A Taste of Autumn by Krista Dietrich


I’m originally from the Northeast so when I think of fall, I think of the changing leaves, crisp weather, sweaters and warm apple cider. Some years, my Halloween costume was compromised by the long underwear I was forced to put on underneath of it!   Now living in Florida, my autumns are made up of 80 to 90 degree days and palm trees.

Since I miss out on my favorite season, I feel like I have to compensate in some way.  The thought of purchasing my pumpkins from a grocery store won’t cut it.  I grew up on a farm where we grew and picked our own pumpkins.  Every early fall, I make my way out to the farmer’s paradise also know as Plant City (how perfectly named) to pick up a few pumpkins, local produce and a world renowned strawberry milkshake from the famous Strawberry Festival town. 

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The first stop on the itinerary this year was Parksdale Farmer’s Market which takes you back to a more simple time when one man’s passion and hard work over a perfectly grown strawberry has been passed down from generation to generation.  While there, my boyfriend and I picked up pumpkins, local produce and polished off a strawberry and pumpkin milkshake.  We then hit up an interstate off ramp fruit stand to add to our pumpkin collection where we also found a few pretty yellow mums.  Our trip’s final destination was a local winery.  After sipping blueberry and mixed fruit wines, it felt like I was back at up north, enjoying a glass of wine after a day of raking leaves and carving pumpkins. 

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If you drive by my home in the fall, you’ll find witches in the front yard and a few too many pumpkins… you might just be fooled into feeling a cool breeze or seeing a changing leaf or two!

Food truly connects us with special memories.  It allows us to relive them with a dash of this and a stir of that. The Junior League of Tampa’s cookbooks have a fabulous collection of recipes that can be shared for many years to come.  The Giving Thanks Menu in Savor the Seasons has the perfect balance of new twists on old classics.  The Curried Pumpkin Crab Bisque is an enticing alternative to a traditional butternut squash soup.  Sweet Potato Soufflé with Pecan Streusel is the perfect side dish to any holiday dinner and the Apple Cranberry Pie blends two deliciously popular fall and winter fruits together for a sweet finish!  Savor the Seasons and the entire Junior League of Tampa Cookbook Collection can be purchased at http://www.jltampa.org/cookbooks

 Curried Pumpkin Crab Bisque

Savor the Seasons

 A savory blend of traditional fall spices combined with the mouthwatering sweetness of succulent crab.

 1 small onion, finely chopped                         1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin puree

4 garlic cloves, minced                                    4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons curry powder                            2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger                      2 cups fresh lump back-fin crab meat, flaked

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg                             Salt and pepper to taste

½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce                              Cognac (optional)

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted                         Fresh or dried parsley

1 tablespoon cornstarch

  Cook the onion, garlic, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg and Tabasco sauce in the butter in a stockpot until the onion is tender, stirring frequently.  Stir in the cornstarch and cook until thickened.  Add the pumpkin and broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls.  Pour a splash of cognac over each serving.  Sprinkle with parsley. 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings. 

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Fruited Holiday Compote

Savor the Seasons

This recipe is our answer to how to prepare the ubiquitous and ever-popular cranberry for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 1 pound fresh cranberries                                1 teaspoon grated lime zest

¼ cup finely chopped peeled apples               1 teaspoon grated orange zest

¼ cup finely chopped peeled pears                 ¼ cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

     Combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, skimming the foam from the top.  Boil for just under 1 minute.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes or until the cranberries pop, stirring occasionally.  Pour into a serving bowl and cool to room temperature. 

Yield: 10 servingsImage

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