Autumn feasting

Autumn has definitely arrived in Vancouver. The day after we got back from Galiano last week both Rocco and I noticed that suddenly the city was experiencing Fall. A nip in the air, multicoloured leaves, that soft but crisp light that filters through red and orange and yellow leaves... it's gorgeous around here lately.

This kind of weather makes me want to cook! Last week we had a mid-week extravaganza with barley pilaf, sauteed swiss chard (thanks, mom!), Tuscan white beans with sage, baked portobellas with oregano and mozarella - oo la la. Visiting the farmer's market yesterday inspired me to cook another blow out. Tonight we've invited friends over to help us eat zucchini and heirloom tomato casserole (again, my mom's recipe), roasted sunburst squash with sage, lentil loaf, boiled new potatoes with parsley butter, and Rocco's cooking some organic mustard chicken for the carnivores. Sunburst squash are so super cute (see pic). They're about 1.5 to 2" across and are soft enough that you eat the rind, like zucchini. I chopped them into quarters and tossed the chunks with olive oil and dried sage. Roast for about a half hour and they're good to go. Here are the directions for the remaining dishes we're devouring tonight.

1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1 tsp each chopped fresh (or ½ tsp each dried) oregano and basil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
3 medium zucchini
2 large or 3 medium tomatoes
¼ cup butter or margarine
2 to 3 tbsp finely chopped onion
½ cup dry breadcrumbs

Combine cheddar, Parmesan, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper. Thinly slice zucchini and tomatoes. Butter or spray an 8 x 8 or 9 x 12 pan.

Arrange half the zucchini slices in the pan and sprinkle with ¼ of the cheese mixture. Add half the tomatoes and sprinkle with another ¼ of the cheese mixture. Repeat with zucchini, cheese, tomatoes, ending with cheese.

In small skillet, melt butter and sauté onions until translucent but not browned. Add crumbs and stir well. Spread evenly over top of casserole.

Cover loosely with foil and bake at 375 for 30 mins. Uncover and bake for 20-25 mins longer, or until top is crusty and veggies are tender. The idea is to dry up any liquid during cooking.

Parsley butter
1 cup (packed) coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons (packed) grated lemon peel
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

Finely chop parsley, lemon peel, and garlic in processor. Add butter and process until well blended. Season parsley butter to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)

Boil potatoes in just enough salted water to cover. Drain when potatoes are just tender (~25 or 30 minutes), then toss with a few tablespoons of parsley butter.

Lentil Loaf (made up by Me as an amalgamation of online recipes viewed)
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
4 Tbsp quick oats
2 Tbsp Heinz chili sauce (like ketchup)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp marjoram
dash of salt and pepper
1/4 vegetable broth
1/4 cup Heinz chili sauce

Sauté shallots in oil over medium heat until translucent. In a mixing bowl, lightly mash lentils then add oats, 2 Tbsp chili sauce, eggs, and spices. Mix well. Add shallots and broth and mix. Pack into a greased loaf pan then spread 1/4 cup chili sauce over the top. Bake in 375 C oven for 1 hour.

There were virtually no leftovers! Tonight we'll just have the few remaining potatoes, another piece of mustard chicken for himself, some tofu for myself, with salad and steamed broccoli. I don't think I have the autumn cooking bug out of my system yet though, so there may be some good soup this week, and maybe lasagna next week. Have to take advantage of the harvest season!


  1. Which farmers market did you hit? I keep meaning to get to one, either at Trout Lake or the Wednesday afternoon one at Nat Bailey, but I can't quite seem to make it happen.

  2. Anne, Milena and I went to the Trout Lake market on Saturday. I think it was the first time I was at the market this year! Like you, I always have good intentions but rarely actually get there. There's only a couple weeks left until they close for winter.

  3. Anonymous3:37 p.m.

    Wow - Fall? It's 32 degrees here "out east" - seriously.