This time of year, as fresh greens dwindle to paltry proportions, and our northern Michigan season extension expiration looms, I start looking to my fall self to see what fabulous items I put aside via freezing or fermenting for the impending arctic stretch.
Does making a pie crust seem daunting? Do you have a jumble of frozen fruit in your freezer that needs to be eaten? Do you have a hankering for something sweet, but not too sinful? Then, look no further than apple crisp!
Rutabaga (also called swede) is a Brassica family (think kale, cabbage, turnips, broccoli, etc.) root vegetable commonly known to Michiganders as a pasty ingredient. Beyond the pasty, this humble cabbage and turnip cross shines in many dishes and packs a nutritional punch.
Signing up for a CSA (stands for community supported agriculture) is the best weekly subscription you can get.
As sad as I am to see summer go, I am ready for the fall. I love the way the golden light hangs in the trees this time of year, how cozy the foggy mornings are, and the changing colors of the trees. My favorite things about the season, however, are the food (surprise, surprise!) and the many fall flavors. These connect me to happy memories of shared meals and conversation with family and friends.
The fall food that pulls strongest at my heartstrings is the humble and versatile apple. This fruit always conjures up my Grandma Wills and I cannot see a Northern Spy apple without feeling her presence or tasting her “famous” apple pie. The thought of her pie’s perfect flaky crust, warm and gooey apple filling, a dollop of ice cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on top send me back to time spent in her kitchen; one of the reasons I pursued a career in food and agriculture. I’m forever grateful she taught me how to make her perfect pie before she passed so every time I bake and eat it she is there with me.
Apples also bring back memories to my first farm job in Minnesota. Before leaving for the fall, we gleaned apples from a neighboring farm littered with hundreds of decrepit Volvos (I swear it looked like they were farming cars rather than fruit!). The apples we picked became golden sauce after hours of peeling with Beth and her young boys. A slightly more “formal” apple picking experience in New Hampshire made me fall in love with the East Coast and my cohort of dietetic interns. The time in the orchard catalyzed personal and professional relationships that are still strong almost a decade later. These memories are strong examples of why I love food. Not only does it nourishes us physically, but also spiritually; it draws us together and connects us strongly to people and place.
As the weather turns cooler this fall season, I hope you can slow down, open up a cookbook, and share some food and memories with your loved ones. If you want to try your hand at a simple dish, try this delicious apple cake. The recipe comes courtesy of my grandmother, Frances Wills, and is shared with you in love. Note that this cake is best shared as the flavor improves in the presence of good company.
Want to learn more about Michigan apples? Check out this guide from Michiganapples.com
Kelly Wilson, RDN is the SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator for Taste the Local Difference and owner of Simple Gifts Farm in Oxford, MI. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy of Ben Darga at Austin Brothers Beer Company
INGREDIENTS (makes 1 pizza)
-(1) 10 oz pizza dough
-6 oz sweet onion/garlic sauce (3 oz caramelized onions & 3 oz roasted garlic cloves, pureed till smooth)
-1 C. shredded mozzarella
-2 C. starchy potatoes, sliced very thinly (we recommend Presque Isle Farm’s Huckleberry Golds)
-2 T. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
-2 T. extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 C. shredded parmesan
-1 tsp. garlic salt
Bake at 525 degrees for 9-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the potatoes and crust are starting to get crispy.
Since you’re already grilling, why not throw your dessert on the grill too?
Oryana has been a proponent of local food since its inception in 1973. As farmer Jim Schwantes of Sweeter Song Farm said, “Before there was a local food movement, they were the local food movement.” And Oryana takes it an important step further by prioritizing organic, local food. At this time of year, our produce department is bursting with local, organic vegetables and fruits and one of our favorites is zucchini.
Crème Brûlée is so much easier than you think! The hardest part was separating the eggs properly…and waiting for the custards to cool!