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Celebrating the Harvest in Beautiful Wine Country

Celebrating the Harvest in Beautiful Wine CountryAs any Wine Country dweller knows, October is a month of transitions.  One day you’re wearing your suede booties, and the next you’re reaching for your flip flops again.  October is the time to savor the last of summer’s eggplant, stone fruit, and tomatoes.  At the same time, we welcome back heartier veggies like Brussels sprouts, winter squash, and assorted root vegetables. The warm days of our extended North Bay summer makes October a great month to check out the farmers market.  Here’s some inspiration for celebrating the beautiful late summer and fall flavors that come from our region’s farmers.

Eggplant

I think eggplant is, on the whole, underrated and misunderstood. Even if you’re not a fan of the purple veggie, I urge you to reconsider before their season is over. When it’s super fresh, eggplant is sweet and tender, and doesn’t need to be salted or peeled – especially the long, skinny Asian varieties.
 
This easy version of the Middle Eastern eggplant spread, baba ganoush, from Minimalist Baker, was a hit with my dip-loving little ones.
 
If you’re still savoring summer flavors on the grill, try this flavorful dish from Jeanette’s Healthy Eating
 
Jamie Oliver’s version of eggplant parmesan, featured in the New York Times, is healthier and simpler because the eggplant is roasted rather than breaded and fried.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are not only beautiful and tasty; they’re also high in antioxidants and steeped in symbolism. Warning: pomegranates are a bit unwieldy and the juice can stain. Here are some tips and tricks for removing those little jewels without making a huge mess. If you manage to not eat all of the seeds while extracting them, here are a few recipes to try.

This stunning vegetable dish (comprised of maple roasted carrots, tahini, and pomegranate) from Closet Cooking would make a perfect side dish for a holiday meal.

This hearty and healthy salad from Pinch of Yum simply screams fall.
 
Grab your girls and a bottle of your favorite local sparkling!  This super simple, yet special occasion-worthy cocktail from Joyful Healthy Eats is utterly delicious!

Winter Squash

We’re all familiar with butternut and acorn squash, but have you ever tried buttercup, red kuri, or delicata?  There are likely close to a dozen winter squash varieties available at any given farmers market this time of year, so try something new. Added bonus – they make great fall centerpieces before you use them!
 
Small and easy to work with, Delicata squash makes a great side dish, like this one from epicurious
 
Kabocha squash’s creamy and deep-colored flesh shine through in this soup from Will Cook for Friends 
 
This nutritious and warming curry from Naturally Ella features autumnal stars red kuri squash and swiss chard.

Of course, every year and every farm is different, so check out the selection yourself at your local farmers market!

Celebrating the Harvest in Beautiful Wine Country

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