Fall worked out just FINE

So about that dinner…

YUM.

It took a good part of the morning, but oh it was SO worth it!

For the kale, I took half a HUGE yellow onion and diced it up, and added four huge cloves of garlic which I smashed slightly. I had my dutch oven on the stove, and put the onions and garlic in some bacon grease, a good teaspoon of red pepper flakes, and let them sweat out a bit. I then added the ham hocks and a good bit of organic chicken stock. I popped the whole thing in a 300 degree oven and let it all work together until the ham hocks were tender and the meat fell off the bone. I washed the kale in cold water, removed the tough stems and chopped it all into bite sized pieces. I am not a huge fan of my kale all going dark and yucky looking, so I took the time to saute it in batches, getting it bright green before adding it to the ham hock meat and flavored broth. Once it was all combined, I put it back in the oven (covered) along with a healthy (and I do mean healthy) slug of apple cider vinegar. It hung out there until the kale was tender (about an hour or so), and then I added one more bit of vinegar at the end. The kale really needed the acid and once it was all done, WOW. I could have made a meal of just kale alone … and I probably WILL for a lunchtime this week.

I rounded out the menu with those sugar dumpling squash, ham with cabbage, apple, and carrot, and some white beans. That is what fall eating is all about.

The squash couldn’t be easier. Whack them in half, scoop out the seeds and put them in a baking pan, cut sides up. Add about an inch of water in the pan, and into a 350 degree oven until tender. While still warm, I put a pat of butter in the cavity and then drizzled the whole thing with maple syrup. I finished it off with freshly grated nutmeg. Simply beautiful! Not as sweet as a sweet potato, but not at all starchy or bland…. especially with some freshly ground sea salt. I had four whole ones, and we ate only half of them, so I am sure these sweet darlings will see time in my lunch box this week too.

I’ll give you my cabbage and beans recipes tomorrow, but for tonight, it’s time to hit the hay… Hope your weekend was full of fall flavor.

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It’s all about Fall, y’all…

Saturday marketing has changed slightly now that the fall weather has really set in. Today’s haul included kale, apples, bacon, cheese, onions, broccoli, and salad mix.

I am already planning a full day of cooking tomorrow. I may end up putting BOTH crock pots to work since I have a craving for the kale, and I have a head of cabbage I want to get cooked up. I also have sweet dumpling squash that are so beautiful I’m not sure I want to cook them! Look at these pretty things:

It looks like a decoration, not something you’d eat. I hear they taste like sweet potatoes, so they should go beautifully with kale and ham.

Also, the apples…oh the apples! It’s that time of year and I have butternut squash in the freezer. I have been lusting for Ina Garten’s recipe for butternut squash and apple soup which you can find here. Definitely on the menu for sometime later this week.

We got carving pumpkins for Mads and the Boy… and also two sugar pumpkins that I’ll roast and put into the freezer. Those babies will make excellent pumpkin mousse/custard on Thanksgiving day. Or maybe, just maybe, pumpkin brulee? I can’t eat pie crust anyway, but I LOVE pumpkin pie. This may be just the ticket and will give me the chance to use the brulee torch my Spouse got me earlier this year.

Fall… my favorite season, and my favorite inspiration for all kinds of cooking. Warm spices, rich greens, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, and my slow cooker. What’s not to love?

OH and got word today that TUESDAY we pick up our pork. So at some point before then, I need to make sure I get the freezers re-organized to be able to fit it all in. Guess if I’m going to get it all done, I’d better get SOME sleep. Goodnight all!