Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pumpkin Corn Chowdah

For this round of homegrown gourmet, I chose the challenge to be SOUP. And what better way to make a soup representative of New England than to make a chowder (something enw for me too!) I ahve no interest in dealing with clams so I thought I would put my own twist on it... I added corn, since corn chowder is a classic, and 1/2 a local pumpkin, some bacon and local tomato for color. I topped it with lobster, and Ryan and I had a fabulous, albeit not so healthy, meal!

Pumpkin Corn Chowder

6 oz bacon, cooked in soup pot, removed and crumbled (leave the fat)

1 large onion, diced (add to pot on med high with bacon fat, stirring)

1/2 a smallish pumpkin, peeled, seeded, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes

4 ears of corn, kernals cut off

3-4 med to large red potatos, chopped into bite sized pieces

Let cook, stirring, about 5 min. Add 3-4 cups of stock (more for a thinner broth, less for thicker) and let the soup come to a boil. Cook until the pumpkin and potatos are cooked through. Add 1 cup of half and half, 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme, and the bacon. Chop up 2 small tomatos into small pieces and stir in about 5 minutes in. Let simmer until thickens slightly (about 5 more min). Serve, topping with Lobster meat (optional)

Homegrown Gourmet 2 Wrap-up - SOUP

I had the pleasure of hosting this round of homegrown gourmet and chose the challenge to be soup - it is october after all!

There were some great entries... Kate from Paved with Good Intentions is from Orange County (the REAL OC ;) ) and put together pumpkin for the season with Orange, in honor of her home county. This sounds like a really unique flavor combo! Though I personally think she should try to make an avocado soup... a cold one would be perfect for the warm weather there!

Carrie of Carrie's Cooking Creations made a wild rice soup since Northern Wild Rice is native to Minnesota - I never knew that! Her soup looksthick and creamy - perfect for those cold Northern nights!

Erika from Bean's Bistro, our founder, made a Haddock Chowder. A soup, as she put it, perfect for watching the Sox, up in chilly Maine. Understandably... the traditional lobster didnt make the menu but I like a good twist myself!

My entry was another Chowder - I am also a New Englander after all! Mine was a corn chowder with pumpkin and bacon, topped with a little bit of lobster. The corn, pumpkin, potatos and tomatos were all local, and Im sure the lobster did not travel far.

And finally my choice for our winner:

Becke from Columbus Foodie made a Butternut Bisque made from totally local ingredients! I have lately been so inspired by the book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" that this approach totally appeals to me. Everything from the butter to the stock to the vegetables and goat cheese garnish were from her home state and area, and the result looks fabulous! Congrats! Becke's challenge, should she choose to accept it, is to pick the next round's challenge and judge the results!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumnal Breakfast for Dinner

Who doesnt love breakfast for dinner? Not us, we love it every so often. And who doesnt love apples and pumpkin stuff? I sure do! Last weekend I tried to make pumpkin pancakes and it was a huge disaster. I should have taken pics to illustrate their terribleness. Burned on the outside... raw on teh inside... yummm. ;)

ANYHOW. This week I saw a recipe for pumpkin pancakes on Confections of a Foodie Bride and the accompanying pics looked great - not burned and not raw :)

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar

1 1/8 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I used various spices - cinn, allspice, ginger, nutmeg - instead)

1 eggs

1 cup buttermilk* (I added extra milk since the batter seemed kind of thick for pancakes)

1/8 cup melted butter (I used Canola instead)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin (i used 1/2 a can)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sift together dry ingredients in medium bowl. Beat the eggs, buttermilk together and stream in melted butter while whisking. Whisk in the canned pumpkin - taste for pumpkin-ness and adjust pumpkin pie spice/pumpkin as desired.
Whisk the dry and the wet ingredients - batter will be lumpy but do not over-mix. Ladle 1/3 cup of batter onto the skillet and cook until the bubbles pop and the top of the pancake loses the “wet look” (about 2-3 minutes). Flip and cook 1-2 minutes more.
Top the stack of pancakes with a pat of butter and serve with syrup and a garnish of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
Yields 6-8 pancakes, depending on size. (mine made about 12 smallish ones)
*I was out of buttermilk (go figure) so I “made” some: 1 cup milk, minus 1 Tbsp. And then I added 1 Tbsp white vinegar (can use lemon juice) and let sit on the cabinet for a few minutes while I was measuring the dry ingredients and melting butter. Whisk together and voila! Buttermilk! ***I did the same but with lemon***

The pancakes were PERFECT. Fluffy, soft, pumkiny and not at all burned/raw. Well actually... one got away and burned but that was just user-error!

Apple Cheddar Scramble

This one was of my own creation. At first I thought I would do an omelet but then I remembered that 1) I cant make omelets 2) even if I could our pans kinda suck right now and 2) I dont really like omlelets anyhow and much prefer scrambles so why on earth was I making my life too complicated!

I sauteed 1 large apple (peeled, cored, sliced to 1/4 inch and then in 1/4s) with a little butter until soft and browning, on med high stirring occassionally. Added 5 eggs beat with milk and cook until almost done. Add cubes of good cheddar and let melt and serve. We all know (and if you dont, try it, so good) that apples and cheddar are an amazing combo and they were so good in eggs that I think this is a new favorite scramble for me!

Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots

I wanted to make some savory dishes this week with the apples we picked at Granby's Bushy Hill Orchard. The first dish that came to mind was the natural paring; pork and apples. A quick search on some of my favorite cooking sites and I found this recipe that looked simple, quick, easy, healthy and yummy. And it proved to be all three! Recipe by Martha Stewart.

I only made two large bone-in chops but the same amt of apple/shallot mixture

2 tablespoons butter (I used veggie oil instead)
1/2 pound medium shallots, halved or quartered lengthwise (pieces should be about 3/4 inch thick)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths (I used 3 empires)
1/2 cup white wine
4 pork rib chops (each 1/2 inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces)
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes more.
Add apples and wine; cover, and cook until apples are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and apples are tender, 2 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
While apples are cooking, season pork chops generously with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. To serve, spoon warm apple mixture over chops.

This was SO good and I will definitely make it again. I am not normally a huge fan of pork chops but wow, they are often paired with apples for a reason... yum! And of course, ryan loved it too :)

Apple Crumble

I made this the same way as all my other crumbles but yummm was it good with apples! I sliced up 4 smallish apples, peeled, cored and sliced to a 1/4 inch. Throw that in a loaf pan, and top with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon (you dont need to bother tossing it, it will mingle when cooking), a thin layer of oatmeal, a layer of brown sugar, and top with slices of butter. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until top it golden and apples are just cooked through.

I truly love this easy dessert!

Garlic Brocolli, v2

I got this method from my mom and I tried it when I couldnt do my normal roasting since my oven was being used. Basically, in a small pan heat up a little olive oil and 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed. let it heat up over med-low. In the meantime, boil 1 inch of water in a pot and add the broccoli, covering. Cook until JUST done and green, and then add the broc to the pan with hte oil and garlic and toss, cooking for another couple minutes. So nice and garlicky and yummy, and QUICK!

Butternut Fries

To make these, I cut into a butternut squash and seeded it and cut off the peel. Then I cut it into fry-sized pieces (yeah... I got a workout just from cutting - ooff!!). Tossed with olive oil, kosher salt and a decent amt of cumin. Roasted at 450 for about 25 min, turning 1/2 way. Sqeeze lime juice over it and serve.

The end result was a little softer than I would have liked but regardless, was SO good. The cumin really went well with the squash, and gave it a nice little kick. I think next time I will broil it at the end to crisp it up a bit (ryan's suggestion :) )

Cranberry Orange Bread

I used this recipe which worked so well with apples, and gets raves with raisins too with teh zest of one large orange and about 2 cups of fresh Cranberries. I also added about 2 tsp of nutmeg to the batter, because it goes so well with orange. It was very yummy!

Butternut Gnocchi with BBB Sauce

Because I am SO into seasonal foods lately, I decided to make butternut squash gnocci. I found various recipes online and since they were all basically the same and I used my own twists, I am claiming this one as my own.


2 cups whole wheat flour

2 eggs

1 small butternut squash

salt and white pepper

nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice

Slice squash in half and coat cut side with EVOO and season with salt and white pepper. Roast, cut side down, until soft through. (I did it at 450 degrees and it took about 30 minutes but depends on the size of the squash). Let squash cool enough to handle, and then peel, deseed, and scoop flesh into a bowl. Let squash cont to cool to room temp (I just stuck it in the fridge for a few) and add flour, eggs, spices. Mix with hands. Add more flour as needed so the it becomes adough mixture. Roll small amts off a spoon into a pot of boiling water (about walnut sized) and let cook 2-3 minutes after floating. Remove with slotted spoon and toss with sauce.

Note: this makes a TON for 2 ppl so I cooked up half the dough and the other half is wrapped in saran in the freezer to cook up at a later date.

Balsamic Brown Butter

I used this recipe for the sauce from Emeril.

Balsamic Brown Butter:

2 sticks unsalted butter (i just used one but with the same amt of other ingred)

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons chiffonade fresh sage


I also added some loosely chopped chanterelle mushrooms right before taking the sauce from the heat. They really went well with the dish.

For the Balsamic Brown Butter: In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat until brown bits form and it has a nutty aroma, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the shallots, balsamic vinegar, and sage. Stir well. Adjust seasoning, to taste.

Overall it was really good! Ryan isnt a big fan of mushrooms... but he really liked it. I am not a big fan of gnocchi... but I really liked it. Normally, gnocchi seems kind of doughy and flavorless to me, but this was healthy (well minus the sauce) and flavorful! I served it alongside filet... what a decadent meal!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Stuffed Mushrooms

I hvae never made these before, but had the ingredients other than the 'shrooms on hard so I tried them for our neighborhood block party. They were SHOCKINGLY easy and disappeared quicker than any other appetizers! Yahoo!

Olive oil, for baking sheet
3 slices white sandwich bread
1 small garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 log (5 ounces) soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Coarse salt
2 packages (10 ounces each) white button mushrooms, stems removed (I used mini portobellas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 1/2 cup aside. To food processor, add goat cheese, parsley, and red-pepper flakes. Season with salt, and pulse filling until combined.
Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes

His and Hers Chili

So Ryan is a big Chili fan and me... eh. I thought I would try my hand at it and was inspired to make a chili that *I* might like... in other words... not at all spicy, healthy, and with less of an obvious tomato-chili taste. My bargain was, I would make a very spicy traditional chili for Ryan a few nights later when i was going to dinner with friends.

I absolutely LOVED my chili... and Ryan says that his was great too! Ill have to take his word for it; it was way too spicy for me to handle!

There are plenty of leftovers, serving sizes frozen - what a good dinner they will be later when the cold weather hits!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

inspired by Whole Foods recipe

Besides adding a sweet nuttiness, pumpkin's ready source of Vitamin A boosts the nutrition content of this offbeat chili recipe. Garnish each portion with a dollop of sour cream and chopped cilantro.
Serves 6
2 tablespoons olive oil (eyeballed)
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (I used red since its what I had on hand)
2 jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed and minced (omitted)

1 Honey crisp apple - peeled, cored, diced (my addition)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey (used about 1.25 of white since its what they had)
1 can (14.5 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 can (15 ounce) pumpkin
1 cup water (I used 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup apple cider)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
I also added: cinnamon (a decent amt), a pinch of nutmeg and a touch of ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

kernals from 1 eat of putter and sugar corn (my addition)
1 can (15 ounce) kidney beans, drained (I used the dark red variety)
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes until tender (I added the apple at this point). Add turkey; cook until browned.
Add tomatoes with juice, pumpkin, water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add kidney beans (I added corn at this point), cover; stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

Garnish with cheese and onion. SO good!

Kelly's Spicy Chili (inspired by Wm Sonoma Bride & Groom)

2T olive oil (or bacon fat)
2 medium onions, chopped (I just did 1)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3T chili powder
2T paprika
1T cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 pkg of ground beef
1 pkg of sausage (sweet or hot, Italian style)
2 cans of crushed tomatoes and their juices
1 can (14 oz) barbecued baked beans (Bush’s)
1 can (14 oz) red kidney beans
2 chipotle peppers, minced (from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce marked “hot”) – or more to taste ( we usually use 4-5) (i used about 1/2 the can -5+)
Kernals from 1 ear of corn (my addition)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream
Chopped onion
Tortilla chips
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until tender, about 8 minutes. Add spices, and cook for one minute. Add ground turkey and turkey sausage, combine well with spices, and cook until browned and crumbled (it doesn’t need to be cooked all the way through). Add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for one hour. Add more seasonings to taste, and enjoy!

I added extra of all the spices, and a little bit of cayenne, and a few chopped little hot peppers. Wanted to make SURE it was spicy!