Greetings...

Greetings...
Welcome to my little space in the world-wide web. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and enjoy your trek. I am not sure what brought you here, but I am glad you came. I hope you find something you like and come back often to visit. Be sure to sign up on the right to recieve all updates via your email.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Homemade Whipped Pumpkin Butter

Just when you thought nothing could beat the taste of real butter, along comes whipped Pumpkin Butter. A little taste of heaven to add to your toast, muffins, breads, pancakes and waffles.    

Our first experience of Whipped Pumpkin butter was a small tub we purchased at a local Amish Store.   We brought it home and ate it  on our toast the very next morning.  It was warm and delicious and left us wanting more.   So we tried it atop many of our breakfast items until that small little tub of butter was gone.   Oh no!

So, when I received a number of fresh pumpkins to puree, I knew one of the items I wanted to make was Whipped Pumpkin Butter. 

Whether you make it yourself or find a place to purchase it, I know you won't be disappointed.



Whipped Pumpkin Butter
 

2 sticks of unsalted butter Softened
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. pure pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp. coarse salt

In medium sized mixing bowl, beat room temperature, unsalted butter until pale yellow and fluffy.  Add in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, spice and salt.   Beat on low just until it is all combined.  Scrap sides and bottom of bowl.  Beat one last time for 1-2 minutes.  

Scrap into a container fitted with a top.  Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.

Notes and swaps

·         Tastes great on toast, muffins, bread, pancakes, or waffles.
                  ·         Make a double batch and give one to a friend or neighbor to enjoy.


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Monday, October 27, 2014

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

I don’t remember a Halloween without having pumpkin seeds. Whenever we carved our pumpkins we, always saved the seeds to bake them in the oven. As a child the only problem was, they never tasted like the store bought ones. Now that I am older I am so glad they don’t. They are so much better for you without all that extra added salt. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, magnesium, copper and zinc. Like all good things they should be eaten in moderation.




Once cleaned and ready to roast the flavor combinations are endless: Chocolate, Vanilla Nutmeg, Maple, Pumpkin Pie, Cinnamon, Honey Roasted, Traditional, Jalapeno, Chili Lime, Ranch, etc. When they are baked off and prepared to eat, you can then turn them into Pumpkin Brittle, granola, add them to chocolate or use them as a garnish on salads or homemade breads.

The worst part of making pumpkin seeds is making sure they are cleaned well. But they are well worth the work.

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Pumpkin Palooza

Welcome to my Pumpkin Palooza.     What is Pumpkin Palooza, you ask?   Well I'll tell you:  It is when you receive a lot of  pumpkins from a really nice person and you try to make as many recipes containing pumpkin as you can.

There are many kinds of pumpkins out there these days, Some are better for carving, some are better for decorations and then there are those that are edible.    I was given several varieties of edible pumpkins.   

I started by baking a few Sugar Pumpkins.  This is a small to medium sized pumpkin with a dark orange outside.   They say this is the best pumpkin for baking and cooking in all of your favorite recipes. It has a sweeter taste than other varieties. It also has a smooth texture.



Sugar Pumpkin

Before you can start making all those yummy recipes you see posted on the internet, facebook and pinterest, you must first bake the pumpkin.   


Right click on the photo below to open and print the recipe for baking a fresh pumpkin.




Below are photos of the second type of  pumpkin I baked.  As you can see I baked these whole in the oven.    It is called the Flat White Boer Ford Pumpkin.  It is also an edible pumpkin as you can read below.  

The "Flat White Boer", is a heirloom from South Africa and is one of the finest pie and general use pumpkins you can grow.  It is also knockout gorgeous, very large, ribbed, cream white in a natural sort of way.   Just everything you want in a decorative pumpkin.   It stores an incredibly long time so don't forget about it because its dense smooth cream sweet orange flesh is superb for cooking and baking.  Plus its brittle shell is much easier to open than many pumpkins.   A sharp knife is all you need (no mallet necessary).   The seed cavity is small in relation to the flesh, but it holds many, many, large plump seeds which also  make delicious eating.  Very few strings and they are completely confined to the seeds and peel off easily.  (entire paragraph copied from the world wide web).    

White Boer Ford Pumpkin

Roasting whole pumpkins in the oven.

Baked until they are tender to the fork/knife and bubbled on the outside.

Skin peels right off, remember to scoop out the seeds and strings. 

Pumpkin ready to be pureed in the food processor. 

No matter which variety you use, the process is always the same.  Although, you can cut and clean the pumpkins before you bake as I did with the Sugar Pumpkins.

You can keep the fresh puree in the fridge for 3-4 days.  Or you can freeze it in amounts suitable to you for using in your favorite recipes.  

I froze mine in 15 ounces servings for recipes.  I then froze some in mini muffin pans for use in smoothies.  Once frozen I pop them out of the pan and place them in a large ziploc for storing int he freezer.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Reuben and Rachel

I love corned beef with cabbage and corned beef hash with eggs over easy.  Just thinking of it makes your mouth water.    The crunchiness of the grilled bread, the creaminess of the melted gooey cheese with the saltiness of the sauerkraut.    Let's just say yummo!  

One of my favorite lunchtime sandwiches is the Rueben.  And I can't help but think of the nursery rhyme song every time I have one.   The little tune becomes an earworm each time I see the sandwich name in print on the menu.  

Insert mind numbing nursery rhyme in your head here.......  Reuben, Reuben, I've been thinking......



If you listen carefully to the words, you will find it is a couple teasing each other about what it would be like without the other and ends with what it would be like for them to stay together.  Note this was in a different era, hence the line about the where the paycheck would go.     Catchy little earworm.  


Now that I have that tune running through your head.  Imagine the sandwich,  two nice slices of Pumpernickel brown bread.   Each slathered with your favorite Thousand Island or Russian Dressing and spicy brown mustard.  Piled with sauerkraut and a slices of Swiss cheese.  Next, comes the grilled corned beef.  Yes, you read that right, GRILLED corned beef and then  toasted on the cast iron griddle for one of the yummiest Reuben sandwiches you will have ever had. 

Reuben Sandwich

1/4 lb. Corned Beef sliced for sandwiches
Butter (real)
Your favorite Thousand Island or Russian Salad Dressing
Your favorite brand of sauerkraut, drained and squeezed
Spicy Brown Mustard
Swiss Cheese
2 slices Pumpernickel Brown Bread

Heat your cast iron griddle to hot (or any nonstick pan you have).   I coat mine with a teaspoon of Crisco each time I heat it up.   Once hot throw on the corned beef.   Leave it in place until it crispy and brown and then flip it.  Leave it in place again until it is crispy and browned.  Remove from heat to plate while you build the layers.   Clean your griddle or pan.   Leave on low heat while you assemble your sandwich.

Put slices of pumpernickel down on a work surface.   Slather one with dressing and one with the spicy mustard.


 Add a slice of cheese to both.




Add the sauerkraut to one side and the grilled corned beef to the other side.


Bring the two sides together and butter the top of the sandwich with room temperature butter.

 

Place buttered side down on the griddle or pan.  While that side is browning butter the slice of bread that in now on top


Cook over low heat.  Low heat helps to heat the sandwich all the way through and melt the cheese.   Cooking it on high will result in burnt bread.     Once the first side is browned to your liking flip it over and cook the other side until browned.   

Remove from heat and enjoy. 



What is a Rachel?   A Rachel is the same as a Reuben made with turkey in place of the corned beef.


Notes/Swaps
  • You can also make your Reuben sandwich with Rye or Marbled Rye and Brown Bread.  They are all great for the Reuben sandwich.
  • If you have Panini press you can use that or any other pan that you prefer to make your grilled cheese sandwich in.
  • To make a Rachel swap out the corned beef for some turkey.  


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Over the top Roasted Cauliflower

Seems the method of roasting vegetables is all the rage these days.   I have tried this with several vegetables but was only really pleased with a few of the results.  I like that fact that it often mellows the taste and makes the vegetable sweeter but I also think that it dehydrates the vegetables making them a little to dry.
 
Last week I tried my first roasted cauliflower with a drizzle or two of olive oil and some salt and pepper. I thought it was okay.  Not to be repetitive, the part I liked most was that the flavor kind of mellowed and it tasted sweeter.   The part I didn’t like was that it seemed dried out to me.  

Yesterday, I took a local road trip with a girlfriend to a farm stand.  What caught my eye was this huge head of fresh from the field cauliflower.  When I say huge, I mean that it took up my entire reusable grocery bag.   Once cored and washed it filled three large colanders to the brim.   It was nice and creamy in color and very crisp.   

By the time I finished unpacking all my items gathered from our trip and cleaning the vegetables for cooking and storage it was very close to dinner time. With all that cauliflower on hand, I thought I might try roasting it again with a mixture of wet ingredients that I often put on my chicken before grilling it in the summer.  It turned out very delicious and coating the cauliflower seemed to hold in some of its moisture making it more palatable to the tongue.   
 
I made a half sheet pan with large pieces of coated cauliflower.


 

This recipe is definitely a keeper and is my new favorite way of making cauliflower.

Bristo Baked Cauliflower

 1 head of cauliflower cleaned and dried

1 cup of Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise 1 clove of garlic, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

1 shallot, chopped fine

1 tsp. herb de Provence

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all of the above ingredients until well mixed.   Paint onto cauliflower using a pastry brush. Place on aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.   Place in preheated oven and bake for 45- 60 minutes or until fork tender.    Baking the entire head all at once may take longer than baking just pieces.
 

Notes and Swaps

·         You can leave the entire head whole for a more formal dinner polished look, but it will need to cook longer

·         You can use your favorite brand of mayo or even yogurt
 
        ·      Cooking time may vary due to oven temp and your preference in doneness.





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