Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall eating

The crisp, cool mornings and shorter evenings are a sure sign of autumn. And so are the beautiful piles of pumpkins, sweet potatoes and winter squash that are beginning to appear in farmer's markets all across North Carolina.

In my house, cooler weather means more cooking, now that it's finally okay to turn the oven on again after a few long hot summer months of melon slices and tomato sandwiches. The garden is leafy and green again, with little chard, kale and lettuce plants soaking up the warm, sunny afternoons. And soon it will be time for boxes of shiny apples, especially my very favorite, Honey Crisp.

If you thought the end of summer meant the end of fresh fruits and veggies from the farmer's market, think again! Many markets stay open right up to Thanksgiving, and some even longer. You may not have known that there was such a thing, but some farms are now offering winter CSA shares to keep you in vegetable heaven all through the cooler months. Check the CSA listings at Growing Small Farms to find one near you.

To get you dreaming of fall culinary delights, here is a recipe for Baked Winter Squash from Toxic Free NC's farmer's market recipe archive:

Baked Winter Squash
by Susan Spalt

- Any kind of winter squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash, etc)
- Butter
- Worcestershire sauce
- Brown sugar
- Grated cheddar cheese

Cut squash in half. Wrap in foil and bake at 350 until tender. Remove from foil. Carefully scoop out squash, saving the skins. Combine squash with 1/2 tsp. butter, about a tsp. Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 tsp. brown sugar. Place back in skins. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.

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