get my fix!

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