Autumn Splendor Recipes

As we officially greet the start of fall here this week, the color-rich produce coming in from the gardens is as bright and beautiful as those first turning leaves. Featuring such favorites as Italian eggplant, broccolini, fennel and Little Gem lettuce, as well as lingering summer highlights like yellow peaches, blueberries and heirloom tomatoes, this fall-fresh lineup is also accented by pillowy focaccia bread, farm-fresh eggs, peppery edible flowers and cheery mini bouquets. Enjoy!

Here are a few recipe ideas for the week:

Roasted Ratatouille Toasts
A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Beet, Carrot & Pomegranate Salad
This colorful salad is perfect for fall and beyond.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Roasted Sweet Onions
Roasted sweet onion adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this refreshing salad.

Grilled Fennel
A wonderful side for roasted chicken or steak.

Smoky Summer Pepper & Eggplant Salsa
This smoky salsa is a wonderful boost for burgers, sausages and more.

Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Method:
1 heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, some sliced in half, others left whole
½ eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini or summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 sweet pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
⅓ cup olive oil
2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 loaf rustic bread or focaccia, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
½ cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta or fresh ricotta
½ cup basil, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, toss the tomatoes, eggplant, squash or zucchini, pepper, onion and garlic with red pepper flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the tomatoes have released their juices. Stir the vegetables halfway through cooking, and then toss again once they have been removed from the oven.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and increase the temperatures to a broil. Lightly brush each slice of bread or focaccia with olive oil. Place them on the upper rack of the oven and toast until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes.

3. Top each toast with a generous portion of the ratatouille mixture, and then add a little crumbled feta or dollop of ricotta on each. Garnish with the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Feta with Honey

A kick of honey lends a sweet touch to the salty cheese; serve with grilled bread crostini!

Ingredients:
1 8-ounce block sheep’s milk feta, blotted dry with a paper towel
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Fresh ground pepper
Grilled bread crostini

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the feta in a small baking dish and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Bake until the cheese is soft to the touch, but not melted, about 8 minutes.

2. Remove the feta from the oven and preheat the broiler. Drizzle the honey over the cheese, and then return to the oven and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubble, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and season generously with pepper. Serve immediately with the grilled bread crostini.

Marching Towards Spring Recipes

From the valiant and vivid purple crocuses peeping out of the soil to the first of the spring crops, the month of March is giving us some most welcome glimpses of the changing seasons. Thus, this week’s box is full of such winter favorites as beets, Kakai hulless squash and parsnips, while including the tender pea shoots, baby carrots, green onions and leeks that nod to the approaching spring. Rounding out this bright lineup, you’ll also find farm-fresh eggs, Pain au Levain bread, a silky, smooth Washington red wine, graham crackers in fun animal shapes and a beautiful hunk of farmstead cheddar cheese from Duvall’s own Cherry Valley Dairy. Enjoy!

Here are a few recipe ideas for the week:

Crispy Parsnip Chips
These lightly-salted baked chips are a wonderful afternoon snack.

Roasted Golden Beet & Carrot Dip
This beautiful spread is delicious with crostini or pita crisps!

Beet, Carrot & Pomegranate Salad
This colorful salad is sure to brighten up your table!

Balsamic-Glazed Root Vegetables
An herb-packed marinade infuses fresh flavor into late fall staples like carrots, squash and parsnips.

Buttery Braised Leeks
Accented with just a squeeze of lemon, these sublime leeks are a worthy side dish.

Honey-Glazed Baby Carrots
The inherent sweetness of fresh baby carrots is further enhanced in this glazed side dish from local chef John Sundstrom’s Lark: Cooking Against the Grain.

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