Autumn Dinner

My parents, who are visiting from New Mexico, joined me in picking up this week’s fresh produce from Abbe Hills Farm (near Mt. Vernon, IA).  My friend Sara and I have split a share in this Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm this summer, and we are in the final month of weekly treasure troves.  Today’s haul included a watermelon, 5 winter squash (acorn, butternut and another kind I don’t know), 8 hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, bok choy, a stir fry kit, eggplant, parsley, arugula, collard greens, kale, okra, onions.

After a brief wander in Mt. Vernon, we ate lunch at arguably the most famous restaurant in eastern Iowa: The Lincoln Cafe.  Fresh, organic, local cuisine, a concept imported to Iowa via New York by a talented chef.

Later, while my folks took a late afternoon nap, I walked around my neighborhood and the university campus, enjoying the brisk fall afternoon.  Inspired by the incredibly delicious menu at the Lincoln Cafe, I was determined to make a dinner primarily with items fresh from Abbe Hills Farm.  The result was a meatless menu of truly fresh ingredients:

  • Salad of fresh spinach, arugula, leaf lettuce, red bell pepper and toasted pecans.
  • Roasted spiced acorn squash
  • Baked eggs in tomatoes
  • Garlic bread

I had not tried the squash or egg recipes, but had torn them from the most recent issue of Everyday Foods because they looked delicious to me.  As it turns out, they ARE!  The dinner was warming, filling, and bursting with flavor (my entire meal also came in under 500 calories) – perfect for the cool, crisp evening.

We loaded our food up on plastic cafeteria-style trays (I couldn’t resist them when I saw them on the sale shelf at Target) and ate while watching the Hawkeyes take on the Nittany Lions.  Believe me when I say life rarely gets more comfortable or comforting than that!  Please check the recipes page if you are interested in trying these dishes.

Right now, still pleasantly sated from the meal, I have a pie pumpkin baking in the oven for tomorrow morning’s baked pumpkin oatmeal (another new recipe).  Who knows, if breakfast passes muster, you may find that recipe here as well!

Happy fall eating.