Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

I made these muffins from Martha Stewart in Arizona for granddaughters Sophie (the Starbucks pumpkin loaf addict) and big sis Maddie. I made two versions: mini for the kiddos and regular for the adults. Everyone liked them. The minis went so fast I couldn't believe the girls packed them away that quickly - they may have had some adult help. But then why wouldn't they? It's a well developed pumpkin muffin recipe brushed with butter and tossed in sugar and cinnamon. What's not to like? The girls helped the Hub (Grandpa Den to them) and me by tossing the muffins with sugar/cinnamon in a Ziploc bag.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

I served this pie from Taste of Home in Arizona, where it is already spring and the weather is warm. Something that appears is never going to happen in the DC area since it is almost the first of April and we had snow over the weekend and the high today is 38 degrees. Even though the first word in the title of the recipe is "frozen," I forgot to freeze it (sorry Michele and Tom). We had it chilled and it was ok. Some liked it better than others. The next day after I stuck it in the freezer, the Hub and I thought it was much better, others not enough to eat another piece.

This recipe calls for a jar of marshmallow creme and a tub of Cool Whip (oh sorry I mean frozen whipped topping). Some people (me included) try to avoid these types of processed foods, so this pie would have to be a once-in-a-great-while treat.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Seed Granola

This recipe from the Williams-Sonoma website is easy and quick. The ingredients can be custom made to your taste, too. Here's the variety it suggests:

Any of the following ingredients may be added to the granola in balanced quantities to taste: chopped dried dates, apples, pineapples, apricots, pears or mangoes; dark raisins or golden raisins; dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries; chopped almonds, hazelnuts, raw peanuts or sunflower seeds; and/or wheat flakes or oat bran. Also try different honeys, such as lavender or orange blossom, or substitute maple syrup for the honey. When trying new additions, be sure to maintain an appealing proportion of crunchy ingredients in the final mixture.
Wow, that's about anything you got in the cupboard. Karen, Andrew, the Hub and I ate it over bananas for dessert one evening and with milk for breakfast the next day. Everyone liked it and I would definitely make it again and experiment a little with their ingredient suggestions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Pumpkin, White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies

These cookies from the blog Closet Cooking were good and disappeared quickly, but I thought them bland without the typical pumpkin spices. Also mine were much more cakelike than the cookies in her picture appear to be. I liked the addition of rolled oats to up the fiber content. I'd give the recipe another try if I ever had time, but would add some pumpkin pie spice.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal

This hearty breakfast recipe from The New York Times contains steel cut oats, pumpkin, a little brown sugar and some spices. I didn't love it, but the Hub did. It's not quick either because the oats take half an hour to cook. But with a little planning you can make a batch and have breakfast for the week.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pumpkin Blondies

This recipe came from the cooking blog Annie's Eats. The recipe makes a large pan, and both Andrew and I took them to work where they disappeared. The bars tasted good but I was a little disappointed in the texture. Blondies by definition are a type of brownie without chocolate or with white chocolate. I expected a dense chewy bar similar to a fudgy brownie. This is achieved by melting the butter and chocolate with the sugar. This recipe calls for creaming the butter and sugar, which results in more a of a cake-like bar. Again, no one was complaining or giving them back, but I still think I will continue to look for a more traditional pumpkin blondie recipe.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pumpkin Potato Puree

I was amazed at how much we all liked this potato and pumpkin side dish from Gourmet magazine. I did not peel my red potatoes, just mashed them with the skins on so I didn't end up with the smooth silky product the recipe author envisioned. But we liked it anyway. Adding a can of pumpkin to mashed potatoes enhances the nutrient value. I served these with short ribs in red wine and port, a recipe by Dorie Greenspan found here and also in her cookbook Around my French Table. Good stuff.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Trader Joe's Pumpkin Muffins

I was interested to test this box of Trader Joe's pumpkin bread/muffin mix that my sister Judy gave me. She swears by it and, she's right - it's good. Here's a link to someone who blogged about comparing it to homemade pumpkin yeast bread. That's not exactly an equal comparison because this is in the quick bread category. The reason Trader Joe's and others can make a mix comparable to a loaf made with canned or fresh pumpkin is that pumpkin can be dried and ground into a flour-like substance. Add some eggs and oil and you're ready to go.

I served them with this mandarin pumpkin marmalade, which was also good.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken and Pumpkin Cacciatore

The recipe was adapted from the chicken cacciatore recipe in Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann. Adapted to include - you guessed it - pumpkin!

Crock Pot Chicken and Pumpkin Cacciatore
One 32-ounce jar marinara sauce or tomato-basil spaghetti sauce or your own homemade sauce
1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 lb diced pumpkin
6 ounces sliced mushrooms

Layer half the tomato sauce and all the onions, pumpkin, garlic, bell pepper, and chicken in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the mushrooms on top and cover with the remaining tomato sauce. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 2 2/1 to 3 hours on HIGH, or 6 to 7 hours on LOW.

If you wish a thicker sauce, remove chicken and vegetables to a platter and keep warm. Whisk together 2 tbsps flour, 2 tbsps water and 2 tbsps white wine until smooth. Stir into the sauce in the cooker, turn the cooker to HIGH, cover and cook until thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetable and serve.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Brown Butter

On a recent weekend morning, I made these pancakes from the November issue of Taste of Home. I was trying to find my own pumpkin pancake recipe, which was supposed to be the IHOP recipe, but I seem to have misplaced it. The cinnamon brown butter is to die for, but I wasn't impressed with the pancakes because the batter is so thick the insides do not cook before the outsides burn. After doing some research, I found out an electric griddle at a constant temperature of 300 degrees would have taken care of this problem. Also spreading the dough with the back of a spoon to thin the pancake helps.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Brown Butter

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsps packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)

In a small heavy saucepan, cook butter over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. Remove from heat; stir in pecans.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, pumpkin and cheese. Sir in dry ingredients just until moistened.

Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve with brown butter.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pumpkin & Sage Frittata

This recipe came from British chef Brian Glover's Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash. It's a sophisticated recipe, but not difficult to make and I loved the results.

Pumpkin & Sage Frittata
Serves 4 or cuts into 24-30 pieces for an appetizer

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried hot pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 1/2 lbs diced pumpkin
1 tbsp finely shreddded sage leaves
8 large eggs
2-3 tbsp chopped flatleaf parsley
1 tbsp butter
5 oz firm goat cheese, cubed (I used feta.)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a medium-large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and two good pinches of salt. Stir then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook very gently, stirring occasionally, until the onions are meltingly soft and golden yellow, about 20 minutes.

Raise the heat slightly and add the hot pepper flakes, garlic and pumpkin. Stir to cover in the oily onions and cook gently, stirring frequently, until the pumpkin is just tender, about 10 minutes. Discard the garlic. Saute the pumpkin a little more until it starts to brown, then stir in the sage and cook for a few more minutes. Let it cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and beat in the parsley, then stir in the cooked squash and onions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Put the skillet back over medium heat and preheat the broiler to medium. Add the butter to the skillet, and as it foams, pour in the egg and squash mixture and use a spatula to level it. Scatter the goat cheese evenly over the top. Cook for about 5-6 minutes until the underside is golden brown and set. Put the frittata under the preheated broiler and cook until it is evenly browned, slightly puffed up and the egg is fully set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Moroccan Meatball, Chard and Kabocha Soup

This recipe came from A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash by Lou Seibert Pappas. Lou is the author of over 50 cookbooks and has been a contributor to newspapers and Sunset Magazine. I think this recipe just might be the healthiest thing the Hub and I have ever eaten. I've never eaten chard before, but who could resist this bunch that I found at my local Whole Foods.

I used ground beef instead of lamb. I gave the Hub the choice and he picked the beef, adventuresome guy that he is. We both like the soup and took it for lunch for a couple of days.

1 lb lean ground lamb or ground chuck
3 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
3 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch red Swiss chard (about 12 ounces)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 stalk fennel or celery, chopped
2 tsps grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
2 cups diced kabocha squash
5 tbsps tomato paste
6 red or yellow plum tomatoes, sliced
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

To make the meatballs, in a bowl, combine the meat, cornstarch, egg, cilantro, allspice and garlic and mix lightly shape into 3/4-inch balls. (I used the food processor.)

Remove the ribs from the Swiss chard and slice thinly crosswise. Chop the leaves separately; set aside. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chard ribs, onion, carrot and fennel and saute until limp. Add the ginger, allspice, cumin, pepper, broth, squash and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully drop the meatballs into the hot broth. Add the chard leaves and tomatoes. Simmer for 5 or 6 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender and the meatballs are cooked through. Season with salt.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve immediately.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tortellini with Pumpkin, Artichoke Hearts and Pecorino

This is an easy recipe from Lou Seibert Pappas's A Harvest of Pumpkins and Squash. We had some cheese confusion at our house and the Hub ended up adding queso fresco instead of the pecorino. Queso fresco is very mild, and I think the pecorino would have enhanced  the dish, but it was still good. We always have the option of having the leftovers again the next night or me eating it for lunch and everyone wanted to have it again. So simple, so healthy and so good tasting - doesn't get any better than that.

Tortellini with Pumpkin, Artichoke Hearts and Pecorino

12 ounces tortellini
1 lb diced pumpkin
1 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
6 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Toss pumpkin with 1 tbsp olive oil, thyme and salt & pepper and roast at 425 until done, about 30 minutes.

Bring a large saucepan 3/4 full of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the tortellini and cook until al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.

Drain the pasta and turn out into a warmed bowl. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, oil and cheese. Toss to mix, and sprinkle with the nuts. Serve at room temperature  or refrigerate until serving time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Blizzards

OK, this is my hands-down favorite so far. It's like crack to pumpkin lovers. But the exact recipe has eluded me so far. Seems like it would be easy to replicate - just add pumpkin and the spices to ice cream, but what you end up with is a milk shake or a smoothie, which doesn't taste quite right. Someone smarter than me looked on the Dairy Queen website for the ingredients and came up with this list: pumpkin pie mix, ice cream and shortbread cookies. I have never bought pumpkin pie mix and actually thought it was runny, but it's not. You have to add the milk and eggs to it to make a pie. It looks exactly like pumpkin puree except darker in color. The shortbread cookies didn't sound right to me either, so we used blonde Oreos.

I actually used soft serve from Dairy Queen, but any ice cream would work. The first batch I used the blender, but it mashed the cookies too small; the second batch I used a hand mixer and liked the results better. I didn't measure the ingredients but a one to three ratio with the mix and ice cream is about right. Cookies to taste. So easy but so good.