This is the time of year so many of us love best. There’s such an abundance to choose from that it makes one wonder if there’s really time to savor it all. Here’s an autumn meal to kick off the season with a colorful and healthy start.

This salmon can also be quickly cooked on the grill and glazed at the end of cooking time before it’s placed on top of the butternut squash salad or enjoyed alongside.

The salad is a delicious combination of many of the flavors we love about fall. Apples, butternut squash and its seeds, crunchy nuts and a bit of red onion are brought together in a mellow medley, tossed with greens of your choice and tossed with a bright vinaigrette made with cider, maple syrup and Dijon mustard.

Before roasting the squash and seeds, I highly recommend lacing them with a drizzle of butternut squash seed oil. Yes, there is such a thing, and it’s fantastic. Trot over to Fiori on Maine Street in Brunswick and get some. You’ll never be without the stuff again.

As for dessert, have you ever tasted pear pie? I never had until I visited North Idaho a few years ago. There, in the town of Bonners Ferry, was a lovely Saturday farmers market brimming with pear pies. There were rustic hand pies, fancy turnovers, mini-pies with streusel topping and golden pies with lattice crusts — made by the amazing Mennonite population whose prolific baking I came to know and love. Saturday after Saturday you could find me at the market, sampling pear pie. Now when the pears are in season, I have to bake at least one. Okay, maybe two.

Glazed Salmon
4 (5-oz.) salmon fillets

3 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. brown or Dijon mustard

1-2 tsp. soy sauce

1-2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and mustard, adding just enough soy sauce and vinegar to moisten. The measurements suggested can vary slightly, but you want a thick, spreadable paste; the glaze should not be runny.

Arrange salmon fillets on foil-lined baking sheet, skin side down. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Use a basting brush to spread the glaze over the fillets and roast for another 3-5 minutes until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Watch carefully as the brown sugar in the glaze causes the salmon

to brown very quickly! Yield: 4 servings

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
1 1/2 lb. butternut squash peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 tbsp. butternut squash seed oil or olive oil

2 tbsp. maple syrup

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 (5-oz.) package spring greens or baby kale

1 medium apple or firm pear diced

1/3 cup red onion thinly sliced

1/2 cup toasted pecan or walnut halves

1/4 cup toasted squash seeds (optional)

Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup apple cider

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. maple syrup

1 tbsp. red onion minced

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss with butternut squash seed oil or olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until tender/al dente, stirring once and adding cranberries for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.

To toast the nuts, heat a dry sauté pan to medium-high. Add nuts and stir for about 5 minutes. Don’t walk away.

To roast butternut squash seeds, preheat oven to 275 degrees and place the rinsed and dried seeds on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until they start to pop; about 15 minutes.

For the vinaigrette, combine apple cider, vinegar, and diced red onion in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until reduced to 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and cool. Whisk in mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Place greens in a large salad bowl and add squash, fruit, onions, nuts and seeds. Toss with vinaigrette. Add freshly ground pepper. Yield: 4-6 servings

Farmers’ Market Pear Pie
6 firm pears peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces)

Pastry for 2-crust pie

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle pears with lemon juice and add to bowl and stir until they are covered with sugar mixture. Place pear filling into a 9-inch pastry-lined pie plate. Dot with butter. Add top crust, seal edges, and cut vents for steam to escape. Whisk egg yolk and milk together in a small measuring cup. Brush this mixture over top crust.

Place a strip of foil or pie shield over the edges of the pie. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil or shield and bake for 10 more minutes. Yield: 8 servings