Get Ready for the Changing Leaves, and Changing Menus, of Autumn
October 2022 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
Fall, especially October, is filled with the sights, smells and tastes of pumpkin everything, from the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte to fluffy pumpkin pancakes to hearty pumpkin soups and just about every pumpkin-infused food and beverage in between. Although pumpkin has become the signature fall favorite for many, there are many other great fall flavors to try, allowing you to not only enjoy the changing season and changing leaves this month, but to also change up your menus to celebrate all that October brings.
Fall is known for its harvest of healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables, and there are a lot of benefits for eating them when they are in season. Fruits and vegetables consumed during proper seasons are known for being more nutrient-dense than out-of-season produce. Plus, just-picked, ripe seasonal produce is known for having richer flavors, too.
What are some of fall’s favorites that can spice up your menus just as much as that familiar aroma and taste of pumpkin spice? Peas, squash, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, carrots, cranberries and figs are just some of the foods known for flourishing in the fall. There are also a number of fabulous fall flavors that can be the centerpiece of (or add the finishing touch to) many fall dishes, including cinnamon, salted caramel, maple, chai, sage, brown butter and ginger. In addition, bourbon is known for its mix of fall flavors (with hints of vanilla, oak and caramel) and can be used in some tasty fall recipes, such as a bourbon pecan pie or bourbon chicken.
This month, change it up a bit with some of my favorite October recipes, including my tribute to pumpkin with my famous Pumpkin Oatmeal, which also includes a delicious combination of fall’s other favorite flavors and smells, including cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg! Plus, nothing says fall and comfort foods more than a delicious, creamy mac and cheese—and my recipe for Buttermilk Mac and Cheese just could be your family’s new fall favorite. Let me know!
Enjoy the cooler weather, the changing colorful leaves—and all of the distinctive delights of the fabulous flavors of fall.
Cauliflower Fried Rice
Serves 4 | Pictured Above
1 cup Scallions, chopped
2 large Eggs, beaten
3 Tbsps fresh Ginger, finely chopped
1 cup Carrot, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs "Ready to Cook" Cauliflower rice, thawed if frozen
5 Tbsps Soy sauce
¼ tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp Sugar
1 cup Edamame, shelled
1 tsp Rice vinegar
1 tsp Sesame oil
1/3 cup Cashews, chopped
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and a pinch of salt and scramble until the eggs are cooked. Transfer to a small plate and set aside. Add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan and set over medium heat. Add the scallions, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned—3 to 4 minutes. Add the cauliflower, 4 tablespoons of the soy sauce, red pepper flakes, sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes. Add the edamame and carrots and continue cooking until the cauliflower "rice" is tender-crisp and the vegetables are warmed. Stir in the rice vinegar, sesame oil, cashews and eggs. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Garnish with more scallions.
Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal
Serves 2 | Pictured above
1 cup Rolled Oats 11/2 cups Coconut milk (or any milk you prefer)
2 Tbsps Agave nectar 1/2 cup Pumpkin purée (do not use pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp Ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp Ground ginger
1/8 tsp Ground allspice 1/8 tsp Ground cloves
1/8 tsp Ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp Fine sea salt
1 tsp Vanilla extract ½ cup Pecans, chopped
In a large microwave-safe bowl, add oats and coconut milk. Make sure you use a large bowl, as the oats will bubble up. Heat the oats in the microwave on high for 2 minutes until the oats are cooked. Remove the oats from the microwave and stir in the pumpkin purée, agave nectar, all the spices, sea salt and vanilla extract. Divide between two bowls, top with the pecans then drizzle the honey over top.
Buttermilk Mac and Cheese with Baby Kale
16 ozs Cavatelli or other shell-type pasta
2 Tbsps Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups Kale
2 cups Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups Gouda cheese, shredded
3 tsps Butter
2 cups Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Smoked paprika
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 tsp Black pepper
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to directions on the package and drain. In a skillet, add the olive oil and garlic, and sauté the kale until wilted. Place kale on paper towel and allow it to drain briefly. In a bowl, mix the sautéed kale with the cooked pasta, 1 cup of sharp cheddar, 1 cup of gouda, butter and spices.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the pasta/kale/cheese mix into the baking dish. Pour buttermilk over top of pasta and stir. Top with remaining cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake another 10 minutes, until bubbly and slightly browned.
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/2 cup Pitted prunes, chopped (or raisins)
1/4 cup Red wine vinegar
1/4 cup Capers (with a bit of juice)
1/4 cup Pitted green olives
1 head Garlic, peeled and finely pureed
3 bay leaves
2 Tbsps Dried oregano
1/2 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup Dry white wine
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on (or chicken breast sliced into thin strips)
1/4 cup Fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, prunes, olives, capers with juice, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in one or two large, shallow baking pans and spoon the marinade over it evenly. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.
Bake, basting frequently with the pan juices, about an hour, until chicken is cooked through. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, prunes, olives and capers to a serving platter. Moisten with a few spoonfuls of pan juices and sprinkle generously with parsley.
Spiced Carrot Cake
2 cups All-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 tsps Baking soda
2 tsps Ground cardamom
2 tsps Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
3 large Eggs
2/3 cup Granulated sugar
2/3 cup Light-brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Low-fat plain yogurt
2 cups Carrots, finely shredded and packed
1 cup Confectioners’ sugar
Water or heavy cream for the glaze
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x13 inch pan lightly with pan spray. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, granulated and brown sugars, yogurt and oil until smooth. Gently mix egg mixture into dry ingredients until moistened; mix in carrots. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean—40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Turn out of pan and cool completely on a rack, right side up. To make glaze: Slowly mix water or cream to 1 cup of Confectioners' sugar until desired consistency. Apply glaze, or dust with confectioners’ sugar. Garnish with more carrots or nuts of your choice.
Leslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.