We’re in the midst of one of the most beautiful and perfect fall’s I’ve ever experienced. A string of sunny crisp days, and clear, but not too cold nights is more than any girl can ask for. But the past few days have been a bit different; the city has been completely socked in by fog. Thankfully I also enjoy a good foggy day, and last night, I took some cooking inspiration from fluffy grey cloud blanketing downtown.
I decided to make my own applesauce! There’s nothing more appropriate for a foggy fall day than warm applesauce, loaded with cinnamon and nutmeg. My friend Laura recently told me how she does applesauce in her slow cooker, so I figured I’d try that. The result was perfect and it made my apartment smell absolutely amazing while it simmered away. My husband and I had to use every ounce of restraint to not dig in before it had cooled enough not to scald us. But that was just part one!
Part two of last night’s meal was the star of the show. Earlier in the month, as the weather turned I had a hankering for Ina Garten’s Pan Roasted Root Vegetables. But as a vegetarian I was a bit lost as to what to serve them with, because usually I would serve them with roast chicken. So I went out, bought a free range, very expensive bird, and unfortunately wasn’t the least bit satisfied. But last night inspiration came to me and I decided to make oven roasted root vegetables and serve them over warm quinoa with a shallot dressing. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but the silence at my dinner table said everything (usually we’re a very chatty bunch).
So here’s a couple recipes that you can modify and make your own to your little heart’s content. They embody everything I love about the fall, and go nicely with a big glass of red!
Slow Cooker Apple Sauce
- 10 apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges (I used a mix of granny smith and gala)
- 1/4 c brown sugar (more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
- 3 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 long strips of lemon zest
- 1T ground nutmeg
Throw everything in your slow cooker and simmer on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally, because you don’t want it to stick to the sides and burn! Next time I’m going to try adding some dried cranberries and see how that turns out. It’s seriously so good that you’ll want to eat it over vanilla ice cream.
Roasted Veggies and Quinoa
- 4 cups cooked quinoa (warm)
- 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- Turnips, rutabaga or celery root peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 handfuls brussels sprouts, par boiled and halved
- Red onion, sliced, but not too thinly
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Turn your oven on to 450 and toss the veggies with some olive oil, salt and pepper on a sheet pan. Roast for 10 min, turn, and roast another 10-15 min. until easily pierced with a fork. Be careful not to over cook them.
When the veggies are done, add them to the quinoa with any drippings or browned bits form the pan. Add your dressing, lots of options here. I used a pre-made shallot vinaigrette from Whole Foods that was delicious, but if I’d had to go from scratch I would have done oil, honey, dijon and red wine vinegar as my go to. The warm veggies will soak up a good amount of the dressing so you’ll use more than you might think. It reheats beautifully for lunch the next day as well!
Although these are both incredibly simple recipes, I wanted to share them, because I think a lot of people try to overcomplicate cooking, and are displeased with the results. These aren’t fancy, but they taste great, take almost no active time to make and are pretty healthy and balanced. To me the fall is all about rustic food that tastes good, warms the heart, and sends you to bed feeling full and content. Mission accomplished!