Caramelized Onion “Camemburgers”

Food, Food Photography, France, Recipes

Life in our 193 square foot apartment seems ages ago, even though we’ve only been in our new home for less than a month. Or for me, just one week…

Last month, living in that tiny flat, Paris felt like an extended vacation. Now, in a slightly larger space, and with Heidi asleep next to me on the couch as I write, Paris feels like home.

On those nights where we felt somewhat displaced and homesick, what helped us to feel rooted were the meals we cooked in that little apartment almost each night. With a kitchen smaller than most people’s pantries, and a fridge similar to what you’d find in a college student’s dorm room, daily trips to the market were required, but honestly, that was half the fun. Each day I would walk around the corner to the organic market, or one block over to Rue Montorgueil, one of Paris’ best market streets. When I wanted something that felt a bit more familiar, I would walk just a bit further to the British grocery store, Marks & Spencer, a place that felt much like Trader Joe’s, and sells the most wonderful flavors of crisps (the cornish cruncher cheddar and pickled onion, and the chicken mustard and worcester sauce crisps are where it’s at).

IMG_1088.jpgWorking with just two small burners, a microwave, and a toaster, I couldn’t get fancy with what I cooked, but each night that we ate at home, we ate well. With meals like French onion soup, bangers and mash, pot roast, pasta bolognese, and I kid you not, one of the best burgers I have ever had in my life, we didn’t go hungry. For dessert, we’d drink wine and eat chocolate, or enjoy a treat from one of the incredible patisseries nearby. Who needs to bake when you live in Paris?

Heidi and I returned to Paris a week ago today, but unfortunately, I came down with a horrible cold from all of my recent traveling, so while I now have a larger kitchen to cook in, I haven’t yet had much time to play. I made ratatouille earlier this week, and a delectable, buttery quiche the night after that, but since then, it’s been homemade chicken noodle soup and cup after cup of hot tea. Tonight, I think i’ll move on to a spicy curry, and then as soon as I feel 100%, these “camemburgers” will definitely find a place on our dinner menu.

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A play on the word hamburger and camembert, the hubs thought calling these burgers “camemburgers ” would be appropriate and cute, and I fully agree. Rich and gooey, these burgers melt in your mouth, and definitely require the crunch of a cornichon and deserve to be washed down by a good red wine. Though we try and limit how often we eat red meat, we ate these guys twice last month, and I can’t wait to get over this cold so I can fully appreciate another one soon.

Cornichons, which are basically just little baby pickles, should be available in your local grocery store, and are for sure available at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods if you have one nearby. If you can’t find camembert cheese, or find the flavor too strong, brie cheese would work wonderfully as a replacement. And while we love a good strong camembert, for this particular recipe, I recommend a milder one as the strong flavor could overpower the taste of the caramelized onions, which no one wants to miss. If you do use a strong camembert, cut off the rind before melting the cheese on your burger.

Caramelized Onion Camemburgers

Yields two burgers 

1 lb ground beef

Brioche buns*

Camembert cheese (or brie if you prefer a milder flavor – see note above)

Cornichons

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

Butter

Mayonnaise

Dijon mustard

Sugar

S&P

Melt a pat of butter in the bottom of skillet over moderately low heat. Add the onion, and stir until your onion slices are well coated in butter. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to very low and let the onions steep for about 10-15 minutes.

After about 15 minutes, uncover the pot, raise the heat slightly, and stir in a pinch of salt and sugar. Cook onions, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes, until they have turned an even, light golden brown.

Meanwhile, prepare your burgers by forming two patties and sprinkling each with salt and pepper. Next, add a little butter to a skillet and cook your patties until they reach your desired doneness. For this recipe, I like the burgers to still be a bit pink. I believe our burgers were probably cooked to medium. Before you pull your burgers from the heat, top them with a couple of slices of cheese, and cover the skillet so your cheese can quickly melt. If your onions have finished caramelizing, you can top your patty with onions before adding the cheese to help everything nicely meld together. Otherwise, you can add your onions later.

Once your patties have finished cooking and your onions are done caramelizing, it’s time to assemble your burgers. Spread both buns with a bit of mayonnaise, and one side with a little dijon mustard. Add your burger patty, your caramelized onions (if you haven’t already), and a few cornichons. You can either slice your cornichons in half (long ways) or add them whole. The cornichons we buy here are rather small, and we love the acidity and crunch that they add, so we don’t bother cutting ours.

Serve with some herb seasoned fries and fry sauce (we love sautéed garlic and herbs mixed with mayonnaise) and a bottle of red wine (really, most reds will go great with this, but we particularly love a good Pinot Noir or Côtes du Rhône) and bon appetit!

*Sure, you could use regular buns, but really, I don’t recommend it. I used regular buns the first time I made this recipe and the burgers were good, however, the second time I made them, with brioche buns, they were GREAT. 

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Back to the Basics: Homemade Whipped Cream and Pie Dough

Dessert, Food, Food Photography, Recipes

There is no dessert more classic at Thanksgiving than a pie, and no better topping for a pie than whipped cream. As many of us will soon be indulging in our favorite holiday desserts, I thought I would share a couple of recipes to help put your pies over the top.

It never fails to surprise me how many people can’t (or don’t…or won’t) make their own whipped cream. It’s one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made and only requires ONE ingredient. It tastes much better than store bought whipped cream, and though I haven’t compared the prices, a container of heavy whipping cream is pretty cheap. If you can make a pie, I promise you, you can make homemade whipped cream.

While really, all that’s necessary is heavy whipping cream, it’s common to sprinkle in a little sugar to sweeten up the taste. Sometimes, I switch it up a bit and use maple syrup instead of sugar, or maybe add some vanilla or a splash of bourbon, but really, a classic sugar/cream whipped cream is hard to beat.

If you have a stand mixer, this is seriously the easiest recipe in the world. Just put your cream and sugar in your mixing bowl, turn your mixer on high, and in about two to three minutes, you’ll have yourself a glorious bowl of whipped cream. If you don’t have a stand mixer, a hand mixer works great as well. It might take a few minutes longer, and it’ll help if you freeze your bowl and beaters for about 15 minutes before you start, but that is still a pretty simple recipe if you ask me.

If you are whipping by hand, you rock! You deserve a big spoonful of cream (and maybe a shot of bourbon) once you are done. If you choose this route, you’ll certainly want to stick your bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before you start. It’ll help you out and cool you down while you work.

whipped-cream


Homemade Whipped Cream

yields 1 1/2 – 2 cups whipped cream

Ingredients 

2 tbsp sugar

1 c heavy whipping cream

Directions

Whisk together cream and sugar in a mixing bowl until soft peaks form.


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Though slightly harder and a little more work, homemade pie dough is another simple recipe that every cook should know how to make. You have to plan a bit ahead on this one as your dough needs time to chill, but if truly in a hurry, a freezer usually helps to do the trick. Most recipes will ask you to chill your dough in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour (I recommend this as well), but I’ve been in a cinch a time or two where chilling my dough in the freezer for 30 minutes worked.

Unlike whipped cream, there’s a bit of a deeper science to creating a great pie dough, so I will let the professionals walk you through this one. For galettes and tarts, I enjoy Bon Appétit’s Basic Tart Dough, and for flaky pies, I favor Smitten Kitchen’s All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough all the way. If you are into graham cracker crusts, ole Deb Perelman also has a great recipe for that. It’s my favorite for cheesecakes and pumpkin pies!

As you prepare your desserts this holiday season, I encourage you to give your own whipped cream and pie crust a try. Intimated by the dough? Start small with the cream. It’ll put your dish over the top and leave your guests hungry for more. If you feel a bit nervous about making your own pie dough, Christmas is still a month away. That leaves you plenty of time to practice!

Bon appétit and happy Thanksgiving!

Blueberry-Lemon Drop Biscuits

Food, Food Photography, Recipes

Though the first day of autumn falls on Tuesday of next week, here in Texas the air is still warm and wet. I see pictures from friends scattered around the country, sipping warm beverages and baking pumpkin treats. My friends in Boston are pulling out their sweaters, while I am here in Austin wearing shorts and a tank.

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Early last week the temps reached 100, but to my great surprise, Saturday was a chilly, 66 degrees. Imagine the joy for this girl who loves fall, as I got to wear pants AND long sleeves, and snuggle on the couch with open windows, and a cool, crisp breeze. I baked pumpkin-pecan muffins and simmered a pot of French onion soup, and though it was grey and dreary outdoors, I declared the weather to be perfect, a tease of fall and a break from the heat. Though Sunday wasn’t as cool, it only reached a humid 78. It wasn’t perfect, but still a welcome change from the high temps we had experienced all week.

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While I am longing for the weather to consistently be a little more reminiscent of fall, I am accepting it for what it is and learning to make due. Instead of baking with squashes and spices and whipping up hearty comfort foods, I am celebrating a few more weeks of summer with berries, and citrus and light, refreshing bites.

These biscuits were the perfect treat earlier this week, when I longed to bake, but needed something light to eat. Though I was craving roasted squash and a creamy hot chocolate, it was 87 degrees outside, and slightly warm in our apartment. The cold flour and butter smashed between my fingertips was soothing and therapeutic. The sweet smell of lemon lingered in the air refreshing my senses, while the butter in the oven sizzled, oozing from the biscuits.

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This recipe is very similar to that of a scone, just minus the egg and a little less butter. While I love a good scone, sometimes it’s hard to get them just right. If the shape isn’t funky, the texture is all off. I like my scones to be crumbly, but some recipes make them way too dry, and then there are those recipes where you wonder if you accidentally made muffins, as your final product is much too moist. Biscuits, in my opinion, are usually much easier, and while I love a good flaky, perfectly rounded, buttery disc of dough, drop biscuits are a cinch and take very little work. They are incredibly versatile and are great both savory and sweet. I make buttered biscuits for dinner often, but sometimes like to add fruit and enjoy them as a breakfast treat. The hubs enjoys them with coffee, I like them with tea. Either way, eat them warm out of the oven, for breakfast, or in my case, as a tasty afternoon snack.

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Blueberry-Lemon Drop Biscuits 

yields 8 biscuits 

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cold butter

3/4 – 1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries

zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. I like to use my fingers so that I can make sure the butter is well blended. If your butter isn’t blended well, the consistency of the biscuits will fall flat.

Mix in your lemon zest before slowly mixing in your milk. Use only 3/4 a cup for a dryer biscuit, or a full cup if you prefer a slightly moister biscuit. Gently fold in your blueberries.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons into 8 mounds on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until set and lightly brown. Sprinkle each mound with a pinch of sugar (preferably coarse or raw), and cool on a wire rack.

Lemon-Rosemary Butter Cookies

Dessert, Food, Food Photography, Photography, Recipes, Uncategorized

The weather was unseasonably cool here last week. With highs only reaching 80 and nightly lows dropping into the 50’s, the weather had me craving winter squashes and toasty drinks. As much as I love the fall, and as happy as I was about the weather, I was feeling a bit cheated. It has been two years since I’ve had access to a grill, and as most of our meals in Europe were either bread and cheese or pasta, I’ve not yet fully satisfied my summer palate.

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But, like any good August in the South, the temperatures are rising and things are starting to feel a bit more normal around here. The heat has cured my want for pumpkin and I’ve returned to craving all things summer. Feeling inspired by the simple syrups featured in my previous post, I decided to tinker with a favorite orange butter cookie recipe of mine. Substituting the orange with lemon, and throwing in a pinch of rosemary to spice things up, resulted in a cookie that’s about as summer as you can get.

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Using simple syrup in lieu of citrus juice gives these cookies a bit of added freshness, while a pinch of fresh rosemary gives them a nice earthy bite. If rosemary isn’t your thing, you can simply leave it out. I wouldn’t recommend it though. Even my skeptical husband came back for more. If I can make that guy love a cookie with green stuff in it, I think you will be alright. This recipe does make an awfully tasty lemon cookie, but do me a favor and try it with the rosemary at least just once.

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Lemon-Rosemary Butter Cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

zest of 2 small lemons

2 tsp minced rosemary, fresh

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp rosemary simple syrup

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat over to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar; beat until creamy and well blended.

Beat in egg yolk, lemon zest, rosemary, and vanilla. Gradually add in flour, beating at a low speed until well combined.

Roll cookies into 1 inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake cookies for 10 minutes.

Allow your cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for about 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack placed over a piece of foil.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and simple syrup until smooth.

Once your cookies have cooled, dip each cookie into frosting until well coated. Place on cooling rack to harden. About 5 minutes. Once your cookies have hardened, add a second coat of frosting if desired.

Recipe yields about 1 dozen cookies.

Herb-Infused Simple Syrup

Culture, Food, Food Photography, Photography, Recipes, Uncategorized

There’s a lot that I love about being back in the South. The people are friendlier, for one, and I don’t always feel so rushed to get things done.  People move a bit slower around here, which often annoys me, but it’s a nice change of pace.

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I went to the post office the other day, and actually had a nice time. I usually can’t stand going to the post office. The lines are long, the service is slow, and the people are rude. Though I usually avoid it like the plague, I was dissatisfied with my mom’s selection of stamps. They were American flags, and just wouldn’t work for the beautiful, yet overpriced, stationery that I had just bought. I spent half an hour artistically addressing the envelopes. I wasn’t about to ruin their appeal by using American flag stamps.

I won’t bore you with the details of my trip to the post office, but I will say this; there was no line, the clerk was eager to show me her selection of “pretty stamps,” and there was an old man there, the grandfatherly type, who so sweetly asked to pet my dog. It was a nice change from the slow moving lines and cranky clerk that I am used to seeing at our neighborhood Boston post office.

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You must be thinking by now that my life has turned pretty mundane since we moved back to Arkansas if all I have to talk about it a trip to the post office. Though slightly true, that’s not totally the case. I tell you that story to tell you this, people are indeed a bit friendlier in the South. Not everywhere you go, but in these parts, most of the time it is true.

Besides riveting trips to the post office, our time has been spent filling out job applications, eating our favorite foods, and in the company of good friends. Our stuff hasn’t made it here from Boston, so we are still living as backpackers out of the bags that we carried on our backs for one month straight. If living out of that backpack has taught me anything at all, it is this; I have way too much stuff, and can, and should be, living way more minimally that I am. “Simplify, simplify, simplify,” as Henry David Thoreau would say it. And that’s just what I plan to do.

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Another thing that I love about being home is our access to fresh produce. Just last night we had some beautiful and heavenly tasting squash that came from the local farm stand, and every night this week we’ve had something from my mother’s garden. It’s wonderful to be able to walk out the back door and shop, so to speak, for items for that night’s dinner.

There’s an abundance of tomatoes, herbs, and greens. Always more than enough. Our only problem now, is what to do with it all. There’s no way that we eat it all before it goes bad. I have plans to pickle the cucumbers, and will likely freeze, and dry some of the herbs. Pesto is on the menu for next week, and I have a long list of other ideas floating around in my head.

I am not sure that I’ve ever tried an herb-infused simple syrup until today, so I don’t know what made me decide to make one. A bounty of fresh herbs and some funky recipe ideas, I suppose. Whatever the case, I am glad that I did. I couldn’t decide on just one herb, so I decided to make three. One with basil, another with rosemary, and the last with lemon mint. I have some wonderful recipe ideas for each, one of which will make an appearance here soon, and likely a few more if they turn out half as tasty as I expect them to.

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Herb-Infused Simple Syrup

1 loosely packed cup of herbs, or about 5 sprigs if using Rosemary or Thyme

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

Combine water, sugar, and herbs in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer.

Once sugar has  dissolved, remove saucepan from heat and allow syrup to cool.

Once syrup has cooled completely, pour through a fine sieve into a jar or resealable container.

What’s your favorite way to use up leftover herbs?

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Boston, Food, Food Photography, Photography, Recipes, Uncategorized

I think it’s safe to say that spring really has made it to Boston. There were a few weeks there where I thought winter was gone for good, only to wake up the next day to 40 degree weather. I’ve been dressing awkwardly these past few weeks, unsure as to what the weather would do, and have consumed an eclectic menu, not knowing whether a hearty soup or a crisp, spring salad would be more appropriate.

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I’m not quite used to this weather, where it isn’t really consistently warm until mid-May. In Arkansas, you’re lucky to get spring weather. There’s usually a mix of snow and nice weather in March, rain in April, and then summer is in full swing by the time May rolls around. Besides for this year, when it was 80 degrees one day, and snowing the next. I think my hometown saw more snow this month than they did all winter long. What’s up, mother nature?

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It’s warm in Boston today. Really warm, actually. It’s one of those days where nothing suits you but a dress, and if you have a grill, that’s where you will be cooking your dinner. There’s no place for us to grill at our apartment, unfortunately, so I am forced to get creative. We slept with the AC on for this first time last night, and I woke up craving the flavors of spring. I settled on a bowl of granola for breakfast, but insisted on some spring flavors for my post-workout snack.

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This bruschetta could almost be a dessert, really. Add some sugar to the goat cheese and you’ve got yourself a sweet and savory snack. That’s not the route that I took, though, as it wasn’t sweets that I was craving. I coated the berries with some fancy olive oil and vinegar that I picked up this weekend at a local olive oil company. I tried about 20 different flavors, some exotic, some a little less exciting, before finally purchasing a bottle of basil olive oil and strawberry balsamic vinegar. I originally felt a little boring by my choice, but am not regretting it one bit after making this dish.

My snack ended up turning into a meal, as I couldn’t stop at just one piece. The hubs and I ended up devouring most of the batch for a nice spring lunch. I had intended to serve it as an appetizer with tonight’s dinner, but it doesn’t look like that will be happening. Whoops…!

Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

2 cups strawberries, washed and diced

4 oz goat cheese

10-12 slices french bread

1.5 tsp strawberry balsamic vinegar (plain will work fine if you can’t find any strawberry)

2.5 tsp basil olive oil (plain olive oil will also be fine here)

.5 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbs olive oil

10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 sprig of thyme, optional

splash of lime juice

sprinkle of sea salt

Mix strawberries, strawberry balsamic vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and 1.5 teaspoons of basil olive oil together in a medium bowl. Add a splash of lime juice, a sprinkle of sea salt, basil, and a bit of thyme, if that’s your thing. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add your bread, toasting lightly for 2-3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, mix together goat cheese and 1 teaspoon of basil olive oil in a small bowl. Add another sprinkle of sea salt, if you desire.

Once your bread has finished toasting, spread with goat cheese and top with a heaping spoonful of strawberry mixture.

Serve as an appetizer, a side, or if you get too excited, eat it as a meal like me!

Semi-Homemade Donuts

Boston, Dessert, Food, Food Photography, Photography, Recipes, Uncategorized

I’ve had a hard time writing this week. It’s not that I haven’t had things to write about, it’s that I haven’t been sure how to transition from my last post. My writing is typically pretty light and happy, but because of recent events, things have been a bit heavier here at The Daily Doss.

New updates are still developing, but for the most part, things have pretty much returned to normal around here. Businesses are reopening, and the memorial is continuously growing. And to make things even better, Spring has finally made it to Boston. The trees are budding and flowers are blooming. Farmer’s markets are set to open next week, and our calendar is already full with Spring events. It was a long winter. I am glad that it’s finally over.

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Before the bombings took place, I had intentions to share pictures and stories about our day watching the race. Living right on the marathon route, we made a repeat of last year and hosted our second annual Boston Marathon watch party. Friends showed up early on Monday morning eager to cheer on the racers. We sipped on mimosas and snacked on homemade donuts and alcoholic fruit (fruit injected with alcohol- best. idea. ever.). We were all having a great time. Happy and in good spirits, oblivious as to what the day would later bring.

So, in light of the good times that were had on Marathon Monday, I thought I’d transition back into happier topics by sharing a recipe. A recipe that we delighted in the morning of the race. A recipe that only few of us got to try as it was too good to leave any for the others.

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I saw a recipe on Pinterest once for homemade donuts made with biscuit dough. Brilliant, I thought. I couldn’t wait to give it a try. Well, to my disappointment, it was one of those false links that led to a dead end. No donut recipe for me. Well, it wasn’t hard to figure out, really. All a donut is is fried dough with a hole in the middle.

I’m typically one who enjoys making things completely from scratch, if I can. Biscuits are no exception. I’ve made homemade biscuits a handful of times. Well, because I wasn’t sure how crazy things would be on the morning of the race, and because Whole Foods sells delicious biscuit dough, I thought I would save myself heaps of time and use this little short cut. No shame. These donuts are just too good for that.

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Semi-Homemade Donuts

1 tube or package of ready-to-use biscuit dough

oil

sugar and cinnamon mix

Start off by separating your biscuit dough. Then, using a circle cookie cutter, or some other circular object (I used the lid of a medicine bottle), cut holes in the center of your dough. Set aside.

In a cast iron skillet or other heavy frying pan, add about 1 inch of frying oil. I used shortening as it was all I had on hand, but I am anxious to give these a try using coconut oil.

Heat your oil over medium heat until temperature reaches around 350-365 degrees. Be careful not to overheat your oil. Ideally, using an oil thermometer is best, but you can get by without one (I did). If you don’t know how to tell when your oil is ready without a thermometer, there are several good resources on the web. The wooden spoon technique listed here is a good one.

Once your oil has reached the appropriate temperature, in batches, carefully place your dough in the oil. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown, and then carefully flip, cooking 1-2 minutes more. Be careful not to overcook your dough. These will brown quickly, so don’t let your attention wander.

Once golden brown, with tongs, remove your donuts and place them on a cooling rack placed over paper towels. Once your donuts have cooled slightly, toss them in your cinnamon and sugar mixture, one or two at a time. I used a Ziploc bag for easy cleanup.

Recipe produces eight donuts and eight donut holes. Eat them fresh, or save them for later if you have the willpower. But really, what’s better than a donut fresh from the fryer?

 

On the Menu

Food, Recipes

Spring is coming. I can feel it. The days are growing longer, the weather a bit warmer. The birds are chirping their happy song, and the flowers are starting to peak out from the Earth. After a cold and white winter, I welcome the color and warmth of spring. My palate is craving fresh herbs, spring fruits, and anything and everything grilled. It’s still a little too chilly for that, but I’ll greet it gladly when it comes.

As excited as I am for the flavors of spring, I am having a tough time letting go of the hearty, warm flavors of winter. Stews, squashes, and roasts have been good to us this year. I favorited several new recipes and created a few of my own along the way. After an abundance of sunshine last week, I thought that winter was behind us for good. Although, as the forecast is calling for 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow night, I guess that my thoughts were wrong. I welcome one last snowfall for the season and a bit more time to squeeze in a few of my favorite winter meals.

Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Irish lamb stew served with a crispy, sourdough baguette

Wild rice gratin with kale, caramelized onions, and baby Swiss

Pancetta, white bean, and Swiss chard pot pies

Sweet potato and kale hash topped with fried eggs

This fallen chocolate cake

And for tonight? Reuben sandwiches served with hearty stouts, vegetable soup, and Gangs of New York, of course.

What’s on your menu?

Happy Fall!

Food

It’s that time of year again, folks. The days are shorter, the weather is crisp, and the leaves are a changin’! Fall is upon us! Just two more days until we’ll officially leave the long, warm days of summer behind us and open our doors to the ever so welcome days of fall. Even though fall doesn’t technically start until Saturday, it entered our apartment the day that the weather dropped below 60 and an acorn squash entered my belly. For weeks now i’ve been enjoying warm soups, fall inspired salads, spiced teas, and airy scarves. Boots and jeans are slowly creeping back into my wardrobe, and we’ve already indulged in a gourd or two. Jacob’s all geared up for his next brew, an Oktoberfest and a Pumpkin Ale, and i’ve already accumulated a nice list of fall inspired dishes to whip up during this delightful season. Here are a few that I plan to make this week in honor of the first official week of fall:

-Butternut squash macaroni and cheese. A delectable dish made up of squash, gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and bacon. What’s not to love?

-Whole wheat linguine doused with a made from scratch roasted garlic, basil tomato sauce. So maybe this isn’t all that fallish. But so what? Spaghetti is good any time of the year.

-To use up that left over squash, how about a shepherd’s pie with ground turkey and veggies, smothered with a whipped butternut squash topping.

– Spinach salad with walnuts, pomegranate seeds, a sliver of goat cheese, a splash of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a dash of s&p. Served up with a hot bowl of tomato and roasted red pepper soup (A favorite from Trader Joe’s. It’s organic, super healthy, delicious, and cheap! All great reasons to justify eating soup from a carton.) and a warm slice of Italian Ciabatta bread.

-And to get away from the flavors of fall a bit, a tortilla and black bean pie, topped with homemade jalapeno, lime salsa.

-What’s fall without some dessert? Here are a few treats  that i’ve been dying to get my hands on! Sweet potato cupcakes with a toasted  marshmallow frosting, ginger beer cheesecake with spent grain crust, and a warmed blackberry cobbler topped with homemade vanilla ice cream. Maybe I ought to spread out the desserts a bit…it’d be very unfortunate for my waistline to make all of these in one week!

Happy fall, y’all!