When all the summer markets are closed I start craving autumn-inspired food, so this week I’m sharing recipes for Chestnut Vanilla Waffles with Cinnamon Ginger Apples, Acorn Squash Risotto, and Red Wine Shredded Venison.

I don’t eat waffles often, but while perusing Instagram and enjoying my morning tea a few Sundays ago, I came across some inspiration that led to the creation of Chestnut Vanilla Waffles. Now, I happen to have chestnut flour on hand (which I got from Amazon), but you could easily swap it out for almond meal if you have that and wanted to keep that extra layer of flavor. Alternatively, you can make the recipe using all regular flour. When filling your waffle maker, keep in mind that the baking powder makes these waffles extra fluffy, so don’t over fill – especially if your maker is one of those with a clam to hold it closed.

Waffles are always wonderful with lots of butter and syrup, but the Cinnamon Ginger Apples let you sneak it a tiny bit of nutritional goodness while also enjoying those flavors that are so tied to autumn. I actually ate an entire apple’s worth by my-self, so if you make these for people who like heartily topped waffles, consider doubling the apple ingredients if you’re cooking for more than two people.

The Acorn Squash Risotto is a wonderful (vegetarian friendly!) dish on its own, served with a salad, or topped with some delicious shredded meat. Most risotto calls for white wine, but I hardly ever have it on hand. I experimented with some ginger liqueur for this recipe and it was delicious. The alcohol cooks out and adds to the depth of the flavor, but you could use some room temperature ginger soda or just more vegetable stock for alcohol-free alternatives. When adding nutmeg at the end, freshly grated is best, and just a tiny pinch goes a long way.

I have some venison from last year that I’ve been pondering what to do with, so after finding some inspiration on Pinterest, this Red Wine Shredded Venison became reality. If I had venison stew meat, that would have been ideal, but the steaks worked out wonderfully. For this recipe, I used a vintage pressure cooker, so the instructions talk about weights. If you have a new pressure cooker, use the manufacturer’s cooking times and instructions for stew meat. Chinese five spice will usually have a combination of anise seed, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, cardamom, licorice, and/or orange peel. The flavors add a subtle depth and work really well with venison – even my licorice-hating-husband absolutely loved it. I served the venison on top of the Acorn Squash Risotto, but it would also be divine on top of some home-made mac and cheese.

You know I’m a fan of getting as many nutrients out of my food as possible, so, of course, I try to get as many of the ingredients possible through our local farmers markets. Check out the "market update" for their details. As always, I hope you’ll eat as much local goodness as you can - and let me know if you try my recipes!