With fall quickly approaching (if not here in all but date only), Lindsay and I have been looking forward to making good, hearty, stick to your ribs type of meals with all the lovely food we have been able to get at the local farmer's market as well as from our own garden.
As I've gotten older, fall has definitely become my favourite season. I love the crisp smell in the air, the changing colours of the foliage (and now that I'm in Vermont, it's even more beautiful than back home in NB), cuddling close to my lover to keep her warm at night and not to mention being able to wear sweaters and long sleeve shirts again.
Lindsay had a couple of her girlfriends down visiting from Burlington today and we decided to take advantage of that and go all out and make a four course meal featuring all kinds of different local goods. After some searching online, Lindsay found a good inspiration for our fall feast on Vegan Yum Yum. We spent the morning at the Farmer's Market in Montpelier picking up the rest of what we needed to prepare our feast for our guests.
To start, Lindsay made a green salad using mesclan mix and spicy sprouts and a maple vinagrette made from Vermont maple syrup, dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar. It was a nice light start to the meal.
For the second course, I made a roasted squash soup out of three different squashes that we had grown in our (organic) garden at Lindsay's parents house in Waterville. The three varieties of squash we used were acorn, buttercup, spaghetti. We cut each of the squash in half, drizzled olive oild over them, and roasted them in the oven for 45 minutes at 425 F. I started the soup by sautéing a medium sized onion and four large garlic cloves (from a local organic farm at the Rutland, Vt farmers market) until they were tender, being careful not to burn them. At this point I added the squash, fresh thyme, fresh sage and vegetable stock and let the soup simmer for some time allowing the squash to become more tender and the flavours to come together. At this point, I used an immersion blender to puree the soup and then added soy cream (which I made using soy milk, flour and some sugar) as well as Vermont maple syrup. After mixing that in, I seasoned the soup with sea salt and fresh pepper to taste. I made the soup a five or six hours before dinner which allowed the soups flavours to develop even more. I think the mix of the different types of squash gave it a nice flavour that you wouldn't experience if using just one type of squash.
Following Lindsay and I made a variation on Shepherd's pie using lentils rather than ground meat (obviously) or a meat replacement. The base of the meal was sort of a stew made using lentils, peas, veggie stock, fresh sage, fresh thyme, garlic, carrots, and onions (the last three all from the local farmer's market). She used a flour and water slurry to help thicken the stew. We topped the stew off with a couple scoops of whipped yellow potatoes that we had gotten from the farmer at the Rutland Farmer's market the weekend before. It turned out really well and is something we would definitely make again (and I'm really looking forward to eating the leftovers)
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert. And no fall dessert is complete without pumpkin (well, I think so at least!). For our final course, Lindsay had prepared Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from a recipe that she had gotten from Vegan Yum Yum. They turned out better than I ever could have imagined. I think Lindsay was most excited by the fact that she finally got to put our kitchenaid to good use. The flavour for the cookie batter came from the pumpkin puree, molasses, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. She then made a cream cheeze frosting using vegan cream cheeze and icing sugar. Of course being the loving husband that I am, I volunteered to taste test the batter. It reminded me of a molasses cookie but more sweet and rich. The whoopie pies were a great finish to the evening and I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow :)
We have decided to sign up as members of a CSA with Pete's Greens and are looking forward to making the most of all the amazing fall and winter vegetables that we will be getting from them.
13 hours ago