Seasonal vegetables make for fall favorites

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 20, 2007

When summer turns into fall, seasonal vegetables can be incorporated into almost any dish for the fall season. Following is a list of tips for creating fall favorites, followed by harvest time classics shared by local cooks.

Pumpkin is a versatile squash and can be a main ingredient in dishes from the main course to dessert. Its high water content means pumpkin must be cooked well. The pumpkin yields an intense flavor that is low in fat, salt and cholesterol, and high in fiber, iron, and vitamins A and C.

Pears are also at their peak during the fall. This time of year you&8217;ll find pears have a buttery smooth texture and a sweet aroma that is much harder to come by year round. The choices are many, but the Bosc variety remains a favorite as one of the most versatile with a sweet flavor and firm flesh that holds up to cooking.

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When it comes to meats, many associate autumn with game. However, any hearty roast or lean cut of pork or beef can be a great centerpiece for a celebratory meal. If you&8217;re adventurous, duck is popular choice. If you are more traditional, try serving your family&8217;s favorite meats with fresh fall root vegetables and fruits.

Cranberry Candy

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1 package lemon Jello

1 cup chopped nuts

2 packages orange Jello

1 cup sugar

Mix sauce, dry Jello and sugar. Cook over low heat; bring to boil and cook 2 minutes. Pour into well-buttered pan. Let stand overnight in refrigerator. Cut into squares and roll in powdered sugar.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Demopolis

Harvest Cake

1 can mandarin oranges with juice

1/4 cup raisins

1 pound can whole cranberry sauce

5 Tablespoons oleo

1/2 cup sugar

1 package gingerbread mix

Melt oleo in 8-inch cake pan in 350 degree oven. Mix first three ingredients. Make gingerbread as directed on box. When oleo is melted, sprinkle with sugar; cover with cranberry mixture. Top with gingerbread. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Top with Cool Whip.


Hot Apple Cider Punch

1 gallon unsweetened cider

2 cup or less sugar

Juice of 4 oranges

Juice of 3 or more lemons

4 sticks cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and put into large percolator or simmer in large Dutch oven on top of stove.

St. Stephens Church in Eutaw

Baked Caramel Corn

2 sticks margarine

2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup Karo syrup

6 quart popped corn

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon soda

Pam spray

Melt margarine; stir in sugar, Karo and salt. Boil, stirring constantly, then boil five minutes without stirring. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and soda. Pour over popcorn, mixing well. Bake in two large casserole pans (which have been sprayed with Pam) one hour at 250 degrees. Stir every 15 minutes. Cool; seal airtight.

St. Paul&8217;s Church in Greensboro

Autumn Salad

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon onion juice

1 clove of garlic, crushed

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

mixed greens 9Romaine, Boston, leaf lettuce)

3 scallions, sliced

1 firm pear

3 4-oz. package blue cheese, crumbled

Combine dry mustard, seasoned salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, onion juice and garlic. Let stand one hour; strain. Melt butter in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts plus brown sugar and saute until nuts soften. Remove from heat; cool. Prepare greens and add scallions. When ready to serve, cut up pear. Toss greens, nuts and pear. Top with blue cheese and dressing; toss again lightly.

published in &8220;Cookin&8217; in the Canebrake,&8221; a recipe book published by the Marengo County Historical Society.

Squash Delight Casserole

8-10 medium yellow squash

1 Tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped pecans

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup pimento

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1 stick butter

1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and cut squash into 1-inch slices. Cook squash in hot water until tender, drain water and add half a stick of butter. Beat with mixer for 30 seconds to one minute. Add salt, pepper, sugar, chopped onion, beaten egg, 1/2 cup grated cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, pimentos, chopped green pepper and pecans. Mix well with spoon. Pour into large casserole dish sprayed with Pam. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Top casserole with crackers and 1/2 cup cheese. Dot the remaining half stick of butter on top of crackers and cheese. Return to oven and cook 15-20 more minutes. Serves 8.

published in &8220;Westside School Community Favorites&8221;

Pumpkin and Squash with Cheese

5 small pumpkins, crookneck squash, or zucchini

2 jalapeno peppers

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 tomato, chopped

1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce

Mexican cheese, grated

Cilantro, optional

Lime slices, optional

Cut the squash into small cubes. Cut the peppers in circles across the pepper; use seeds but discard the stem. Fry the squash; add the chopped onion and stir for an additional five minutes. Add the pepper, tomato, tomato sauce and a little water. Last sprinkle with grated cheese. This dish was always served with cilantro and lime slices on the side. You can use a combination or just one kind of squash as long as they are small.

Baked Apples

1/2 gallon canned sliced apples

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup corn syrup

1/4 cup margarine, melted

Mix ingredients. Pour into 13&8221; x 9&8221; pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar

1 cup shortening

3 eggs

2 cups pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, pumpkin and vanilla. Sift flour and spices. Gradually add to other mixture. Grease and flour three coffee cans. Pour batter in cans until half full. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Kelli Wright is the staff writer for The Demopolis Times. She can be reached at