Fall is in the air and I am ready for soup season! A friend shared the Pork Poblano Stew (with citrus notes) recipe with me and we brainstormed a starch to use in the recipe. I thought sweet potato would be great either added to the stew (which I did) or served over a baked sweet potato. The flavors are unique and so delicious. It is great served with cornbread, crusty bread or, as one daughter suggested, with tortilla chips.
2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder 1 ¼ pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil 1 fresh poblano chile pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces 1 large red sweet pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion cut into thin wedges
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (optional–I added and it was delicious)
14.5 ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic, undrained
14.5 ounce can chicken broth (I used a quart of chicken broth)
3 inch stick of cinnamon 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
In a medium bowl, sprinkle chili powder over pork. Toss to combine.
In a large saucepan heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook the pork, about 4 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from saucepan; set aside.
Add remaining oil to saucepan. Add poblano pepper, sweet pepper, and onion to saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, tomatoes, broth, and cinnamon stick.
Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Uncover and add reserved pork and orange juice. Return to a simmer for 5 minutes more. Stir in orange peel.
To serve, remove stick cinnamon. Ladle into shallow bowls.
Sometimes you just need a time-out for a little R&R. I needed a time-out this year based on my last post. On one hand, it made me sad to take a break because summer and fall are my favorite seasons to cook with fresh vegetables and fruit. On the other hand, if you’re not in the zone, it’s a worthless venture.
August and September are big birthday months in our family (yours too?). In total, we have 13 birthdays. ABC News reported in 2005 that more babies are born in July, August and September with no real reasoning. Really? It seems so simple to me. Colder weather, holiday celebrations… Maybe I should have been a rocket scientist.
September, October and early November in Colorado were unseasonably warm and utterly beautiful. We all knew it wouldn’t last but we felt blessed for the beautiful fall colors accompanied by the warm sun and cool breezes.
Pumpkin Bars are a big hit at our house and a crowd pleaser. Forget the ordinary brownie…these are so moist and yummy. If you are more of an apple fan, substitute applesauce for the pumpkin. Either way, you have a winning dessert!
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (or use 1 cup unsweetened applesauce for Vegan bars)
2 cups pumpkin (applesauce works great too)
1 cup cooking oil
chopped nuts (optional)
Apple Butter was a fall tradition in my Mother’s kitchen back on the Iowa farm with plenty of local apples to use. She would can several jars and store in our ‘fruit room’ in the basement. Neighbors and friends would share the fruits of their apple harvest with the offer to come pick what remained on their trees. That’s just how neighbors treat neighbors.
Years ago, a co-worker shared her crockpot apple butter recipe with me. It’s been in my recipe box ready to be used and this was the year. The process takes a while but you don’t have to stand over the stove watching it to assure it doesn’t stick and burn. I’m easily distracted so this is the ticket!
What to serve with the apple butter? I made a loaf of oatmeal quick bread (see post of October 23) and served a slice of the bread with fresh apple butter on top for an autumn dessert to die for.
12 to 14 apples
2 cups apple juice
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Wash, core and quarter apples (do not peel).
Combine apples and apple juice in lightly oiled Crock pot.
Cover and cook on Low setting for 10-18 hours (or on High setting for 2-4 hours).
When fruit is tender, put through a food mill to remove peel. Measure cooked fruit and return to Crockpot. For each pint of sieved cooked fruit, add sugar, cinnamon, allspice and loves; stir well. Cover and cook on High setting for 6-8 hours, stirring every 2 hours. Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit and juice to cook down.
You can can the apple butter by spooning into hot sterilized jars and processing according to standard cooking methods. I chose to refrigerate and share with family for immediate (and I do mean immediate consumption). It’s too wonderful to last long!
Zucchini seems to multiple like rabbits. One day nothing on the vine, the next day a mega-zucchini is staring you in the face. My zucchini, however, produced zilch, nada, nothing. Luckily my buddy, Jan, and daughter, Megan, were anxious to part with their extra zucchini (Megan stooped to begging). Every year I try new recipes, but I always make my tried and true Zucchini Bread, so moist. I love nuts, but make it without since the family isn’t as ‘nutty’ as I am. Enjoy!
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated, peeled raw zucchini
3 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients in order given.
Pour into two greased bread pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until done.
I am NOT a curry fan but my pantry held a lonely butternut squash and I was in the mood for soup. Every ingredient was on hand, except for the curry powder. Pal, Maribeth, to the rescue.
This recipe came from the cookbook, Colorado Classique, by the Junior League of Denver. WOWZA, is it good! I was so excited to share the news of this great recipe that I called older daughter, Megan, to extol the virtues of this wonderful fall soup. This recipe will officially become one of my new traditions.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP
2 onions, chopped
3 tablespoons of butter
2 ½ cups diced butternut squash
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
Pinch of grated (or ground) nutmeg
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste
Whipped cream or sour cream and chopped parsley for garnish
In a 3 quart saucepan, sauté onions in butter for about 5 minutes or until soft.
Add squash and apples and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add flour, curry powder and nutmeg. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add chicken broth, milk, half-and-half (or cream), and orange zest and juice. Simmer slowly, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper and sugar. Serve hot topped with a dollop of cream and a sprinkling of parsley.
This soup improves with time. Prepare a day or two in advance and refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.
November is not complete without Pumpkin Bread. When I was growing up, Pumpkin Bread was often baked in tall tin cans so that the finished product of round slices was pretty for women’s clubs and gatherings. I am fine with the traditional loaf and it tastes equally as yummy. The bread freezes so well. I like to freeze several loaves to share during the season with friends and family. It’s tradition!
3 cups sugar
1 cup salad oil
4 eggs beaten
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup water
2 cups canned pumpkin
chopped nuts (optional)
Combine sugar and oil in a large bowl. Add 4 eggs and beat until completely mixed.
Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add dry ingredients alternately with water. Mix well. Add pumpkin and mix well again.
Pour into greased loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 65 to 75 minutes. Enjoy!