We are in full swing with rainy season in our neck of the woods.  It is hard to believe that November is already here...where do the months slip by?  Well, with fall comes pumpkins, and squashes of all kinds.  Despite the rainy season, I always look forward to creating new squash dishes of any kind.  This gratin was light and flavorful with the added fresh sage - a great side dish to serve alongside any main dish.
(please forgive the picture quality...still learning a new camera!)
1 spaghetti squash - once baked there should be 4 cups worth
2 large leeks
2 Tblsp. fresh chopped sage
1 1/2 Tblsp. butter
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk (we use lactose free)
2 Tblsp. butter
2 minced garlic cloves
3 Tblsp. Sweet Rice flour
2 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs
2  1/2 Tblsp. Parmesan cheese - mix well with the bread crumbs
grated Swiss Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using a large 2 prong fork, poke the spaghetti squash all over.  Place on a roasting pan and bake for 1 hr. turning over half way through.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Once cool, cut in half and using a spoon scrape out the seeds.  Then use a fork to scrape out the squash.  My squash was very moist so I lay it out onto paper towel, then covered it with paper towel pressing down to remove the excess moisture.  Then place into a casserole dish.
Heat up a frying pan on low medium heat.  Add 1 1/2 Tblsp. butter, then add in the sliced leeks and sage.  Saute about 10 minutes until tender.
Add to the spaghetti squash and toss with a fork to combine.
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan on low medium heat.  Add the garlic and saute.  Once fragrant, add the sweet rice flour stirring well for a minute.  Then slowly pour in the milk & chicken stock, whisking well to remove any lumps.  Season with salt and pepper.  Whisk on medium heat quite frequently until the sauce comes to a light simmer and has thickened.  Remove from the heat and add the Parmesan cheese, whisking to incorporate.  Pour the sauce onto the squash/leeks and mix well until evenly combined.
Sprinkle the breadcrumb Parmesan mixture over the top, then add the grated Swiss Gruyere cheese evenly over the breadcrumbs.
Bake for 45 min. - 1  hour and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Last year, I was not aware - or more likely not on "the ball" enough to find out about a local farm that delivered fresh weekly organic vegetables - till December no less.   And the farm is only 8 minutes away from where we live.
The above picture, at least to me, is pure delight, a picture of beauty, a picture that puts a smile on my face.  This is real, as farm fresh, as organic as can possibly be....and it was picked the morning of delivery.  It does not get any better than that.
Our weekly delivery of seasonal vegetables will be ending very soon, so we have been stockpiling the fridge.  Actually, make that 2 refrigerators. Hopefully, we should have enough organic winter vegetables that will see us through to March.  (even by the end of March these vegetables will still taste way better than store bought any day).  Then our weekly Farmer's Market begins again in May...something we very much look forward to.
This winter root mash was so fresh and sweet tasting....I could almost give up mashed potatoes!
1 1/4 cup chopped rutabaga - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped parsnips
3 large garlic cloves
2 small green onions, finely diced
3 Tblsp. butter
1 Tblsp. fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
a good pinch of nutmeg
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Chop all of the vegetables to the same size - about 1/2 inch pieces.  Add the carrots, rutabaga and garlic to a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Cook for 10 minutes, then add in the parsnips.  Cook for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.  Drain well, and return to the stove on minimum heat to remove any excess moisture/water.  Add in the green onions, butter, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper - mash evenly - with a bit of "chunkiness" to the vegetables.  Serve hot along side any main dish.

We received 2 huge bunches of fresh Swiss Chard from our Organic weekly farm delivery, so with one bunch I decided to make up a gratin.  Our temperatures are now dropping to freezing levels, so we will probably  not be seeing any more Swiss Chard until next year.
Most of the chard was green, but there were a few yellow and red chard's in the bunch - such vibrant color, full of goodness.  We also made a new discovery:  Swiss Emmental Cheese.  Normally I would use Swiss Gruyere cheese when making a gratin, but I was not able to get any....then we saw the Swiss Emmental, and I thought lets give it a try.  While I was grating it, I took a taste.  Hmmmm,  I was not too sure about this cheese.  However, in this gratin it was delicious...it gave a sweetness and a richness to the dish that would otherwise not have been there. A great cheese to use in any gratin which we will definitely be using again.
16 Swiss Chard's, remove stem, and cut into 1/2 inch sized pieces, cut the chard leaves into thirds then roughly chop
3 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup roughly chopped crimini mushrooms
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
2 large minced garlic cloves
2 Tblsp. Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
good pinch of nutmeg
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/4 cup cream - we use lactose free
1/4 cup gluten free bread crumbs
1 cup Swiss Emmental Cheese - grated
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan Cheese
Heat up a large frying pan on low medium heat with the EVOO.  Add in the mushrooms, sauteing until their juices have released.  Add in the shallot and garlic, continue to saute for 5 minutes. Add in the chard stems, sauteing for five minutes.
Add in the balsamic vinegar and seasonings mix well, lid on and cook for another 8 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add in the chopped chard leaves and 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
The leaves will reduce in size, keep the lid on and stir occasionally for another 8 minutes.  Remove the lid, continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

Pour in the cream, stirring well.  Add in the Parmesan cheese, mixing through out and remove from the heat.  Transfer to a baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cover with the grated Swiss Emmental cheese, and top with the bread crumbs.  Bake until the top is nice and golden - about 40 minutes.

We have been getting the most lovely organic leeks and carrots from our local farmer's market as well as gorgeous fall/winter squashes.  Such a beautiful time of year when the harvest is coming in, the leaves are turning color - one of my favorite seasons.
Leeks seem to be a much underused vegetable - but one that has such great flavor.  I love using them in soups and stews or stuffing's as well.
3 large leeks, green parts and end cut off
3 medium/large carrots
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 small bay leaf
1 Tblsp. butter
1/4 tsp. dried rubbed Thyme
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
cornstarch to make a slurry (you will not need much)
Cut the carrots in half, then slice on a diagonal.  Lightly steam about 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Cut the greens off of the leeks and the ends (you can save the green parts for soup stock) and slice in half rinse well under cold water to remove and dirt/sand.  Shake off excess water and slice into about 1/2 inch pieces.
Heat up a large skillet, with the butter on low heat.  Add in the leeks and saute about 10 minutes.  Then add in the lightly steamed carrots, chicken stock, bay leaf and seasonings.
Turn down the heat to a low simmer, lid on and simmer about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove lid, (there should not be a whole lot of liquid left just a bit) remove the bay leaf and add the corn starch slurry (just a bit to slightly thicken) stirring well to incorporate.  Check for seasonings and serve hot with any main dish.

Do you love beets?  We have always loved beets in this household.  Back in the day, I used to buy canned Harvard Beets - thinking they were divine.  However, when you look at the ingredients and it says "modified cornstarch", that is definitely a no go in any gluten free household.  In Canada, fortunately all cornstarch is naturally Gluten Free.
In looking on the internet, I found a recipe that I used as a guideline, (keep paging down...it will show up) but then changed it up to add a "Danish" flare using some spices.  So yummmy!  This would be a lovely side dish to any meal, but I am thinking it may become a regular for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
3 cups organic beets diced
1 cup strained beet water
2 Tblsp. Organic Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tblsp. Pure White Vinegar
1 1/2 Tblsp. Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Tblsp. cornstarch
pinch of ground cloves and ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the top green parts off of the beets, leaving about 2 inches.  Scrub really well and place in a pot, whole, to boil.  I used about 8 medium sized beets.  (when cooking on a low steady simmer, lid on, my beets took 1 1/2 hrs. to cook - cooking time will depend on the size of your beets) Once cooked, drain the beet water through a strainer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Allow the beets to cool.  Once cool, peel and dice into 1/2 inch pieces.  In a medium sized pot, add the 1 cup of strained beet water, sugar, spices, salt and pepper, vinegars and cornstarch, whisking well to remove any lumps.
Place on medium low heat, whisking until thickened.  Add the diced beets, mixing well, and adjust for any seasonings.  Turn down to minimum stirring occasionally until ready to serve.

It seems people either love brussel sprouts or they hate them.  I love them, my daughter - not so much.  With this dish there was a sweetness to the sauce and roasting the vegetables brought out more sweetness - yes, she did like brussel sprouts in this dish.  However, she also mentioned, this would be the only way she would eat them, thank you kindly!
If you can not get blood orange (they have a very short season) a tangerine or mandarin orange would work nicely here.
4-5 large carrots, cut into chunks
1 small rutabaga, cut into same size chunks
20 brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
5 fresh Sage leaves
1 bay leaf
4 cups of chicken stock
Blood Orange Thyme Sauce:
zest and juice of 1 blood orange
1 large shallot
2 big Tblsp. butter
2 tsp. fresh Thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Note:  we had this side dish for Christmas dinner.  I used the stock to cook the turkey gizzards, which then was used to make the turkey gravy...so good!  This dish would be lovely with roast beef, pork or chicken - any dish where gravy is served.
Prepare the vegetables.  Add the rutabaga to a good sized pot with the sage leaves, bay leaf, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a good simmer.  Cook for 5 minutes, then add in the carrots and cook for 4 minutes, then add the brussel sprouts and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Drain the liquid and set aside to use for gravy.  Transfer the steamed vegetables to a casserole dish and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add the shallots, salt, fresh cracked pepper and the Thyme.  Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.  Then add the zest and juice of a blood orange, and reduce to half.
Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat.
Transfer to the oven and roast about 30 minutes, tossing half way through the cooking time.
Serve right away with any main dish.

This rice pilaf dish is something I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner...and I don't think even 3 times a day I would get bored eating it!  There was so much going on in this dish in terms of flavor, texture, savory and sweet - delicious.
With all of the wonderful autumn squashes available right now - it is easy to create wonderful savory dishes.  The inspiration for this dish came from our Canadian Living Magazine - for their original recipe please check here. I made quite a few changes to their recipe - so will do a full recap here.
4 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil - divided
3 minced garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
2 large crimini mushrooms, diced
big handful of fresh baby organic spinach leaves - chopped
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
pinch of cinnamon
1  bay leaf
4 cups of organic butternut squash, peeled cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup roasted organic pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup dried organic cranberries - roughly chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro and extra for garnish
3 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the squash, and place onto a baking dish.  Drizzle EVOO just to very lightly coat, season with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Heat up a saute pan on low medium heat with the rest of the olive oil.  Add in the diced mushrooms, sauteing until lightly golden - about 5 min.  Then add in the onion, garlic, bay leaf and season with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute until the onions are translucent.  Then add in the curry powder, pinch of cinnamon and cumin, sauteing until fragrant.  Pour in the one cup of rice and stir to coat for about 2 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock, stirring well, lid on turn heat to medium high.  Once boiling, stir with a fork, lid on and turn down to minimum heat for another 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, heat up a frying pan on low medium heat to lightly toast the pumpkin seeds.  Stir from time to time for about 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted, then set aside.
Remove the lid from the rice pan, and add in the fresh lemon juice, minced cilantro and spinach - stirring well to combine.
Transfer to a platter, and gently mix in the roasted squash, cranberries, top with the roasted pumpkins seeds and cilantro garnish.
(think I will make this again tomorrow - goes well with any fish or meat entree.  Enjoy...we sure did!

This is a new take on Zucchini Cakes.  I love to take an old recipe - change it up and have great results.  I did not use the standard bread crumbs or flour in this recipe.  Instead I used 1/2 cup of toasted sunflower seeds, then ground them up in a food processor - it worked beautifully, and tasted delicious!   The Mayonnaise Pesto (at the end of the post) is a must with these zucchini cakes.
These zucchini cakes are a vegetarian recipe...we just happened to have them with grilled marinated pork chops....but any main dish would be tasty.  By the way, we had 2 leftover the next day...heated up with more pesto mayonnaise and a fried organic egg on top made a most delicious breakfast.  I froze the rest of the zucchini...think I will be making these again soon just so we can have them with eggs.
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (lightly toast on medium heat in a cast iron pan, tossing frequently until lightly golden)
2 Tblsp. grape seed oil
2 cups grated zucchini (squeeze out the excess moisture using a clean dish towel)
1 cup finely shredded and finely chopped cabbage
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. Herbamare Season Salt (or your favorite Gluten Free Season Salt)
fresh cracked pepper
2 eggs
3 big Tblsp. fresh pesto
Once the sunflower seeds are toasted, whiz them up in a food processor until very fine and set aside.  Grate the zucchini and squeeze out the excess moisture using a clean dish towel.  Place into a medium sized bowl.  Add in the finely ground sunflower seeds.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients, mixing well.
Heat up a cast iron pan with the grape seed oil on medium heat.  Make sure the pan is pre heated well.
Dollop the zucchini mixture into the pan, and using the spoon lightly spread out to form a pattie.
Cook about 6 minutes each side until nice and brown.
Serve along side any main dish with dollop of Mayonnaise Pesto.
Mayonnaise Pesto:
3-4 Tblsp. Mayonnaise
1-2 Tblsp. fresh lemon juice or to taste
3 big Tblsp. fresh pesto
Place in a small bowl, mixing well and serve on top of the zucchini cakes.