Fall Favorites

For me, fall is the time to think of creative, eclectic dishes, since local summer produce is no longer at its best. The recipes below are some of my fall favorites.

Split Pea Soup
8 servings

This recipe is easy to make and wonderfully convenient to have on hand. It freezes well.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound split peas (green)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup loosely-packed flat-leaf parsley with half of the stems removed, coarsely chopped
7 1/2 cups vegetable stock
3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions, garlic and carrots and sauté for a few minutes. Add split peas with bay leaf, parsley, vegetable stock and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, covered, until soft. Discard bay leaf. Cool a bit.

Purée in blender in batches, until semi-smooth. This dish is best when the soup has a bit of texture.

The above vegetables—onions, carrots and split peas—and the parsley can be chopped in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Be sure to quarter them first.

Pea Soup

Pea Soup

Bell Pepper-Potato Frittatas
8 appetizer servings
6 luncheon servings

I like to serve frittatas, which are flat, pancake-like omelettes filled with vegetables and herbs, quite frequently. They are popular in Mediterranean countries and are eaten as a snack, luncheon dish, appetizer or buffet dish. They can be served warm or at room temperature.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded and cut into small cubes
5 scallions including green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 cup tightly-packed flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
5 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add potatoes and cook covered over medium heat for 5 minutes. (If you do not have a cover, use heavy-duty foil.)

Add the yellow pepper and sauté for a minute. Add scallions. Cover and cook until the potatoes are soft, but not mushy. Add parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs well in a bowl, and season. Pour egg mixture into skillet, distributing the vegetables evenly. Cook frittata over low to medium heat, covered, shaking the pan for 8-10 minutes or until the sides are set but the center is still soft.

Run a rubber spatula around the sides and bottom of frittata and slide it onto a serving platter—do not invert it.

Cut the frittata into wedges and serve.

Chicken Teriyaki
4 servings

This recipe is simple and can be served warm or at room temperature.

4 single boneless, skinless medium chicken breasts

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman Lite)
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 small shallots, minced
1/2-inch piece ginger root, peeled, minced
Chives for garnish

Place chicken in a glass or ceramic dish.

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pour marinade over chicken to coat well.

Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat boiler. Line a boiler pan with heavy foil. Place chicken on it and spoon over the marinade. Broil 6 inches from the heat source for 4 minutes. Turn over and broil for another 3 minutes or until the chicken has a trace of pink on the inside.

To serve, cut the chicken into a fan shape and garnish with snipped chives.

Cod with Honey and Soy Sauce
2 servings

This dish can be served with sautéed spinach, rice noodles, sushi rice or other varieties of rice.

2 center-cut cod fillets, skinned, 6-7 ounces each
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman Lite)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Place the fish in a glass or ceramic dish. Salt and pepper it lightly.

Combine the marinade ingredients. Pour over the fish and coat well. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for about 4 hours, turning once.

Preheat the boiler. Line a broiler pan with heavy foil. Place the fish on it, and pour over the marinade. Broil 6 inches from the heat source for 5-6 minutes, on one side only, or until the fish has just changed color in the center.

Serve with the accumulated juices spooned over.

Pear-Peach Tart
10-12 servings

This is a light, attractive dessert suitable for most seasons, since these fruits are easily available. It is also easy to prepare—no rolling of dough is required.

4 semi-ripe Bosc pears/peaches
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 tablespoons unsalted margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 350°.

Grease the sides and bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. Dust with flour (Wondra), then invert the pan to shake out excess.

Peel, quarter and core pears/peaches. Cut each quarter into 2 slices. Combine fruit with lemon juice and set aside.

Cream margarine and 1/2 cup sugar using the balloon whisk of a mixer. Mix at medium speed for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, whisking after each addition. Add baking powder and vanilla extract. Fold in flour with a rubber spatula until all the ingredients are combined.

Spread dough evenly with a spatula over the bottom of the pan. Arrange fruits tightly, with rounded side up over dough. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.

Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or sorbet.

To peel peaches, drop them into boiling water. Remove immediately from water and peel.

Helen Nash is the author of Kosher Cuisine (New Jersey, 1995) and Helen Nash’s Kosher Kitchen (New Jersey, 2000). She lives in New York City.

This article was featured in the Fall 2007 issue of Jewish Action.
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