I’m savoring the flavors and colors of fall,
joining The Novel Bakers for
There was plenty to tempt my taste buds in The Forest Feast along with inspiration for a little foraging outdoors, enjoying the fleeting fall color before the arrival of the artic blast.
I took a few liberties with a couple of The Forest Feast recipes for novel baking this week. The first recipe that caught my eye was a Butternut Caprese Salad, a fall and California twist on the Italian classic!
Butternut squash, mozzarella (smoked or regular), grape or cherry tomatoes, basil, and avocado for a little buttery and creamy flavor and texture.
Cube and roast your butternut squash at 425 degrees with some olive oil, salt and pepper for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
Arrange tomatoes, cheese, chopped basil, butternut, and avocado on a serving platter, sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper.
My Southern twist on a California version of this Italian classic, was the addition of a hot bacon dressing, which I’m pretty sure is a no-no with a vegetarian cookbook and recipe. . .but everything is better with bacon :)
Hot Bacon Dressing
4 – 6 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Saute bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat, reserving bacon and 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Let stand 1 minute. Add vinegar and oil, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Drizzle warm bacon mixture over salad.
Beautiful colors and flavors for fall!
Butternut Caprese Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Fans of butternut squash will love this fall twist on the classic Caprese Salad.
Servings: 8 servings
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes, roasted
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 ripe avocado cubed or sliced
- 1 cup mozzarella cubed
- 1/4 cup basil leaves chopped or torn
HOT BACON DRESSING
- 4 - 6 bacon slices coarsely chopped
- 3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
TO ROAST SQUASH
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Toss cubes with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 – 25 minutes. Allow to cool.
TO MAKE DRESSING
- Saute bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat, reserving bacon and 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Let stand 1 minute.
- Add vinegar and oil, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. Drizzle warm bacon mixture over salad. Serve immediately.
- Most grocery stores sell butternut squash already cubed which cuts down on prep time and saves you the challenging step of peeling and cutting your butternut squash.
- Adjust quantities to taste. Butternut squash may be roasted ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to assemble. Wait and cut avocado right before serving salad to prevent avocado from turning brown.
The other recipe that caught my eye was a Winter Citrus Sangria,
a red wine sangria with brandy, orange juice and assorted citrus fruits.
With Thanksgiving and the holidays on the horizon, I mixed up a fall batch of sangria, you can serve your guests or family for easy entertaining.
Pomegranate and Pear Sangria, delicious and beautiful!
A red wine is the base of this sangria but you could easily substitute a sparkling wine for the holidays.
I used a handy Anatomy of Sangria chart, courtesy of Wine Enthusiast Magazine for mixing my Pear and Pomegranate Sangria for a quick reference for easy mixing.
The sangria combinations are endless with this chart as a guideline. Pick and choose your mixers, fruit, juice, wine & liquor, adjusting the flavors and quantities to your taste.
I started with an inexpensive Pinot Noir since I was adding juice and mixers to it for this Thanksgiving version of sangria.
Pomegranate and Pear Sangria
2 – 3 pears, sliced
1 bottle Pinot Noir, or red wine of choice
1/2 cup Pomegranate Juice
1/2 cup Absolut Orient Apple Vodka
1 can Ginger Ale (I used diet)
I used apple vodka with a hint of ginger flavor that I had a bottle from mixing my Apple Cider Sangria.
Slice pears and add to a large pitcher along with pomegranate seeds.
Add wine, pomegranate juice and vodka. Refrigerate until serving, 1 – 2 hours or up to 24.
Just before serving, add chilled ginger ale to pitcher and mix well.
Fill glasses half full with ice. Add sangria, sliced pears and pomegranate seeds to garnish glasses.
Happy Sipping and Savoring!
Pomegranate and Pear Sangria
Pomegranate and Pear Sangria is as easy to mix as it is to drink! Perfect to mix up by the pitcher to serve for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving.
Servings: 6 servings
- 2 - 3 pears sliced
- Pomegranate Arils / Seeds
- 1 bottle Pinot Noir or red wine of choice
- 1/2 cup Pomegranate or Cranberry Juice
- 1/2 cup Apple Vodka or vodka of choice
- 1 can Ginger Ale regular or diet
- Slice pears and add to a large pitcher along with pomegranate seeds.
- Add wine, pomegranate juice and vodka.
- Refrigerate until serving, 1 – 2 hours or up to 24.
- Just before serving, add chilled ginger ale to pitcher and mix well.
- Fill glasses half full with ice.
- Add sangria, sliced pears and pomegranate seeds / arils to glasses and serve.
The Novel Bakers return on Friday, November 21st with more Forest Feast!
Feast and sip with Jain and Michael Lee . . .
Michael Lee, Rattlebridge Farm
Thank you for your visit, I’m joining: