Flavors for fall

  • Apple galette with brown butter apples and raisin and a vanilla gelato Richard Whipple, executive chef at Brasserie Restaurant at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa, Thursday, October 11, 2012.

    (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Autumn creeps up on us like a cool breeze on a hot afternoon, prodding us to slip on a sweater and hunker down by the stove with a warm bowl of soup.

The soup leads to a slow-cooked braise, the braise leads to rib-sticking stew, and next thing you know, you are whisked off into the cozy whirlwind of the winter kitchen.

Unlike the quick meals of summer, fall dishes require the cook to slow down and proceed with patience as the kitchen fills with the aromas of cider and spice, smoke and wine.

As an homage to the season, local chefs and home cooks shared ideas about what dishes they like to serve to their families and friends in the slanting light of late autumn.

At The Spinster Sisters in Santa Rosa, Executive Chef Liza Hinman serves comfort foods that she has been cooking at home for the past few years, since she started a family. One of her favorites is the Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder, served with celery root mash and fennel, that she recently added to the menu.

"It uses apple cider and some fresh apples," she said. "It's a Sunday dish. Just set it up, put it in the oven, and it's ready in the evening."

Richard Whipple, executive chef of the Brasserie in Santa Rosa, likes to bake Brown Butter Apple Galettes as a simple fall dessert.

"Galettes are just a free-form pie, so you don't have to worry about making a shell," he said. "I use puff pastry for the crust."

It would not be autumn without a bite of Whipple's Mushroom and Leek Tart, made with product from Gourmet Mushrooms of Sebastopol.

"For me, fall is always mushrooms," he said. "Any kind of mushrooms work, but I prefer using a mix."

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