A Terrific Time For New Taste Sensations

IN THE KITCHEN

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While summer-type temperatures may linger, many of us are making a seasonal shift in our thinking and, when the thermometer permits, trying out some autumn flavors in the kitchen.

A variety of sensational seasonal-themed recipes have recently showed up in the mail, so it seemed a good time to share them.

Jerk Chicken

(Add some spice to your life)

1 cup diced onions

3 scallions, green and white parts, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, or two teaspoons dried

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger root

1-3 Scotch bonnet or habanera peppers, according to taste

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about two halves

In a blender or food processor, combine onions, scallions, thyme, ginger, peppers, oil, allspice, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Puree to a pulpy pastes, altogether it makes about one cup.

Spread the paste liberally over the chicken breasts, arrange chicken on a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Marinate in refrigerator two to three hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, remove chicken from marinade and wipe off with paper toweling to remove most of the paste. Grill or broil chicken until juices run clear, turning pieces once.

Makes four servings.

Wild Rice and Corn Salad

(A tasteful way to change seasons)

2 cups cooked wild rice

3/4 cup corn kernels (cut off one ear of cooked corn or use defrosted frozen or canned corn)

2 whole scallions, sliced

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped mint (according to taste)

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, combine wild rice, corn, scallions, mint, nuts and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil, then add to rice mixture. Toss to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper, then cover and let stand 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop. It will keep 24 hours if tightly covered and refrigerated.

Makes eight servings.

Squash and Apple Puree

(Plentiful produce for fall treat)

3 pounds winter squash (acorn, butternut or Hubbard)

3 large baking apples (Rome Beauty, York Imperial or Granny Smith)

2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and stringy portions. Place in large baking pan, cut side down, and bake until soft, 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size.

About 30 minutes before you expect squash to be done, poke a few holes in the apples and add to baking pan. When squash and apples are tender, but not mushy, remove from oven. Cut apples in half to speed cooling.

Scoop squash from shell or pull off peel. Remove peels, seeds and cores of apples. Place squash and apple in blender, add parsley and pepper and puree.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread puree in a baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with oil. Sprinkle wheat germ evenly over the top and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling softly.

Makes eight servings and works well as a side dish for poultry.

Caramel Apple Focaccia

(A new fall favorite)

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed

1/4 cup melted butter or margarine

2 cups thinly sliced apples (peeled and cored)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup caramel sundae topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out thawed loaf into a 12-inch circle. Transfer circle to prepared baking sheet; set aside. In a medium bowl, mix apple slices with sugar, cinnamon and nuts, set aside. Brush round of dough with melted butter. Evenly spread apple mixture over butter. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are tender and the edges of the dough are golden brown. Remove from oven. Brush with any left over melted butter. Drizzle with caramel topping. Remove from pan to cool on wire rack. Slice and serve.

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