Saturday, October 30, 2010

Autumn Delights - Halloween Cake

With Autumn in full force and Halloween coming tomorrow, I'm in the mood for seasonal foods and I bet you and yours are too.... at least if you live here in the northern climates.  There's just something about the weather that makes us crave different food than we were hungry for all summer long.  My menu changes pretty seasonally.  I close up the grill and do most of my cooking in the house, although I'll admit to doing an occasional steak or even a turkey outside.  But you'll not find me out waving to my neighbor as we cook in the snow... that's not for me!
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I hope your fall and winter menu includes turkey.  I know it does for Thanksgiving, but I mean having it more than once a year.  With just the two of us for most meals, I often get a turkey breast and roast it in the oven.  The aroma is fantastic and when you cook just a bone-in breast, you have the opportunity to cook it to the perfect temperature.  I like to use a dry salt rub for 24 hours in the fridge, but even if I don't do that I do let it air dry for a day uncovered in the refrigerator.  I butter and season the skin and cook it on a roasting rack so I get a great crispy skin with tender, juicy white meat. Use a meat thermometer to determine when it's done and ready to come out and rest for 15 minutes.  Using an electric knife to carve it ensures every portion has a nice piece of the flavorful skin still attached (I use that same carving method with a whole turkey on Thanksgiving.)

Of course I like a pulled pork shoulder roast (also called a picnic ham with the skin removed) or a roasted pork tenderloin, cooked and served with braised red cabbage and potatoes.  The squashes are also wonderful (butternut or acorn) with these fall meals, as are baked apples.  If you are fond of sauerkraut with your meals, slice an apple and grate a carrot and add to the sauerkraut.  Roast it with the pork or turkey breast, and you'll have the consummate Autumn meal.  And don't forget to try some braised red cabbage with a pork dinner.

Of course, if you are so inspired, you can also do a fancy Halloween cake.  I  have a pumpkin pan I used to make this one.  It's great to bring to work for the company Halloween party or to serve as the center piece for your children's party in your home.  And who doesn't love devil's food cake!  Or if you want a baked fruit dessert, how about traditional apple crisp, with some caramel pieces thrown into the crunchy topping? 

Whatever you are making, I'm sure your family is looking forward to it as we move into the chilly months.  And make sure to include lots of soups, stews and chili in your fall and winter menus!  I think we need to talk all about chili very soon.  Don't you?

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