Many people associate summer with fresh fruits and vegetables. But, did you know the fall season has just as many? According to Executive Chef James Nickleberry, there are plenty of fresh foods to use in recipes once the air turns crisp: zucchini, squash, beets, broccoli, pumpkins, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, turnips, collard greens, kale, pumpkin, onions, rosemary, parsley and sage.
“It’s a gourd and greens season,” Chef James said. “People think about cauliflower, but they don’t realize you can eat the greens off the cauliflower!”
Don’t forget about the fall fruits, too. Apples, of course (especially in Michigan!), grapes and pomegranates are fall fruits.
So, what to do with all these fresh ingredients? Here’s some simple inspiration from Chef James, including one of his very favorite fall recipes – sweet potatoes and apples.
HOW TO COOK ACORN SQUASH
“I’m a huge fan of baked acorn squash,” Chef James said. So, how does a professional chef prepare acorn squash? It’s pretty simple, actually: cut the squash in half, lather with butter, sprinkle brown sugar on both halves, wrap in foil and place in oven for an hour. When it’s done, take the foil off, stick a spoon in and eat it off the shell — Chef James style.
According to Chef James, you can cook zucchini any old way you’d like! But, he says he prefers to cut the zucchini in slices, sauté with onion in the pan, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste (plus a little dash of sugar). For more flavor, add cherry tomatoes.
A CHEF JAMES’ FAVORITE: SWEET POTATOES AND APPLES
For a side dish that tastes like a dessert (or a dessert that seems like a side dish?!), cut some sweet potatoes into cubes and boil them until they are soft. Meanwhile, sauté some sliced apples with a dash of sugar, and perhaps some walnuts or cranberries.
Put the cubes of sweet potatoes in a pan with butter and brown sugar, add the apples, and bake together at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
“It goes great with turkey and stuffing,” Chef James said.
For a quick and easy substitute to a “regular” enchilada, try some seasonal mushrooms and spinach with potatoes instead of the beef or beans! Put the fall ingredients into corn shells, with some shredded mozzarella, and bake just like you would a regular enchilada — including your normal enchilada sauce. Yum!
…AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKE MOST PEOPLE MAKE WHEN COOKING VEGETABLES
What’s the biggest mistake people make when they cook vegetables, according to Chef James? They overcook them. Vegetables should be sautéed not boiled, he said, or steamed if they can’t be sautéed. TIP: When the veggies start to lose their bright color, you’re cooking all the vitamins and nutrients out of the vegetables.
At American House, www.americanhouse.com we have nutritionists and chefs who work together to create healthy AND tasty menus for our residents! Call us today at (248) 579-4422 to schedule a tour and have a slice of apple pie!