Ultra Easy Roasted Fall Vegetables

If you’re looking for a simple side dish for your favorite fall recipes, here it is. I whipped this up the other week for a family dinner with the future in-laws (and as you know, in-laws = scary = must impress them to earn their trust) and it was received with glowing reviews, so I think we can all agree this one is a keeper. And as I mentioned, simple. This dish is so easy it’s ridiculous. You just chop up onions, sweet potato, brussels sprouts, and butternut squash (or if you hate chopping uncooked squash as I do, buy it pre-peeled and chopped, I won’t tell). Roast it for a while in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs. Mix in some melty cheese and more fresh herbs at the very end. Done and done.

Did I mention you could also bring this to Thanksgiving as an alternative to the overdone sweet potato pies and green bean casseroles we see every year? Your dinner table will thank you.

Ultra Easy Roasted Fall Vegetables

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Warm Fall Kale Salad with Bison

Warm Fall Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes & Pumpkin Seeds

Warm Fall Kale Salad

Heyo! I’m finally feeling sorta fall-ish (even though it’s still in the 90s in Austin) so I decided to make a warm kale salad last week. I realize kale salad isn’t the epitome of fall cooking, but like I said, 90 degrees! So I’m easing into the whole seasonal eating thing right now. Once it dips below 80 here it will feel properly “cold” and I can start busting out the soups, etc.

But for now… delicious kale salad! This one can be served as a side but it easily stands alone for a fairly light lunch or dinner, as it’s chock full of filling roasted sweet potatoes and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Plus salty parmesan cheese. Of course, if you want to make it a bigger protein-packed meal and add meat, you totally can and should! We added some grilled bison to one iteration and it was perfect:

Warm Fall Kale Salad with Bison

Warm Fall Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes & Pumpkin Seeds

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Easy Pork and Apple Tacos


As you could probably tell, I was pretty excited about my recent bacon, apple and pork creation/monstrosity. As much as I’d like to eat pork wrapped in pork and then grilled every day, unfortunately I don’t always have the time to make such an over-the-top meal. I had another of these Smithfield marinated pork loins on hand this month and was looking for a quicker way to cook it up. Smitten with the pork and apples combo, I made a quick pork and apple taco meal, perfect for that busy back-to-school, back-to-work, dear-god-why-am-I-not-on-vaction-anymore time of year.

Easy Pork and Apple Tacos

One Smithfield marinated peppercorn and garlic pork loin

One red apple

1/2 onion

queso fresco

corn tortillas

Simple directions: make this in to tacos!

Full directions:

Cut the pork loin up into small, 1/4-inch strips.

Throw the pork pieces in to a large saucepan on medium heat.

Meanwhile, chop up the half onion into small strips and throw those in with the pork.

Peel and chop your apple up in to small cubes. Toss these on the pork right as it’s just about done (after 10 minutes). I do this just to get the apples nice and hot — don’t want them all mushy!

Lather everything on to a warm tortilla; top with queso fresco and Sriracha.


This sponsored post is part of Endless Simmer’s 2015 series as a Blogger Ambassador for Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork.

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Fall Persimmon Tea Cake

It’s Fall, Y’all: Persimmon Teacake

Fall Persimmon Tea Cake

Happy first day of fall, y’all! It’s time to cozy up to all things warm, baked, dare I even say… pumpkinspiced?

But today’s recipe is not about pumpkin at all! (So you’re welcome, PSL detractors.) Today we’re talking about a different P… persimmon. I will be the first to admit that I do not work with this fruit as much as I should, and often ignore this special fruit as I browse the produce section this time of year, msotly because I don’t know WTF to do with it. I feel guilty. I want to change! As luck would have it, I was recently contacted by DEFINE Foods here in Austin, with some creative seasonal recipes.

Co-owner and chef Erin O’Leary Stewart gave me some great pointers on seasonal fall produce and how to integrate it into your recipe planning, including my elusive persimmon!

Erin says:

“My top five favorite fruits and veggies that are in season locally this fall are sweet potatoes, carrots, persimmons, figs, pears, oh and beets… and cauliflower… (Ok, more than 5!).

Persimmon is the most unique and a favorite fruit that you can only get at this time of year that looks like a cross  between a peach and a tomato. Its flavor is a blend of apricots, plums and honey. Combined in a moist spice cake, this is the perfect fall weather breakfast or afternoon treat.”

Persimmon Tea Cake

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BBQ Bacon Apple Pork Explosion

pork wrapped up

With August wrapping up and summer temps finally giving us a little bit of relief, that hint of brisk in the air has me dreaming about curling up with winter-warming comfort foods. But it’s a mixed emotion, because that also means grilling season has almost come to a close. Nooooo! Just in time for Labor Day, here’s one last, very pork-y grill-season hurrah that takes some wintery flavors and makes them work for summer.

Inspired by the Internet-classic bacon explosion, I cooked up an easy and outrageous grill dish earlier this month. Here’s how it went down:


1 Smithfield Mesquite Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet

1 simple package of good bacon

1 baking apple (I used mutsu; granny smith or any other crisp one should do)

1/2 lemon

Core the apple and cut it into as thin slices as possible. Toss these with the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Arrange the apple slices so that they cover all sides of the pork loin (they should stick right on).

pork with apples

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cauliflower with golden nutmeg butter

Everything’s Better with Butter

cauliflower with golden nutmeg butter

Mmmm… butter. Every cook knows that adding a bit of fat to a dish makes it fuller and more satisfying, and sure butter’s not exactly a health food, but as long as you use it wisely, I think you’re okay. It also depends on the type of butter you use. All butter is not created equal. For example, European butter. Thanks to the fact that it’s churned longer, it has a slightly higher fat content than your average stick of American butter. Sometimes it can be a bit of a hunt to find this rich, ultra-flavorful butter in your average grocery store, but recently Land O’ Lakes caught onto the trend and now they’re starting to offer European sweet cream butter as part of their product line. I’m down with it.

Since European butter is so rich and flavorful, it’s the perfect fat to use when you’re cooking something simple and you just want that touch of luxury. Case in point, this cauliflower recipe from LOL (haha – Land O’ Lakes – do you think they call themselves LOL? Probably not. lol!), you really don’t need much besides the vegetable, the butter, and a few seasonings. Butter!

Cauliflower with Nutmeg Butter

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The Tastes of August: Summer Salad Stuffed Poblano Peppers


At Endless Simmer we love to do all kinds of muddling, messing around, and wrapping in bacon, but the truth about food is that when you have perfect ingredients you barely need to do anything at all to them before eating. And that’s never more true than in the first week of August.

Friends who were out of town this weekend had me pick up their CSA share, and boy was it the right week to do so. Beautiful fresh basil, multi-colored corn, two kinds of peaches (fleshy orange ones, and white, juicy donut peaches), plus cherry tomatoes about as perfect as they get. Let’s just say those friends won’t see any of their share when they’re back in town this Monday. We mixed them all up in a salad that was just unbelievably perfect.

But…being akin to experimentation, I had to get just a little crazy with said salad. We also had a couple of ripe poblano peppers on hand, so I put a spin on chile rellenos and stuffed those babies with this delicious summer salad.

Summer Salad Stuffed Poblano Peppers

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