Autumn is easily my favorite time of the year and rightfully so. The gorgeous foliage display, crispness in the air, warm and comforting hearty spiced dishes, what’s there not to love? Not to mention the precursor to major food obsessed holidays & cocktail parties, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years. There is something positively delicious in the air which makes just about anything taste so good.
Personally for me fall and spice go hand in hand. This week’s #SpicyChat inspiration comes from Pollen Ranch. I first got introduced to their versatile spices when I won their giveaway at the HGEATS twitter party hosted by my dear foodie friend Hungry Goddess. Needless to say I got hooked and have been dabbling with their spices for a while now. A bit about Pollen Ranch:
Pollen Ranch is an on-line gourmet store selling hand collected Gourmet Fennel Pollen Spice, Unique Teas, Spice Blends,Oils, and more. It’s Pollen Ranch’s mission to continually bring our customers fresh, quality ingredients and products. Our fennel pollen and dill pollen is hand-picked in the wild for best flavor and aroma. From our table to yours, make Pollen Ranch “your secret ingredient”.
Aside from the obvious health benefits, Fennel Pollen is a highly aromatic, flavorful, and versatile herb with culinary and medicinal uses. Fennel plant is extensively used in Indian cuisine especially in savory and spicy dishes. Today I showcasing Fennel in the limelight as the star of the dish & not just as an accompaniment, starting from cocktails and ending with a savory dessert.
Blood Orange & Pomegranate Salad
Life doesn’t get simpler than this, vibrant & fresh salad showcasing the best of seasonal fall ingredients. The fresh flavors of blood orange and pomegranate sparkle in this salad, sprinkled with the ‘secret’ ingredient Fennel Citrus Salt, how can you can not fall in love? Serve it as a starter, in-between courses as a palate cleanser or finish your meal with a delicate touch, this simple salad is always a winner. The beauty of this dish aside from the obvious fall colors, is that you can create it within minutes with just these simple ingredients. Even though it is composed of few ingredients, it yields bold flavors.
- 2 Blood Oranges, sliced, skin removed
- 1 Whole Pomegranate seeds
- Pollen Ranch Fennel Citrus Salt to taste
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- 1/2 a Fennel, julienne
- Handful of Pistachios
- Plate the fruits on your individual serving plates.
- Drizzle with olive oil, fennel citrus salt, and pistachios.
- Serve immediately.
Baked Cod with Spicy Grape Salsa
We all love our wines, why limit grapes to wine drinking or eating them plain? How about adding lush Autumn grapes to your entree and taking it to the next level. Succulent & juicy grapes tossed with honey & black pepper, roasted, and finished with a generous helping of Big Devil spice. It is a match made in heaven. Personally, I feel roasting adds an extra touch of sweetness to any fruit or vegetable & deepens their flavor. I have used both Big Devil & Little Devil Pollen Ranch spices since they add the right amount of heat to compliment these sweet grapes. Savory, sweet, spicy, and tangy, this roasted grape salsa screams umami!!
I served this spicy roasted grape salsa with fish. However, it works brilliantly spooned over any grilled protein of your choice. After all, wine does taste good with everything then why shouldn’t grapes? This is another weekday winner, as in less than 30 minutes you have a healthy, nutritious, and ultra flavorful meal to enjoy with your family and friends. My family savored the roasted grape salsa so much that they recommended serving it at my next dinner party too.
For the Salsa:
- 11/2 lb Grapes, red or black
- 1 tbs Honey
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Big Devil Spice
- 2 Garlic cloves, diced
- 3 tbs Cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 Lime, juiced
- 1/2 – 1 Jalapeno, diced
- Salt to taste
For the Fish:
- 2 Lbs Cod fillets (substitute with fresh fish or pork chops)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tsp Little Devil Spice
- Olive oil
- Roast the grapes with honey and black pepper for 10 minutes in a 450 degree oven. Puree them in a food processor to a thick and chunky texture.
- Add rest of the salsa ingredients and allow flavors to meld for 1 hour.
- Adjust salt, pepper, and heat level to your taste.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, and little devil on fish fillets. Sear on high in a cast iron or oven proof pan, skin side up for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer fish to oven and bake till opaque, approximately 5 minutes.
- Serve warm with generous drizzle of salsa in each serving. (Recipe adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
Pear & Goat Cheese Tart with Herbs de Provence
Sublime, is the reaction each time you take a bite of this heavenly tart. Pears and goat cheese encased in a pate brisee made of aromatic herbs de Provence (sweet French herbs, flowery lavender, & fennel), need I say more? It is the perfect way to celebrate fall with it’s abundance of ripe pears.
This tart is more savory than sweet. One could easily serve it for brunch or a light lunch with a green salad on the side. You could also substitute the pears for figs.
- 21/4 cups King Arthur’s AP Flour
- 2 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Coarse Salt
- 1 tsp Pollen Ranch Herbs de Provence
- 2 sticks, cold unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup ice cold water
- 6 oz Goat Cheese, room temperature
- 2 tbs Sugar
- Black Pepper to taste
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Vanilla essence
- 1/4 cups Pine Nuts or Hazel Nuts
- 2 medium sized ripe pears, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Melted butter to glaze
- Combine flour, sugar, salt, and herbs de Provence in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
- Add the chilled butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add the ice water slowly, 1 tbs at a time until the dough comes together. You may not need all the water.
- Divide the dough into two parts, pat into flat disk, and warp in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Gently whisk goat cheese, egg, salt, vanilla, and black pepper to combined.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove one portion of the dough from the refrigerator. Gently roll out a 14 inch circle and carefully place it in a removable bottom tart pan. Gently push the dough into the crevices of the pan and the bottom. Remove the extra dough from the sides and keep for another use. Line the tart pant with foil and fill it with weights or beans and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and weights.
- Spread the goat cheese filling in the tart shell. Sprinkle the nuts on top. Lay the pear slices over the filling, overlapping to create a flower design or your choice of pattern. Brush the pears with melted butter and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the edges of the tart are golden brown and the pears turn lightly brown around the edges.
- Cool completely before serving. (Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria)
No meal in our house is complete without fruit. And I can adapt it in any course or time of the day. Not only our fruits healthy, fresh and seasonal fruits are rich in flavor and textures too. I also created some Pomegranate Edible Cocktails. Recipe available on request. What’s your favorite part about fall/Autumn?
For more delicious spice inspirations, join us tonight for a #SpicyChat Fall Fruits Party at 8 PM EDT on Twitter with @PollenRanch.