As much as I dislike it… fall is upon us. I know, I know, how can anyone not like fall? With the beautiful leaves turning from bright, shiny greens to warm reds and soft oranges. It signifies rich and plentiful times, but to me, it also leads to the coming of winter. The days grow shorter and colder and it’s time to put away capris and t-shirts in favour of jeans and jackets. So I’m not a huge fan. But I’m also the eternal optimist and try to find the good in everything. And to be honest, I can’t really complain this fall as I do not have to brave the Canadian cold. Since my husband and I recently moved to Northern California, my wishes to avoid colder weather have come true.
There are things I miss about Southwestern Ontario (aside from the people of course!), like cheap apples, lots of rhurbarb and the great selection of pears. Persimmons are a new fruit to me and fun to incorporate into dishes, but I kind of miss my pears (which oddly enough I was not a huge fan of until I couldn’t really have them). But I can still find lots of great favourites like brussel sprouts and pomegranates. And I can still do it in shorts and t-shirts =)
I love topping salads with pomegranate seeds, it adds a punch of colour and a great taste. I found everything at the Farmer’s Market and it is 100% local and organic – my kind of salad! I just had mixed greens topped with a spiralized golden beet, some fresh dill and pomegranate seeds. I just put 1 tsp of olive oil mixed with 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar as a dressing. Quick, easy & tasty.
Brussel sprouts are another favourite of mine. Sadly, I never tried them until just a year ago, so I went 29 years without them and am now trying to make up for lost time. I absolutely love roasted brussel sprouts, I cannot get over how good they taste. I thought they were great on their own, but realised they could be put into other dishes.
In the summer I was over at my great friend Sarina’s and she made this utterly fantastic, yet simple dish of chickpeas and rice and one night I mixed this with my roasted brussel sprouts and it has since become one of my favourite things to eat.
Chickpeas, Rice & Roasted Brussel Sprouts
1 cup of rice (soaked 4-8 hours, rinsed & drained) I used short grain, brown rice
1/2 cup dried chickpeas (soaked 12 hours & cooked for 1.5 hours, or 1 can chickpeas)
4 cups brussel sprouts (washed with ends trimmed)
1 vegetable bouillon cube (or 2 cups vegetable broth or water)
2 cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Combine the rice, vegetable bouillon cube with 2 and a half cups of water and cook for approximately 30 minutes. While the rice is cooking, put the brussel sprouts in an oven safe dish with the olive oil and cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. After the first 10 minutes, take out the brussel sprouts and add the garlic and salt & pepper and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes. Once the rice is done cooking, add the chickpeas and stir to combine. When the brussel sprouts are done, try rubbing them with the garlic and then remove the garlic and combine the brussel sprouts with the chickpeas and rice. I love serving this with salad.
If you don’t have brussel sprouts, just cooking the rice in vegetable broth and adding chickpeas is a great dish in itself that even the kids will like. I’m so glad Sarina made this for me. This recipe is not on her site, but she has tons of other great recipes to check out: http://earthgivenkitchen.com/
What are your favourite fall foods?