Monday, October 8, 2012

An Autumn Celebration Inspires a #RecipeforHappiness

When Allrecipes attended the BlogHer Food conference last June, we met hundreds of enthusiastic and talented food bloggers. A star in the sparkling crowd was Hannah Cordes, who shares thoughts and ideas seasoned with a Northwest perspective. In her own words, she says, “I love preparing fresh, seasonal food and can't resist a DIY project. I live in Seattle with my husband, two teenage sons, two dogs, and a flock of backyard hens. It gives me great joy to cook for family and friends, and my happiest place is around our table crowded with guests. I have been cooking my whole life and spent six years as the chef for Hillel at the University of Washington. My blog, Blue Kale Road, is where I cook, eat, explore, and share about food.” Allrecipes is delighted to post Hannah's special #RecipeForHappiness here for you.

Gathering family and friends around the table is pure happiness. It thrills me to cook for loved ones, and during the fall holidays it is extra special. I eagerly anticipate fall’s apples and squash, and the Jewish holidays allow me to turn this rich bounty into festive meals. There is much to enjoy.

Sukkot celebrates the fall harvest and recalls a time in Jewish history when people lived in temporary structures while working in the fields. Every autumn, my family builds a sukkah with wood and branches in our backyard and strings tiny lights across the beams to decorate it. During the week-long holiday, we welcome guests and eat our meals in the sukkah.

Our sukkah turns magical when lighted for the evening meal (Photo by Hannah Cordes)
In the harvest spirit, our Sukkot menus focus on what is in season. Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie evokes autumnal cooking for me. Humble root vegetables shine in this robust casserole-style dish. Roasting a medley of vegetables with maple syrup coaxes out their natural, earthy sweetness, and topping the mixture with a flaky, Cheddar cheese biscuit crust is the perfect accent. Altogether, it’s a hearty, satisfying family-friendly entrĂ©e!

Roasted Vegetable Pot Pie (Photo by Hannah Cordes) is a terrific resource for Jewish holiday recipes, some traditional and some with a twist. When planning a menu, I have turned to Allrecipes many times for fresh inspiration and creative dishes and desserts. For this year’s Sukkot, I discovered some new favorites.

First on the list is Fennel in Wine and Honey. It’s simply wonderful, as well as quite easy! Fennel is braised in white wine, honey, olive oil, and chicken broth, which beautifully complements its anise flavor.

Fennel in Wine and Honey (Photo by Hannah Cordes)
In this delicious Orange Juice Tzimmes, carrots and prunes are simmered in orange juice and lemon zest until coated with a luscious sauce, adding a sweet touch to the dinner.

Carrots and prunes combine in Orange Juice Tzimmes (Photo by Hannah Cordes)
I'm always a fan of rustic fruit desserts and this Apple and Pomegranate Crisp leapt out at me. Since I had some gorgeous pears from the market, I swapped them for the apples. Sweet pears and tart, pretty pomegranate seeds are delightful together, especially with the crisp, oat-filled topping.

Autumn fruits star in Apple and Pomegranate Crisp (Photo by Hannah Cordes)
After savoring our meal, we relaxed in the sukkah under the leafy roof and twinkling lights. As I gazed at the warm faces around our table, I felt grateful and content. This is my #RecipeforHappiness. I hope you enjoy it, too.


Nice post Hannah! I loved meeting AllRecipes in Seattle as well. So glad you were able to share your RecipeforHappiness. That crisp really grabs my attention - crisps are a favorite in our house.