Fall is a reflective time of year, with the increase of crisp air influencing our activities and attitudes. The extroverted nature of summer motivates us to spend less time inside, instead exploring all the excitements, while also enjoying the increased relaxation associated with the season. Fall, on the other hand, feels a bit more serious, but with a new drive, like the beginning of a new school year.
Comfort food is one of the most common and popular go-to cuisines, after the rush of summer’s adventure leaves us with a need to recharge and nourish the body. For many, summer cuisine is infallible – bright fruits and vegetables, light salads, smoothies, and any other refreshing fare to stave off humidity heavy physical presence. What fall boasts, however, is a more luxurious and opulent edible landscape – prominent yellows and oranges on pumpkins and squashes, earth tones and deep pinks in gamey meats, and piles of small, multi-coloured potatoes roasted so perfectly that the warm and fluffy insides push against the golden skins, creating a taut surface that begs to be pierced by a fork.
We have collected a variety of comfort food recipes that are both achievable on a busy evening and fancy enough to impress:
Marinating beef in wine not only allows for a more complex flavour profile in your dish, but the acids in the wine work to tenderize the meat as well. This means if you’re not able to use the best cut of beef, the wine will soften any chewier bits. The extra fruit from the recommended Cabernet Sauvignon/Red Zinfandel/Merlot balances the tomato in the recipe and emphasizes the parsnip’s sweet and unique flavour. Make sure you’re armed with a crusty loaf, or whatever your favourite sauce-sponge is!
Ikea’s flagship meal is surprisingly easy to replicate at home, as many of the ingredients required may already be in your kitchen. The convenience of frozen and pre-cooked meatballs is undeniable, and perfectly suitable for busier nights, but they can’t hold a candle to the difference in flavour and textural quality found only in homemade ones.
You’re only limited by your imagination if you believe salads are restricted to spring and summer, as they can be extremely nourishing meals. You can achieve an interesting array of temperatures and textures- warmed items like velvety roasted squash and smoky, toasted pecans marry perfectly with spicy arugula, zesty vinaigrette and crunchy cucumbers and pomegranate seeds.
Like lobster and crab legs, if you’re willing to put in some elbow grease into cracking a pomegranate, you will be rewarded. The bright ruby tones add an undeniable accent to any dish, and are great both as part of a recipe or as a garnish.
Butternut squash as hummus is a genius discovery, and bets should be placed on how much actually makes it into containers “for later”. This will most likely be the first food item to disappear at a party. Hummus has become a household staple and fantastic ‘on-the-go’ snack, both because of how high in protein and good fat it is and its ability to work well with both crackers and vegetable sticks.
Arguably the most popular item on any menu (next to chicken fingers with fries) you saw as a child. Without any thought to how much would end up on your shirt (rather than in your mouth), you still abandoned yourself to this meaty sandwich comprised of an almost comical volume of sweet and slightly smoky tomato sauce.
This vegan version cares more about your future health and works well either in a bun or over grains (like rice and quinoa) to make it a stew.
Regain equilibrium by carving out a lazy day to make this luxurious treat. Homemade cinnamon rolls are worth the labour, and are best reserved for a lazy day off that involves zero plans, except to either call friends over to share, or to consume the whole thing solo. There are no judgments when it comes to the consumption of cinnamon rolls.
Sometimes comfort foods are an extension of our heritage, and other times it’s a childhood dish we make ourselves to sooth emotional stressed. What both provide are sense of security and familiarity. The Dutch use the term gezelligheid, which translates as feeling both physical and emotional warmth or “coziness” from a thing or person. This is what true comfort food is – nostalgic and nourishing.