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I am most certainly not taking any credit for this laughingly simple technique that impresses both in flavor, texture, and looks. My version coats a whole head of cauliflower in canola oil, and seasons it with smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast until crispy and dark brown on the outside, and tender inside. Serve a wedge over a smooth squash puree* (in this instance, kabocha) and garnish with a bright, fresh gremolata.

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*I went all indulgent with butter and cream, but feel free to omit for a vegan version.

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After making burrata with corn and tomatoes, I just couldn’t throw away the corn cobs without squeezing every sweet drop of summer from them. Since I only had a few, I couldn’t make enough corn stock to be worthwhile for soup. Using the same technique, however, I was able to produce enough sweet corny liquid to create a simple syrup for cocktails.

Place corn cobs in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cook to extract flavor, about 30-45 minutes. Strain, and combine however much corn stock you have with equal parts sugar (ex.: 1 cup stock requires 1 cup sugar).

Use anywhere you would use standard simple syrup. For me, whisky was a natural partner, so I combined 3 parts of the spirit with 1 part corn simple syrup and topped it with club soda. A great cocktail to help transition into fall.

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This past weekend was the first of football season, and–I can’t believe I’m about to type this–I am so excited for its arrival. In the past few years, I have increasingly looked forward to doing just about nothing on Sundays. These days give me an opportunity to cook (and usually drink) all day; it is on this day I experiment with new dishes, or test popular ones I’ve made in seasons past.

One of these recipes is Rice Krispies Treats. I usually keep them traditional, but top them with a spiced chocolate ganache for something a bit more refined. To kickoff the season, this time I stirred in speculoos spread–a flavor that hints at the impending end of summer and transition to the cooler months. So as I prepare to say goodbye to tomatoes, mai tais, and the faint tan I actually achieved this year, I seek solace in Football Sundays.

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Makes 12-15 pieces

4 Tbsp butter
1 10-oz bag mini marshmallows
2/3 speculoos spread
pinch kosher salt
6 cups Rice Krispies or puffed rice cereal
3 Tbsp millet, toasted

1. In a large pot, melt butter and add marshmallows.
2. Once marshmallows are melted, stir in speculoos spread and salt.
3. Add cereal and millet and stir until evenly coated with speculoos mixture.
4. Pour into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch greased pan and press down evenly.
5. Let sit for at least 2 hours before cutting.

Notes: Of course this is delicious–they’re Rice Krispies Treats, for crying out loud. Speculoos was subtle but prominent enough to make them special. Next time: more millet!

Bold without being “in your face”, this winter salad takes advantage of raw shaved Brussels sprouts, which gives crunch and a mild cabbage flavor. Crispy potatoes add another layer of texture, and cheddar cheese lends a pleasant tang. The whole thing is drizzled with a bright honey mustard dressing, bringing all the flavors together.

1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 apple
Juice of 1 lemon
6 oz pecans, roughly chopped
5 oz extra-sharp cheddar cheese, small dice
1 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Toss potatoes with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes, or until dark golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a large bowl.
3. Thinly slice the brussels sprouts and add to the bowl.
4. Thinly slice the apple and then cut into matchsticks. Toss with lemon juice and add to the bowl.
5. Add pecans and cheese to the bowl.
6. Whisk together the mustards, honey, and vinegar. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil until emulsified.
7. Drizzle honey mustard vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.

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Oh yeah. It’s pumpkin season, bitches.

I used this recipe, which I adapted in the following ways:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, spice, and salt and whisk.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg and whisk.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips.
6. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups (standard 12, or 6 large if you’re weird like me).
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

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I don’t need to go on about the flavors of autumn. We all know about cinnamon and root vegetables and pies and roasts. Every year kitchens are taken hostage by the warm flavors of the season, and mine is no exception.

After a red wine, braised meat-type of a night, I finished everything off with sweet potato custard, and I used this recipe to do it. I swapped the canned pumpkin for canned sweet potato puree, added vanilla extract because it seemed logical, and skipped on the topping out of sheer laziness. It was too rich when it was warm, but served out of the fridge with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, it was the perfect dessert for a chilly fall night. To steal the words of my dinner date, who, by the way, ate this in his underwear with me, “It tastes like autumn, in a bowl.”