Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bountiful Fall Harvest

The Nashville Farmer's Market is where we do the bulk of our food shopping these days.  Why?  First, we support local growers and appreciate their effort and the quality of food they provide us.  We want to know that will continue, so we give them our money in exchange for their excellent products.  Secondly, it is always an adventure.  There is always something new to see or explore.  Third, it means there will be some recipe forthcoming to make our dining experience worth the effort.

I thought I would show you some of the fall products available at the market right now and then share a recipe I made using butternut squash.  Did I take a picture of the butternut squash or the stand where I purchased it?  No, I forgot.  Silly me.  But, I did capture the beauty of the fall mums and pumpkins.  You can even see the state capital in the corner of one picture.  The Farmer's Market is not far from downtown.  It is quite large, has a wonderful variety of fresh produce and locally grown meat - beef, pork, chicken and lamb which is grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free.   There is  also a food court offering a wide variety of international cuisines.  The Jamaican restaurant, Jamaican Way, has been featured on Diner's, Drive Ins and Dives on the Food Network.  It's worth a trip just to enjoy some of the food.  There is also a large Indian market that offers a huge variety of spices and products.  And, there is a really nice nursery offering all sort of flowers, shrubs and lawn decorations.  I can spend a lot of time checking out all the beautiful flowers and I usually come home with something lovely.

Here are just some of the fall pumpkins available.  It is so hard to pick out just a couple to bring home when they are all so beautiful and interesting.
I love the way the sunlight plays on the pumpkins in these pictures.

If you look to the center of this picture, you can see the Tennessee state capital sitting grandly upon the hill.  It is quite a distance from the Farmer's Market but looks lovely on this sunny day.

This poor pumpkin looks like he needs to see the dermatologist.  There are so many interesting varieties of pumpkins and gourds - some quite beautiful, others quite prehistoric looking.  Isn't nature amazing?
Don't you love the leaning towers of pumpkins?  How cute would these be decorated on your front porch?  Or, you could just stack them like this.  They are so interesting and varied.  I could spend hours  looking at all the varieties.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures from the Farmer's Market.  Just thought I'd share them with you.  We had a lovely afternoon there with our "besties" while they were visiting.

My BFF Tonya loves butternut squash, so I purchased some while we were at the market.  I will tell you it is NOT easy to peel, but hopefully this will help you.  Butternut squash has a very hard "shell" like pumpkin.  It can be split and baked, but it had to be peeled for this recipe.  Hopefully, this will make it a little easier for you.  Using a chef's knife, I cut off the top and bottom ends.  The squash has a thick neck and a round bottom with a definite separation between the two.  Cut between the neck and the round bottom.  Next, peel the neck with a sharp knife or heavy-duty vegetable peeler, then peel the round bottom.  Cut the bottom in half and remove the seeds and pith.  Cut the neck in half.  Lay the cut sides down and cut long strips and then cut crosswise so that you have about 1 to 2 inches squares.  Do the same the with round bottom pieces.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray.  I used two squash for this recipe to serve 8 to 10 people.  Lightly salt and pepper the squash and place it in the casserole dish.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, then drizzle with honey.  I used about two handsful of brown sugar and crumbled it over the squash.  Next, I took about 3 big sprigs of fresh rosemary and stripped the needles from the stems and minced it.  Sprinkle the rosemary over the squash.  You can used dried rosemary if you do not have fresh. ( Let me say, I am going to miss my herb garden terribly this winter.  I think I may have to put some of my favorite herbs in pots and keep them in a sunny window in our sun room.)   Place the casserole in the oven at 350 and cook until the squash is soft.  It is really delicious and makes a wonderful fall side dish.  Next time, I am going to try this same recipe with sweet potatoes because I think it would be just as good and sweet potatoes are a whole lot easier to peel!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures and that you will try this really delicious recipe now that the days are cooler and there are definite signs that winter is on the way.  I will miss all the summer and fall beauty of the farmer's market and all the fabulous summer produce, but we will continue to shop there all through the winter trying whatever local things are available.  Am I looking forward to cold weather?  Not at all!  But, it's part of living isn't it?  Now, it's time to start sewing on all those Halloween costumes I have to make.  Catch you later.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

“Living up to an image that you have of yourself or that other people have of you is inauthentic living.”
― Eckhart Tolle,

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