Delicious, easy-to-cook fall-themed treats

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The first day of fall is Friday, so we’re giving you a taste of the season of this Recipe Wednesday.

The chefs at GTCC’s Culinary School showed us a feast to enjoy the season.

French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread sliced thick (older bread works good, can substitute any type of bread you like including gluten-free)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (your choice of type)
  • 2 T local raw honey
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Make the batter with eggs, milk, honey, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Dip bread into batter and allow it to soak up some batter
  3. Heat pan or griddle and cook batter dipped bread slices till golden brown on each side.
  4. Fill with your choice of stuffings.
  5. Dust with powdered sugar (optional) and serve warm.

Some stuffing options:

  • Sliced ham
  • Cream cheese spread with honey and mustard
  • Nutella and banana
  • Apple, bacon, honey, and cheddar

Other options: almond butter or any nut butter, pears, cooked egg, sliced tomato, lox & cream cheese with chives, BLT, avocado and smoked turkey, smoked turkey and cranberry cream cheese, apple butter and cream cheese with bacon, pumpkin butter, and cranberries with ham.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Ingredients
• 3 cups sugar
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
• 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 cup water

Directions:
• In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, and eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, cloves, and allspice; add to the pumpkin mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition.
• Pour into two greased 9×5-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 2 loaves.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Yield: about 4 nice size bowls

Ingredients:
• 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded
• 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
• 1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
• 1 Tablespoon Honey
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon ground
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
• 1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute olive oil for dairy-free/vegan soup)
• 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
• Texas Pete (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the butternut squash on the pan and drizzle each half with just enough olive oil to lightly coat the squash on the inside (about 1 teaspoon each). Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the butternut squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet (or large soup pot, if you’ll be serving soup from that pot), warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often until the shallot has softened and is starting to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
  4. If you have a high-performance blender like a Vitamix (see notes if you’re using an immersion blender instead), transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the reserved butternut, maple syrup, nutmeg and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can stir in any remaining broth later). Secure the lid and select the soup preset. The blender will stop running once the soup is super creamy and hot.
  5. If you would like to thin out your soup a bit more, add the remaining cup of broth (I used the full 4 cups, but if you used a small squash, you might want to leave it as is). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  6. Serve immediately (I like to top each bowl with a little more black pepper). Let leftover soup cool completely before transferring it to a proper storage container and refrigerating it for up to 4 days (leftovers taste even better the next day!). Or, freeze this soup for up to 3 months.