Fall Vegetables In Vogue

Fall and winter are fast approaching. These are my favorite seasons of the year. Being born on the first day of winter, it only makes sense that I worship cold crisp days until spring begins to bud. The things I love most about this time of year are the vibrancy and sophistication of fashion and food. Yes, food can be sophisticated! Like fashion, a menu can be created and expressed through various degrees of complexity. And, let us not forget the vibrant colors vegetables provide to our eyes. Just as I anxiously await the September Issue of Vogue—always the thickest one of the year—I dream of all the ways I will connect with the season’s bounty. 

Vegetables in Vogue 

Food and fashion intersect because they both tell a story. The beauty and craftsmanship within each is born from a labor of love. Beautiful, artisanal and traditional elements can be cultivated through the designer/creator. Those elements push people to experience and invent or reinvent ideas. 

I see the connection going even further when I think of where and what I should eat and excitedly decide what to wear; sneakers or heels, sous vide or steamed, pearls or costume jewelry, wine-braised or deep-fried. It is so much fun curating outfits or a fabulous meal to fit our mood. For me, I especially enjoy working with fall vegetables to design appealing compositions onto plates. 

Vegetables In Season 

Beets are a trendy vegetable during the fall/winter months, and are wonderful roasted and tossed in salads or baked into chocolatey desserts. Broccoli and broccolini are available year-round but taste best when harvested in colder temperatures. Other gorgeous winter vegetables to enjoy are Belgian carrots, cauliflower, celery, fennel, sunchokes, kale, leeks, parsnips, radicchio, rutabaga, Swiss chard, turnips, and winter squash. The flavor profiles and combinations are endless and quite inspiring to create! 

Steps In Curating A Dish 

As a designer designs or an artist composes, a cook can create in an equal manner using the same thought process. Before I begin developing a recipe, I ask myself a few questions: What do I want, how do I want to prepare it, how difficult do I want the execution to be, what tools do I need, and what flavor profile do I want to use? If you can answer these questions yourself, you have just created your very own recipe. 

The fall-focused recipes I include here showcase seasonal vegetables in a salad and a soup, all while keeping presentation in mind. After all, doesn’t a great meal taste even better when it looks marvelous?  

Purple Daikon, Citrus, And Spinach Salad

¼ purple daikon, sliced into thin rounds, then into quarter pieces (If you can’t find purple radish at the farmer’s market, any radish will equally shine.) 
2 large grapefruits, peeled and   sectioned 
1 handful fresh spinach 
1 small cucumber, sliced into thin rounds 
2 tablespoons harissa (Store-bought is fine.) 
1 to 2 tablespoons water 
Fresh dill for garnish 
Vegan parmesan (processed almonds, garlic powder, salt and pepper) 

The beauty of this salad is that it’s so simple to put together AND you can create your very own composition. I assembled the mixture to one side of the dish for an “uptown aesthetic,” which can make for a great dinner party first course. Once you have curated your salad, mix the harissa in a small bowl with water to thin for dressing. Lastly, drizzle harissa over the dish with a spoon before serving. 

Makes 4 salads 

Roasted Delicate Squash And Potato Soup

2 to 3 delicate squash, sliced into rounds and de-seeded 
½ red onion, chopped 10 to 12 mini Yukon potatoes, sliced 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
5 sprigs fresh thyme 
Kosher salt Fresh cracked pepper 
4 to 6 cups water 
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder 
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg 
2 teaspoons Kosher salt 
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk 
¼ teaspoon garam masala 
1 bunch lacinato kale (or curly kale), rough chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toss squash, red onion and potatoes with thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place vegetables on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until softened and slightly crisped. Pour water into a Dutch oven or stock pot. Add roasted vegetables, ginger, curry powder, nutmeg, salt, coconut milk, and garam masala. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove soup from the heat. Ladle a third of the soup into a blender. Puree until all vegetables and broth are smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot along with the kale and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Author

  • Ruthie Martinez

    Ruthie owns Black Fig Food catering and is proprietor of the online cooking platform Elevated Plant Plate. Learn more at blackfigfoodprograms.com and blackfigfood.com.

    View all posts