Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Soup by Sophie

Grandparents are generous creatures, always thinking of new ways to surprise the little people in their lives. In our case, one of these generous grandparents is Grandma Jo (also known as the pumpkin headmaster here on the 'ole blog). As you might imagine, her surprises often involve pumpkin :D Recently she sent us a copy of the book Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper. Our job? Make Pumpkin Soup, of course! So on a rainy, blustery day my littlest one and I set to doing just that. We used the Pumpkin Soup recipe that is included in the book (although, ours didn’t have it - maybe because it was paperback??) found here.

Pumpkin Soup~ with modifications
2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

**I also added celery and a turnip, just because I had 'em!
1 tablespoon canola oil

**I used olive oil, and probably a bit more than a tablespoon, but I was sauteing more veggies
15-ounce can pumpkin puree

14-ounce can light unsweetened coconut milk

**I used regular (not light) because that is what I had
14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

**added ½ can more
1 tablespoon brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

**I added pepper, too
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

In a large saucepan, cook carrots and onions in oil over medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes). Add chicken broth, cover and cook until carrots are soft (about 5 minutes more).
Carefully transfer vegetables and broth into a blender. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, salt and ginger, and blend until smooth. **I skipped this step, I like my soup more chunky.
Transfer mixture back to saucepan and heat for another 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and cook until heated through. Milk or water can be added to thin the soup if necessary.
**Here is where my modifications reaaaalllly took a turn. My helper had been tasting bites all along and really enjoying it, but I was finding it a bit sweet for my taste. Soooo, I added Sriacha Sauce, which definitely kicked it up a notch. However, I may have gotten a little heavy handed with it, as our soup was now a touch spicy. Oops! Sophie still ate it up, but next time I might wait to add the Sriacha to the individual bowls so that everyone can really enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Walnut Biscotti

This recipe came from the website The Kitchn with some ideas for edible gifts. The recipe is remarkably easy - the dough came together quickly, the loaf was easy to cut into perfect slices and the end product is attractive and tasty enough to give as a gift. The Hub and I did have problems with two things. We couldn't get our chocolate melted properly enough to drizzle and ended up spreading a thin layer and because of the humidity associated with an impending hurricane (Sandy), we couldn't get them to stay crisp. Also I toasted the walnuts before using them. These will be great to nibble for breakfast when the power is out during that same hurricane.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Smothered Cajun-Spiced Pumpkin

I found this recipe in the Vegetarian Times issue on regional cooking. It says "Smothering is a Southern cooking technique that calls for dousing a dish in brown gravy made with onion and other vegetables. Here, Cajun-seasoned pumpkin is smothered in a gravy made from a base that New Orleans chefs call the holy trinity: a combination of onions, celery and green peppers." Both the Hub and I enjoyed this dish. The Cajun seasoning made it warm but not hot. I ended up with a lot more gravy than pumpkin and thought about roasting some more to use it up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Curry Empanadas

This recipe from the October 2012 Sunset magazine confused the Hub. He couldn't figure out if they were supposed to be sweet or savory. I caused that confusion by adding a tablespoon of maple syrup to the filling. It needed a little sweetness to counteract all those spices. I cheated and used all ready prepared empanada pastries, which is why they are bigger than the recipe calls for and perfectly rounded. I liked these a lot, but me and pie go way back. Right behind cookies on my all-time favorite food list. I ate them with salsa, which seemed appropriate.

According to Wikipedia, empanadas trace their origins to Galacia and Portugal, but they've been embraced by Central and South American cultures, too. They are made by folding dough or bread around stuffing, which usually consists of a variety of meat, cheese, vegetables or fruits, among others.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Caramel-Drizzled Pumpkin Poke Cake

Caramel-Drizzled Pumpkin Poke Cake

I made this cake for Andrew's birthday, which we celebrated up in Philadelphia in early October. Unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures, but our cake looked like this one from the Pillsbury webpage. The recipe calls for a regular cake mix with a can of pumpkin added and after baking, poke holes, drizzle a can of sweetened condensed milk and two jars of hot fudge sauce, spread with a can of frosting, then add nuts and a jar of caramel sauce. Could it possible taste bad with all that?

I did make a few changes as suggested by others who rated and reviewed the cake. I used only one jar of fudge sauce, it is a pumpkin cake after all. I also questioned the wisdom (as did others) of adding the sweetened condensed milk - it just seemed to make the cake soggy. And while we all enjoyed this cake as a change from our usual purple poke cake family birthday cakes, as Kevin said "it's not going to replace it."


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pecan Pumpkin Butter

I put this pecan pumpkin butter, which the author claims is a homemade version of the gourmet kitchen store favorite,

against the Hub's idea of gourmet.

Needless to say, his won with him and mine won with me. I, at least, could pronounce the names of everything I was eating. Although mine was not perfect. It had too much citrus. The recipe calls for the zest of half a lemon and half an orange and I ended up putting in too much, but it's hard to measure. If you're a fan of that gourmet/kitchen store's pecan pumpkin butter give this recipe a try. It's much much cheaper.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Miso Sesame Pumpkin

This recipe from the website 101cookbooks.com was not a huge hit at our house. I'm always interested in adding protein, but the Hub is not eating tofu unless he has to. I'll finish it up for lunches this week, but I too, don't love it. It has too much sugar (maple syrup and molasses) to be savory, but not enough to be dessert.

The funny thing is, the pumpkin tossed with sesame oil smelled wonderful while cooking and tasted good, too. So good that I kept snagging pieces of it and was afraid I would eat it all right out of the oven. If you're looking for a simple, but tasty pumpkin side dish, use sesame oil instead of olive oil and just bake it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

I loved this gnocchi from the October 2010 issue of Bon Appetit, but I knew I would. I really like gnocchi. The Hub felt it needed a heavy pasta sauce, but admitted he has never had it before so didn't know what to expect. I've had this recipe for two years waiting for the perfect Sunday afternoon to make it. The recipe actually lists 1 hour 45 minutes for prep time. That's a lot of prepping, especially if you don't know what you're doing. You divide your dough into eight parts and I only cooked two. This recipe makes a lot of gnocchi. I'll probably end up freezing the rest of it. I'm not sure I could really taste the pumpkin, but they were still heavenly.

Notice the asparagus? When I was in France this summer with my girlfriends, we took a cooking lesson. We were shocked at the market when our chef chose the largest asparagus he could find since in the States, small ones are coveted. When we got back to the kitchen he had us peel them with a potato peeler and that's what I did with these huge ones. They are unbelievably tender when cooked. I just threw them in the gnocchi water for five minutes and they really didn't need anything but a little salt.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

The Hub took this pumpkin pound cake, from the December 2006 issue of Cooking Light, to a social function at work. Everyone like it and he brought home a piece for me to taste and I could understand why.
You drain the pumpkin to help keep the cake's texture light, but it is still a pound cake, although not a traditional one. According to Wikipedia a pound cake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. The traditional recipe makes a cake much larger than most families can consume, and so the quantity is often changed to suit the size of the cake that is desired. As long as the ratio is preserved, the resulting cake will be identical to that using the traditional recipe. Hence, any cake made with a 1:1:1:1 ratio of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar is also called a pound cake.
Pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a bundt mold, and served either dusted with powdered sugar, or lightly glazed, or completely unfrosted, but only rarely with an overall coat of frosting. This cake has a thick cooked glaze made with buttermilk and regular sugar.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Savory Pumpkin Basil Cheesecake Spread

Everyone enjoyed this recipe from the website peasandcrayons.com. I served it a couple of times this weekend while we were in Philadelphia visiting Andrew and Karen. We saw a lot of pumpkins at Linvilla Gardens, which has a huge pumpkin patch this time of year.

I replaced the ricotta cheese with cream cheese because it's all we had, and did not use the miniature springform pan. It worked fine with a pyrex dish, but I did spray the parchment paper just to make sure it would come out easily.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Parmesan-Rosemary Pumpkin Wedges

The October 2012 issue of  Coastal Living has a nice article with ten great pumpkin recipes. This is the first I've made from it, and I really liked it. The magazine suggests serving these crispy, herb-seasoned pumpkin wedges instead of French fries with your favorite burger. I thought they made a great lunch. I did not make the sour cream dip. I think next time I would take the skin off the pumpkin just to make it easier to eat.


Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Popcorn Treats

Both the Hub and I enjoyed these popcorn bars from the Nestles website. They're made with popcorn, baking cocoa, marshmallows, pretzels and chocolate covered raisins. It's kinda a game the food producers play called how many of our products can we pack into one recipe. The name is a little misleading since it doesn't actually contain any pumpkin. But since I made a pan, I thought I'd pass the recipe along anyway. The bars certainly satisfy that salty/sweet craving we all have once in a while. They must be a little heavy though because the dome glass lid of that pedestal serving plate went crashing to the tile floor when no one was even in the room - quite the noise, quite the mess.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pumpkin Gravy

I loved this simple recipe from the EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine website. It calls for heavy cream, which I substituted 1/2 & 1/2 for and next time, will use plain milk. Both the Hub and I liked it on potatoes, but I loved it on cauliflower. It made me think I was eating some decadent cheese sauce, but without the calories. The possibilities of using it on other veggies, such as cooked broccoli, is exciting. It's very thick and could be thinned down a lot with milk.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce

This easy recipe from the November 2007 Cooking Light is a real show stopper. It also ranks third in Cooking Light's all time favorite pumpkin recipes. Both the Hub and I really liked it. I made the filling and toasted the hazelnuts in the morning and the Hub had a pot of water heating and the sauce made when I got home. It took us less than 15 minutes to have it on the table. They only cook for  4 minutes. It says you can make the whole thing early and store in the frig until cooking, too.

Here's a great idea, which you can feel free to use: My tall grasses are totally flopped out this time of year, and the Hub and I use bungee cords to give them any resemblence of shape. This year we decided to put the cords at the top making them look like corn stalks giving us our own pumpkin patch right in the front yard.