Relish the Harvest

4 great recipes to celebrate nature’s bounty!

How do we perceive the changing of the seasons? Is it the arrival of the first hard frost, falling leaves fluttering to the ground, the apple harvest and bright orange pumpkins? To me it is all of the above. After a long, hot summer, I embrace the sights and smells of the cooler weather. Such calming, comforting memories are aroused by the smell of the smoke from the wood stove in the crisp morning air.

Many of my childhood memories are tied directly to the splendid flavors of autumn foods. While the cutting of the corn and harvest of the soybeans are in full swing, there is a rich satisfaction in a bowl of hearty soup, a hot casserole and a slab of yummy pie.

Enjoy the bountiful harvest. Pull out the recipes saved from family members over the years. Prepare a warm comfort food to savor on a cool autumn night. Call together friends and family to share good food, old and new memories.

Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
2 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 (32 fluid ounce) container chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot, and cook the onion, celery, carrot, potatoes, and squash 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Pour in enough of the chicken stock to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer 40 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to attain desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuffed Cabbage
1 medium head cabbage
water to cover
1 pound ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
garlic powder to taste
1 egg
1 (12 fluid ounce) container of favorite tomato sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
water to cover

Place the head of cabbage in a large pot over high heat and add water to cover. Boil cabbage for 15 minutes, or until it is pliable and soft. Drain and cool completely. Remove the hard outer vein from the leaves. In a separate large bowl, combine the beef, rice, garlic powder and egg, mixing well. Place a small amount, about the size of your palm, into the center of a cabbage leaf and fold leaf over, tucking in the sides of the leaf to keep meat mixture inside. Pile up the filled leaves in a large pot, putting the larger leaves on the bottom. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar and sugar and enough water to cover. Simmer over medium low heat for about 60 minutes. (Note: Keep an eye on them, making sure the bottom leaves do not burn.)

Red Cabbage with Apples and Spice
The following recipe can be served cold as a salad or hot as a side dish. My family enjoys it hot as a side with a pork roast. The blend of sweet, sour and rich spices can make you forget you are eating healthy.

1 medium red cabbage
8 tart red apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
Salt, to taste

Wash cabbage and coarsely shred. Put cabbage in a kettle or Dutch oven with about an inch of water. Peel, core, and slice apples; arrange over top of cabbage. Add cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Simmer cabbage for 10 – 15 minutes or until desired doneness.

Remove from heat and gently stir. In a separate bowl, mix together vinegar, sugar, and the salt to taste. Add blended dressing to cabbage. Mix to blend. Serve hot or cold.

Fall Harvest Pie
2 Gala Apples (peeled)
1 Granny Smith apple (peeled)
1 pear (peeled)
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter

2 pie crusts (if frozen crusts are used, defrost prior to using)

Cut peeled apples and pears into 1/4 inch slices and place in a large bowl. Add raisins.
In a separate bowl mix all sugars, spices, and flour. Pour mixture on fruit and toss to coat evenly. Spread contents into one pie crust in your favorite pie pan. Cover with thin slices of butter. Flip second pie crust over the first and seal edges well. For decoration, press edges with a fork. Cut 8-12 slits in top of crust. Bake at 400 F for 45-60 minutes or until top is a dark golden brown. Let cool two hours.

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Pat Veretto
15 years ago

The food harvest is one of my favorite things about this time of year. I don’t know why I’ve never made stuffed cabbage, but your recipe has convinced me to try it, thank you!

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