Fall and Holiday Reflection
Fall and the transition to the holidays is for us, a season of nostalgia and memory-making, with its flurries of falling leaves and the call to get cozy again. As the days darken, our Farm Boxes and recipes are an attempt to live our lives in accordance with the natural world and to celebrate traditions that bring a grounding calm amidst the feelings of uncertainty of the last few years.
One of our favorite fall traditions is shelling beans from their pods with friends at the table (along with some gossip and wine, of course!) and then Braising them on the stove all afternoon to enjoy on toast with sage pesto for a simple supper.
Winter squash soup is prolific this time of year. For something a little unexpected, Chef Signe infused Thai flavors of coconut, ginger, coriander and lime topped with grilled chicories into a butternut/buttercup squash soup and a bit of a taste of Italy into a red kuri squash soup which everyone at Kinfood HQ has made several times already.
At the heart of a good soup is a good stock and Signe provided an excellent tutorial on making chicken or veggie stock, which serves as the base for her Cabbage, Carrot, Fennel, and Wild Rice Soup (and wasn’t that the best Wild Rice ever, from Oregon Wild Rice!?). A new fall and winter tradition for us will be making a miso tahini broth featuring Anna Sugiyama’s Yoka Miso for miso tahini ramen bowls.
It’s obligatory to make a batch of veggie fritters at least once during the holidays (in our opinion). This season’s fritters were ultra festive made with a variety of winter roots you probably have tucked away in your fridge including red beets that turned them a gorgeous shade of garnet, topped with vibrant microgreens and a delicious herby yogurt dipping sauce.
Winter Roots You’ll Want To Eat
While fall and winter offer a surprisingly wide variety of seasonal foods, they happen to arrive all around the same time and it's the same selection until spring. Roasted veggies can get real boring, real quick. Thankfully, Signe is a wizard when it comes to sauces and dressings which can truly make all the difference.
A balsamic glaze is a handy recipe to keep in your back pocket in the winter as it can transform a carrot, parsnip, or delicata squash - all great substitutes for the fruit in this Grilled Summer Fruit & Arugula Salad with Walnuts, Goat Cheese, Crispy Shallots, and Balsamic Reduction.
Likewise a Red Pepper Sauce made from dried summer peppers is delicious with roasted veggies or on pasta with your choice of protein. Fall pestos can be used in the same way, swapping the familiar summer pesto ingredients with autumn flavors like this sage pesto or arugula mint pesto (try it with some lamb or stewed beans).
Creamy sauces and dressings are right at home this time of year when we crave a bit more decadence and they also provide a nice balance to bitter greens. Inspired by a dish at Homer Restaurant , this honey pepita cream is a bff to crisp and crunchy kohlrabi and fennel and would be equally delicious on roasted carrots, charred cabbage, a topping for soup, tacos or three bean chili.
At Kinfood, one root we all kinda loath is the beet. However, some of the most interesting and stunning dishes from this season had beets in them so perhaps we’ve all just been eating them the wrong way. Don’t miss Signe’s Roasted & Raw White Sugar Beets with Arugula Mint Pesto and Blue Cheese, the Roasted Squash & Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Pumpkin Seeds & Goat Cheese, or Winter Panzanella with Candy Cane beets and Honey Mustard Dressing.
Seasonal salads are all so different and provide a unique combination of nutrients that we need each season. Springs salads are green, buttery and delicate. Summer salads are juicy and crisp. Fall and Winter salads are a mix of soft, crunchy, bitter and bright.
Most bitter greens are excellent digestion aids and are loaded with vitamins. They’re the perfect thing to eat alongside rich, hearty main dishes (hello, digestion) and when we’re lacking sunshine and vitamin C & D. You really need to make all the aforementioned beet salads but here’s a few more to try or make again:
Radicchio, Apple & Fennel Salad with Ginger & Date Vinaigrette (maybe the "Salad of the Year"? So good!)
Remember the duck eggs from Orange Star Farm from a few months ago!? Ducks are wonderful farm companions (bye bye slugs and bugs) and it’s great for the environment to support a diverse ecosystem. The number of chickens worldwide has more than doubled since 1990 and there’s an estimated 50 billion chickens in the world. Duck eggs take a little getting used to and preparing them in Turkish Eggs is a great place to start. Signe’s Cilbir was such a hit we’ve been spotting it on restaurant menus around town and for good reason, it’s seriously delicious. Make The Most Versatile Breakfast Salad alongside your Turkish eggs for a New Year’s brunch. If you have house guests, Baked Pear Oatmeal is a simple way to feed a crowd (make ahead and reheat) as is the Autumn Fruit Sesame Crumble (no one will know we called it dessert earlier).
Another unique breakfast that we’ve really enjoyed this season is Signe’s Brodo & Egg with Seared Mushrooms, Fried Bread, Sage & Parmesan. It feels nourishing and has all the right stuff for a cold winter’s day.
Fall and Holiday Wine Pairings
This fall, we launched a virtual wine tasting program with the winemakers of our weekly wine pairings. We learned so much about the challenges and opportunities of climate change and wildfires to Oregon winemakers from our chat with Julia of Loop de Loop Wines and her Wallflower Project. All about unique alpine varietals and homesteading wines with Chad Hines of Iraui. We always learn so much after a chat with Chad and Bree Stock of Limited Addition and their mission to diversify the Oregon wine industry and farm worker labor practices by growing a variety of grapes that can thrive in the Willamette climate (there are many). We learned (first hand) about breakfast wine from Lady of the Sunshine herself, and why we might be seeing more co-fermented wine (apples + grapes) and field blends in the future if the climate continues to change faster than grapes can evolve from Dan and Kim of Art + Science Cider.
It’s our hope that the Fall and Holiday Farm Boxes created special moments that you shared with friends and loved ones and that you’ll revisit the recipes and wine producers for many fall seasons to come.
The Kinfood Team