Harvest time is in autumn. The fields are full to overflowing with ripe vegetables bursting with flavor. Traditionally, harvest was also the time of putting up foods for the long, cold winter ahead, preparing sausages and smoking meats. While storing food for the winter isn't a high priority with grocery stores literally around the corner, it's still enjoyable to reflect on yesteryear with a harvest meal.
Hollow out one small- to medium-size pumpkin for each person. Cut off the top of the pumpkin so it is just big enough to hold a soup bowl. Pumpkins that are flatter work better than those that are tall. Make your favorite recipe of pumpkin soup or combine one can of pumpkin puree with one can of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of chopped onions. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add red pepper flakes to taste. Add one cup of half and half or cream, and heat to a simmer but not to a boil. Serve in bowls that have been placed in the hollowed out pumpkins. Add crunchy bread, a salad of mixed greens, walnuts, pear slices and goat cheese to finish the meal.
Use your favorite pizza dough recipe or refrigerated purchased pizza dough. Thinly slice harvest vegetables such as red onions, yams, eggplant, carrots, squash, green peppers and cabbage. Yes, cabbage--it will roast and have a mild sweet taste rather than a boiled cabbage flavor. Layer the vegetables onto the pizza dough. Sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and caraway seeds. If you wish to add meat, use bratwurst, polish sausage or kielbasa thinly sliced. Bake the pizza as usual. Serve baked apples stuffed with raisins and cinnamon ice cream for dessert.
One Last Grill
Don't put the grill away for the season until you've had mixed meat and vegetable kabobs. Marinate the meats and vegetables separately so you avoid cross contamination. Chicken or pork works well for this dish. Marinate overnight in half apple juice or cider, and half apple cider vinegar. Add a chopped onion, 1/2 cup chopped parsley and garlic if you like. Thread the vegetable skewers with mushrooms and chunks of corn on the cob, yams and squash. Thread the meat skewers with a leaf of sage between each chunk of meat. Start the meal off with hot, chunky potato soup and cheese crackers. End it with a fall fruit compote made with apples, pears and raisins mixed with red wine, honey and cloves. Bring the mixture to a boil then shut it off. Serve warm or at room temperature over pound cake.
Fast and Easy Harvest Pork Bake
This is about as easy as it gets. Layer sliced fall vegetables in a roasting pan. Add a layer of thin-cut boneless pork chops as the next to the last layer. Top the pork chops with sliced onions to keep them moist. Add an inch of chicken broth to the roasting pan. Bake until vegetables are done. Serve with a salad of thinly sliced apples, red onions, radicchio and red grapes.