Fall is our favorite time of year for, well, almost everything: getting dressed, being outside, eating. (Especially eating.) To make the most of this glorious season (and the produce), we've pulled together nine inspiring recipes to help you eat and drink just a little bit better tonight. From soul-nourishing veggie dishes to party-worthy cocktails, everything ahead is tasty, tempting, and just right for the autumn. Here's to being the most on-her-game home cook ever.
Apple Cider Mimosa
1 tsp brown sugar
1 oz bourbon
4 oz Prosecco or other sparkling wine
2 oz fresh apple cider
Combine bourbon and brown sugar in champagne glass, fill with sparkling wine, and top with apple cider.
We never thought we'd get super excited about cauliflower, but JC Gibbs of Cocinerita changed our minds with this recipe for crispy cauliflower fritters. It satisfies your craving for something crunchy and fried - without all the guilt.
1 medium cauliflower
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
Fresh black pepper
Break down the cauliflower florets and cook either by steaming or simmering in water for 5 minutes. Drain the water; while cauliflower is still warm, chop into tiny pieces (or use a food processor). Mix the cauliflower with the spices, garlic, and cilantro.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add to cauliflower mixture along with corn meal, flour, and nutritional yeast. Heat a pan with 2 tbs of coconut oil and add three to four fritters at a time (depending on the size of your pan). Cook until golden brown on each side.
The brave souls behind The Bitten Word, Zach and Clay, tackled a Martha Stewart Living recipe for braised Spanish-style chicken. Their test-driven version is definitely on the top of our to-cook list.
Braised Spanish-style Chicken
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
6 marinated piquillo peppers, cut into strips (about 2/3 cup)
1/2 cup green olives
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with salt and paprika. Heat an ovenproof 12-inch skillet or shallow braising pan over medium-high heat. Swirl in oil. Working in two batches, add chicken to pan and cook until well browned, about two minutes on each side, adding more oil as needed. Transfer chicken as it is browned to a plate.
Reduce heat to low and stir in garlic, then tomato paste, scraping up browned bits in pan with a wooden spoon. Return chicken to skillet, increase heat to high, and pour in vinegar. Boil, stirring, until reduced to a glaze.
Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Add peppers and olives. Transfer to oven and braise until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast (do not touch bone) reaches 160 degrees and liquid is reduced by half, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
Fabric Paper Glue's Mandy Pellegrin recently relocated to Nashville from D.C., but that hasn't stopped us from following her ultra-creative blog. We love how she recreated the Columbia Room's Red Snapper (basically, a Bloody Mary using gin instead of vodka) with fresh-squeezed-and-strained tomato juice.
2 oz freshly squeezed and strained tomato juice
1 1/2 oz gin
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of pepper
Shake ingredients together in a shaker full of ice. Strain into a chimney glass over ice. Garnish as you like.
Mmm, soup. Is there anything as comforting and nourishing on a cold day? Rivka of Not Derby Pie shared her recipe for agrio, a tangy meatball soup that gets its trademark kick from (a lot of) fresh lime juice.
Mexican Meatball Soup
2 lbs ground beef
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole head of celery, stalks and leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cups baby potatoes, halved fingerlings, or diced Yukon golds
4 cups beef or vegetable broth
1 large bunch parsley (at least 3 cups, packed)
1 cup lime juice (8-10 limes)
1 bunch spearmint, leaves only
Form the beef into meatballs the size of quarters. Add the oil to a large soup pot and set over medium-high heat. Add meatballs in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook meatballs for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottom side is brown, then flip and cook an additional 2 minutes on the second side. Remove finished meatballs to a plate.
When all meatballs have been cooked and set aside, you should have a nice layer of olive oil mixed with beef drippings. Add celery, garlic, and onion to the pot, turn the heat to medium, and sweat the vegetables until they start to soften but have not browned. Add the broth and potatoes to the pot, along with all but a handful of the parsley and 4 cups of water. Turn the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, then add the meatballs back into the soup. Cook an additional 10 minutes, until potatoes are fully cooked.
We can never resist a one-pot meal, especially when it makes the most of seasonal flavors. Julie Wampler of Table for Two whips up this satisfying dish of roasted veggies, sausage, and orzo in just 20 minutes, because she roasts the zucchini, squash, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and mushrooms ahead of time.
Roasted Vegetables and Andouille Orzo
3 cups of roasted vegetables
2 cups orzo pasta
2 3/4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 andouille sausage links, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp pepper, more to taste
In a large, heavy stockpot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and sauté garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the andouille sausage and cook until the outsides are brown, about 5 minutes. Add the orzo to the pot, stir around to toast it a little bit, then add in the vegetable or chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down to medium-low, cover, and let orzo cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The orzo should absorb all the liquid by the end of the cooking process and be a nice, creamy consistency. At this point, remove the pot from the heat, add the salt and pepper, then add the roasted vegetables. Toss to incorporate everything together. Serve warm.
Blogger Julie of Julip Made got the inspiration for her blackberry-ginger shrub Old Fashioned from a cocktail offering at Range. To DIY your own drink, take advantage of any lingering fresh blackberries to make the shrub, then mix it with bourbon and angostura bitters.
Blackberry-Ginger Shrub Old Fashioned
2 oz bourbon whiskey
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 oz blackberry ginger shrub
Blackberry for garnish
For the blackberry-ginger shrub:
4 cups fresh blackberries
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
To make the blackberry-ginger shrub, mix the fresh blackberries, ginger, and sugar in a large bowl. Mash with a spoon to release the juice. Let sit for a day in the refrigerator. Strain the solids and press lightly on the fruits to expel any remaining juice. Mix the juice with the vinegar and whisk to combine. Place the mixture in a mason jar to store. If sugar and vinegar separate, shake well to combine.
For the Old Fashioned, add the bitters and shrub to the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass and stir with a bar spoon. Add ice to the glass. Top with bourbon and a dash of club soda. Garnish with a blackberry.
A photo of melted, perfectly browned mozzarella cheese should be enough to get you hooked on this caprese frittata from Mango & Tomato's Olga Berman. The combination of eggs, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil makes it a perfect dish for brunch, lunch, or dinner.
1-2 tsp olive oil
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper
4 slices fresh mozzarella
4 small tomatoes, sliced
4 fresh basil leaves (plus extra for garnish)
Preheat the broiler. In an oven-safe pan, heat the oil. Whisk the eggs with a splash of milk and season with salt and pepper. Pour into the oil and allow to cook on low heat until the eggs are almost set. Place mozzarella and tomato slices on top of the eggs, and top with basil leaves.
Cucumber Bay Breeze
Juice from 2-3 limes
Tanqueray or Hendricks gin
First, juice the cucumbers. (Or use a food processor and a few splashes of water, then strain through cheesecloth.) Get as much cucumber juice as you can. In a shaker, combine about 1 cup cucumber juice with a few tablespoons lime juice, a few tablespoons simple syrup, and about 1/2 cup of gin. Fill with ice cubes and shake vigorously in a shaker. If you don't have a shaker, use a mason jar.
Pour into cocktail glasses, and top with a splash or two of ginger ale. Garnish with a lime and a cucumber stick.