Fall is most definitely upon us.  With it comes apples, lots and lots of apples.  Did you know that there are 2,500 different varieties of apples grown in the United States and 7,500 varieties worldwide?

Do you have a favorite recipe for apples?  How about a favorite varietal?

The apples above are [Virginia] Winesap, my favorite varietal at the moment.  They’re crisp and tart. Generally, I just like to enjoy them as is.  But, since this is a cooking/food blog, that would be kind of boring.  I do have an apple honey cake or, perhaps, apple tart on my to-do list, but haven’t quite worked out the details.  But there’s plenty of time, apples will be around for a while.

So, instead, I decided to showcase some of my favorite fall vegetables in a salad — there’s thinly sliced kohlrabi and fennel, julienned rainbow carrots, mizuna (a Japanese mustard green), and, oh, apples, tossed in a caraway vinaigrette and topped with maple roasted pecans.

This salad would be a nice addition to the Thanksgiving Day table.  Something a bit lighter and with a crunch to balance out the traditional starches (potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, dressing, casserole, kugel, rolls, etc.).

Have you tried kohlrabi?  I’ve turned a few family members onto kohlrabi and they’re now big fans.

How about mizuna?

More about these ingredients below, but first, let’s discuss the maple pecans.


Maybe I should have started this post with the maple pecans, as they really are that nice, little added touch to this salad — salty and sweet, with just a hint of heat (from a pinch of cayenne).  Maple pecans make for a great snack on their own, but be careful, you might find yourself finishing the entire batch in one sitting (probably best to double this recipe).

The key to these pecans is good quality maple syrup.  Oh man, maple syrup is truly one of nature’s gifts…what depth of flavor.  With maple syrup it’s not all about the sweet, but those rich, toasty, nutty, earthy, smoky, caramel, maple notes you get from a good quality maple syrup.I have a bottle of Berkshire Dark Amber Maple Syrup that I bought a little while back.  I’ve been trying to use it sparingly, rationing it, savoring every last bit.  Sadly, the bottle of this delicious elixir is just about empty.  Time to order more.

So that brings me to kohlrabi.  You may come across purple or green kohlrabi.  Despite their differing outer appearance, they taste exactly the same.  In fact, the interior of purple kohlrabi is identical to that of green kohlrabi after you peel the tough outer skin.
Kohlrabi is in the Brassica family, same as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, etc.  Kohlrabi has a very crisp texture and tastes like a cross between broccoli stems and an apple (though not nearly as sweet).  They are a great addition to a salad, but you can also cook them.  For example, you can cube them up and roast them in the oven (like a potato).




Next up, mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard greens.  It’s somewhat peppery, though milder than most mustard greens you may be familiar with.  Mizuna pairs nicely with the other ingredients and helps balance out the sweetness from the apple and pecans.  If you can’t find mizuna, arugula or slightly bitter frisee would be a nice substitution.


I love rainbow carrots…recently purchased this neat gadget that you can use to julienne them, along with all sorts of other veggies.
Happy Fall!


Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad with Maple-Roasted Pecans

serves 4 
1 tart apple
1 medium fennel bulb
1 small kohlrabi
2 medium-sized carrots
Bunch of of mizuna leaves or other spicy greens (such as arugula, watercress)
White wine caraway vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Maple Roasted Pecans (recipe to follow)

Thinly slice the apple, fennel, kohlrabi (with a mandolin or sharp knife).  Julienne or thinly slice the carrots.  Chop the mizuna.  Add all the vegetables to a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with maple roasted pecans.

White Wine Caraway Vinaigrette

1/4 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon *toasted and ground caraway seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon ground dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl.  Whisk until well combined.

*To toast the caraway seeds: Heat a small skillet over high heat.  When hot, add the whole caraway seeds to the dry skillet.  Shake the pan to keep the seeds moving around until they darken slightly and give off an earthy aroma, about 1 minute.  Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle or spice/coffee grinder.  Grind to a powder.

Maple-Roasted Pecans

2 cups pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown and toasty.

Heat the maple syrup in a small pot or pan until warmed through, 2-3 minutes.  Drizzle the warm maple syrup over the pecans.  Season with salt and pepper, and cayenne to taste.  Stir to combine.

Spread out with a spatula so the pecans are in a single layer.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit until the maple syrup hardens.

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