Autumn is here and I love that soup season is here. This bean soup, simmered low and slow with a smoky ham hock, is definitely on the list of delicious things to serve throughout soup season. If you would like to make your soup a bit creamier, then mash some of the beans with a potato masher or fork against the inside of the pot. You can also scoop out a small portion and run it through a blender and then return back to the pot. If you don’t have navy beans on hand you may certainly other types of beans. Cannellini, baby lima, Great Northern are also good beans to swap out. If you would like to make this a vegetarian soup then replace the ham with a Parmesan cheese rind, replace chicken stock with vegetable stock, and increase the carrots and celery. You may also add additional vegetables like celery root and parsnips.
Sweet potatoes retain more nutrition when cooked with the skin. Simply scrub with a vegetable brush under cool running water before cooking. Available year-round, sweet potatoes reach peak season from late August through November. Choose those with firm, unbroken skin without excessive dents, wrinkling or sprouting. When stored in a cool, dark place like a pantry, sweet potatoes will keep for several weeks.
I like to take advantage of tasty autumn apples by making a healthy salad that consists of kale, Honeycrisp apples, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, and a light homemade dressing. Apart from their appetizing crunch, Honeycrisp apples have a clean and sweet flavor. They are a mixture of sweet and tart that creates a unique and flavorful apple. As an added bonus, Honeycrisp apples have a longer shelf life, if stored properly.
Pork belly comes from the underside of the pig, once the spareribs and loin have been removed. One of the easiest ways to prepare pork belly is to score the fat side and slow cook in the oven. Scoring allows some of the fat to render while keeping the pork tender and juicy.
Blueberry Skillet Cake is a cross between a pancake and Dutch baby and is so easy to make. Slice into wedges and serve warm with lots of maple syrup.
Apples contain a natural starch called pectin. Varieties with more pectin (Pink Lady and Honeycrisp) won’t fall apart when stewed or baked – best for sautés, cakes, and pies. Those with less pectin, like Golden Delicious, will break down more when cooked. Use these for applesauce, muffins, and scones.
Now that autumn is here and apples are in abundance you might want to make this delicious Peanut Butter & Apple Snack Cake. It’s a nice after school or after dinner treat.
These are my all-time favorite autumn breakfast treats. They make a delicious after school snack as well. Golden Delicious work well for this recipe, but you may use any apple that you like.