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October Cottage Cooking Club, Warm Salad of Mushroom and Roasted Squash

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Welcome to the October edition Cooking Along with the Cottage Cooking Club where food bloggers from throughout the world share their kitchen cooking experiences in the preparation of foods from the cookbook, River Cottage veg everyday, written by British author and TV host, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. This months recipes chosen by our fearless leader, Andrea, at The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German Kitchen, reflect the seasonal ingredients and dishes of fall. Andrea’s beautiful photography and well written stories, often surrounding adventures on various landscapes throughout Germany, have made Andrea’s blog an enjoyable place for me to wander and perhaps upon a visit you will find the same experience too.

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October has been a month flourishing with activity, continuously moving along from event to event, and upon reflection, its all been sensational leaving much to be grateful for, including some great food. We had a lovely whirlwind few day visit with Nicola and Chris from Wales, who additionally provided the great honor of Bob and I joining them on the field hockey pitch the previous game day weekend with their daughter, Rebecca, celebrating her Senior Day, and we, symbolically representing as her “American Family” over these past four years. Surely its been a blessing having such wonderful people in our lives. What a terrific weekend to catch up with so many former players and families as well as to get acquainted with new girls on the team and their families. And too, a special occasion that another of my favorite loves, former international player, Gina, visited from Germany. Wrapping it all up into a major special package was having a little extra time with my all time favorite former American field hockey player, my own daughter Alex, who is now working in Baltimore, not in field hockey, but in, yes, you guessed it, another sport, baseball.

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Just before the arrival of Nicola and Chris, my dear friend Bill who I acquainted in the Hong Kong airport fifteen years ago came for a brief overnight visit coinciding the same day with two trips to the 30th street train station between hours of each other, one for drop off and one for pick up. Now my friend Bill just moved to DC after having lived in China for twenty-five years. He’s quite an interesting person and a great conversationalist. So it follows that despite my repeated attempts to communicate a sense of urgency in needing preparation time for the arrival of Nicola and Chris, and despite my repeated attempts to confirm that I wanted to have plenty of energy upon their arrival and could under no circumstances stay up too late talking, now what do you suppose happened? I didn’t have everything perfectly prepared, and of course, we stayed up too late conversing over cocktails, so there you have it. Do you have a friend like this? They simply dismiss urgency, and by the time they are ready to depart you wish they were staying on longer. Yes.

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I prepared a nice four course meal at home on the second evening of Nicola and Chris’s visit which we also shared with our next door neighbors, Alan, also from Wales, and Anne from the Bordeaux region of France. Now you might guess that just what your guests from Wales want to do on their visit to the states is to meet other people from Wales. Well maybe. Still, Alan, having followed Rebecca’s field hockey career over the past four years, not to mention he is a Welsh rugby fanatic and our friends have a world class rugby player also in their family, kept the evening quite lively and spirited, along with our crafted Maker’s Mark Manhattans, some nice wines, and a lovely dessert liqueur that Anne had brought from her summers visit in France.

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October also brought forth many other social engagements, and how could I miss at least one fall day out at the orchards picking an assortment of apples for pies, a Galette, an old fashioned apple cake, some applesauce maybe? In the midst of things I’ve been taking a food photography class in Philadelphia which has been most worthwhile, but I suppose like most things there is a tendency to a bit of awkwardness when learning and actually doing new things. And to add even more fun to the busy mix, once I got going in the food photography class, that then naturally led to learning Light Room, a super photography program and file system.  Photographer, Allison Zaucha, who I wrote the Best Grilled Cheese I’ve Ever Had Post around, following her food photo shoot at my home a couple weeks ago has been my key ongoing instructor in this capacity, preventing the learning curve from being painful, in fact, even making the whole experience down right fun.

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Well, this all brings me to the point that I was not able to prepare all of my desired River Cottage veg everyday choices this month. There were rather a couple of recipes I had been looking forward to, though I’ve still a basket of baby beets laying in wait in my refrigerator for the Baby Beet Tarte Tatin. My favorite dish of the month, shared and enjoyed by guests twice, was the Warm Salad of Mushrooms and Roasted Squash. Topped with some Stilton Cheese surrounding the slightly bitter arugula, this salad is a very nice flavor sensation and is elegant enough as a salad course for a dinner party, or a luncheon. 

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Having procured two of the largest locally grown cauliflower I’ve ever seen at a farmers market near the apple orchard about an hour away, I also prepared the Roasted Cauliflower with lemon and paprika. I like the idea on a bit of the spice hit onto the cauliflower but might omit the lemon, or at least reduce it on another juncture. Still, for many folks like me, roasted cauliflower is just a no brainer, good stuff.

It seems November is quickly upon us and I look forward to next months selections on the Cottage Cooking Club, and, having gotten quite fond of many in the group look forward to resuming, even going back on some missed Posts in this interim, probably not before October 31st though when my other side of the house next door neighbors will be here for our annual traditional Halloween dinner. Like I said, its been a month full of activity, so how else to finish it out then?!

 

To view the October selections chosen by other members of The Cottage Cooking Club click here.

 

 

 

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12 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    The photography classes sound like so much fun! I’m glad that you enjoyed the dishes you were able to prepare (and your photos are beautiful) but if you do have time to get to those beets, I do recommend the beet tarte tatin…it was fabulous!
    Zosia recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – October 2014My Profile

    • Posted October 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi Zosia, the photography classes are fun, even when its a lot of work (learning can be painful too, lol!) I most definitely will be preparing the beet tart tatin and have the ingredients readied to go- thus far from reading the rave reviews- it seems it may also be a keeper for serving to guests. Thanks much for stopping by!

  2. Posted October 29, 2014 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    The photo of the roasted cauliflower is so beautiful! The squash & mushroom salad was a hit with me as well – so delish; and the tarte tatin is fabulous – I’m sure you will enjoy it. Have a wonderful Halloween get together!
    Cathleen recently posted…The Cottage Cooking Club | October RecipesMy Profile

    • Posted October 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Cathleen! I loved your photo on the squash and mushroom salad- as well as all of your pics for the month! I can’t imagine not loving the Beet Tart Tatin- with so many great cooks all singing its praises! I may even serve it on the Halloween get-together! Thanks so much again, see you soon.

  3. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, certainly sounds like an incredibly busy month of October – how wonderful to have so many friends visit and spend time, stories and food with! I am sure that the food photography class must have been quite the experience too – it is not always easy to be inspired, I often find myself continously thinking about a particular photo that I did not like or would like to take again – so many things to do and so little time. Yet you made two of the October recipes – the salad is indeed a true winner, I love, love it and the roasted cauliflower recipe has potential too – beautifully written post and so many kind words – thank you for your support and your friendship!
    Andrea

    • Posted October 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Hello Dear Andrea, yes, what a busy but wonderful month with so many wonderful people to share with. Lucky for me I also got to see you on Facebook! The Photography training has been so helpful and I was so lucky to get into a class with a real professional who has many years of experience in food with food companies. Still, learning and transpiring has its challenges but I am putting forth the effort. Your ‘thinking through photographs’ is apparent in your work and I sincerely find your pics very inspiring and I hope to eventually become as good as you- though this will take some time- lol! I am so happy to meet you through CCC and look forward to sharing our continuous joys experienced in pen, camera, and our kitchens. Great Work with the Cooking Team!

  4. Posted October 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, sounds like you have been crazy busy. A photography class is something I desperately need to take, good for you for taking the plunge. Oh how I wish I would have prepared the warm salad, I still should it got such great raves from everyone in the group. Love all your pics on this posts!
    cheri recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club Month of October, Two RecipesMy Profile

    • Posted October 30, 2014 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Cheri. This was my third photography class, and though I am a firm believer that one can learn something from everything, the first two really classes left me with little in terms of food and styling. So on this class, I made sure to find someone in the actual food photography business. It is a bit more challenging, and you may emerge feeling a bit awkward with so much to take in- but it enables greater improvement, knowledge, skill, and overall opens you eyes to what you can and need to do. I plan to resume in the spring. I definitely recommend the warm squash and mushrooms salad- it is a knockout- and is perfect for guests- quick and easy too- especially if you cook your squash ahead of time and lightly warm it before serving. Thanks for stopping by and See you soon on ‘my savory spoon’!

  5. Mary Hirsch
    Posted October 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Goodness, Peggy, I’m exhausted from reading your Post. Activities? Yeah. You’ve been on overload but you seem to be taking it all in stride. It all sounds fun, however. I’m laughing about Alex being involved in baseball now. I come from a baseball family and love the game. In fact, as I write this comment, I am watching the 7th game of the World Series. I’m a National League fan (the Cubs) but how can anyone not pull for the Royals tonight? Anyway, back to your two CCC dishes. Everyone seems to have loved, loved, loved the mushrooms and roasted squash salad. I didn’t make it but certainly will before the Fall ends. I love cauliflower but didn’t try that recipe but our colleagues seemed to have liked that as well as you did. Nice job on both dishes. Happy Halloween and I look forward to your November Post.

    • Posted October 30, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Hi Mary, yes I am a bit exhausted but quite pleased with the gatherings and time with friends and family over the month. Interesting about you coming from a baseball family and sorry the Royals didn’t pull it through as you had hoped. Early in their careers I was friends with a few longtime baseball players, perhaps you know of Mickey Hatcher (whose wedding I was in- his first wife, my best friend in Arizona.) And, Mike Scioscia, who originally came from the same area as me- and who I once told that baseball was like watching a tree grow, lol. So, coincidental, that Alex is now working in baseball! Anyway, I just really like your writing- photography too- but so enjoy all of your stories! I highly recommend the mushrooms and roasted squash salad- and it really is terrific to serve to friends. I’m trying the Beet Tarte Tatin tomorrow, and hope it turns out as lovely as your photo- and your clever caption: ‘you can’t beet this.’ Thanks again for stopping by, and see you soon on Lights on Bright No Brakes!

  6. Posted October 29, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like you’ve had a wonderful month. I think sometimes things have to take a back seat when life brings you experiences like these. Great post and the photographs are beautiful!
    Teresa recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – October 2014My Profile

    • Posted October 30, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Thanks so much Teresa, I do think you are right about life and its special experiences, especially really being in the moment with those we are with. Thanks so much for joining in and I am grateful to you and all at The Cottage Cooking Club!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.