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Oh, I just love today so ding-dang much! No matter how good Summer gets, Autumn will always be my favorite. Raspberries are coming in for a second round, Gravenstein apples are in and gorgeous, and the tomatoes are at their absolute peak.
Wonderful, too, is the quiet that is falling over the neighborhood, like a deeply peaceful exhale outward. The kids are in school. The neighbor to my right is jamming out to Hall & Oats Greatest Hits (we are on Maneater as I type this) while tinkering in his garage. Even the rather large crew of workers refurbishing the house across the street are inexplicably absent today. So nice.

So. If you have been celebrating the return of Fall because football is back, the kids are in school, and the latest round of new pumpkin spice products is out, you were a tad early (so was I, truth be told). Today is the day. Let’s eat accordingly.

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Coffee-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Acorn Squash, Kale & Israeli Couscous

1 Tbsp finely ground instant coffee
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 Tbsp Aleppo chili powder
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 pork tenderloin

1 medium acorn squash, seeds scooped out, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 c. yellow onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c. Israeli couscous
1 1/2 c. pork stock (or chicken stock)
1 small bunch kale, stems removed, chopped (about 6 c., packed)
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Place the acorn squash slices onto a lined sheet pan, coat with a tablespoon of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt. Bake until tender and lightly golden, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Crank the oven temperature up to 400F.
Add 2 Tbsp of olive oil to a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the couscous and continue to stir until they become opaque. Add the stock and covr with a tight-fitting lid. When the stock is about half-way absorbed and the pasta is nearly al dente, add the kale and cover again. Once the kale is softened and the stock is almost fully absorbed, stir in the acorn squash and remove from heat.
In a shallow dish, combine all of the spices. Trim the tenderloin of fat and silver skin and pat dry. Roll the pork in the spice blend, then coat with 1 tsp. of olive oil. Heat a medium-sized oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the remaining Tbsp of oil, then carefully place the pork in the pan. Sear each side of the meat for no longer than one minute per side. Place the pan in the oven and allow to roast until the internal temperature reaches 140F. Remove from the oven and the pan, and place on a cutting board. Loosely tent a piece of aluminum foil over the meat. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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So, I’m a day late on this one, since yesterday was National Linguine Day. To be fair, it was also National Dot, Double Cheeseburger, Felt Hat, Cheese Toast, and IT Professionals Day. Lots to celebrate, but it was my birthday, so I opted to go with that.

Linguine Day, I pick you, tardy though I am. This one was an easy pick from the pool of candidates because I am most certainly ready for a little comfort food. Also, this recipe has been burning a whole in my back pocket for a good long time.

Linguine with Lemon Cream and Almonds \*

1/2# linguine
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole almonds
2 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 Tbsp dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1 pinch of cayenne
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. finely grated Gruyere
1/4 c. grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350F. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and begin cooking the pasta.
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pan, gently melt the butter over medium heat. Add the whole almonds and coat evenly. Spoon out the almonds and toast in the oven, until fragrant and slightly darker, about 10 minutes. Once cooled, chop roughly.
Add the lemon zest to the butter and allow to cook for a minute. Add the wine and allow to cook an additional minute. Add the cream and cayenne and stir gently, still over medium heat, until reduced and slightly thicker. Gradually add in the cheeses in three additions, stirring constantly. Break up any clumps of cheese as they form. Once the cheese is completely melted, add the lemon juice and stir until combined.
Add the cooked and drained linguine to the sauce in the pan and stir gently until evenly coated.
Top with the almonds and serve immediately.

Consume with reckless abandon.

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*The inspiration for this recipe can be found here. It is from an old Gourmet magazine that I picked up years ago and could never find in my heart to part with.

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I’m not sure this works grammatically, but whatever. Today is Care Bears Share Your Care Day.

Truth: When I was adding this to my holiday calendar, I read and subsequently added it as Share Your Cake Day. It still makes sense, though perhaps it steals a little thunder from Tenderheart Bear.

Anyhoo, combining Care Bears with cake seems totally appropriate. You just do not bake a cake for someone you don’t care about. That’s what biscotti is for (I kid!). This cake is a special one, too, as it combines two of my favorite kinds of cake- upside-down and olive oil.

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Fig & Raspberry Upside-Down Cake

Honey goo:
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
4 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp light brown sugar
Pinch of salt

12-16 medium figs
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

The cake:
4 eggs, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 c. almond flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c. apple juice
1/4 c. 2% milk
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

For the honey goo:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Cream the butter, honey, brown sugar, and salt together until smooth and well combined. Spread evenly into only the bottom of a 10″ cake pan. Trim the figs and cut them in half from stem to bottom. Place them cut side down into the goo. Place the raspberries in an even layer on top of the figs. Set aside.

For the cake:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer) paddle the eggs and cup of sugar on medium-high speed until light and very fluffy. Sift together the flours, the 2 Tbsp of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add all of it to the egg mixture and paddle on low until nearly combined. Add the juice, milk, and olive oil all in one shot and continue to mix on low until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan and place on a paper-lined sheet pan.

Bake until golden and completely set in the center, approx. 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter. Remove the pan slowly so as not to disturb the pattern in the fruit.

Allow to cool before serving.

Eat with reckless abandon.

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