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What to Cook When It’s Technically Fall but Still Feels Like Summer

As fall graces us with its warm days and cooler evenings, there's no better time to celebrate the transitional period when summer meets autumn. This delightful crossover of seasons allows for the incorporation of fall produce and flavors into familiar summer dishes. In this article, we'll explore two creative recipes that perfectly encapsulate this transition - a Fall-Inspired Butternut Squash Caprese Salad and a Refreshing Fall Pumpkin Gazpacho.



Butternut Squash Caprese

The classic Caprese salad is a beloved summer dish, consisting of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar. To give it a fall twist, we'll be introducing the earthy flavors of roasted butternut squash and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Here's how to make it:


Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • 4 ripe tomatoes, sliced

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced

  • Fresh basil leaves

  • Balsamic glaze

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

  2. Toss the cubed butternut squash with olive oil, ground cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until they are tender and slightly caramelized.

  3. While the squash is roasting, arrange the tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter, alternating them.

  4. Once the butternut squash is ready, let it cool slightly before adding it to the platter.

  5. Scatter fresh basil leaves over the salad and drizzle with balsamic glaze for a touch of sweetness and acidity.

The addition of roasted butternut squash and cinnamon adds a warm, comforting feel to this classic summer dish, making it perfect for those early fall evenings.




Pumpkin Gazpacho

Gazpacho is a refreshing, chilled tomato soup traditionally enjoyed during the hot summer months. By incorporating fall flavors, such as apples and warming spices, we can transform this dish into a delightful fall-inspired gazpacho. Here's how to prepare it:


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned or fresh pumpkin puree

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • 1/2 cup tomato juice

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Fresh basil or cilantro for garnish

  • Croutons or toasted pumpkin seeds (optional, for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, and tomato juice. Mix well until you have a smooth, soup-like consistency.

  2. Add the Greek yogurt, and stir until it's fully incorporated into the mixture. This will add creaminess to the gazpacho.

  3. Using a blender or food processor, blend the cucumber, red bell pepper, red onion, and garlic until they become a fine paste.

  4. Add the vegetable puree to the pumpkin mixture, and mix thoroughly.

  5. Season the gazpacho with lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, ground cumin, ground paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.

  6. Chill the gazpacho in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, allowing the flavors to meld and the soup to become nicely cold.

  7. Serve the pumpkin gazpacho in chilled bowls or glasses. Garnish with fresh basil or cilantro leaves and, if desired, add croutons or toasted pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch.

As summer's embrace starts to loosen its grip and the days begin to shorten, these creative recipes bring the essence of fall into familiar summer dishes. How can you get creative this season?



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