Fall is by far my favorite time of year – I love the leaves changing, the cool weather, and most of all the food. While the leaves haven’t quite changed yet, we have still been finding lots of ways to enjoy the beautiful weather. Thinking about fall food, we decided to have some friends over for a fall cookout. When we prepare food for others, my goal is to make dairy and soy free food that is not “obviously” prepared around our dietary restrictions. I don’t even want people to realize that we are avoiding certain foods when they eat what we make. Here is the fall menu that we chose:
Mulled Apple Cider
Fall Vegetable Skewers
Hot German Potato Salad
A variety of sausages from a local place that we love (http://maialecuredmeats.com/)
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Spice Icing
Mulled Apple Cider:
My husband really took this one over. He searched the internet and picked components of several cider recipes and this is what he came-up with:
– ¾ Gallon Apple Cider (unsweetened)
– ¼ cup brown sugar
– 3 cinnamon sticks
– 20 whole cloves
– ½ an apple, sliced
– 3 slices of an orange, with peel
– 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
– 2 tsp allspice
He combined everything in the crock pot and heated it on low for about 4 hours before our friends arrived. Once everyone got to the house, we strained out the large pieces, turned it down to low and people went back for more throughout the afternoon. We thought we might tweak it after we tasted it, but the only thing we wanted to change is that we wished we had made more!
Fall Vegetable Skewers:
We made skewers with red onion, bell pepper (straight from the garden), apples, and butternut squash. We brushed them with a little olive oil and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and crushed rosemary, and threw them on the grill. The seasoning was great, and I especially loved the apples, which was something we had never done before. The only problem is that the squash did not cook as much as everything else and was still pretty crunchy. I was worried that would happen, but the trusty internet told us it was okay to grill the pieces raw. I think next time we will try to blanch the pieces for a few minutes before we put them on the skewers. All in all it was a great fall side, though.
Hot German Potato Salad:
My dad was the first one to introduce me to Hot German Potato Salad. This is not your typical potato salad – there is no mayonnaise for one thing, and it is served hot. But most importantly, it is made with bacon, so you know it has to be good. We searched a recipe a few months back (here is the one that we use). We have made this a few times, and it is always a hit. We like to cube the potatoes instead of slice them, and you want them to be cooked to the point that they are still a little firm when poked with a fork. This time we overcooked the potatoes a little so we ended up with Hot German Mashed Potatoes instead of potato salad, but it was still delicious.
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Spice Icing:
We got a pumpkin a few weeks ago with no real plan for it, and I thought pumpkin cupcakes would be a yummy treat after our fall meal. The recipe I tried was okay, and the cupcakes were pretty much devoured, but I think it needs some tweaking. I am going to try again, and I’ll post the recipe when I get it right!
For icing I generally start with palm oil shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, and then I tweak and add flavors for whatever I am working with. This time I added pumpkin pie spice until it tasted right to me. I would like to work on this recipe some more, too.
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and the food was a perfect way to start the fall off right. I am already thinking about other fall foods we didn’t have today that I can’t wait to make!