Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pumpkin Butter

I get really drawn to the idea of pumpkins around Thanksgiving but this year have been going a bit pumpkin crazy. To drag Thanksgiving out over the weekend I decided to make pumpkin butter and use the turkey dishes I inherited from my grandparents. Since I've never made any kind of 'butter' first I had to find a recipe to guide this experiment.

sugar pumpkin
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of salt

Roast the sugar pumpkin until it becomes super tender and easily falls apart with a fork.
Put the pumpkin flesh in a food processor with all the ingredients except the last 2 (lemon, salt) and blend until smooth.
Put the puree in a pot on the stove with the lid slightly ajar and bring to just a boil then reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes to thicken up a bit.
Let it cool then add the lemon juice and salt and put in a glass jar with tight fitting lid to store in fridge.

Pumpkin butter on toast made a nice breakfast.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pickled Green Tomatoes

As the weather has gotten cold I had to bring in tomatoes from the garden that didn't have a chance to ripen on the vine. My go to with green tomatoes is always frying them but we had a LOT of tomatoes and I needed a new strategy. My husband brought home pickled green tomatoes to give me a little inspiration so I decided to give my own a try. I did some looking on the web and came across some recipes from Garden Betty. I gave her curried pickled tomatoes a try.

1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
1/8 cup sliced fresh ginger root

Bring ingredients to boil to make brine.
Fill a jar with sliced green tomatoes then pour hot brine over.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall Leaf Roses

I've been seeing a lot of these roses made from fall leaves and decided to give it a try myself. Most of the instructions I came across were more image based than text so I'm going to try to include some photos and some description of what I did.

First, I went out and collected some fall leaves. It is important that they are not yet dry because once they are dry they are too brittle to work with.

To make the roses start with the center first and then work your way out. I folded the leaf to have a fairly flat edge and then rolled the leaf up

then I repeated the process of folding the leaf and rolled the next leaf around the first but a little lower down, I did this with about three leaves

once I had the center of the rose done it was time to add some petals
 I loosely folded leaves into rectangles and put those around the center overlapping them slightly 

lastly I added some small leaves with no folds for the outside petals 

then I used a rubber band to hold all the leaves together 

and I happened to have some floral tape so I used that to wrap all the leaf stems to a stick so I could put the roses in a vase 
It was a fun project. I don't plan on doing anything to try to preserve these roses for use as a decoration again next year but I may attempt this craft again next year for festive table decoration. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Cooking with Sugar Pumpkins - tamales, ravioli and pie

I love eating squash in the fall but I've never tried to do much with pumpkin until this week. After these few attempts I'm excited to try doing more with it.

As has become our tradition we made tamales for the Day of the Dead this year. I used this recipe as a guide.
First soak the corn husks in warm water. Then I started by making the filling, roasted pumpkin mixed with small pieces of queso blanco, cilantro, two jalapeƱos, a little garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Then I made the masa dough. I mixed 2 cups masa with two cups boiling water. In the bowl of a stand mixer I put  1/2 cup hot water with 1/3 cup of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda, after that mixed I began to add in the masa and let it mix until everything was combined. Then assemble the tamales and steam them to cook. This made more than two of us can eat so we put the leftovers in the freezer.

I also made my first attempt at homemade ravioli, Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce.

I began by making the filling. I used this recipe  as a guide for the filling.
I combined some roasted pumpkin, fresh ricotta, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup grated parmigiana.

And this recipe for the pasta, which I ended up doubling because I had so much filling. I was partly drawn to this recipe because I was able to do it all with a mixer.
In a stand mixer with a dough hook I combined 2 cups all purpose flour, 3 eggs 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil (this makes one batch of pasta). After it all combined well then I coated it in oil and wrapped it in saran wrap and let it sit for half an hour.

Once the dough was ready I put it through the pasta maker to make sheets. I put the sheets onto a mat dusted with semolina.

I made fairly small ravioli, I put a small spoonful of filling in the dough and then folded it over and cut the dough then used a fork to press around the edges and seal them. Once the ravioli were made I put water on to boil and started on the brown butter sauce - 4 tablespoons of butter with roughly chopped sage, and chopped walnuts. The ravioli only cook for 2-3 minutes. Once they were cooked I added them to the frying pan with the sauce and tossed them together. 

I served the ravioli on a bed of spinach with a little grated parmesan underneath and a little gorgonzola on top.

And lastly I made pumpkin pie with a fresh sugar pumpkin from this recipe. Except I did not make my own crust.

For the pie filling I combined 2 cups of roasted sugar pumpkin, a 12 oz can of evaporated milk, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon salt with an immersion blender until smooth.

I decided to do small pies and used store bought dough. I filled up 12 muffin tins and two small 5 inch pie pans.

It baked at 400 for about 40 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.

and I served it with whipped cream that I whipped with a little maple syrup for some extra festive fall flavor.