Temperatures are cooling by the day and the leaves have nearly all fallen onto the sun-warped earth. Here in Boston the selections at the farmer’s markets are not only changing with the colors of the foliage, but they are also becoming slimmer as the harsh winter climate begins tapping at the window. Not unlike the now maroon sodden maple leafs, we naturally start to crave warmer, deeper-hued, and more spice-rich flavors. As inspiration from of cold the autumn months, but also from the market’s offerings, here are two recipes to get your stove cranked up and your insides feeling toasty. Note that both of these recipes, or rather loose instructions, are meant to be more of casual guides than rigid parameters.
Fresh Mint and Ginger Beet salad
Beets are a life-time partner for my taste buds. These sweet red bulbs are so lush, sweet, and savory. I can never get enough, especially in fall when they are at their best. Pairing beets with the fresh ginger root I get from a favorite, local farm vendor spices up these sweet little veggies. The ginger warms your belly as it sooths it too with its natural intestine-calming properties.
Peel and cut beets into bite-sized pieces. Sauté in butter, salt & pepper until fork tender. Make a vinaigrette using a white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, honey, freshly grated ginger root, and salt & pepper. Using greens as your base, add the beets, fresh mint, and drizzle with your vinaigrette.
Polka-Dot Potato Soup
This soup contains minimal ingredients so as to keep your cooking simple, but not bland. Keep leftovers or make extra to have this warming soup all week long.
Peel and chop about six potatoes and five shallots. In your soup pot, sauté shallots in butter, season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes and sauté for about ten more minutes, season again if necessary. Add enough water to just barely cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Puree to desired consistency and stir in a splash of cream.
Pan fry rounds of thinly sliced purple potato for added texture and flavor.