Holiday Harvest

It's the time of year for the comfort of family and food.

Colorful, comforting and creative, this season’s fruits and vegetables add special touches to big holiday feasts as well as everyday family suppers. Here are a few of my favorites, each with a little twist. For a delicious new cranberry idea, find my Autumn Fruit Compote recipe at fwtx.com. 

Glazed Pumpkin
Spice Bread
Yield:
2 regular loaves or 4 - 5 mini loaves (depending on loaf pan size)
Your kitchen will smell divine when you bake up these beautiful loaves. Bake up a few extra loaves, wrap well and freeze for quick holiday gift-giving.

  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1, 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 3 ½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon each, nutmeg, allspice, ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 2/3 cup water

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons milk or enough to make a thin glaze

Preheat oven to 325º. Spray 2 loaf pans with non-stick coating.
In a mixer bowl, beat together sugars, oil, eggs, and pumpkin. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves. Add to pumpkin mixture, alternately with water. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
Bake 80 – 90 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans.
When loaves are almost cool, stir together all glaze ingredients and spread over the tops. The slight warmth of the loaves will help the glaze to spread and soak in.

Braised Red Cabbage
with Goat Cheese
Yield:
6 servings
Goat cheese adds a perfect tangy edge to this slightly sweet cabbage.

  • 1 head red cabbage, chopped or shredded
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese

1. In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, combine cabbage, vinegar, water, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar.
2. Turn heat to low and cook at a slow simmer for 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes, and adding a little extra water if mixture gets dry. Taste cabbage during last 20 minutes and add extra sugar and/or salt if needed.
3. To serve, top with crumbled goat cheese.


Roasted Sweet Potatoes
and Apples

Yield: 6 - 8 servings
A fun, new look for sweet potatoes. The apples make this very kid-friendly.

  • 3 – 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 large apples (any variety except Delicious)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 450º. Spray 2 large baking sheets with non-stick coating.
Cut sweet potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Cut apples into larger pieces (they will shrink when roasted) and add to bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.  Toss well to coat potatoes evenly. Place on prepared baking sheets.
Bake 18 - 20 minutes total. Halfway through baking, remove pans from oven and use a metal spatula to turn potatoes. Return to oven and bake until browned and crisp.


Grapefruit, Fennel and Avocado Salad with Citrus Dressing
Yield:
4 servings
The fresh flavor of this simple dressing is amazing. Drizzled over the beautiful arrangement of natural colors, it’s the perfect touch to a salad that is both pretty and delicious.
Citrus Dressing:

  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced or grated shallot
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad:

  • 2 cups arugula or mixed field greens
  • 2 large grapefruits, closely peeled and segmented
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, thinly sliced

Whisk together all dressing ingredients; cover and refrigerate until time to construct salad or up to 3 days.
Arrange arugula on four salad plates or on a large platter. Top with grapefruit segments, avocado slices, and sliced fennel. Drizzle with Citrus Dressing.