AUTUMN HARVEST CELEBRATION
There is something about cooler temperatures and crisp air that stimulates the appetite, especially after months of high heat and humidity. Autumn, we think, is one of the best seasons for eating outdoors and enjoying a family picnic.
This is the picnic you might pack when your family’s off for a day of apple-picking in Vermont, or to follow an October hike in Colorado. Our Autumn Harvest Celebration makes use of several foods that are at their best in fall: apples, pears, egg- plant, and so on. For the kids, serve apple cider, and for the adults, hard cider.
The components of this menu can be eaten separately, the pork smeared with the garlic mayo, for example, and the rolls on the side. Even better, though, will be a sandwich made with the pork, apple-onion mixture, and garlic mayo on salty weck rolls.
For added warmth, a plush picnic blanket like our plaid Cozy Picnic Blanket, which comes with its own carrier, is just the thing.
Cold Maple Pork Loin
Sautéed Apples and Onions
German Weck Rolls
Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise
Sultry Moroccan Eggplant
Pear Tarte Tatin
Apple cider and/or Hard cider
COLD MAPLE PORK LOIN
Even though maple syrup is harvested in late spring, its flavor is one people tend to associ- ate with autumn. Maybe it’s because autumn is when the maple-syrup-producing regions of northeastern U.S. and southern Canada are at their most picturesque.
1 (5-pound) pork loin 1/4 cup butter, melted 1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch 1/4 cup brown sugar
B Place the roast into a large resealable bag.
C In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, vinegar, maple syrup, cornstarch, and brown sugar. Pour into the bag with the roast. Seal, and turn to coat. Refriger- ate for 2 hours.
D Preheat the oven to 350° F.
E Place the roast into a roasting pan or large Dutch oven, and pour the marinade over it. Cover pan with alumi- num foil or lid and roast for 1 hour. Uncover and con- tinue roasting until the top is browned and a meat ther- mometer registers at least 150°F. Let pork rest 10 min- utes before carving.
SAUTÉED APPLES AND ONIONS
2 tablespoons butter
2 apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into
2 yellow onions, sliced into rings
1 tablespoon cider vine- gar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add the apples and cook until they begin to soften, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onions, salt the entire dish, and sauté another 3 minutes. Add the vinegar, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water and con- tinue to cook, stirring constantly, until a sauce has formed and the apples and onions are very tender.
GERMAN WECK ROLLS
Makes 16 rolls
In Buffalo, New York, beef-on-weck is a local specialty. Pork-on-weck gives Buffalo’s iconic sandwich a run for its money! These old-fashioned rolls do require several risings, so plan accordingly.
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons shorten- ing
2 teaspoons salt 7 cups bread flour
3 egg whites, beaten until stiff, plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cold milk 1 cup ice cubes
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
B In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in 2 1/2 cups warm (110° F) water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
C In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the shortening, salt, and 3 cups flour; beat well for 2 min- utes. Fold in the stiff egg whites. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and sup- ple, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
D Punch down dough, cover, and let rise again until dou- bled, about 45 minutes. (Continued on next page.)
GERMAN WECK ROLLS continued
E Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly oiled surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and form into rounds. Use a rolling pin to flatten each piece into a 7-inch circle. Fold left side to center to form a flap. Halfway down flap fold again to center to form another flap. Repeat all the way around to make overlapping flaps. Lift the first flap to ease the last flap underneath. Press center to seal the dough. Place rolls seam side
down and 3 inches apart on well-greased baking sheets. Let rise 30 minutes, turn right side up, and let rise 15 more minutes. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425° F and place a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the oven.
F In a small bowl, beat together the milk with the remaining egg white. Lightly brush the rolls with this egg wash. Combine the coarse salt, poppy seeds, and caraway seeds and sprinkle the spices over the washed rolls.
G Place 1 cup of ice cubes in the heated pan in oven. Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool rolls on wire racks to cool.
ROASTED GARLIC MAYONNAISE
Makes 1 cup
1 head garlic
1 cup mayonnaise
B Preheat the oven to 400°F.
C Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and place it in the oven. Cook 30–40 minutes, until garlic feels soft and squishy to the touch. Let garlic cool to warm, then squeeze the garlic paste from 3 cloves into the mayon- naise. Beat mayonnaise with a fork until homogenous. Taste, and add more garlic if desired. Reserve leftover roasted garlic for another use.
SULTRY MOROCCAN EGGPLANT
Here’s a decidedly exotic eggplant dish. To make it less ethnic or to please timid taste buds, eliminate the mint.
2 large eggplants, about 1 pound each
1 cup diced green bell peppers
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
4 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted and ground
3 cloves garlic, mashed
2 teaspoons minced fresh mint
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 teaspoon paprika
B Preheat oven to 500°F.
C Pierce eggplant in several places and bake until skin is charred, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove eggplant from oven, place in paper bag, and let cool. Remove and discard skin. Cut pulp into cubes about 1-inch in size.
D In a sealable container, mix together the eggplant, bell peppers, olive oil, sesame seeds, garlic, mint, salt, pep- per, and paprika. Refrigerate until ready to pack.
PEAR TARTE TATIN
Tarte tatin, an upside-down cake, is traditionally made with apples. But pears are at their peak in autumn (unlike apples, fine specimens of which are available year-round), so this is the season to cook with them.
10 tablespoons butter at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons dark rum
4–5 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/3 teaspoon salt 2 eggs
1 cup plus 2 table- spoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking pow- der
1/2 pint whipping cream
B Preheat oven to 400°F.
C Butter a 10-inch, deep-dish pie plate with 1 1/2 table- spoons of the butter. Sprinkle bottom of dish with 2/3 cup of the sugar, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons rum. Arrange pear slices in concentric circles.
D Bake until pears are lightly caramelized and very ten- der, about 1 hour. Remove pie plate from oven and reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
E Cream remaining 8 1/2 tablespoons butter with 1/2 cup
sugar, 1 tablespoon rum, lemon zest, cardamom, and salt and mix until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Fold in flour and baking powder. Spoon batter evenly over pears.
F Bake 25–30 minutes and immediately invert cake onto platter. Use a spatula to scrape out any caramel re- maining in the pie plate and spread it over pears.
G Whip cream with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar to soft peaks. Serve pear tarte at room temperature with a
dollop of whipped cream.