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The Seasonal Fall Dish
Delicious recipes for what's fresh this season

While back-to-school is always an obvious and abrupt transition, the accompanying change of season from summer to fall feels a bit stealthier. What begins as a fairly even balance of warm and cool days slowly turns into a mix skewed towards—and then eventually entirely composed of—cool days. Days with chilly mornings that warm by afternoon gradually give way to days where the chill persists throughout the day. That sweater “just in case of a chill” in the morning or evening gets replaced by a sweater worn all day, maybe even accompanied by a scarf or hat.

The decrease in temperature is met by an increase in the pace of life: bright yellow school buses chug around town; traffic either subsides or returns, depending on the tourist appeal of a location; backpacks come home stuffed with assignments and books; summer hours end at work; and the refreshing, crisp air leads to a spring in the step that seemed impossible just a few short weeks ago.

Whether it is that extra bit of energy or the cooler temperatures (or, perhaps, that overflowing bushel bag of apples sitting on the kitchen floor), the pull towards the kitchen suddenly feels stronger. Whereas just a few weeks ago, the idea of turning on the oven was anathema, now it is downright appealing, especially if it buys a little more time before the inaugural firing up of the furnace (accompanied by the annual crossing of fingers that everything still works after a break over the summer).  

With the oven no longer off limits, the possibilities for cooking and baking stretch out ahead and the dog-eared cookbooks and splattered magazine tear-outs get dusted off as old favorites are added back into the rotation: hearty roasts, warming soups, comforting stews, and, of course, pumpkin everything.

While over the summer, the goal was to avoid heating up the kitchen—an objective summer produce is spectacularly well suited for—now the task is to warm and comfort, as friends and family linger at the dinner table. Conversation continues well into the dark of night, serving as the ideal accompaniment to warm bowls of hearty fare.

Recipes are traded around the fireplace, rather than fire pit, as the relative merits of Cortland versus Macoun apples are discussed from underneath fluffy piles of wool blankets. As the variety of fruits and vegetables available at the farmers’ market begins to wane, creative uses for the apples, root vegetables, and brassicas becomes an inspiring challenge.  

Much in the way that pairing a beloved old sweater with a new scarf fosters excitement for a well-worn favorite, inventive recipes that use tried-and-true combinations in new ways or call for novel ways of preparing a vegetable can deliver a burst of much-needed excitement.

Arugula Salad with Rosemary Roasted Parsnips

Serves 6

2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons dried rosemary

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 ounces arugula

½ a head of radicchio, torn into bite-sized pieces

2 Cortland apples, cored and diced

¼ cup dried cranberries

½ cup toasted slivered almonds

¼ cup thinly shaved Parmesan

Roast the parsnips

Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  

Pile the diced parsnips in a heap on the baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary. Toss the parsnips to coat. Spread the parsnips in a single layer and cover the baking sheet tightly with aluminum foil to trap steam.  

Bake covered for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the foil, turn the parsnips over, and continue roasting uncovered until tender, about 10–15 more minutes. Set aside to cool just a few minutes until warm to avoid wilting the arugula.

Make the dressing

In a small jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, and mustard. Shake well and set aside.

Assemble the salad

In a large serving bowl, combine the arugula, radicchio, parsnips, apples, dried cranberries, and almonds. Pour about ¾ of the dressing over the salad and toss well. Taste and add more dressing, if desired. Scatter Parmesan across the top of the salad and serve immediately.

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Molasses Whipped Cream

Serves 6–8 

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding

1 pound soft white Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 large eggs

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon salt

4 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses

2 apples, cored and cut into ½-inch pieces

Molasses Whipped Cream

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-by-13-inch deep baking dish.

Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8–12 minutes, until crisp and just beginning to turn light golden brown on the edges. Set aside to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer or a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed (or whisk) for 1 minute. Beat in vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, heat the milk with the molasses over medium- low heat just until the molasses dissolves evenly in the milk, 2–3 minutes (the milk should be just warm to the touch). On low speed, slowly beat the warm milk into the egg mixture, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl as necessary.

Spread out the apples in the baking dish and toss with remaining teaspoon of cinnamon to coat. Add bread cubes and toss gently to incorporate. Pour custard over the bread mixture, gently pushing the bread down into the liquid. Let stand for 5 minutes. Bake for 40–50 minutes, until puffed and custard is set (a toothpick inserted comes out clean), with the tops of the bread lightly browned. Let the bread pudding rest for at least 15 minutes before serving warm with Molasses Whipped Cream.

Molasses Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses, divided

1–2 tablespoons powdered sugar, optional, to taste

While the bread pudding is cooling, whip the cream and 1 tablespoon of molasses with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Taste and add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, if desired. Use a rubber spatula to swirl in the remaining tablespoon of molasses to create ribbons of molasses throughout the whipped cream.


Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples and Onions

Serves 6

2 pork tenderloins, about 1½ pounds each

2 cloves garlic, slivered

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 apples, cored and sliced into thick wedges

2 onions, sliced pole to pole

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup apple cider

¼ cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 425°. 

Use a sharp paring knife to remove any silver skin from the pork. Use the tip of the knife to make small, deep slits all over the tenderloins. Insert the garlic then season the exterior of the tenderloins with ½ teaspoon salt.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the tenderloin until browned on all sides, about 10–12 minutes total. Transfer tenderloins to a large plate and return the pan with remaining juices to the burner. Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the apples and onions to the pan. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the thyme.

While the apples and onions are cooking, coat the tenderloins evenly with the mustard, then sprinkle with remaining thyme, rosemary, and black pepper.

Nestle the tenderloins in the apples and onions and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until the thickest part of the tenderloin reaches 150°, approximately 15 minutes. Transfer the tenderloin to a clean large plate and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the pork rests, return the pan with apples and onions to the stove and set over medium heat. Add the cider and wine and simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, approximately 5 minutes.  

Slice tenderloins into 1-inch slices and serve topped with apples, onions, and pan sauce.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins

Makes 16 muffins


¾ cup toasted pecans, chopped

⅓ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg


1 cup canned pure pumpkin

3 large eggs

⅓ cup espresso or strong coffee, room temperature

1 tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup extra-light olive oil


In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix with a fork or fingers until the consistency of damp sand.


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or line 16 muffin cups (can bake in two batches if necessary).  

In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin, eggs, coffee, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer or a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low speed until combined. With mixer running, gradually add oil and mix until incorporated then slowly add pumpkin mixture. Turn the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1–2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until batter is slightly fluffy.

Fill prepared muffin cups halfway with batter. Add about 2 teaspoons streusel to each muffin, then top with more batter to reach ⅔ full. Sprinkle with another 2 teaspoons streusel per muffin. Bake 23–27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave oven on if you need to finish baking the rest of the batter.

Cool muffins in pan on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes before gently removing from pan and setting on rack to cool completely (or serve warm). Re-grease or line muffin tin and repeat with remaining batter and streusel, if baking in two batches. Filling empty muffin cups with water is not necessary. 

Serve muffins warm or room temperature. Leftover muffins keep well for several days stored in an airtight container at room temperature or frozen for longer storage.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Lemon Tahini Dressing

Serves 4

1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets

5 large unpeeled garlic cloves, ends trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Zest of ½ lemon

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon water

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

¼ cup black olives, sliced

⅓ cup fresh mint, torn into pieces

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Heap cauliflower florets and garlic cloves in center of baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat. Arrange florets and garlic in a single layer on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil (reserve for use later), turn cauliflower and garlic over and continue roasting uncovered until tender and lightly browned, approximately 20–25 more minutes.  

While cauliflower is roasting, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, tahini, water, and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Whisk until combined and mixture thickens slightly, set aside.

When cauliflower and garlic are done, remove from oven and transfer garlic off of baking sheet to cool; leave cauliflower on baking sheet and drape with aluminum foil to keep warm. Once garlic is cool enough to handle, scoop softened garlic out of papery skin and add to lemon-tahini mixture. Whisk into dressing. Slowly add extra-virgin olive oil in small increments and whisk until well combined after each addition. If the dressing breaks, continue to whisk until it forms a cohesive dressing.

Arrange cauliflower on serving plate, then scatter pine nuts and olives across top. Pour ¾ of dressing over cauliflower and sprinkle with mint. Serve warm, passing remaining dressing, if desired.

Mushroom Gruyère Quiche

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 large leek, white and light green thinly sliced and washed well to remove grit

1 small–medium yellow onion, diced

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, cold and diced

4 eggs, divided

6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon sherry cooking wine or port

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream

¾ cup coarsely grated Gruyère cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the leek and onion; sauté 30–40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Adjust heat so that leeks and onions are just beginning to brown after the first 10 minutes. Once caramelized, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor or a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. Pulse or whisk to combine. Add butter and pulse or use 2 knives to cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is in pieces the size of rolled oats. Add 1 egg and pulse or mix (a fork works well) until a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 12-inch circle. 

Arrange the dough in a 9-inch pie plate and press out any air bubbles. Crimp the edges and refrigerate, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

When the leeks and onions are caramelized, use the same skillet to heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over low heat. Add the mushrooms and sherry cooking wine and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until mushrooms are tender, brown, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and add to leek and onion mixture; stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream, sour cream, and remaining 3 eggs until smooth. Whisk in Gruyère.  

Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the leek and mushroom mixture in an even layer. Whisk the egg and cheese mixture once more to combine then pour over vegetables.  

Bake until puffed, golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 35–50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly on cooling rack before serving warm or room temperature.  


Kate Rogers is a successful food blogger. She has had a passion for and been creating things in the kitchen since she was in elementary school, has spent a lifetime creating and photographing her culinary creations and is thrilled to share them with the world.


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