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Eating Seasonally: A Taste of Autumn

The Gather Company

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Eating seasonally is one of the best ways to enjoy all that nature has to offer. In-season produce is less expensive, fresher, tastes better, and is more likely to be produced locally. Not sure what’s in season? Or what to do once you leave the grocery store? Check out some of our Fall favorites below!

 

“Root” Vegetables

Sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips oh my! Break out the roasting pan and EVOO ‘cause these starchy vegetables are best right now. We like to serve up these ultimate comfort veggies in every way possible, but our absolute favorite? One word, wait for it: Agrodolce. This Italian sweet and sour technique gives these vegetables that “extra something” and it’s easy to do!

For Fall, we like to reduce equal parts of apple cider vinegar with real maple syrup over medium to medium-high heat (try ¼ cup of each for your first time and adjust from there). Once the mixture has thickened to where it coats the back of your spoon and leaves a clean space when you drag your finger along it, toss the reduction with your favorite sauteed, roasted, or caramelized root vegetable. We LOVE agrodolce caramelized onions and butternut squash. Eat it on toast, toss it in a salad, fold into pasta....You can thank us later.

Some to try: Beets, Carrots, Celeriac, Garlic, Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Rutabagas, Shallots, Sweet Potato, Sunchokes, Turnips, Winter Squash

 

Fall Fruit

Hooray! You took the kids apple picking! Now what? When life gives you apples you’ll most likely make apple pie. But with all the stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods you’ll be stuffed with this season, we like to search for ways to lighten things up. For this we often turn to fall fruits for a nice sweet crunch. Try a fresh apple slaw to go with those pork chops. Sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on that grain salad, or make a second meal of that rotisserie chicken with our seasonal take on chicken salad.

No-Recipe Waldorf Chicken Salad:                                                                                                         Toss pulled chicken (or turkey), diced apples, celery, halved grapes, and green onions with whole grain mustard and Hellmann's Mayo (it’s the only mayo as far as we’re concerned). Add chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans for extra texture and heartiness if you’d like. Serve on croissants, your favorite sandwich bread, crackers or just a fork!

Some to try: Apples, Cranberries, Grapes, Pears, Persimmons, Pomegranates

 

Side-Dish Staples

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Fall is the time when supermarkets begin stocking up on entertaining favorites. (Eek!) Have no fear, we’re here to help. When planning your dinner-party or upcoming holiday menu, opt for easy and reliable side dishes that pack a punch.  

Try roasted brussels sprouts sprinkled with bacon lardons and dried cranberries, Sauteed green beans topped with quick-pickled shallots, or try tossing broccoli and cauliflower florets with a liberal amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh lemon juice and thyme. When in a real bind, “browned-butter-anything” topped with hazelnuts is your answer. We’ll save that dry turkey for another post.

Some to try: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Green Beans, Leeks, Mushrooms, Parsley, Rapini, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

 

Salady Things

Salad. Such a general term for all things delicious. While others wait all year for their pumpkin-spiced-thing, we’re just over here waiting for hearty salad season. We love the grains, fresh fruit, roasted veggies, nuts, and the dressings! Sweet, acidic and salty, they can’t be beat. So here’s a few tips on Autumnal salad making.

  1. Kale - No one wants to look like Bessy chewing cud. Please do everyone a favor, toss the greens in dressing early, massage the dressing into the leaves to break them down or cut the leaves into thin manageable ribbons.
  2. Chicory Salads - These greens are so flavorful it’s best to keep the dressing simple. Highlight the spice in the greens with a light lemony vinaigrette and just a hint of honey. Be sure to sprinkle a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper right on the salad.
  3. Focus on your cuts - When making a hearty salad it’s easy to dump everything under the sun into the ‘ole salad bowl. But if you take the time to think about the composition of the salad it can really knock your socks off. Try shaving dense vegetables and leaving some softer lettuces larger. It’s all about texture. Sprinkle in a variety of nuts, some chewy dried cranberries, some salty soft cheese and really celebrate the harvest!

Some to try: Belgian Endive, Cabbage, Celery, Chard, Escarole, Fennel (don’t forget the fronds), Frisee, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radicchio, Radishes (larger varieties)


What are some of your favorite Fall ingredients? Comment below!

5 Reasons You Need a Personal Chef, Today!

The Gather Company

 IMAGE BY RYAN DIAZ

IMAGE BY RYAN DIAZ

A personal chef lifts the burden of feeding yourself and your family so you can focus on other priorities and it’s not just for the rich and famous.  Here are our top 5 reasons why you need a personal chef today:

1.  You’re Busy

Between work, kids, errands, your packed social calendar, and getting some quality time in with your other half, who has time to shower every day? And FORGET cooking!  Cooking every day, sometimes three times a day is time consuming. Even if you enjoy cooking, there is a lot involved when it comes to preparing a week’s worth of meals for your family.  The driving; the shopping, the cleaning up!  Imagine the time you’ll save calling on your “dinner fairy” to handle all of that for you.  All you have to do is… EAT!

2.  You’ll Save Money

We know, we know. You’re thinking, “how could I possibly be saving money when I’m hiring help?” The truth is when you have meals that you know you’ll love, ready to eat when you are, you won’t eat out as often. You’ll also stop buying pricey, unhealthy convenience foods. When you do buy groceries with the best of intentions, but are too busy to cook them, they go bad. What a waste!  Your personal chef plans out your menu to a T and shops with your budget in mind.

3.  You’ll Eat More Healthfully

Ok, for real this time. Your chef will make you what you want to eat and if you want to lose a few pounds or eat healthier, they’ll make that happen. A personal chef knows how to make healthy substitutions, how to sneak more varieties of fruits and vegetables into a tired repertoire and if you’d like them to, to prepare your meals in portion-controlled servings.  

4.   You can have it your way

Burger King was really onto something.  One of the best parts of having a personal chef is that they know everything you like and more importantly everything you don't like to eat. So be picky! They especially come in handy when everyone in the family eats differently. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible to grab a quick meal somewhere if you have food allergies or dietary restrictions. A personal chef cooks in your home, using your equipment so you can rest assured that your meals are done the way you need them to be. Whether you eat Kosher, have a peanut allergy, or can’t stand parsley.  Your chef’s priority is always to cook to your preferences.

5.  It’s more affordable than you think

Hiring a personal chef doesn’t mean you’ll have to mortgage the house to do so. You can hire a chef who will work with you and your budget. Let them know up front what you’re willing to spend on your grocery budget and their services. Work with your chef, for them to work best for you. Maybe you’ve hired a babysitter in the past, maybe a housekeeper once a week, or someone to maintain your yard biweekly. Hiring a personal chef is the same. You may have one come twice a week and make all of your meals, or stock the freezer once a month.


We’d love to hear from you.  Share your thoughts or questions about personal chef services below.