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7 Fall Vegetable Side Dishes

Apples, Spinach, and Sprouts - Oh My!

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As I write this the true beginning of fall is more than two weeks off, and even when it arrives it will be a few more weeks before temperatures really cool and leaves change. But this weekend has been beautiful fall weather. The highs have been between 70 and 73, rain has been steady but not heavily. The world smells fresh and clean with summer's dust cleared from the air. And so my cat and I have spent several hours sitting out on the balcony just enjoying the weather.

Although I'm eating the last of summer's peaches, corn, and tomatoes I'm looking forward to the fall vegetables and fruits and some of my favorite recipes.

Mashed Rutabaga with Maple Syrup and Bourbon

Mashed Rutabaga
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
When I was growing up rutabaga was served at Thanksgiving far more often than sweet potatoes. It's a sweet vegetable (albeit more like a winter squash than sweet potatoes) with a hearty texture. Growing up we usually had them just mashed with butter, but I've gussied up this version and it makes a nice change from ordinary mashed potatoes and from sweet potatoes.

Stewed Apples: Darkly Spicey

Stewed Apples
Copyright 2008 Kevin D Weeks
Is there anything that speaks more to autumn than apples? We enjoy apple pies, crisps, and brown betties for dessert and add apples to braised cabbage. I'm particularly fond of stewed apples, an incredibly easy dish to prepare even when you get fancy as I do here. You could serve these hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert and they're great wrapped in buckwheat crepes with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, but I like them as a side dish.

Pureed Cauliflower: Smooth, Rich, Tangy

Pureed Cauliflower
Copyright 2009 Kevin D Weeks
Cauliflower Puree sounds a bit like a Gerber food product for toothless infants - it's not, by any stretch. Cauliflower is one of the world's most misunderstood vegetables. An afterthought in raw vegetable platters or steamed and drenched in butter, too often the vegetable's essential flavor is ignored. This recipe begins by steaming the cauliflower, but then reduces it to a thick pudding and adds cream and butter, but the tangy goat cheese really kicks it over the top.

Winter Squash with Horseradish

Buttercup Squash
Copyright Kevin D Weeks
The other day at the farmers' market I ran across a variety of winter squash I hadn't seen before - Buttercup. Always willing to try something new and as a long-time squash-lover I bought a small one, which I decided to bake it and mash for supper that night. Although I used buttercup, in fact any hard winter squash such as butternut or hubbard will work.

Braised Red Cabbage: Lightly Sweet and Beautifully Purple

Braised Red Cabbage
Kevin D Weeks
Braised Red Cabbage is a wonderful side dish, particularly with pork. In fact, cooked cabbage in general is a great side dish and cabbage is one of those dishes that cooks well in the microwave. But in this case, use a skillet or saute pan, bake a couple of pork chops or try it with this sausage ragu.

Brussels Sprouts Vinaigrette: Loved by Brussels Sprout Haters

Braised Brussels Sprouts
Kevin D Weeks
Brussels sprouts are terribly misunderstood, mainly because they're often terribly overcooked. But this recipe has won over more sprout-haters than any recipe I've ever served. In fact, I served these at a dinner party and one guest who bragged he'd only eaten one brussels sprout in his entire life ate half a dozen.

10-minute Spinach: Great Greens

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins
Copyright 2011 Kevin D Weeks
This is a common weeknight dish for me - and I usually use frozen spinach because I almost always have a bag in my freezer. (Note, I seldom buy frozen veggies that are already sauced because they don't really save time and you can only eat them as made.) When I have a bit more time I use fresh spinach (or chard or kale), but keep in mind that frozen vegetables are harvested at peak freshness and flash frozen within 8 hours of harvesting - that's fresher than anything you can buy in most supermarkets
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