by janna wardle
Apple SaladSeared Pork MedallionsPumpkin Ice Cream
all had it: that giant bowl of mystery mush served to us by our hippie
friend who shops exclusively at organic health food stores and farmers
markets. And we suffer through it, we even pretend it tastes good because
its socially conscious food and we have a vague sense of guilt
that we should support local food. And were right, we should support
local food. But it doesnt have to taste like something out of
quite the opposite. The average distance traveled by the produce you
buy at corporate grocery stores is 1,300 miles. That long, strange trip
requires that the produce be picked before it is ripe, waxed and gassed
to retain its color, and in many cases genetically engineered to withstand
the journey. Obviously, this isnt going to taste as good as something
grown a few miles away and picked the day before you buy it.
place and every season has sights, smells, and feelings associated with
it. Like fall in Asheville. Thousands of people come to see this place,
Asheville, in this time, autumn. The sight of fall foliage on the Blue
Ridge mountains is famous. But we can also use our sense of taste to
experience the beauty of fall in Western North Carolina.
this fall menu, Im highlighting some of the flavors of this area
in this season. We have wonderful apple orchards in Western North Carolina,
and many are open to the public. My idea for this menu is that it would
come at the end of a wonderful day spent picking apples.
tried and true cooking techniques is the perfect way to highlight local,
seasonal ingredients, so that this healthy, socially conscious food
will actually taste good. In this menu, Ive used cooking techniques
from diverse backgrounds that highlight the best food that Western North
Carolina has to offer in the fall: a variation on a French salad dressing,
a twist on a Mexican ice cream recipe, and the ubiquitous balsamic reduction
sauce found in every chic bistro in America. Bon appetit!
2 fall apples
cups mixed greens
1 cup fall raspberries
½ cup walnuts
½ cup Gorgonzola
1 cup sugar
apple cider vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1 ½ cups white wine
1 ½ cups water
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 vanilla pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sugar
Core the apples and cut in half so that they each have a hole in the
center where the core was. Cut each end so it is flat and they will
stand up. Do not peel. Bring poaching liquid to simmer and add the apples,
simmering until tender. The time will vary greatly depending on apple
variety and ripeness. Just cook until tender.
Remove apples from liquid with tongs or a slotted spoon. Reserve poaching
liquid for dessert sauce. Set them on a cookie sheet, with the larger
end up. Generously sprinkle with sugar. Place under the broiler until
the sugar melts and forms a golden crust.
Place apples on 4 plates. Stand greens up in center hole of each apple.
(Be sure that the greens have been washed thoroughly and then dried
completely. The vinaigrette will just slide off damp greens.) You can
arrange these to look like pretty little bouquets. Sprinkle raspberries,
Gorgonzola and walnuts on salad and around plate. Drizzle with apple
You can serve these with warm apples, or prepare the bruleed apples
in advance and serve chilled.
Pork Medallions with Herb-Roasted Potatoes and Balsamic Reduction
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 1- inch- thick medallions
cup balsamic vinegar
tablespoon black peppercorns
2 pounds new potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
and pepper to taste
Cut new potatoes into fourths. Toss in a medium-sized bowl with olive
oil, herbs, and salt and pepper. Place in one layer in shallow baking
dish. Bake, covered with foil, at 350 until nearly tender. When they
start to get tender, remove the foil and allow to get slightly browned.
While potatoes are in the oven, season pork with salt. Crush peppercorns
with mortar and pestle or with the side of a chef's knife. Press into
pork medallions on both sides. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan
over medium heat. Sear pork until just cooked through, about 4 minutes
per side. Each side should get a nice golden color. Deglaze pan with
the balsamic, scraping the sides and bottom of pan. Boil until reduced
by half. Remove from heat, allow to cool for 2 minutes, then whisk in
remaining tablespoon butter. Season sauce with salt.
Place potatoes on 4 plates, divide pork medallions among plates, and
drizzle pork with balsamic reduction.
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 large shallots, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
Roast walnuts on a baking sheet until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir in butter and a pinch of salt. In food processor,
grind shallots one at a time. Add vinegar, sugar and 1 1/4 tablespoons
salt, pepper, and mustard. Drizzle oil in very slowly. Add the walnuts
and process for a few seconds.
Pumpkin Ice Cream with Apple Cinnamon Sauce
(Good news! you don't need an ice cream maker to make this ice cream!)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup pumpkin puree (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spiceconfectioner's sugar to taste
Scald milk in a heavy saucepan. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the
sugar and salt until the mixture is pale using a wooden spoon or whisk.
Gradually stir in the hot milk, then return to the saucepan and simmer
over low heat, stirring until the custard thickens. Do not allow to
Pour custard into bowl and cool. Stir in pumpkin puree and lemon juice.
Whip the cream until thick and beat lightly into the mango mixture.
Pour into a rigid container, cover, and freeze until just firm.
1 small pumpkin
vegetable or olive oil
Cut pumpkin in half. Remove seeds. Lightly oil cut surface and place,
cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil or in a shallow glass
baking dish. Bake at 325 until tender. Pierce with a fork to check tenderness.
Baking time will vary from pumpkin to pumpkin.
Remove pumpkin flesh and puree in blender or food processor.
Apple Cinnamon Sauce
reserved poaching liquid
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
Boil poaching liquid until reduced to 1 cup. Reduce heat. Stir in cornstarch
mixture over low to medium heat until thickened, stirring or whisking
is a culinary student at A-B Tech. She is an assistant manager at the
Albemarle Inn, and lives in Asheville with her husband.