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Happy-Gourmand

Eating the bounty

I wrote earlier this summer about the embarrassment of riches we experience with local fruit.

All summer long there are fruit stands open to the crowds of tourists and locals alike, looking for the fresh fruit off the trees and veggies from the field.

Tourists often go home with cases of their favourites, and locals get into the flow of eating fresh. Everyone cruises along at a pace… and then comes autumn.

All summer long there are items to eat from the orchards and gardens, but when autumn comes it is officially harvest time. For those of us who are foodies, this is akin to a Christmas buffet.

The only challenge is that one needs to gear up for it, or it can be overwhelming. During the Christmas season, I work out a lot and stretch my tummy with wintery comfort food.

In autumn, I get out the big pots and warm up the dehydrator: 

  • we make jam and chutney,
  • we dry fruit and roast tomatoes
  • we freeze vegetables
  • bake zucchini loaves galore.

We try our best to make the most of it all.

The simple truth is that even with eating as many meals as we can with tomatoes and plums and peppers and pears, we can’t eat it all.

I have come to realize there is value in the harvest that goes back into the ground. I can also recommend sharing food with others (the only challenge there is that they are likely trying to share with you as well).

To assist you with ideas for enjoying all this bounty, I have a few recipes to share this week.

PLUM TORTE – one of my favourite go-to’s in season, and it’s easy to make. It works as a coffee cake, dessert, or even a breakfast/brunch treat.

Preheat oven to 350F.

  • Cut 12 plums in half and remove the pits. (any type will work; an assortment is just fine.) Cream ½ cup butter with ¾ cup sugar. Add 2 eggs and mix until blended well.
  • In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt. (For breakfast, a more hearty, less sweet variation is to use ½ cup buckwheat flour and ½ cup all purpose flour.)
  • Blend dry ingredients into wet just until mixed. Spread into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Arrange plums skin side up on top of dough. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until dough springs back when touched.
  • Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over torte and sprinkle about 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar over it. Let torte cool on a wire rack.

APPLE PHYLLO STRUDEL CUPS – this is a great recipe to make with kids, it’s that simple.

To make 12 phyllo cups:

  • Use 6 sheets phyllo, 6 apples. Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Combine sliced apples with ½ cup raisins or dried cranberries, ½ cup brown sugar, zest and juice of ½ lemon, 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg.
  • Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until tender. Lightly grease a muffin pan and lay out phyllo sheets. Cut them into squares slightly larger than the muffin molds.
  • Using 2 sheets at a time, brush the squares with butter or coconut oil (you’ll need about 2 tbsp in total). Take ½ cup Graham wafer crumbs and sprinkle 1 tsp or so in each mold.
  • Place another phyllo square over the first and repeat graham crumbs; then place the last squarePlace the squares in alternating layers, one square, one diamond, so that each muffin mold has at least 2 layers.
  • Then fill molds with apple filling, to top of mold. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, when pastry will be golden and filling sizzling. Let cups cool in muffin tin for about 10 minutes.

Serve warm, with vanilla yogurt, whipped cream or ice cream.

Of course, there are plenty of recipes on the internet, so feel free to search for ideas. I have even found a free app called Yummly that will allow you to search for recipes with ingredients you want to use.

Many of the foods of fall are lovely eaten on their own – who doesn’t love a freshly picked apple or pear, or fresh-cooked corn? But when you need to be eating enough to take care of harvest, you want to vary the flavours a bit.

As a final note, I’ll let you in on my latest discoveries. Potato Latkes can be used for breakfast with fried or poached eggs, for lunch with smoked salmon or for dinner with roast or grilled chicken. If you get tired of potatoes (or maybe you just didn’t plant any) then Corn Pancakes are delicious, too.

If you’re not one for home cooking, or find yourself busy this time of year, another good way to enjoy the harvest is to support local restaurants that feature local ingredients of the season.

I just hope you get a chance to taste all the wonderful bounty.

Cheers, and bon appetit!



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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