Sunday, October 30, 2011
Come fall the farm stands are overflowing with vegetables and more vegetables. Everything you need to get you through the long dark winter nights when the garden is but a memory.
I like to make great big pots of soup at this time of year and fill the freezer with individual portions.
Here’s my favourite recipe for curried root vegetable soup. You can use pretty much any assortment of squashes, potatoes, etc and vary quantities to suit what you like and how much you are making.
Vicki’s Fall Vegetable Soup
2 medium butternut squash – cut off rind, remove seeds, and chop into big hunks
3 medium potatoes – peeled, chopped
2 sweet potatoes – peeled chopped
1 large onion – peeled and sliced thickly
3 cloves of garlic – peeled and chopped
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chilli powder
3 tbsp olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
Place all vegetables into a large roasting pan. Sprinkle with curry and chilli powders, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Stir well.
Cook at 350 degree oven for about an hour or until the vegetables are soft
Puree vegetable mixture in a blender.
Add to stock pot with vegetable stock.
Stir well to combine
Simmer for 15 minutes.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Now, milk toast has a rep as being boring and vapid, but it ain't, the way I make it.
Make toast. Butter it with scads of butter or margarine. Heat milk. add salt and pepper. Pour over toast. Oh, put the toast in a bowl first. Sorry.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Saturday, October 22, 2011
In the twilight of mid-October
a sacredness seems to linger
over the land and the city.
As we drive to Trader Joe’s,
the sun is setting in the west,
and in the east the Hunter’s Moon rises
like an ancient god over the horizon.
As it’s great face looms,
full and orange, in the dusk
we become pensive.
Outside the little market
pumpkins are piled in bins,
and bright yellow marigolds
and sienna chrysanthemums,
line the sidewalks.
As people shop the moon turns to golden
and rises higher into the night.
It sends a resonance over the land
that enters the body like a gentle current.
In the store we buy bread and cheese
and cherry tomatoes.
When we leave, the moon
looks down upon us,
and follows as we drive home.
It sails through the dark silhouettes of trees
and through lighted clouds
as if it has a message yet to impart--
a message of time, beauty,
and the coming of winter.
Friday, October 21, 2011
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — A bear has feasted on pecan logs, caramel apples and other treats at a candy store in the Smoky Mountains resort town Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Employees reporting for work found the bear Wednesday morning at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, where the animal apparently had knocked a hole in a glass front door to enter, according to The Mountain Press (http://bit.ly/orYRBH ).
Police propped open several back doors and made loud noises, and the bear ran into the woods.
The animal had spread candy on the floor, and wrappers and packaging were strewn throughout a back storeroom. Pecan logs had been chewed and chunks were missing out of caramel apples.
Bob Miller of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park said bears are active this time of year, searching for food before hibernation.
((I wonder if anyone heard the bear say, "Boog is sorry!" as he escaped into the woods.))
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
My newest book, Sand Tarts, Pies, and Devils in Disguise will be debuting in the next couple of weeks!
One of my first events following the release will be a Sweet Read and Pie Tasting @ Colonial Heights Public Library in Kingsport, TN from 10:30am-12:00pm. I will be reading, answering questions and signing books while the audience samples yummy pies!
Here is a recipe for one of the pies I will make for the event:
Chocolate Strawberry Hand Pies
Strawberries dipped in chocolate are one of my favorite desserts in the whole world. Using a can of crescent rounds, I created a these little pies. If you cannot find crescent rounds, make triangular pies using regular crescent rolls.
Finely chop about 5 strawberrries. Flatten crescent round with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin.On half of crescent round place about 10 chocolate chips and 3-4 pieces of the chopped strawberries. Fold other half of crescent round over chocolate and strawberries. Seal edges with tines of fork. Continue until you have used all of your crescent roundss.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
For her, it was CLUE: THE MOVIE. For me, ~mumblety mumblety~ years earlier, it was THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.
Yes, there's nothing like a specially prepared meal to bring people with little else in common together, whether it's a delicacy from China or plain old meatloaf.
The time of large family gatherings approaches, as we (in the northern hemisphere) defy and survive the darkness of winter by coming together and celebrating.
Some get-togethers turn out to be more tense than a battle with dire-wolves and mastodons, but just remember CLUE: THE MOVIE and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. No matter how tense things get, at least you aren't any of those people.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Saturday, October 15, 2011
I discovered a pretty fantastic cookbook yesterday. It's called The Best of Cottey Cooking, by Chef Michael Richardson, who is the Director of Dining Services at Cottey College, which is a women's college run by P.E.O. (an international women's philanthropic educational organization), located in Nevada, Missouri. For more than 126 years, the college has offered young women the opportunity to learn and grow into leaders, role models, and confident individuals. Cottey offers a unique combination of women's-only education, high academic standards, focus on leadership development, commitment to an international experience for every student. Read about the advantages of an all-women's education at www.cottey.edu
Friday, October 14, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Becca's Chocolate Nutty Truffles
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 cup favorite nut butter: almond, cashew, or peanut
- 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 cup dates, chopped
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/8 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- In a skillet containing no oil or liquid, combine the almonds and cashews. Heat over a low flame, stirring frequently, just until you start smelling a toasty, warm aroma. (Keep watching and don't let them burn.) You can also toast them for 2 minutes in a toaster oven set on a low setting.
- In a bowl, mix together nut butter, maple syrup, and chocolate chips. Add nuts and stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon.
- Make teaspoon-size balls of the nut butter mixture and roll in the sugar-cocoa mixture until evenly coated. Place on wax paper and eat, or harden in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Makes 25 to 30 truffles.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
While pumpkins are in abundance, now might be a good time to make and freeze some pumpkin goodies. My favorites--pumpkin bread and pumpkin roll. Below are a roundup of other pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Spice Truffles
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
11 ounces of milk couverture chocolate (11 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate to temper and melt for coating)
3 tablespoons of canned pumpkin
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
4 ounces of orange colored chocolate
1. Place cream in 2-quart wide saucepan over medium heat just until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle chopped chocolate into cream. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes; the heat should melt the chocolate. Stir very gently until smooth.
2. Stir in pumpkin and spices. Pour mixture into a pastry bag and tie with a twist tie. Let cool to slightly warmer than room temperature.Pumpkin Pancakes
1 medium egg
1 cup milk
¾ cup unbleached white flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cooked pumpkin
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch powdered ginger
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, as needed
Combine all ingredients except vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl, whisking to blend.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet over medium. Add ¼ cup pancake batter at a time, allowing to cook until bubbles break around the edges. Flip and allow to cook an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until light golden. Repeat with remaining oil and batter.
- ½ Onion, chopped
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- Olive Oil
- 1 chipotle canned in adobo sauce, deseeded and chopped, AND 1 tablespoon adobo sauce from can
- ¼ cup apple juice or cider
- 2 sugar pumpkins, peeled, deseeded and chopped OR 1 kobucha squash peeled, deseeded and chopped, OR 2 cans pumpkin puree OR 3 chopped yams
- 2 to 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (depending on desired thickness)
- ½ cup apple cider or apple juice
- Sour cream (optional)
- Cilantro (optional)
1) Sweat onion in olive oil with a pinch of salt until translucent looking in the pan.
2) Add minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds to a minute more (until golden but not burning- garlic can burn fast).
3) Add the chopped chipotle to the pan
4) Add the apple cider or apple juice. Allow to cook off a little, i.e. evaporate a little, add the stock to cover the pumpkin. Allow to simmer on medium-high heat for 20 minutes to a half hour.
5) Puree in batches in the blender filling only half way.
6) Add remaining or additional stock or water to the finished puree and stir to create the desired thickness.
7) Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.
For the Dough:
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
6 whole eggs
4 tablespoons water
2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
For the Filling:
1 small pumpkin (about 4 pounds), or 2- 15 ounce cans of pumpkin puree*
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cloves
Cinnamon, to taste
Salt and Pepper, to taste
About 1 cup breadcrumbs
For the Sauce:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 clove garlic, finely minced
about 10 whole sage leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
grated parmesan, to taste
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or large bowl.
Puree the ingredients together until a solid mass is formed, about 1 minute. The dough should not be wet and should be dry enough that it does not stick to the bowl. If it is too wet add some flour.
Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator. Let rest for at least one hour.
Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Rub the cavity with salt and pepper and oil. Place flesh side down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 1 hour, or until it is soft when punctured with a knife or fork.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and scoop the soft pumpkin meat into a bender or food processor. Puree until no chunks remain. Let cool to room temperature or refrigerate until cold.
In a large bowl combine the pumpkin puree with the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. Stir together.
Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to your liking.
Add enough breadcrumbs so that the mixture will hold its shape when scooped onto a flat surface. You may need more breadcrumbs if you made the puree from scratch.
Add the eggs and stir well until they are fully incorporated.
The filling mixture can now be set aside until you are ready to fill the raviolis. It can also be frozen at this time. It can be help in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the pasta dough until it is very thin so that you can almost see through it. Use plenty of flour so it does not stick.
Cut the dough into one long rectangle that is about eight inches thick and however long you can make it.
Using a one ounce portion scoop or a large spoon, scoop about 1/8 cup onto one side of the strip of dough.
Repeat this all the way down the dough placing each scoop about 2 inches apart form each other.
Fold the other side of the dough, that does not have filling on it, over the filling. Then using your fingers press around each of the raviolis moving the air out away from the filling.
Cut in between each of the lumps of filling creating many squares. Crimp the edges of each ravioli with a fork.
At this point the raviolis can be frozen on a cookie sheet. When completely frozen they can be bagged for future use. They will hold about 6 months.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water enough so that it tastes like ocean water.
In a saute pan melt the butter with the garlic over medium heat until it is foamy and has a nutty aroma, about 2 minutes. Add the sage leaves and let them cook until they are crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat. Be careful not to burn the butter or the garlic.
Turn the hot water down to a simmer. Place the raviolis into the salted water and let them cook for about 4 minutes or until the float to the top. Gently remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a serving platter.
Once all the raviolis are cooked top with the butter sauce, garnish with fresh sage and grated parmesan, and serve.
*Make sure to purchase pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling. Then your raviolis would be very sweet! If using canned pumpkin puree, skip the filling steps 1 and 2.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling
Yield: About 4 dozen assembled whoopie pies (will vary depending on how large you make them)
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes
For the Whoopie Pies:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Maple-Cream Cheese Filling:
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the granulated sugar, the dark brown sugar, and the oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.
5. Use a small cookie scoop or a large spoon to drop a rounded, heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, making sure that the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. The cookies should be firm when touched. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
7. To make the filling, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth with no visible lumps, about 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth.
8. To assemble the whoopie pies: Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe or spoon the filling (about a tablespoon) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
So, when I got a craving for a pastrami sammich the other day, I made this:
PASTRAMI SANDWICH WITHOUT THE PASTRAMI
- rye bread
- Swiss cheese
- dill pickle slices
- butter or margarine (optional)
Okay, now, I make my own pickles and my own mayonnaise, I use fresh-ground pepper, and I buy middlin' expensive Swiss cheese and deli rye. All that probably goes a long way to making this a good sandwich. A REALLY good sandwich.
BONUS: If you tell somebody you had a sandwich of Swiss cheese, pickles and mayonnaise, they're almost guaranteed to go Ewwww!
Making your own mayonnaise is super easy, if you have access to farm-fresh eggs and a food processor or blender.
- 1 egg
- 1 to 2 TBS lemon juice
- 1/4 or more ground mustard to taste
- 1/4 or more salt to taste
- 1/4 cup salad oil (I use canola oil)
- 3/4 cup salad oil
You can fiddle with the lemon juice amount or substitute vinegar, vary the salad oil flavor, add spices or herbs, but we just like it the way I have it here, with maybe 1 1/2 TBS lemon juice to make it kind of punchy.
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Main Entry: locavore
Part of Speech: n
Definition: a person who attempt to eat only foods grown locally
Example: Locavores grow their own food or buy foodstuffs grown within their region.
Locavore: A word that didn’t exist even five years ago (in fact it doesn’t exist in my MS Word 2010 dictionary).
Quite a few of us on this blog, authors as well as our readers, like to think of ourselves as locavores. People who try to eat local food, in season.
The idea of eating locally, of supporting local farmers rather than importing foodstuffs from factory farms or agribusinesses thousands of miles away, is definitely an idea whose time has come.
Last weekend Prince Edward County, where I live, celebrated Taste! A festival of local eating (and drinking!). http://www.tastecelebration.ca/. Other agricultural communities are also gathering to celebrate their rich farmland and crops. Wolfe Island, where we hold our annual Scene of the Crime Festival, has a series of events. http://www.tasteofwolfeisland.ca/. And there are lots more.
I probably left this post a bit too late this year. Here in Canada most of our big agricultural events are held in September or the first week of October in the run-up to Thanksgiving. (Which is next weekend. Did you know that?)
Keep your eye out next year. Find out if there is a celebration in your area. Meet the people who grow and raise your food and say thanks.