Entertaining: A Taste of Fall

Last night, Kevin and I hosted my mom and great aunt, Madrina, for dinner. In selecting the menu for our meal, we really wanted to highlight the fall season which, while not yet evident in Miami's temperatures, has definitely made its way to the produce section at our local market. The pumpkins and squashes in all kinds of colors and funny shapes gave us a starting point.

Instead of our usual centerpiece of cut flowers, we opted for an arrangement of ornamental squashes and a few ears of miniature Indian Corn, which seem like a deal at $9. Plus, since they're lacquered, they're sure to grace our table for much longer than our weekly bouquets, which run $5 a pop.

Our first flavors of fall came through the salad: mixed greens topped with slices of Bartlett pear and toasted walnuts, drizzled with a simple homemade dressing that has a hint of sugar. My mom really loved the variety of textures in this salad... and I did, too!

The main course consisted of a delicious puréed Butternut squash soup. This was the first time I'd ever cooked squash and also my first time trying a Butternut. Our kitchen smelled so good as it slowly melded together with the fresh ginger, onion and garlic. Garnished with a dollop of low-fat sour cream and a sprinkling of spicy roasted pumpkin seeds, it tasted unbelievably wonderful!

Aside from a bit of butter and the sour cream, it was made entirely of vegetables, which we've been working at eating more of regularly. This soup was my major contribution to the dinner.

Kevin rounded out the meal perfectly with a rustic apple tart, which he made all by himself. (My husband is quite the baker!) It just melted my heart to see him peeling and slicing Granny Smiths... then using my rolling pin to prepare the puff pastry sheet. So cute! Anyway, it was equally delicious and subtly sweet, which was a nice surprise.

Best of all, we got to spend time with family! Madrina couldn't stop talking about the Butternut squash soup and asked that I translate the recipe so that she can make it herself. (Did I mention that she's 90, lives independently, and exercises every day? I love her so much!)

Anyway, I offered a trade: the recipe in exchange for a little lesson on cooking Picadillo Cubano. (Madrina makes the best picadillo ever... chocked full of green olives and raisins, just the way I like it. Mmm!) We'll be getting together for the lesson later this week, so keep an eye out for the post.

What are your favorite flavors of the season?



  1. First: everything looks amazingly delicious! Especially the butternut squash soup! I just made a pear walnut salad, but I caramelized the walnut--best decision ever. 5 minutes on the stove with a couple tbsp of sugar!

    Second--I love that you love spending time with your elderly family! It's the most special time, isn't it! I'm sure she was thrilled to spend time with you and Kevin :-)

  2. Yum! That looks so tasty!

  3. What a perfect fall menu! I am always looking for new ways to cook squash & hadn't thought to make soup (though I love butternut squash soup!). Yum :)

  4. OMGoodness that all looks so delicious! The pears in the salad and the nuts in the soup, it's making me hungry!
    Madrina sounds like an amazing woman and that picture of the two of you is so sweet :)

  5. Yum! And I love your centerpiece, such an easy way to give your table a fall feel!

  6. your meal looks quite delicious. i'm craving the salad!

  7. Awesome, I am going to put your link on my blog.

  8. The plating of the dishes is gorgeous. Please come and recreate it here in NYC for me, pretty please? We are getting fall weather, and I would love some of this. :)


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