I don’t know about most of you, but I’m ready for some comfort food. This crisp (and recently rainy) weather has prompted me already to indulge in my first cup of hot cocoa this season. I even broke out the slow cooker, which isn’t something I typically do this early in the Fall. I’m usually clinging for dear life to my grill and fresh summer foods.
If I could slow cook with a wood-burning stove (or over a fire) like at one of the historic homes at Greenfield Village, I would. But in my life, I’m thankful at least for the option of the innovative plug-in version of slow cooking. So, with a busy back-to-school house, and my own hankerin’ for something … well … comforty … I guess I can thank Mr. Edison for figuring out how to distribute electricity so effectively to my kitchen.
Truth is, Autumn makes us think differently about food, and at Greenfield Village this weekend, there’s a great opportunity to get into the spirit of that change with Fall Flavors Weekends, Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2.
There’s a farmers market in the Pavilion featuring some local foods and other items, a tour of the Firestone Orchard, and lots of good old-fashioned cooking and canning going on in many of the historic homes.
There are also some scheduled cooking demonstrations by The Henry Ford’s Executive Chef, Mike Trombley. On Sundays both weekends, he’ll show visitors how to cook special seasonal dishes paired with some delicious craft cocktails. (And since I don’t really have any idea what a craft cocktail is, I’m pretty sure that means I need to go and learn.)
An added bonus, visitors can actually experience for themselves some of the dishes prepared and served in the historic homes, since items like Firestone Farm’s Hearty Vegetable Soup and Mattox House Stuffed Eggplant will be on the menu at A Taste of History. This weekend also marks a menu change at Eagle Tavern, where folks can stop by and really get that loving-Fall feeling by enjoying a mid-day meal by a crackling fire. I’m hoping to make that stop.
This weekend is also when the heirloom Firestone Flour first becomes available for sale. I’m eager to get my hands on a bag and give it a try. (And hoping I don’t mess it up.) And as promised, here’s the recipe for butternut soup:
Butternut Squash Soup
Chef Wesley Barnard
Eagle Tavern/ Taste of History
2 Butternut squash, about 3-4 pounds, diced into 1” cubes
1 medium onion diced
3 tablespoons butter
5 c. vegetable stock, or enough to cover squash in pot
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Pinch cayenne pepper
Juice of half a lemon
½ c. of whipping cream
Sauté onions in butter in the bottom of a heavy bottomed stock pot until soft. Add peeled and diced squash to same pot and then add vegetable stock until it reaches about a half inch over the squash. Bring contents of pot to a simmer, but take care it never boils. Continuing simmering until squash is tender and breaks apart easily, about 1 hour. Stir in brown sugar, rest of spices and lemon juice and let while stirring let simmer for 10 minutes longer. At this point, puree mixture with submersion (stick) blender if available, or remove mixture from pot and puree until smooth with blender or food processor. Once smooth, return to pot and whisk in cream, incorporating fully.
Serve immediately. Some shredded sage goes well to garnish.
The complete schedule for the Fall Flavors Weekend is available here, and there’s no added cost to Greenfield Village admission. The Farmers Market in the Pavilion will feature all kinds of different locally made goods. Things like meats, veggies, spices, soaps, maple syrup, cheeses, brooms, teas, and baked and other prepared food goods are really just a few. My kids and I were completely in awe of the broom maker when we met him at the Maker Faire and are happy to see he’ll be back at THF. We’re also really looking forward to checking out (and tasting!) the candies made with antique molds and machines and more.
Kristine Hass is a mother of five and long-time member of The Henry Ford. She frequently blogs about her family’s visits to America’s Greatest History Attraction.