Mother Earth Living

Savor a Sumptuous Celebration

Simple and delicious, these recipes taste like harvest and homecoming.
By Susan Belsinger
October/November 2005
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Warm Apple Cider and Tea with Mulling Spices
Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushrooms and Thyme
Rustic Corn Muffins with Herbs and Veggies
• Mixed Lettuces with Pears, Fennel, Walnuts and Parmesan
Sage and Apple Upside-Down Cake 

Celebrate the harvest with a menu rich with the garden’s bounty — robust herbs, vegetables, fruits and nuts — in simple and delectable dishes. Make further use of nature’s gifts by adorning your holiday table with freshly harvested herbs, fall flowers, grains, nuts, seeds and pods. And complete the autumnal air by accenting your table decorations in warm shades of gold, orange, brown and garden greens to boldly display the dazzling array of nature’s gifts.

When you decorate your harvest table, think color. Gourds, squash, pumpkins, Indian corn, chiles, apples, pears, pomegranates, acorns, chestnuts, even brightly colored fall leaves can be used. Use your imagination, get creative and have some fun. The result is a table laden with a cornucopia of nature’s abundance, a feast for the eyes and the palate.  

The following autumn harvest menu is fairly simple, yet delicious, with a touch of earthy elegance, designed for buffet-style casual entertaining. Begin with a lovely mulled cider and tea blend that is slightly exotic, with a spicy, fragrant bouquet and flavor. Poured from an earthenware pitcher or served from a pottery bowl with a ladle, the mulled beverage can be served warm or at room temperature as guests arrive. It could be served with salted or spiced nuts (my favorites are tamari almonds and spiced pecans), or perhaps a sage-flavored cheese and crackers.

I like to showcase the sweet and earthy Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushrooms and Thyme by serving it from a hollowed-out pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a round serving plate so it can be moved easily and have some support under it. Surround it, if you’d like, with a wreath of fresh sage and thyme leaves or dried flowers. Prepare the pumpkin in advance by following the easy directions below 'How to Prepare a Pumpkin' . Serve the soup with Rustic Corn Muffins with Herbs and Veggies — toothsome, savory and moist. One of my favorite salads is featured here: Freshly harvested salad greens combined with crunchy sweet fennel, juicy-ripe pears and salty Parmesan is always a crowd pleaser.

The grand finale is dessert, of course — highlighting seasonal fruit with herbs — the perfect way to end a meal. The upside-down cake is scrumptious and homey.


Warm Apple Cider and Tea with Mulling Spices
Pumpkin Soup with Wild Mushrooms and Thyme
Rustic Corn Muffins with Herbs and Veggies
• Mixed Lettuces with Pears, Fennel, Walnuts and Parmesan
Sage and Apple Upside-Down Cake 


Wholly Wholesome
(800) 247-6580

Martha's All-Natural
(800) 973-3966

Dr. Oetker Ltd.
(905) 678-1311

Coombs Family Farms
(888) 266-6271

Susan Belsinger is a culinary herbalist who loves playing with food. She delights in kitchen alchemy — the  blending of harmonious seasonal foods, herbs and spices. 

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