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Fall harvest inspires fresh ideas for home cooked meals

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Chelsea JenkinsBy Chelsea Jenkins – Collegiate Staff

The air is getting crisp, and the leaves are turning beautiful colors in between. The season is changing, and that’s not the only thing.

One of my favorite times of the year is fall, perfect sweatshirt weather, with the ability to be active outside and not have to worry about dying of heat exhaustion. Michigan’s beauty really shines in Autumn. Summer has flowers, but Michigan’s fall has vegetables and apples.

One of my favorite activities is to wake up early and enjoy a walk through Heritage Hill ending at the Fulton Street Farmers Market. In the buzzing crowd you see many veteran market shoppers, and many people taking in the market experience for the first time. It is a nice activity supporting the local community.

The appeal of the farmers market is obvious. Fresher produce, cheaper prices, and the support of local farmers. At the farmers market there is access to interesting strains of vegetables you wouldn’t see at a traditional grocery store.

Greens, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and apples. These are the flavors I dream of all summer, so when fall comes you better believe I stock up big time at the market!

At the market you can find brussels for $2 to $5 a stalk. When bought that way, it creates an opportunity to be more a part of the food process, by snapping off each brussel.

It’s fun, as well as a great deal.

Brussels can be just as savory as they are sweet. For a sweet flavor add cinnamon and honey, and for a savory flavor add sea salt, pepper, and roasted garlic.

My personal favorite way to serve brussel sprouts is to roast them.

Getting close to the holiday season I keep in mind that Thanksgiving and “Friendsgiving” is just around the corner when I’m stocking up my kitchen.

I love being able to put in an extra ingredient; or making the classics in a new way, to put a spin on favorite fall-time dishes.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

First, I take my freshly picked Brussels, and cut them in half.

Taking the halves, I lather them in coconut oil. Olive oil also works well.

Peeling the head of garlic, I pick individual cloves.

Laying them flat on the cutting board to release the garlic flavor, use the flat side of a knife with your hand in a fist to pound the knife, with the clove underneath to crush the clove while keeping it intact.

Using my favorite red onions from the farmers market, I cut the onion into slender pieces.

I prepare a seasoning with fresh ground sea salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper.

In a glass dish I place the brussels, red onion and garlic then sprinkle the seasoning over it all.

I cook it at 350 degrees until the outer leaves start to look golden.

This is a great dish to eat alone, or when I’m feeling indulgent and want some carb-y comfort food, I cook some penne or bowtie pasta. I lay the roasted brussels, onion and garlic on top add some balsamic vinaigrette, and olive oil, fresh parmesan and you have a delicious veggie pasta dish.