Thursday, January 14, 2021

Autumn Cuisine


Farfalle with shrimp and roasted bell pepper drizzled with herb infused olive oil

What a start to the new year it has been! I'm still a bit shaken, shocked but not surprised. Unfortunately, my anxiety has flared up again after I was able to get it under control during the holidays.

Cooking has always calmed me. Cutting up vegetables, measuring out the spices, trying out new recipes, changing old dishes into smething new and exciting helps me to forget everything else for at least a short time. I usually listen to some music while cooking - sometimes it's soothing, calming music, sometimes it's fast and I want to dance - so I'm standing in front of my stove swinging my hips!

Lemon chicken with orzo and leeks

Autumn arrives rather late in my corner of the world and then lingers well into December. The food is changing from the rather light summer fare to heartier dishes.

One of the most wonderful things about fall is the abundance of vegetables available at the farmers market. One of the vendors offers an interesting variety of squash and zucchini, among them the Eight-ball zucchini, a small round zucchini that you can stuff with all kinds of wonderful food and flavor.

Every morning I get the morning briefing of the New York Times in my inbox and it always links to one recipe. Some of them I don't care for, but some I want to try out. We love brussels sprouts and when the NYT published a tasty sounding recipe I had to make it. It is easy to make, only has a few ingredients (I skipped the honey because I just don't like it), is wonderfully delicious and quickly became a favorite in our household.

Crisp gnocchi with brussels sprouts and brown butter

Of course Thanksgiving is in autumn. That was a different story this year. Not only was it the first Thanksgiving without our daughter, we also couldn't celebrate with our friends. Usually we go to a friend's house and celebrate with her and her huge family. This Thanksgiving was a lot quieter and since we don't really like turkey we skipped on that as well. I wasn't in the mood for cooking an elaborate meal anyway. Luckily, Trader Joe's saved the day with their tasty beef en croute and sweet potato gnocchi in sage butter. I just had to thaw the beef for 24 hours, throw it in the oven and make the gnocchi in the pan. Easy peasy - and surprisingly delicious. Beef it up (excuse the pun) with a bottle of really good red wine and you have a lovely Thanksgiving dinner.

There are a couple more pasta and meat dishes I at least want to mention here without getting into more detail:

Creamy spinach and mushroom tortellini with caramelized onions

Sausage and peppers pasta with broccoli

Loaded Italian sausage

Balsamic chicken with mushrooms and couscous

One kind of food I shouldn't forget - soup. Now I am not very good at making delicious soups; good soup can be quite time intensive to make. We often have soup on the days that I am at work (either that or leftovers) and usually it's store-bought soup that I spruce up a little bit. Trader Joe's has an organic tomato and roasted red bell pepper soup (that is also low sodium) that by itself is very tasty. Here is how I change it a little bit: I stir minced ginger into sour cream and drizzle pumpkin seeds with good olive oil. Then I spoon a big dollop of the ginger sour cream in the soup and top it with the pumpkin seeds. It is a very satisfying meal.

What's for dessert? you might ask. Simple - fresh pineapple guavas from the garden. They also make a great snack.

I hope you enjoyed this culinary post. If there is a dish or two that you are interested in the recipe, let me know. It will become a future post.


Iris Flavia said...

In know what you mean. Luckily no anxiety (jobs aren´t available, it will come back then), but I cooked and baked my head off. And now I can´t no more cause the freezer is full to the brim, how sad!!
Hmmm would try most of yours, too, but especially interesting is the fresh pineapple guavas and from the garden, too!

Glad I´m full from leftovers, otherwise I´d really get hungry ;-)

Susan Kane said...

I loved each photo! And its deliciousness!

Pineapple guavas?

Magic Love Crow said...

Girl, you are lucky I just had dinner! LOL! All of these look so yummy! Seriously! I would like to know the lemon chicken with orzo and leeks recipe, also the creamy spinach and mushroom tortellini with caramelized onions. Actually any of these recipes, I would like to know! Big Hugs Carola! Please take care of yourself!!!

windrock studio said...

So very happy to have a chance to enjoy your post! Just like you, I'm cooking and listening to music so this is a perfect time to see some new recipes, they all look so good especially the chicken balsamic. Please let me know, when you have the time, how to fix that one.

And hang in there, keep taking care and eating good stuff and swinging your hips ... things will get better.

Red Rose Alley said...

Oh Carola, you are such a great cook. Everything looks delicious. The zucchini looks so good. My dad grew zucchini in his garden, and he would always bring some in for my mom to cook that night. My mouth is watering looking at the loaded Italian sausage, and the balsamic chicken looks amazing. I am wondering if you were ever a chef, as you make many wonderful meals.

I hope the new year is being kind to you. : )


Jeanie said...

I want to have dinner at your house! It all looks so delicious and healthy,too. I love the nut recipes but many times I don’t have the right ingredients and not going to the store! I miss TJ soups. They’ve very good and a nice thing to have in the house. I see several here that I might have to look up again. Have a great weekend!

Friko said...

Hi Carola
good dinner ideas again, some that I can eat (little or nor dairy ) I’ve loved cooking when we were two but not I find that I always make bigger portions than I can eat and some foods just don’t freeze well.

I have been terribly anxious and stressed for weeks, since long before Christmas and I am trying to teach myself to relax. It is hard to escape from the world as it is.

Barb said...

I love reading your food posts though they always make me hungry!I like the image of you swaying at the stove, listening to music.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks, Carla, for this post and the accompanying photos. I liked that the various pasta dishes were done without the use of red sauce, which I do enjoy using by "doctoring" up crushed tomatoes, but olive oil is a big favorite in our home too. I can see myself doing the farfelle with shrimp and roasted peppers or the pasta with sausage.

Magdalena said...

Liebe Carola, das sieht alles sehr lecker aus. Ich bekomme gerade Hunger. Ich glaube, einiges davon werde ich mal ausprobieren.

Lowcarb team member said...

Your food looks so tasty :)

All the best Jan