Friday, July 29, 2011

Pumpkin Swirl Bread and a Dancing Princess

This pumpkin swirl bread from Harvest Grain Bakery was disappointing. When this chain of bakeries first opened in our area in Virginia, people would drive for miles to get some of their warm addictive loaves. They had imaginative flavors and it was always fun to see what they were baking that day. This loaf, which came from a store in Tacoma, Washington, was bland with no real pumpkin flavor at all. It also had none of the hand-made quality of the original product.

But to brighten our day (actually, the whole week), we had an always-ready-to-perform dancing princess. Sophie entertained us constantly with her intricate princess-type dance moves, always in full costume, never discouraged by the fact that sister Mads appears bored and Grandpa Den wandered off to clean the gutters. Apparently, the position of the tongue and left arm (necessary for complete concentration) are important to princesses. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pumpkin French Toast

I've been a little lax about posting blogs because we spent the last week at our lake house on Anderson Island in Washington state. Not that we weren't cooking, just not blogging since cell phones barely work there, posting was out of the question. The Hub and I, along with our roommate three-year-old granddaughter Sophie, got up early the first morning to make this french toast for the group. Sophie was an enthusiastic and focused assistant, always ready to help with stirring or adding ingredients. We used cinnamon chip bread from Harvest Grain Bakery. Everyone, including big sister Maddie and parents Robin and Roger, liked this toast. We liked it so much, we got up and made it again the next day with the rest of the loaf.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pumpkin-Shrimp Bruschetta

This recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens magazine. We had it one Sunday while testing several pumpkin recipes. I'm telling you right off I switched the arugula for iceberg lettuce because none of us like that trendy bitter weed. And yes, Robin, I could have picked something a little more exciting than lettuce, but is was what we had on hand.
I still can't decide if I liked these or not. Andrew and Karen both did. The bottom layer is pumpkin, goat cheese, lemon juice and honey. It was my least favorite part. The "salad" part on top is shrimp, red onion, pumpkin seeds and lettuce tossed with bottled Italian salad dressing. I doubt I would make them again unless someone requested it, but you have to admit - it's a wild use for pumpkin.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Pie Pudding

This recipe  came from a massive recipe web page that has dozens of pumpkin recipes, but I don't know if they have been tested. This one was OK. Nothing fabulous. Still I like the idea of coming home to warm dessert already made. I think the time is too long and would start testing the temperature after about 5 hours instead of the recommended 6 to 7 hours. The temperature is necessary because of the eggs.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Toasted Pumpkin Seed Crusted Halibut

This recipe from the Food Network is seriously good. Both the Hub and I loved loved loved it. And that's a nice thing because fresh Alaskan halibut on the East Coast is a seriously expensive fish. I served it with Missy's Marinated Tomatoes and Fresh Corn Casserole, both from The Pioneer Woman Cooks blog, which complemented the fish and were equally good. The recipe is fairly easy - first dipping the fish in egg whites and then in the seeds/spices. You brown it on top of the stove and then finish it in the oven.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Goodbye JRo Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

I made these cookie bars because today is JRo's (pronounced Jay Row) last day in Discovery Creative. She has decided to stay home with her little boys and pursue a career in photography. I suppose people will go back to calling me by my name since there will be no reason to distinguish between us. I'll miss that and her. She's been a fan of this blog and very helpful since I'm rather technology challenged. I'm sure I speak for everyone here in wishing her the best. (And as you can see, she takes much better pictures than I do.)

The bars were excellent and went fast.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Slow-Cooker Meatballs and Pumpkin Marinara

I adapted this recipe from one found in Cook's Country magazine in 2009. As with all of their recipes, it's well thought out and an easy way to add pumpkin to a family favorite. The pumpkin cannot be tasted in the sauce. The clever way of giving the meatballs a slight crust so as not to turn to mush in the slow cooker is genius.

Slow-Cooker Meatballs and Pumpkin Marinara

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped fine
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
8 finely chopped garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup red wine
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
2 large eggs
1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, tomato paste, 6 of the garlic cloves, oregano, pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until golden, about 8 minutes.

Transfer half of the onion mixture to a food processor; set aside. Add wine to pot with remaining onion mixture and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and pumpkin, then transfer half the sauce to a slow cooker. 

Add 1/2 cup Parmesan, mozzarella, sausage, eggs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining garlic, beef and cream to food processor and run until well combined. Form mixture into twelve 2-inch meatballs.

Microwave meatballs on large plate until fat renders and meatballs are firm, 4 to 7 minutes. Nestle meatballs in slow cooker, discarding rendered fat. Cover with remaining sauce. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, 4 to 5 hours. Skim fat. Stir in basil and remaining Parmesan. Season with salt and serve over pasta.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh-So-Refreshing Pumpkin Orange Granita

This is the first recipe from the Libby's website that I didn't really care for, which is surprising because I'm a big sorbet/sherbert/popsicle kind of gal. What I'm not though, is a big orange juice fan, so maybe that's it. I could not get it to look pretty either, as you can see from my pictures. Both the Hub and Andrew tried it and refused more than a single bite. There are just so many other pumpkin recipes that are spectacular, I'd skip this one. This excellent photo came from the Libby's website.