home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes

Seasonal eating

By Angie Sutton


There is an intrinsic relationship between consumer consumption and the seasons. The obvious ones are turkey and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and cookies and confections at Christmas. We consumers relate these rituals to good memories of holidays previous and enjoyable moments. Marketing folks capitalize on our obsessions with seasonal in-the-moment consumption patterns.

The concept is actually much bigger, and while you likely never gave it much thought before reading this, you probably already do it as it’s common sense. During the winter months, we tend to eat a bit more because our bodies burn more fat to keep warm. In the summer months we like to eat lighter because well, frankly, we get miserable if we eat too much in scorching heat. Fresh fruit abounds in the summer, and the price is attractive. In the winter months we crave food that warms our bodies like soup. Sound familiar in your kitchen?

The much-studied concept of consumer consumption patterns and seasonality beyond this basic common sense home kitchen menu is quite fascinating. Take for instance, the big-name coffee shops and their timely roll out of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins and the like. They describe the pumpkin latte in detail with creamy milk for delicious taste and texture, real pumpkin pie spices atop whipped cream, and hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. They sell it as amazing ingredients that make it a beloved fall favorite.

Just reading the description conjures a deep-seated emotion of warmth and comfort. You envision a warm sweater and the contented feeling you will experience as you sip this frothy brew and laugh with a close friend. Marketing folks know this about you. They know me well. Heck, throw in a handful of chocolate chips and this gal is walking out with a choco-chip-pumpkin-peanut-butter-slathered scone too!

Toss the studies aside. Dismiss the marketing ploys that we know dupe us regularly. Admit it. We like the food related to the fall season. We love our slow cookers and our stock pots. We drag out our pie tins and bread loaf pans. We use it as an excuse to bake and to put whipped topping on just about everything. Enjoy a few family memory-making moments with these recipes. Oh, and just know you’re being studied the next time you buy a seasonal latte.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 medium yellow onion, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. bacon fat, melted
3 c. chicken stock
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. smoked sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. smoked hot paprika

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss squash and onion with fat, salt and pepper. Spread in single layer on rimmed baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Roast until vegetables are fork tender and caramelized on edges, about 45 minutes. Add roasted vegetables and enough stock to puree to blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and add additional stock to desired consistency. Add sage, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Reheat over low heat on stove top. Serve with crusty bread.

Beef Pot Pie Soup

1 box refrigerated pie crusts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 lb. beef stew meat
3 Tbsp. butter
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced small
1 c. beef broth
2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 pkg. brown gravy mix
1 c. shredded white cheddar cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley

Let pie crusts warm to room temperature and unroll and cut into 1-inch wide strips. Toss on a baking sheet and bake at 450 F for 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and set aside. In a large pot, heat olive oil and beef stew meat over medium high heat. Cook until browned, about 5 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove meat from pan. In the same pot, add butter, onion, celery and potato. Cook about 3 to 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and gravy mix until no clumps. Add to pot, with the broth, red pepper, salt, pepper and the beef. Cover and turn heat to medium. Cook until potato is soft, about 15 minutes. When ready to serve, stir in the shredded cheddar and parsley. Garnish with pie crust strips.

White Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding

12 slices of thick-sliced bread
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. milk
2 eggs, beaten
3 egg yolks, beaten

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. toasted pecans, chopped

Cut bread into cubes, spread on plate and leave uncovered overnight. In a medium saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until simmering. Pour cream into a large mixing bowl and then add white chocolate chips. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar, milk, eggs, egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in bread cubes and let sit 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pecans and pour into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until top is golden and inside is cooked through.

Quick Broccoli-Cheddar Soup with Chicken & Rice

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, diced 1/2-inch each
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika<
6 c. chicken broth or stock
1 c. jasmine rice
1 (14 oz.) bag frozen broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
1 (8 oz.) bag shredded cheddar cheese

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and add chicken. Sprinkle pepper and paprika over the chicken pieces. Toss and cook until chicken is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, cover and bring to a boil. Add rice and broccoli. Cover and cook 10 minutes until rice is tender. Meanwhile, combine butter and flour in a small bowl. Cut together until completely combined. Add to soup mixture and stir. Add cheese, stir and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. Soup will thicken as it sits.

Pumpkin Bread

These make great mini loaf breads or muffins as well.

1 c. canola oil
2 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 c. (15 oz. can) packed pumpkin
2/3 c. water
3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. chopped pecans
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly coat loaf pans (9- by 5-inch) with spray cooking oil. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin and water. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and vanilla. Stir well. Fold in chips and nuts. Pour into loaf pans. Bake 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. If you use smaller or mini loaf pans, adjust time as needed. Cook on wire rack.

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