Hi, hello. Welcome to the most awkward time of year: kind of after summer but also a little bit fall. Maybe the best recent example of this is NYFW, where bloggers were wearing coats on 90 degree days in early September. It's not time guys. On the plus side, most farmers markets across the US are busting at the seams. I know here in Virginia we have tomatoes AND apples (The best of both worlds). And while lots of recipes right now are just diving straight into fall-fall-fall, I want to be realistic. It's still summer no matter how much you want to wear a sweater and you still have access to both seasons of produce and flavors. So break the rules. Use those green beans AND apples in a middle season harvest bowl. Like a badass. And also someone who suddenly remembers how once November rolls around how their greatest desire is summer produce.
The key to a good healthy harvest bowl is a variety of colors and textures. The important thing is flavors that are compatible. No one is stopping you from adding last night's steak with blue cheese to that rosewater fruit salad except you (and me through this screen). When it comes to bridging seasons it becomes even trickier. There's a saying "if it grows together it goes together" which some people use for building recipes. So you see the problem when we start crossing seasons... As a rule of thumb, I would stick to only one or two strong seasonal flavors per bowl plus a bridge item. In this bowl, green beans have a distinctive flavor, as do sweet potatoes. To balance that out, I have microgreens on the more neutral side (not a bitter variety) and honeycrisp apples. The bridge is the chicken and the walnuts. Chicken can go either fall or summer so easily. It just depends on how you spice it. The spice blend here is a cumin chili and sugar mix which brings to mind summer grilling but also warmer spiced fall chilis and meat dishes. The walnuts are caramelized like I did in this brunch recipe. They easily cross from season to season as well.
From a nutrition perspective we have a variety of nutrients (check out these colors!) in addition to two important things for satiety: protein and a healthy fat. The walnuts are our heart-healthy fat source (high in omega-3 ALA and it has 5x more than the next highest nut) in addition to a source of protein. Chicken is obviously another protein source here, but if you're vegetarian, you can swap this out for some roasted chickpeas with the same spice blend.
Another note about the chicken in this recipe: I call for organic or farm raised chicken, which is a first on this blog. But after a recent run in with conventional chicken from the grocery with woody-breast (not dangerous but TERRIBLE texture. You can read more in WSJ on this here) I am OVER IT. Quality protein is really important and after tasting this again in this chicken which was incredibly tender and moist, I can't go back. Not worth the calories. Not worth the yuck in a recipe.
Middle Season (Summer-Fall) Honeycrisp Harvest Bowl
/// Ingredients ///
- 1 medium-small honeycrisp apple, sliced
- 2 1/2 c chopped roasted sweet potato (2 medium peeled and cubed)
- 1 1/2 T olive oil
- salt and freshlky ground pepper
- 1 c microgreens
- 2 handfuls green beans, ends cut- blanched
- 8 oz boneless skinless organic or local farm raised chicken breast
- 2 t cumin
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1 t sugar
- 1/3 c crème fraîche
- 1/2 T finely grated dark chocolate bar
- 1/8 t powdered ginger
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 T butter
- pinch of salt
- Directions: Add walnuts, brown sugar and butter to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter and sugar melt, stir to coat walnuts, reduce to medium-low and cook for seven minutes as the product thickens. Stir constantly. Add salt and instant coffee, stir and use a rubber spatula to pour onto parchment paper on a pan to cool in a single layer. Once cooled, break apart walnuts.
/// Directions ///
Roast sweet potato by tossing with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350 F for 25 minutes, or until the potato cubes are able to be pierced with a fork or knife. While the sweet potatoes are in the oven, heat a cast iron skillet with neutral oil on medium. To make cumin mix add cumin, chili and sugar in a small bowl. Add a sprinkle of salt and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle cumin seasoning mix on each side of the chicken breast. Sear on one side on the pan, flip to the other side, turn down the temperature to low, add 1/4 cup of water and cover. Cook until the internal temp is 165 F. To make the dressing, stir crème fraîche, dark chocolate and powdered ginger together. Place in a small dish to dress the bowl later. Blanch green beans. To plate, slice the chicken into strips or cubes and add everything to a large dish in quadrants.
What do you eat in 'middle season'?
Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.