Full of Fall Food!
2005-10-29 - 7:47 a.m.

A few weeks ago, my mom and I found bottles of Vampire Wine in a NH grocery store. The bottles were fantastic, and we bought one each of merlot and pinot grigiot. Realizing there was no way the two of us would drink the bottles together, we planned a dinner party.

Last night, Gail, Carol, and my Aunt Ruthann and Uncle Bob (my fairy godparents, whom I don't see nearly often enough) joined us for maple ginger pork roast, wild rice with craisins and walnuts, baked winter squash Provencal, steamed broccoli, and seven grain batard.

It was really, really yummy.

The house still smells rather delicious.

Dessert was cider donuts, hermits, and sliced caramel apples, all courtesy of Wilson Farm, also the source of the broccoli, the seven-grain bread, and the cider enjoyed by those who opted out of the wine.

Betsy, Will, and I ventured to the new Arlington Penzeys store yesterday. I came home with parsley, rosemary, thyme (no sage, sorry.), bay leaves, kosher flake salt, chili powder, and seasoned salt. It cost me $17.33. I love having a Penzeys nearby! On the way in, we passed Wilsons and marveled at the haystack creatures in the fields and the giant squash grid against the side of the huge farm stand building. We, of course, stopped on the way home.

I wish I lived closer.

As we approached the building through the parking lot, I looked at Betsy. "I smell...doughnuts," I told her, puzzled. "So do I," she agreed. Just ahead, the mystery was solved. As we pulled a carriage out of the corral, we saw the man behind the doughnut machine, whipping out fresh, hot cider doughnuts and rolling them in cinnamon sugar as fast as he could. The woman at the table next to him sold them almost as quickly as he could make them. We immediately bought three. Even Will ate every bite, a feat usually reserved for glazed munchkins and Shaws chocolate chip cookies. I could have eaten an entire dozen, standing there in the crisp fall air, pulling them hot off the conveyor belt. Thanfully, I refrained.

After a leisurely trip through the outside market, the flower shop and "craft" store ("craft" because I'm fairly certain everything in the place was made in China), and the gigantic "farm stand," complete with bakery, cheese shop, homemade pasta case, imported foods aisle, and more, and after Betsy bought Will a pumpkin with Elmo painted on the side that he absolutely would not let go of, we stopped and bought more doughnuts. Betsy planned to take hers to work that afternoon, while I planned to serve them for dessert.

We got back to the car, and I put Will in his car seat, placing the doughnuts a safe (I thought) distance away from him on the back seat. As Betsy and I put the rest of the bundles in the back of the car, I heard a rustling. Will had strained over the edge of the carseat, grabbed the doughnut bag, and was sitting in the car, bag in one hand, pilfered doughnut in the other, happily munching away! I couldn't blame him. The doughnuts were still warm. The car smelled heavenly.

Maple Ginger Pork Roast

1 boneless pork roast (figure about 1/2 pound per person)
Ground Ginger
Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Place pork roast, fat side up, on rack in roasting pan. Rub entire surface of pork with ginger and parsley. Place in oven and cook, approximately 20 minutes per pound, until internal roast temperature reaches 155 degrees. 20 minutes before removing from oven, baste entire surface with maple syrup.

After removing from oven, tent roast with foil and let rest 15-20 minutes. This will allow the juices in the pork to redistribute and finish the cooking process. Slice to serve.

Baked Winter Squash Provencal

1 large winter squash (butternut is the easiest to work with, but any squash will work).
2 T brown sugar
1 T parsley
3 T flour
salt and pepper to taste
vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 325. Peel squash, discard seeds, and cut into 1" cubes (this is the hardest part of the recipe). In a large bowl, toss the squash with the brown sugar and parsley. Add salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle flour over squash and toss to coat.

Use vegetable oil to coat a 9" x 13" baking pan liberally. Place squash in pan, spreading into an even layer. Bake in 325 degree oven for two hours.

The long, slow process of baking the sqaush brings out its flavor, and the dish looks beautiful and offers a good juxtaposition between the slightly crispy, slightly chewy top pieces and the silky squash puree below.


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