Pigs, pies, and pumpkins. That’s all me right now. I don’t know about you, but I am in it. I am in it so sickeningly deep with fall and all its glory. This past weekend you could find me witch-hunting, making pipe-cleaner spiders, picking out pumpkins, checking out some stinky farm animals, hanging spider webs, strategically placing bones in our front yard (Sean took the fun out of it by making sure they were all anatomically laid correctly), having a mild-panic attack in a hay maze (where’s the exit, where’s the exit, where’s the exit)… you name it. I was embracing sun, animals, decorations, cookies, beer, all kinds of ghostly shit.
And what does fall give back to me? What do I get for being the mom who’s like YES LET’S DO THIS. LET’S MAKE IT SPINE-CHILLING UP IN HERE!
A god damn bee in my ballet flat as I was on my tip toes hanging the last of the spooky lantern decorations in our yard. Guess what happened to that bee? It stung my foot. And the ENTIRE neighborhood heard the ripple effect from said sting.
And that child who was inside our house peeing while this happened? She bolted outside with her pants around her ankles thinking the zombie Apocalypse was finally here.
And that other child of mine? She was running around trying to find band-aids and tweezers and wet paper towels and thinking “Oh my god this is my chance to finally be the doctor I’ve always wanted to be!”
And that other child of mine? She sat in the stroller watching this all happen waving to dogs and whispering “hiiii” to passers-by.
And that husband? He may have thought I was being a bit overdramatic, but isn’t that what Halloween is for?
Welcome to the neighborhood Collinses!!!!!
Here are a couple of glorious make-ahead recipes to give you comfort in this chilling time of year. Get it? Chilling? Because it’s cold and spooky and…oh nevermind. It’s almost noon and time for a pumpkin ale.
If you can cut things and place cut things into a pot and stir, then this are both the recipes for you!!!
grilled southwestern spiced pork tenderloins (from page 65, Small Parties)
This recipe can be prepared the morning of your dinner or even the night before and marries together all of the flavors you can find at your farmers market this time of year!
3 pounds pork tenderloins (2 tenderloins in a package typically, about 1.5 pounds each)
2 large cloves garlic, slivered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
zest and juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon ground cumin or cumin seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, cored and diced
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Place the pork tenderloins in a ceramic, glass, or stainless-steel shallow pan. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, lime zest and juice, cumin, fennel, Dijon mustard, onion, jalapeño, chile powder, and salt. Pour over the pork; turn to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to get the pork flavored throughout.
When ready to grill, heat an outdoor grill to medium, Remove pork from marinade, place on grill and cook for 10-12 minutes per side, about 20-24 minutes total cooking time.
Remove pork from grill and transfer to a serving platter; cover with foil and allow pork to rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice on a diagonal before serving.
NOTE: If you are not using a grill to cook pork, remove pork from marinade and roast in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes, turning once halfway through. Internal temperature should reach 140 degrees. Allow to rest, as directed above, before slicing. Pork will be slightly pink in the center – perfectly done and not dry.
I served mine along with a side of perfectly roasted cauliflower. So easy, and the house smelled heavenly!
When you need to prepare food for a crowd of trick-or-treaters, this is a perfect autumn evening dinner to serve on Halloween night. Serve with corn bread and a mixed green salad for a complete meal!
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, dived
4 ribs celery, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds boneless lean pork loin, cut into one-inch cubes (see NOTE if you are using your pork tenderloin leftovers)
1/2 cup flour
4 cups beef or chicken broth
4 cups (about 2 pounds) peeled yams, cut into one-inch cubes
2 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried sage or 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
2 cups frozen peas (I used frozen lima beans)
(optional) 10-inch round pumpkin, carved out for soup “tureen”
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
In a large stockpot, heat olive oil. Add onion, celery, and carrots ad saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cubed pork and saute until pork is browned on all sides. Add flour, stir well to coat meat and cook another minute on medium heat. Stir in broth, yams, parsnips, salt, pepper, and sage. Cover; simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent stew from sticking to bottom of the pot.
Taste for seasoning; add peas and cook another 2 minutes. Serve in carved-out 10-inch pumpkin with chopped parsley on top.
Can be made earlier in the day up to the point of adding the peas, which should be added after reheated and just before serving.
NOTE: If you are using leftover pork tenderloin from your amazing dinner you prepared the night before, cube the leftover tenderloin as directed. Add in the pork along with the broth, yams, parsnips, salt, pepper and sage. You can omit the flour if you choose.