ON COOKING: Chef offers a new take on pumpkin spice

Pumpkin puree can be used to make a salad dressing

Chef Dez is regular columnist with Black Press Media

By Chef Dez, Special to Black Press Media

Our family loves autumn. The crisp cool days are refreshing after a long hot summer and combined with beautifully coloured leaves rustling in the wind makes for a wonderful time of year. Cooking with seasonal ingredients enhances this whole experience.

This pumpkin vinaigrette recipe is one of our favourites. It captures the essence of pumpkin pie, but in a savoury format, rather than sweet. Be creative by tossing with greens and topping this autumnal salad with dried cranberries and sliced almonds for a truly amazing visual and eating escapade.

Also, what’s autumn without celebrating the harvest of hearty root vegetables. This recipe for oven roasted root vegetables has the essence of rosemary and maple syrup, and makes a perfect side dish for this time of year. Enjoy…

Pumpkin Vinaigrette

makes approximately 2 cups of dressing

3/4 cup canned pure pumpkin

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp molasses

1 tbsp Dijon or grainy mustard

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the ingredients, except for the oil, together in a bowl, food processor, or blender.

While continually mixing (or processing/blending) slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream until completely blended.

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Makes approximately 5 to 6 cups

“To prevent excessive bleeding of the red beets into the other vegetables, soak and rinse the diced beets repeatedly with cold water and then drain thoroughly before using in the recipe”

1 heaping cup of 1/2-inch diced of each of the following root vegetables:

onion

rutabaga

turnip

sweet potato

beets

carrots

2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 tbsp canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl toss all of the ingredients together (except for the maple syrup).

Spread on a large baking sheet making sure the cut vegetables are not crowded.

Bake for 30 minutes, tossing every 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the maple syrup and stir to coat. Bake for another 10 minutes.

.

– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com. Send questions to dez@chefdez.com or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4

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