Happy October. I’m loving fall, and so far it’s been cool and crisp — perfect baking weather. I love a toasty house, especially one that permeates fall flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. You don’t have to be an expert baker to create some of the most delicious treats, and the same goes with cooking. What’s most important are good ingredients (that doesn’t always mean the most expensive, but the freshest), so look for the best sources in your area.
As you know, I’m a farmer’s market fan, and we’re lucky to have them year round here in Southern California, but if you’re in an area that doesn’t always have the freshest produce for every season — maybe grown your own herbs inside, find a grocer that sources from local farmers, or try and grow your own in a covered garden. I have my own covered upright garden beds in my yard, and they provide me with enough herbs, lettuces and peppers for months. There’s nothing like planting a few seeds and watching nature take it’s course, and have bountiful produce in a matter of weeks.
During fall, Winter squash starts to appear transitioning from zucchini and yellow crookneck. On Monday, I thought we’d start the week with something simple, yet tasty — Spaghetti Squash Arrabbiata – a vegetarian meal that packs a little heat, yet calms the palate with buttery sweet squash. Tuesday night is taco time, yet I’m craving something different this week, perhaps my Mexican Turkey Meatball Sliders. These tender meatballs are stacked high on a soft brioche bun and layered with pepper jack and fresh guacamole. Wednesday evening requires a slow cooker to prepare this Vietnamese Style Pot Roast. The flavors are Asian inspired, yet with an American classic presentation. You’re almost through the week and on Thursday, and I think a no-cook meal is required – Nicoise Salad Lettuce Cups with Caper Vinaigrette. Good tuna or seafood is easier to come by with all the tinned-fish options out there. Friday night means a cocktail is in store, something with fall-like flavors — like this Fall-tini Cocktail. Saturday’s are for baking and I’m in an apple kind of mood, so let’s bake up one delicious dessert and make a Brown Butter Custard Tart. Enjoy the week ahead.