Photo: Bloom & Nourish

It’s technically still summer…as my melted lip balm in the car told me just yesterday. BUT…fall will be here before we know it.

Fall is the best. A chill in the air, football games, pumpkin everything — and WOW, baseball is still going — here we come post-season! How cool is that? Go O’s! Soon, too, the leaves will start their gorgeous transformation. Fall also brings on heartier cooking – for me, it means lots of roasted veggies, soups, stews and other comfort foods. Go to any local farmers market and you’ll see squash, pumpkins, beans, apples, greens and much more.

At the Waverly Market, I love to visit the bean man, Thomas McCarthy. He’s the quiet, unassuming man with a warm smile who sells the most amazing fresh, shelled black beans, chick peas, butter beans, white beans and more. (His fresh peas in the spring cause long lines and much excitement for nerds like me.) You can make so many great soups using beans – and if you add greens, you add a whole lot of flavor and vitamins, too. I like to make white bean and ham soup. Soups like that are easy to modify based on what you have on hand. I usually try to use fresh beans and rainbow chard – stalks and all. Yummmmm. Also, Cook’s Illustrated’s white chicken chili is a big favorite – and has a nice kick from THREE kinds of hot peppers. Whoa!

Last year, I got really into yellow spaghetti squash from my CSA. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with it…so I asked my go-to gal, Joan Norman of One Straw Farm for some advice. She said to prepare it like butternut squash (cut it in half, remove the seeds and roast for 40 minutes). Once done, use a fork to scrape out the inside of the squash. It shreds easily and has a consistency like spaghetti (thus, the name…duh). When I roasted it, I added honey, sea salt and olive oil and it makes a great side dish. And, once I remove the flesh, my backyard chickens get to enjoy the skins…while Henry the lab sits at the back door whining to get out there to steal it from them. This is my life.

Whether your favorite fall dish is mashed sweet potatoes, chili, butternut squash soup or something else, get to that kitchen! Host a supper for friends, share with neighbors or just make a big batch and freeze it. (I think I’m slowly turning into my mother…freezing everything!)

Here are just a few of my fave fall-esque recipes:

Mashed Sweet Potatoes – Martha Stewart
Cheddar Corn Chowder – Ina Garten
Beef Chili with Kidney Beans – America’s Test Kitchen
Butternut Squash Risotto with Sage and Saffron – Sophistimom
White Bean and Rosemary Soup – Ina Garten

What are some of your favorite fall dishes?