Cozy Up to the Comfort Foods, and Fresh Produce, of the Season
September 2022 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
Ah, fall. The kids are back in school, the scorching hot days of summer have turned into picture-perfect weather here in the Lowcountry, football is back … and fresh, seasonal fall produce is everywhere. After a summer filled with backyard barbecues and quick dinners on the beach or patio, fall is the perfect time to head back to the kitchen to cook up some old, and new, family favorites, as well as take advantage of the abundance of fresh seasonal produce that can take the comfort foods of fall to a whole new level.
When it comes to fall recipes, it’s all about flavor and bringing together some of the tastes of the season in new, and delicious, ways. Of course, with your back-to-school and busy weeknight schedules now back in full gear, fall recipes are also about simplicity in the kitchen and innovative ways to make quick, savory – and healthy – dinners. Whether you’re roasting fresh veggies to prepare an easy sheet pan weeknight dinner, or filling your kitchen with the aromas of a heartier, savory stew or pasta dish, fall is the time to get creative and cozy when it comes to ideas for dinners, side dishes and appetizers that your family will, quite simply, fall in love with.
Here are some of my fall favorites that I’ve been serving up at The Cottage Café, Bakery & Tea Room for years—all of which focus on the flavors, and festivity, of the start of the fall season. This fall, try it all—from a refreshing fall salad which brings together the tastes of sweet and juicy apples (“fall’s favorite fruit”) with broccolini (more tender and with a milder flavor than broccoli), to a quick-and-easy homemade version of cauliflower fried rice, to a “fresh take” on a Mahi-Mahi main dish that, when served in martini glasses or your favorite small dishes, can really spice up a busy September weeknight dinner.
So welcome fall, y’all! And welcome back to the foods, flavors and festivities of one of our all-time favorite seasons.
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.
Apple Broccoli Salad
with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette
For the salad:
1 head Broccoli or broccolini, very finely chopped
2 cups Apples of your choice, diced
1 cup Carrots, shredded
1/3 cup Green onion, sliced small
1/3 cup Dried cranberries
1/3 cup Chopped pecans
1/2 cup Flat leaf parsley, chopped
For the dressing:
3 Tbsps Olive oil
11/2 Tbsps Apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ Tbsp Honey
1 clove of Garlic, minced
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
In a serving bowl, toss all the ingredients for the salad and set aside. Make the dressing,
pour over salad and mix well to coat. Garnish with extra pecans, if desired. Serve cold.
Mahi Mahi Ceviche Cubano
1 1/2 cups fresh Lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsps Oregano, fresh or dry
2 Jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
1/2 Red onion, thinly sliced
2 Serrano chiles, seeded and minced
1/3 cup Ripe tomato, diced
3 Tbsps fresh Cilantro, chopped
1 tsp Honey Saltine crackers or toast points
1 lb. fresh Mahi-Mahi fillets, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded Coconut, toasted
Combine fish, lime juice and oregano in large glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Chill until fish turns opaque, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes. Strain almost all lime juice from fish; return fish to bowl. Stir in onion, tomato, jalapeños, serranos, coconut, cilantro and honey. Season with salt.
Chill at least 20 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve in martini glasses or other elegant vessel, and serve the crackers separately.
Triple Apple Walnut Cobbler
9 cups Tart cooking apples, peeled, cored, sliced 1/4 inch, choose 3 kinds! (Granny Smith, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, Jonagold, etc.)
1/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp ground Ginger
2 cups All-purpose flour
3/4 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs
2 tsps Baking powder
1 tsp ground Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
Heat oven to 350°F. Place sliced apples into an ungreased 13x9-inch baking dish. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp ginger in a bowl, then sprinkle over apples. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon and salt in bowl; mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Pour melted butter over topping, then add the walnuts. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until lightly browned and apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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.