This past Monday, I found myself cuddled around a wood stove, watching scary movies with friends for Halloween. As it turned out, we had an impromptu dinner party. I amended my original menu for the addition of a few guests. We were all extremely pleased with how it turned out! Seasonal, nutritious, hearty and gluten free, one guest commented that it hits your soul! (In a good way!) Enjoy!
POTATO LEEK SOUP
Heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and add 1 onion, chopped, 1 large leek, sliced, and 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Cook, stirring frequently about 10 minutes. Add in small cubes of potatoes (I used 2 red skinned, 2 yukon, and 1 large sweet) and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add in 2 cups vegetable broth, and seasonings (I used 2 tbl thyme, 1 tbl oregano, 1tsp black pepper, 1 tsp chipotle powder, 1 tsp sea salt, and 1 tsp cumin powder) and stir. Cover, and cook at a low boil/high simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in 1 cup half and half, stir to incorporate, and blend about 3/4 of the soup in a blender until smooth. Return soup to pot and add in small torn up pieces of 3 kale leafs. Cook for about 5-10 more minutes and season to taste.
MESCLUN SALAD WITH PLUM AND PEPITAS
Toss about 3/4 mesclun mix and 1/4 arugula in a large salad bowl. Add 1-2 plums chopped into small cubes and cherry tomatoes cut in quarters. Toss with a few handfuls of pepitas (pumkin seeds) and a drizzle of Killer Maple Mustard Cider Vinaigrette.
HONEY MAPLE ROASTED PEARS
4-5 bosq pears cored and quartered
1 cup local honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups pineapple juice
1 tsp fresh grated ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg
splash of balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pears skin up in a pyrex or ceramic baking dish. Mix liquids and spices together and pour evenly over the pears. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for 10 more minutes. Carefully pour off the liquid into a small pot and cook over med/high heat for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half and caramelized slightly.
Serve pears with a drizzle of the reduced liquid and vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or brie/goat cheese/other creamy mild cheese. YUM!