Harvesting out of my own back yard makes me ridiculously happy. Autumn is especially fun because the pumpkins, apples, bittersweet and rose hips begin to ripen, some of my favorite things, for cooking and also decoration. Yesterday, I picked five varieties of apples from our small orchard to share with friends. What a joy to pick red and yellow delicious, winesap, Rome, transparent and two other kinds I am unable to name. So far, I have made apple sauce, pie, apple spice cake with maple glaze, and Waldorf salad. This weekend–more Waldorf salad, which was a big hit at last Sunday’s family dinner, and apple crisp with ice cream for company-coming Saturday night.
The pumpkins and basket of acorn squash, pears, purple hyacinth bean pods, and branch of orange rose hips [above] are now sitting on a white metal ice cream stool, decorating our front porch for fall. I had the joy of filling boxes with assorted apples for the girls coming to Bible study this evening. When the bittersweet pops and the rose hips turn dark reddish-orange, they will be able to take home bunches of these seasonal botanicals to use in decorations. Oh, the abundance of autumn!
I wanted to share my recipe for Waldorf Salad and acorn squash. They are simple, but satisfying side dishes for autumn.
Blend together equal amounts real mayonnaise and whipped cream. I do not use frozen whipped topping which is oil-based but real whipped cream; the convenient kind from the aerosol can works well. Then fold in diced fresh apple, diced fresh celery, broken walnut pieces, and either raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries. We especially like cranberries. Delicious! My family noted the balance of sweet and tart. Use an apple with a bit of a kick, such as winesap or Jonathan. I generally balance the amount of apple with the combined amount of celery, walnuts and dried fruit. I alter the amounts for the number of guests but make it fresh and serve immediately for crispness.
MICROWAVE ACORN SQUASH
To prepare acorn squash quickly, pierce a whole squash 3 or 4 times with a sharp knife. Place in microwave for 5 to 8 minutes until it begins to turn tender and can be cut in two. Remove the seeds and seed pulp. Place the two halves in a casserole dish, cut side up, and fill cavity with butter and brown sugar. Return to microwave and cook another 5 minutes or so until tender. Spoon out flesh with brown sugar sauce. Enjoy the flavor of fall!