This week I decided to attempt a fall recipe extravaganza using several of the different fall vegetables that we offer. This all started when I found a recipe for Crock Pot Pumpkin Spiced Latte and then continue to think about more interesting ways to use the vegetables in my refrigerator than my typical stir-fry. So I decided to create a whole meal (granted, a HUGE meal that could be split into several meals) all around fall. The pumpkin spiced latte doesn’t quite fit into the meal, but who doesn’t want a delicious, autumnal coffee drink to start out their day? I will preface all of this by saying that I have realized that I have a complete inability to follow a recipe perfectly and, for some reason, always feel like I should add some twist to it. This works well sometimes and others not so much, so I’ll share with you the recipes I found, tell you what I did and explain how it turned out. So, here you’ll find an appetizer, a salad, a soup, and a dessert. Enjoy!
Let’s start with this recipe for a crock-pot pumpkin spiced latte from Thriving Home Blog. This was delicious, very sweet, and made a huge amount. I shared it with my roommates, my mom, everyone who came over and I still have a nalgene bottle full in my fridge. The pureed pumpkin is so easy to make on your own, you do not have to go to the store and buy a can. Just cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake it at 375 for about 30-45 minutes, or until you can easily stick a fork in the pumpkin. However, make sure that you do blend the pumpkin before you use it in this recipe. I decided to not blend it and just mash the pumpkin with a fork because I was feeling lazy and thought it would cook down in the crock-pot—unfortunately that is not the case. While it still tasted delicious, there were strings of pumpkin floating around in my drink—most people are not inclined to prefer a chewy latte. Secondly, the recipe calls for 4-6 cups of strongly brewed coffee, I used 6 cups and still wanted to taste the coffee more. If you want a stronger coffee taste I would recommend using less milk. I’ve actually been using the leftovers like creamer and adding it to my cup of coffee in the morning, I think I might like it even more that way.
The appetizer is something I’ve wanted to try to make for quite some time, it’s a Spanish dish called croquetas, often made with chicken, but you can use whatever you want. I first had croquetas while I was working on a farm in Maine alongside a woman from Spain named Steffi; she would make them when we had a huge amount of a vegetable left over after market—usually zucchini or kale. I attempted to use her recipe and mixed it with some other recipes I found online (because my Spanish is a little rusty) and here is what I came up with. I used mustard greens as my vegetable of choice. What I found was that croquetas are all about proportions and texture, so depending on how watery the vegetable you choose is, you may have to alter the amount of flour or milk you add. This was definitely the biggest experiment of everything I made, so here’s the recipe I used online to compare in case you prefer actual measurements.
- Dice one yellow onion and sautee with butter.
- Chop up mustard greens as small as possible (I used about a pound and a half total) and add to the onions. Add whatever spices you’d like to this mixture–I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cumin, but remember you can always salt fried things after they come out of the pan so don’t stress too much about how much salt to use.
- Sprinkle flour into the mixture and continue to add flour until it forms a slightly moist ball.
- Add milk until it has the same consistency as cake batter. **I made the consistency thicker than cake batter and it worked well, I think the more milk you add the creamier the inside of the croquetas will be after they are fried.
- Put in the refrigerator for 24 hours, this makes the croquetas easier to form.
- Roll the “dough” into balls or cylinders and roll in flower. Meanwhile, scramble two eggs in one bowl and put 1 cup of bread crumbs in another. Dip the croquetas in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs to completely cover them.
- Fry in a pan and serve hot!
Other than the few that I burned, I thought that these turned out great! The spice from the mustard cooked out almost completely so it tastes a lot like kale, it might work to experiment with adding cayenne or sriracha if you want the spice to stay. You can make this recipe with any meat or vegetable combination so don’t be afraid to get creative!
Autumn Cobb Salad with Smoky Pumpkin Dressing: I usually don’t think of salads when I think of fall, so when I came across this delicious salad from Heather Christo I couldn’t wait to try it. I was a little skeptical about the pumpkin vinaigrette, but it turned out to be delicious, I would highly recommend this salad. It is the perfect combination of fresh greens and vegetables with the warm, roasted flavor we crave as the days and nights begin to cool down.
Butternut squash soup: Once summer ends and it is not so unbearably hot, I almost instantly crave soup. So I wanted to try an interesting version of butternut squash soup and found this recipe from Iowa Girl Eats. The chickpeas are a fantastic addition, also a fantastic snack. I tend to like soups that are at least a little chunky, so they add a nice texture as well as a great flavor compliment. I did not use bacon (I know, that’s almost sacrilegious to some people) and instead added sweet potato. I really like the way that sweet potato and butternut squash go together; so I just chopped up three sweet potatoes, boiled them, blended them, and stirred them into the soup as it was simmering. Soup-er easy, soup-er delicious.
Finally, we have an Irish Apple Cake from The View From Great Island. I unfortunately did not get to make this recipe, everything else took longer than I planned! But I wanted to share this with you anyways because it looks absolutely delicious. I’d love to hear how this recipe turns out for you. Post pictures and comments on our facebook page or on the blog and tell me what you thought!
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I did, and the best part is that I don’t have to cook for the rest of the week! Happy eating!