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Autumn Opener: Warming Meal for Fall

20 J00000010UTC 2011

Fall is my favorite. Despite the fact that I’m a Spring baby, despite the fact that my favorite color is new-leaf-green, despite the fact that it is the harbinger of winter– fall is my favorite. I think it’s because I grew up in a land of no fall, where the humidity and heat of summer lingered on till Christmas and the leaves didn’t shed till February when the new blossoms pushed them off. Now that I get to enjoy fall, I really enjoy it.

Part of my autumn-love is about the food it brings. The warming spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and chiles; the sweet fruits like apples and pears; the last of the kale and spinach; and, of course, squash. Squash everything till your eyes pop out and belly explodes.


Here are the two recipes from our first fall meal, eaten two nights ago, with the heater purring and a movie going. The chowder is our family favorite, adapted from a free Williams Sonoma booklet I picked up at their pretty little store eons ago called “A well-planned Thanksgiving.” The dessert (kind of a rarity around here because, well, it’s hard to get motivated) I made up, but it’s inspired by Elana Amsterdam, a fascinating cook and baker whose innovative recipes you can find at


Butternut Squash Chowder (adapted from Williams Sonoma)


4 bacon slices, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (I warn against using turkey bacon!)

1 yellow onion, diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp chopped fresh sage OR 1/2 tsp sage powder

4 tsp sea salt

2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

2 large russet OR 4 medium Yukon gold OR 6-8 small red potatoes (only peel russets), cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 c white wine (if you don’t have this, be sure to sub in 1/4-1/2 cup of some other liquid, even water)

4 c low sodium chicken broth (this is 1 box. I prefer Imagine or Pacific brand.)

1 c filtered water

4 c (32 oz) butternut squash puree (this is 1 large butternut squash baked at 400 for about an hour, then scooped out and pureed in food processor or blender)

1/2 c canned, full-fat coconut milk (use organic heavy cream or full fat yogurt if you like!)

In a large Dutch oven (or stock pot) over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until crispy, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. // Add onion, celery, bay leaf, sage, salt, and pepper to bacon grease. Cook, stirring occasionally, till veggies are soft, anywhere from 6-12 minutes. // Stir in potato cubes, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. // Add the wine and simmer, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, for 1-2 minutes. // Add the broth and water and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer till the potatoes are done. Make sure the potatoes are done! // Add the butternut squash puree and bacon and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk or cream and adjust salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. // Garnish with a sage leaf. // *Note: If you are preparing this ahead of time, do everything except the coconut milk/cream. When you are ready to serve/eat, heat the soup back up, then add the milk/cream.


Autumn Crumble by krisliane

Still Life with Apples and Pear by Paul Gauguin


4 pears, any variety, peels on, cored and thinly sliced

2 apples, any variety, peels on, cored and thinly sliced

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon, or more to taste

Put these all in a bowl and stir to coat the fruit. Arrange in a 9×13 baking dish. I ‘grease’ my baking sheets and dishes with a small chunk of cold coconut oil.

1/4 c coconut oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Melt these together.

3/4 c almond meal

1/2 c walnuts or pecans, chopped

1/3 c finely shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Combine these together in a second bowl and squish with your (clean) hands until it begins to clump together in little pea-sized balls. If you have trouble with clumping, add a little more coconut oil. Crumble this mixture over the fruit. // Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or till bubbly. // I serve with vanilla bean coconut-based ice cream on top. You do whatever you want– just enjoy!


I’d love to hear if you make either or both of these recipes, how you alter them to suit your needs, and whether or not it all works.




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