Fall Comforts Cruise Menu

Fall Comforts Cruise

This feel-good food will keep you warm as the cooler weather sets in. Recipes serve 4.

I love the hint of cooler weather that fall brings. Several years ago, we rafted up with friends on a quiet creek during an October weekend when the temperatures were just starting to dip. We started with apple cider martinis served with melty Brie, dined on grilled pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes and a fruit and nut salad, and indulged in a warm pear tart for dessert—a perfect menu of fall comfort food!

Apple Cider Martini

8 oz. apple cider

1 Tbsp. maple syrup 

8 oz. rum

4 thin slices of fresh apple

Mix cider, maple syrup, and rum in a shaker with ice. Strain 4 ounces of martini mixture in each glass. Garnish with one thin apple slice. 

Maple Camembert 

8-ounce wheel of Camembert, unwrapped

½ tsp. each crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, dried rosemary 

1 Tbsp. maple syrup 

Crackers, pear, and apple slices for serving

Unwrap the cheese. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.* Place cheese on a baking dish. Score the top rind with a knife in a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle with spices and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake for 15 minutes until just melted, and serve immediately with crackers and fruit.

*or use a medium-hot grill with cheese on foil for 10 minutes.

Rosemary Pork with Sweet Potatoes

Dry rub:

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. smoked or regular paprika

4 Tbsp. sugar

½ tsp. each garlic and onion powder


Pork and sweet potatoes:

2 pork tenderloins

2-3 sweet potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

¼ cup oil

2 tsp. dried rosemary

½ tsp. each salt and pepper


3 Tbsp. apricot or other favorite jam

1 ½ Tbsp. vinegar

Mix dry rub and blend with tenderloins in a Ziploc bag. Set aside for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven or grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pork and potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with remaining spices. Cook tenderloin and potatoes in oven, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes until thermometer registers 145 degrees Fahrenheit.* Meanwhile, make sauce. Warm jam and stir together with vinegar. When pork is ready, remove from heat, cover with foil, rest for 10 minutes, slice, and serve with sauce. 

*if grilling, place pork directly on high-heat grill, turning halfway through. Place sweet potatoes in foil packet and grill for 20-25 minutes.

Fall Fruit and Nut Salad


2 Tbsp. red wine or other vinegar

2 ½ Tbsp. orange juice

2 Tbsp. orange zest

2 Tbsp. oil

½ tsp. each salt and pepper


3 cups favorite lettuce, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 apples

2 pears

½ cup raisins

⅔ cup walnuts or other nuts, toasted

½ cup crumbled blue or goat cheese

In a large bowl, whisk together dressing. Core and cube apples and pears and add, along with raisins and walnuts, to the bowl with dressing. Toss, add cheese, and serve.  

Cinnamon Pear Tart

1 sheet frozen puff pastry sheet (8.5-oz.), thawed, but still cold

3 Tbsp. sugar mixed with ½ tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

2 pears

3-4 Tbsp. butter, cubed

2 Tbsp. apricot jam or other jam, warmed for 30 seconds in microwave

1 Tbsp. rum

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment and oil lightly. Lay puff pastry atop foil or parchment. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the pastry, avoiding edges. Cut the pears in quarters, then slice into thin half-moons. Lay pear slices on pastry overlapping in rows. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, dot with butter, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Mix jam with rum, and brush pastry edges and top of pears while tart is still warm. 

-by Lori Ross

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