How to Use Fall Fruits and Vegetables

*Quick, upfront disclaimer: this post is based on produce that is in season across the USA. Sorry if it does not apply to all climates.

With the autumnal equinox upon us, it’s time to celebrate one of the best parts of fall: the food! In addition to the obvious favorites like pumpkins, butternut squash, and apples, autumn offers an array of other fruits and vegetables that can be used to make great healthy dishes or indulgent desserts. Given the purpose of our organization and the fact that there are plenty of recipe guides to seasonal produce out there (such as these for October and November), this post is going to focus on making the most of your purchases. That means finding a use for parts of fruits and vegetables that are typically disregarded and/or creatively using up produce once it’s no longer fresh.

fall-applesauceApples: Apples are best kept in the pantry.

Don’t toss apple peels: crispy chips, apple peel tea, or apple cider vinegar

If apples are getting old: applesauce, apple cider, or apple crisp

Beets: Store beets by chopping off the leaves and storing each in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator.

Eat beet leaves within 2-3 days: frittata, pesto, or just saute similarly to kale or collard greens

If beets are starting to go soft, try: pizza crust, hummus, or chocolate cake

Broccoli and Cauliflower: These vegetables are very similar and should be stored in sealed plastic bags in the fridge.

Don’t throw out leaves: roast, smoothie, as a raw salad base, or try the beet green recipes

fall-grapesGrapes: Grapes should be stored in the fridge. Alternatively, they can be easily frozen to serve as ice cubes that will chill wine without diluting it.

If grapes are starting to go soft, try: grape pie, grape gazpacho, or grape vinaigrette

Parsnips: Treat parsnips like carrots – store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Use the whole parsnip, peel and all: honey parsnip bread, roasted with onions, or baked fries

Pears (Bosc and Comice): Ripen pears at room temperature, store in fridge once ripe.

Treat pear peels like apple peels.

If pears are going soft: pear crème pâtissière, pear butter, or spinach-pear soup

Pumpkins and winter squash: Store these fall-centric gourds in a pantry. Butternut and kabocha squashes should be peeled, but the skin is edible on other varieties.

Roast your seeds: cocoa, rosemary-sage, or sweet and spicy (or use them raw in muffins, granola, bread, etc.)

How to make pumpkin puree, which can be frozen.


Have a flavorful fall!


Midweek Delicacy Time: Sage Bean Spread with Tomatoes Bruschetta

Bean Spread with Tomatoes CrostiniUsing what is at hand can spark the greatest creativity. The beautiful country bread I had from the previous post  and the last of summer tomatoes inspired this weeks delicious appetizer/mid-day snack.

I love a good bruschetta or crostini. Older breads are good to use for this recipe. Be sure to adjust toasting time. For older dryer bread take off 2-2.5 minutes. The olive oil will give the toast a nice light browning. You can vary the toppings using cheese as a spread and cucumbers. Have fun mixing it up.

Happy eating friends!


IngredientsBean Spread with Tomatoes Crostini

Serves 6-8

1 loaf country Bread, about 12 by 5 inches, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces, ends discarded (reserve to use in other recipe)
2 pounds ripe Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (15 ounces) Cannellini or Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup Good Olive Oil, divided
2 tbsp Good Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic (about 1 clove), minced
2 tbsp Red Onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh Sage, julienned
3 tbsp fresh Basil, julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1.  Up to an hour before serving, combine onion, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.Bean Spread with Tomatoes Crostini
  3. In a medium bowl place the beans, sage, 1/3 cup olive oil, and lightly salt. Mash with potato masher until smooth and well blended. Salt and pepper to taste.Bean Spread with Tomatoes Crostini
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350º. Lightly brush the bread slices with remaining olive oil and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.Bean Spread with Tomatoes Crostini
  5. To assemble the bruschetta, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of bean spread. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Serve with extra drizzle of olive oil and basil.Bean Spread with Tomatoes Crostini

Midweek Delicacy Time: Cauliflower, Potato, Cannellini Bean & Cheddar Soup

Pureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar A pureed soup is a great way to use up extra vegetables. I still had the Peruvian potatoes to use up from last week. Adding the cauliflower and beans makes this a very tasty healthy soup. The cheddar cheese gives it a wonderful richness without being to heavy. I topped it off with crisped up sage in butter.

This is a meal you can have ready within 20 minutes. Your kids will love this soup and be none the wiser they’re having veggies. Serve with a nice piece of bread and top with a little extra cheese.

Happy eating friends!


IngredientsPureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar

Serves 6

1 14 oz packet Vegetable Broth or low-sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
1 head Cauliflower (2 pounds), trimmed and chopped
1 lb small Potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 14 oz can Cannellini Beans, rinsed
1 small Onion, cubed
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tsp Sage, finely sliced – divided
3 tbsp Butter, divided
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated


  1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, garlic, and 1/2 the sage; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, but not browned, about 7 minutes.Pureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar
  2. Increase heat to medium-high; add water, stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover and reduce heat to medium low, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.Pureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar
  3. Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.Pureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar
  4. Transfer half the mixture to a blender with half the cheese and puree. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower mixture and cheese.Pureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar
  5. In small frying pan melt 2 tablespoons butter. Fry remaining sage. Once sage is crisped up, serve over soup, about 2 minutes. Pureed Cauliflower, Potato & Cheddar

Midweek Delicacy Time: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mushrooms in Cream

Roasted Brussel Sprouts w/Mushrooms

This dish is an old favorite I used to make at the request of many friends, and clients alike. Roasting the Brussels Sprouts brings out their nutty flavor, which pairs well with the mushrooms. I can’t remember where I saw the original recipe. I only remember it suggesting more woody mushrooms such as chanterelles, which can be very expensive. I have since adapted it to a mix of chanterelles, cremini, and shiitake. The latter two are more readily available at your local grocery store.

If you are buying loose Brussels sprouts, select those that are about 1½ inches long. Quarter Brussels sprouts longer than 2½ inches; don’t cut sprouts shorter than 1 inch.

Happy eating friends!



Serves 6

1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise (5 cups)
5 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Water
Kosher salt
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 lb. Mushroom mix divided 1/4 lb. Cremini, 1/4 lb. Shiitake and 1/4 lb. wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles or hedgehogs, halved if small or cut into 1-inch wedges (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until sprouts are coated. Transfer sprouts to rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down.Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Mushrooms & Cream
  2. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until Brussels sprouts are well browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and set aside.Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Mushrooms & Cream
  3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in an even layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden-brown and tender and the mushroom liquid (if any) has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a plate.Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Mushrooms & Cream
  4. Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 3 to 4 minutes.Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/Mushrooms & Cream
  5. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the Brussels sprouts and cream. Stir in a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and coats the vegetables nicely, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.Roasted Brussel Sprouts w/Mushrooms

Midweek Delicacy Time: Gazpacho


While visiting in Austin, TX I was in need of something cooling but still light enough to be active.  Gazpacho is a wonderful celebration of summer. I went with a traditional Spanish version that uses bread. By adding the bread the soup is creamier and deceptively filling.

The key to a good gazpacho is salting. When it comes to salt most recipes just add season to taste. This includes many of the recipes I have listed here. Yet salt brings out the best in food. In the directions below I have at least an hour for the vegetables to marinate before blending. However, I let the bread and vegetables marinate overnight before blending. This served two purposes; the soup gained a depth of flavor that couldn’t be achieved any other way and most importantly I got to rest.

I wanted to close today with a fun interesting fact about salt. Did you know that salt helps us moderate our body heat keeping us from overheating.

Happy eating friends!



Serves 4-6

3 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe Tomatoes, coredIngredients
1 small Cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium Green Bell Pepper, halved, cored and seeded
1 small Red Onion, peeled and halved
2 medium Garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 small Serrano Chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
2 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1 slice high-quality white Sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons Red Wine vinegar, plus extra for serving (substitute with Balsamic Vinegar)
2 tablespoons finely minced Parsley, Chives, or Basil leaves
Ground black pepper


  1. Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1½ teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into ¼-inch dice; place vegetables in medium size bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with ½ teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.
  3. Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there IMG_1211should be about ¼ cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.
  4. Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in ¼ cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.
  5. Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables
    into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, IMG_1224passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.