The autumn months bring chilly air and clear skies, and with those, the urge to get outside and enjoy a cool respite from summer. Combine outdoor activities with a love for food and you get a great opportunity to explore your local cafes for hidden gourmet treasures while soaking up the season's waning sun. For those gloomy or busy days when getting to eatery with a veranda is impossible, use this fall cafe menu to lift your spirits.
This apple and sage Croque Monsieur is a delicious variation on the original French recipe. It features sweet-tart apples, herb mayonnaise, melted cheese, and hot ham sandwiched between two buttery, crisp pieces of bread. It's a taste of fall in a sandwich!
This roasted beet salad is a wonderful, healthy dish to make anytime you have access to fresh beets. It’s a whole beet salad because the entire beet – root, stem, and greens – can be used in this recipe. Any vinaigrette or citronette dressing can be used to garnish this versatile salad, but blood orange dressing
really makes the flavors pop. Add rustic artisan bread and a pureed soup, like butternut squash bisque for a filling, nutritious meal.
The mild sweetness of butternut squash soup is perfectly offset with a trio of fresh, savory herbs. Add heavy cream to the already velvety texture of pureed squash and you have rich, thick bisque to serve for a first course or a light main dish. This recipe can easily be converted to a vegetarian dish by using a good quality vegetable stock in place of the chicken stock.
Sage croutons are a wonderful accompaniment to squash and carrot soups, as well as roasted vegetable and spinach salad
. They take less than 10 minutes to make, start to finish, so they're the perfect last-minute garnish to make a meal special.
Flickr user c3lsius_bb
This deliciously spiced apple tartlet recipe is a quick and easy treat to make when you're in a rush. They taste best when eaten within a few hours of being made. For the coziest indulgence, take a warm-from-the-oven apple tartlet, dust it with a bit of powdered sugar, and serve it with a petite scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Flickr user joyosity
To many, the perfect caramel ice cream recipe is equal parts sweet, salty, and rich. The caramelized sugar flavor needs to be deep and complex, without veering into an unpleasant burnt-sugar note. This recipe does just that. Full and rich, it's the perfect complement to fall fruit dishes and pastries or served alone with whipped cream.
On the other hand, if you have no plans to stay inside cooking and eating, and have no desire to be limited to a restaurant table, make a picnic instead. This menu is perfect for a picnic basket and thermos, with the exception of the caramel ice cream; make it and enjoy it at home later, with coffee.