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The Weather Inside is Roasting

Image of Organic Sweet Potatoes
You know the feeling, the weather outside is changing, and depending on where you live it could have a slight autumn chill in the air to being down right cold, wet, drippy, foggy, or rainy. And often this can have the same effect on how you feel.

Whatever weather makes you feel this way there is one thing that that always makes you feel better when you walk in the door. The smells and sounds of a favorite dish being prepared. It could be soup, Melissa’s baked organic sweet potatoes or fingerling potatoes, and roasted root vegetables that glisten from their own natural sugars being drawn out from the heat. Home made rolls, Shepherd pie, I think you may be starting to get the idea. And maybe you’re even planning what you want to come home to during the next round of inclement weather. I say why wait? Why not celebrate the cooler weather and shorter days of the year to make something you or a loved one would love to walk into this week.

While warm food is comforting, adding some cool crisp wintergreens or lettuces to the meal is a welcome addition to a season of heavy foods. Here is a recipe that combines both.

Maple-Roasted Pear Salad (adapted from Vegetarian Times Nov/Dec 2007)

You’ll need:
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling
2 Tablespoons B Grade Maple Syrup (it has more of the maple flavor that makes this recipe work)
1 Tablespoon Hazelnut, Walnut, or Olive Oil
4 small firm Melissa’s Organic Bosc Pears, halved
½ cup Hazelnuts
8 cups Baby Arugula or Young Frisee or a combination of both
3 ounces Pecorino
3 Tablespoon Hazelnut, walnut, or Olive Oil
2 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
1 Shallot, minced (2 Tbs.)
1½ Tablespoon Local Honey
1 Tablespoon Whole-Grain Mustard
8 ounces cooked Melissa’s Organic Red or Gold Beets, finely diced (1 cup)

To make Salad:
Preheat oven to 400°F, and line baking sheet with foil. Whisk together maple syrup and hazelnut oil in bowl. Brush oil mixture on pears, and place cut-side down on prepared baking sheet. Roast 22 minutes, or until pears are tender and cut sides caramelized. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven heat to 350˚F. Spread hazelnuts on baking sheet, and toast 7 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to kitchen towel, and rub off skins with towel. Cool, chop, and set aside.

To make Beet Dressing:
Whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, honey, and mustard in bowl. Stir in beets, and season with salt and pepper. Toss arugula/frisee with Beet Dressing in bowl. Divide among 8 plates, and top each with pear half. Shave cheese over each salad with vegetable peeler, and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serves 8.

This is light enough to keep you from feeling sluggish, yet has the warmth factor that brings comfort to any meal. This is also versatile enough to be a quick Tuesday night dinner or side dish for your contribution to a festive meal for company.
Image of squash
If you’d like something a little heartier, roast an organic winter squash (Melissa’s will have a large selection Acorn, Butternut, Spaghetti, Kabocha, Sweet Dumpling, Red Kuri, to name a few) and add some wild rice for a rich nutty compliment. Whatever you take the time to prepare someone will come home and be happy you did. Even if that’s just you!
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