Mrs. Carla Monti

Mrs. Carla Monti

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baking with Fall Flavors!

Fall is my favorite season - a sentiment that is very much trending across the blogosphere, at the moment. The rich smell of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, the crisp bite of apples, the smooth taste of pumpkin, and the lovely browns, oranges, and reds that bedazzle many a fall-themed table setting. In spite of all my fall lovin', the reality check is this: I live in South Florida, land of perpetual sunshine and heat and humidity. Of course, one can love fall without the changing of the leaves, cooler temperatures, and apple picking, but it sure is lovely when those traditions are in play. And since yesterday marks the official beginning to the fall season, I would like to share some of my recent recipes inspired by the warm flavors of autumn.

Apple Cinnamon Cookies, recipe from Joy the Baker!

Strawberry lemonade cupcakes with strawberry cream cheese icing, recipe from Annie's Eats! I made these for a friend's pool party last weekend and they were a big hit! My serving suggestion? A bottle of the world's best Pinot Grigio - Santa Margherita! ;)

When I was in college in Lugano, Switzerland, one of my favorite things to eat was pizza. Pizza made in Italy and "Switaly", as we called small Italian-speaking region of Switzerland where we lived, is nothing like pizza made here in the U.S. The size is smaller, generally one pizza for one to two people, the list of possible toppings are endless and all fresh, and the crust tends to be thinner. In short, pizza in Europe is fabulous. My favorite pizza was called the "Bismarck" and I recently found two great Italian places here in South Florida that serve a version of it. One is my favorite local Italian cafe/bakery, Cosi Duci, and the other, a relatively new find for me, Panaretto Pizzeria, both locations run by true Italian owners/servers/etc.

Next is a simple dinner meal I made last week. Instead of the traditional egg wash and then flour/breadcrumb mixture dredging for fish - I chose to make something different. I took several different types of nuts, pulverized them in my Magic Bullet, and then dipped tilapia filets in beaten egg, before covering them in the nut mixture. I put the filets to bake with a bit of olive oil and they came out great! Yummy nutty flavor and nice texture. The nuts I used were a combination of: almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and pine nuts! I served roasted veggies alongside the fish, a mix of butternut squash, yellow squash, and zucchini.

Another night, I made a simple rice salad with shrimp, avocado, small pieces of fresh mozzarella and cannellini beans (they are my go-to beans!). This is a delicious, simple meal that could be lunch or dinner.

Last but not least, my final dinner meal made last week was chicken cutlets marinated in freshly minced garlic, dried oregano, and pomegranate-infused balsamic vinegar! It was tart, flavorful, and delicious! I highly recommend investing in different fruit flavored balsamics! I served the chicken with roasted broccoli florets.

Another favorite fall cookie flavor is pumpkin! You can't go wrong with this tasty classic orange ingredient. I used a recipe from My Baking Addiction, and added butterscotch chips and walnuts to the delicious scents of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. These cookies were the perfect size, about two bites, and a wonderful chewy texture. They were a big hit at work!

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