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The Dog Days are Over: Five Recipes for Fall


Summer, with its watermelon and citrus, back-breaking heat, and endless days, is over. With less light and less time, what are we cooking for fall? 47Magazine contributor Hannah Siegel shares her favorite five recipes for fall.


Brown Butter Pumpkin Gnocchi:

I know, I know. You’re going to be tempted to use the Trader Joe’s frozen gnocchi for this one. But, really, if you can, aim for the De Cecco box instead. According to Food Network, it’s fluffier and more tender–less likely to be a gummy, sticky bite than other brands. De-frosting a supposedly-fluffy pasta doesn’t usually work out for me. Gnocchi is simple to cook and makes for an easy, luxurious dinner guaranteed to satisfy on late fall nights. Whether you’re home from the library or tired from a long day of work, this meal will warm you up.


Start by boiling a pot of water with a dash of salt. Once the water is bubbling, add the gnocchi and stir for about two minutes. Once the gnocchi is al-dente, drain the water and pat dry. On low heat, melt a tablespoon or so of fresh butter. When the butter is melted, turn the heat up to medium and add some cracked black pepper directly into the pan. Add the al-dente gnocchi, tossing the pan (like you would an omelet) so that each gnocco gets browned on both sides. Add additional butter as needed to coat the pan. Meanwhile, the original butter should be darkening, mellowing into a light amber color. (Don’t be afraid to turn the heat down, or even start over, if the butter darkens too fast. This means it’s burning.) At this point, add your chopped sage leaves.


The sage will infuse into the fat of the butter, creating a light sauce. Stir the pasta for just a minute or two, until a crispy-golden crust forms on the gnocchi. Don’t let the sage burn! Once your pasta is fully cooked, take the mixture off heat, plate, and garnish with fresh-grated parmesan and more pepper (to taste). A flourish of flaky salt and a sage leaf never hurt anyone. The resulting bight is a perfect: the sweet, brightness of the sage, the spice of the pepper, the creaminess of the butter and parmesan, all wrapped up in the pillowy taste of gnocchi. Bon appetit!


Ingredients:

  • half a package of De Cecco Potato Gnocchi

  • two tablespoons of butter

  • fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

  • black pepper

  • parmesan


Kitchen Equipment:

  • knife

  • stovetop

  • pot

  • medium saucepan


Pumpkin Bread:

This recipe is Trader Joe’s-friendly. In fact, TJs is encouraged. Using the Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix (a Hannah Siegel-approved favorite), follow the box instructions with an extra egg added to the mix. An extra egg can add stability to a cake mixture, giving the recipe an extra leavening agent. It also adds protein, and can make for a moister, fluffier bite*. Grease a loaf pan with the oil of your choice, sprinkling the tin with a bit of flour and shaking it so the sides are coated. This trick prevents any sticking, and makes removing the pumpkin bread later a breeze. Finally, pour in your pumpkin mix. Before placing it in the oven, dust the loaf with cinnamon sugar and coat it with pepitas. The cinnamon sugar will lightly caramelize and the pepitas will crunch up, adding both flavor and texture.


Bake for an hour at 350 F, until the top and sides are golden brown. If needed, insert a toothpick in the center until it comes out clean. Remove from the oven, cover the loaf pan with foil, and wait for it to cool. Once it’s room temperature, remove it from the pan and enjoy. (This preserves moisture). Enjoy a slice of pumpkin bread with your morning coffee, with a healthy slab of peanut butter for an on-the-go breakfast, or chilled as a delicious late-night snack.


*To veganize, substitute ¼ of applesauce for each egg. However, don’t add any extra–stick to the recipe.


Ingredients:

  • one box of Trader Joes Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix

  • neutral oil (like canola or vegetable)

  • water

  • three eggs (or ½ cup of applesauce)

  • ½ cup of pepitas

  • 2 tsp of cinnamon sugar

  • 1 tbsp of flour


Kitchen Equipment:

  • large mixing bowl

  • small mixing bowl (for wet ingredients)

  • mixing spoon

  • standard loaf tin

  • oven

  • tin foil (2 sheets)


Spiced Apple Cider:

Apple cider, next to a PSL, is the fall drink. Leaves are turning, school is back in session, and you need a steaming mug of something. As I’ve discovered, it’s much more fun to make it than to buy it. First, grab some apple juice from the grocery store of your choice. Then, collect the spices: star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove. You’ll want to go easy on the clove, cardamom, and star anise. I like to go crazy on the cinnamon. You can add it whole, grate it, or simply use the powdered form. Add these spices to a pot of the apple juice, boil, then simmer for an hour or so. You can add a lemon slice or just a dash of lemon juice for zest. Don’t forget to put on a nice fall movie–When Harry Met Sally, Practical Magic–in the background. Prime brewing hours include just before bed and/or the full moon. Don’t forget to breathe deep over the cider, wafting it as it simmers. (This is just for fun. Or it might be essential. Who’s to say.) After enough time has gone by, turn off the heat and strain the spices.


Serve it warm in a cozy mug, or add a splash of vodka (flavored, even) for an evening cocktail. Cheers!


Ingredients:

-one quart of apple juice

-four whole star anise or 1 tsp powdered

-8-10 whole cloves or 1tsp powdered

-3 cinnamon sticks or ½ tbsp powdered

-¼ of a lemon

-one shot (approx. 50 ml) of vodka (regular or vanilla-flavored)


Kitchen Equipment:

-medium pot

-stovetop

-strainer

-mug


Hannah’s Patented Chicken and Rice Soup:

Okay. Brace yourself. Up to this point, you’ve been reading about relatively dorm-friendly, delicious fall recipes. They’ve been simple, with only a few ingredients, and designed to save time. This recipe is not that recipe. This recipe is the product of a lifetime obsession. An obsession with soup. It’s not important when or how this obsession began. This recipe is for the true home chefs–those who love to cook, to labor over a recipe for hours. This is for people who watched The Bear and related to Marcus.


Everything starts about two weeks in advance. As you go about your daily life, cooking various meals and vegetables, you’re going to reserve all your veggie scraps. Carrot peels, onion skins, celery scraps–whatever you’ve got. Place these all in an airtight container–a Ziploc bag or Tupperware–and freeze them. Add to your stores as regularly as you can, like a bear preparing for winter. There is no such thing as too much, just keep everything. We can pare back later. If you’re vegan, go ahead and stop here. We’ll pick back up in a minute.


If you’re not vegan, prepare, one evening, a dinner of bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks. Enjoy your chicken meal, cooked to your liking, and save the leftover bones. A really amazing chicken soup–and a great money-saving hack–is actually made with a whole chicken carcass, saved after the rest of the meat is used for chicken salads, drumsticks, and assorted meal-prep. However, we are young adults, and our stock pots are not big enough for whole chickens (learned this one the hard way). We also cannot eat an entire chicken in a week (speaking for myself). So, thighs and drumsticks are a great substitute.


You can freeze these bones, or cook the chicken the same night you’re ready to begin. Begin what, you ask? The broth. The broth is the foundation upon which every great soup is built. To craft it, we will need four key ingredients: heat, time, acid, and spice.


Grab a room-temperature lemon, halve it, and slice off most of the skin. This is our acid. (The peel consists of the pith, the white fluff that protects the lemon and will add unwanted bitterness to your stock). Slice an onion in half (red or white, it does not matter), and do the same to a whole clove of garlic. Throw in a bit of ginger root–no need to slice or dice. Set aside. Then, grab a loose-leaf tea filter bag or a coffee filter. (Hot tip: if you do not have either of these things and attend NYU, go to the fourth floor of GCASL. Not only is there a killer loose-leaf tea bar, but there are free, biodegradable tea bags for the taking. Work smarter, not harder.) Fill it with whole peppercorns, two bay leaves, a rosemary sprig, and any other aromatic spices you prefer. Top contenders include thyme, tarragon, or parsley. Add a leaf of lemon basil if you’re crazy. Tie this off with some kitchen string.


Place the onion, garlic, lemon, ginger, and sachet (that’s our tea bag filled with spices) into an empty pot. Add the chicken bones. Give a little squeeze of lemon juice–no more than a tablespoon) with the other half of a lemon. Fill the pot with water, leaving about an inch and a half of room between the water line and the lip of the pot. Add your veggie scraps*. Boil. When the water is bubbling, turn the heat down to simmer.


*If you are vegan, add some fresh whole mushrooms to the mix. This will add the umami flavor lost from the chicken. Oyster and shiitake mushrooms are best, as they’re famous for their mouth-watering, hearty flavor.


Now, the waiting begins. Simmer this mixture for as long as you can manage. The longer, the better. I prefer four hours if I’m in a hurry. If it’s a weekend, go for six to ten. If you like, you can taste-test and add seasoning (a dash of salt, some more pepper, etc.) while the flavor deepens. Don’t go too heavy on the salt, though, at this stage. This is only round one.


After about four to six (or ten) hours, your broth is done. It should be a rich, golden brown. I’ve found that carrots, in particular, help add color. Drain the broth, and bottle it. (You’re probably souped out for today, so take a rest.)


When you’re ready to come back, clean and prep your veggies. You’ll need carrots, celery, and sweet onions. Dice them for a classic mirepoix. Then, add some olive oil to the bottom of an empty soup pot, and place it on low to medium heat. When the oil is hot, add some cracked black pepper, and stir in the mirepoix. Cook until the veggies are just slightly softened. In a separate pot, reserve two cups of broth and use them to make rice. Cook the rice and set it aside. Forget about it for now.


Back in your mirepoix mixture, add basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, and a healthy dose of kosher salt. After stirring in the spices, add all your broth–previously made–to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high until it starts to bubble.


At this point, you can go big or go vegan. If vegan, add more veggies–like mushrooms– and the protein of your choice. If not, add some boneless, skinless chicken breast, and poach it in the soup until it’s cooked through. The chicken will turn white, and a quick meat thermometer check to the thickest part of the meat will read 165 F. Remove the chicken, shred it with a fork, and add it back to the soup.

Taste-test, adding a little more lemon juice, seasoning, or fat (use the butter or oil of your choice) as needed. Your hard work has finally paid off. You have before you the most delicious soup of all time. Grab a bowl, stir some rice into your portion, and dig in. Yes, this is what heaven tastes like.


(For leftovers, keep the rice in its own container and the soup stored separately. That way, your rice doesn’t absorb all the broth. Stir together and re-heat to enjoy.)


Ingredients:


Broth:

-two cups of assorted veggie scraps

-one lemon

-half a large onion

-whole ginger root

-one clove of garlic

-whole peppercorns

-bay leaves

-basil leaves

-rosemary sprigs

-six drumstick or chicken thigh bones

-water

-if vegan: nix the chicken, add a cup and a half of savory mushrooms


Chicken Soup:

-a cup of celery

-a cup of chopped carrots

-a cup of chopped white onion

-two tablespoons of olive oil

-cracked black pepper

-juice of one lemon (as needed)

-two skinless, boneless chicken breasts

-seasonings, to taste

-water

-if vegan, nix the chicken, add veggies and protein of choice


Rice:

-two cups of broth

-one cup of rice


Kitchen Equipment:

-knife

-large pot

-medium pot

-stovetop

-soup ladle

-fork

-coffee filter or reusable tea bag (sachet)

-love


Cinnamon-Baked Apples:

This is one of my favorite, easy fall desserts. It’s a little bit lighter than the desserts I prefer to buy–why try to imitate a Veniero’s ricotta cheesecake, a sea-salt chocolate chip cookie from Maman, or a Magnolia Bakery red velvet cupcake? Instead, it’s simple to make, fruit-forward, and just impressive enough for sharing with friends.


Start with four large apples, suitable for baking. You’ll want something sweet, with a good crunch. I prefer Honeycrisp. Core them, leaving enough room at the bottom so that the apple can hold its filling. Think Panera bread bowl. Then, preheat the oven to 375 F. Get some butter, brown sugar, and chopped pecans. Add ginger, salt, and cinnamon powder. Roll this mixture together, and fill each apple with it. Then, fill a deep baking dish–like a cake or brownie pan–with about a half-inch of water. Place the apples, standing up, in the dish, and place them in the oven. Bake for one hour or until the apples are golden-brown and soft, like the apple filling in a pie.


Take out of the dish, discard the water, and dive in. Each bite will be nutty, and warm, like a personal apple crisp.


Ingredients:

-four large Honeycrisp apples

-¼ cup brown sugar

-¼ cup chopped pecans

-1 tbsp butter, room temperature (add more if needed)

-1 tsp ginger powder

-2 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp of kosher or flaky salt

-water


Kitchen Equipment:

-knife

-small bowl for mixing

-deep baking dish

-oven


Written by Hannah Siegel

Recipe cards by Hannah Siegel


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