Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

You say "witchy" like it was a bad thing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Butternut Squash Muffins

These are absolutely tender and delicious. I wanted to turn around and make another batch right away since we were getting company and guess what?  I did. Half of  them I sprinkled with pepita seeds (pumpkin seeds) and the other half I left plain, thinking my girls would not be too into the see thing.  I was going to frost them to make them more enticing.  But guess what?  They totally do not need it and why pile on more sugar when it tastes so good without it.

Butternut Squash Muffins

2 cups roasted butternut squash puree (or canned pumpkin if you prefer)
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1  cup light brown sugar
1  cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup canola oil
¾ cup buttermilk

In a large bowl add the almond flour, the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.  Make a well.  Add the squash, oil, and buttermilk.  Stir.  Add eggs one at a time to incorporate.  Scoop out a little less than half cup portions into muffin tins. If you are putting pumpkin seeds on, this is the time to do it.  Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of seeds per muffin cup. Bake at 325F for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or a skewer. Will make a little over 24 muffins.  I pour the rest into a ramekin.  This is the bonus muffin.

160 calories per muffin.

*I used buttercup.  If you look in my previous post it is in one of the pictures.  It is orange with little green stripes on it.  It is a mix of butternut and delicata.  It is one of the best squashes I have had.  Loved it.  My new favorite.  This is what I used in the recipe.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

PB Boulangerie

Our classic summer salad- tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil/oregano (depending on who is making it), salt and pepper.  Simple summer goodness. And my secret ingredient... ground allspice- a little bit. You do not taste it but it enhances the flavors of the tomatoes.

I read about this bakery from Dawn over at Vanilla Sugar blog.  I had to stop there.  Two native Parisians who came to America and started this French Bakery, PB Boulangerie.

Amazing bread.  We bought the Pain aux Olives, we left, tried a bit of it in the parking lot and loved it.  My husband, who was wondering why we were making this a stop on our outing, insisted we stop back later and get another loaf.  Ha!  See, if a foodie suggested somewhere, I take it seriously.  I was thinking the  whole time, we probably are not going to stop back, he'll forget or whatever.  Oh no, we drove right to it after we had gone to Race Point in Province town.  He thought it would be awesome to have some nice bread to go with some tomato salad and olive oil.  He went into the bakery and came out with that huge loaf.  That was our breakfast in the mornings, tomato salad and or toast with peach amaretto jam that I brought with me.  Heaven!

Here are some images from the bakery.  Now, you know I will be trying to recreate some of that amazing bread here in my kitchen. I will do my best.
 Here are some images up at Nausset and then at Race Point in Province town.


Clearly I am duck footed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cranberry Mousse

The next thing I did with some of those amazing cranberries- is make some cranberry sauce.  Which was later translated into cranberry mousse. 

White chocolate is usually added to this but I did not have any and really just wanted to make the mousse without running out to the store.  I made it with just the whipped cream.  Me and my daughter were none the wiser.  Smooth and delicious.  Not too sweet.  Love it.

Cranberry Mousse
This is the recipe I was going to use but then omitted the white chocolate.

Cranberry sauce
2 cup sugar
3 cups cranberries
1/2 cup water
juice of one lemon

Combine all in a saucepan and cook until cranberries have "popped" and are soft.  Puree in a blender.  Chill.

1 cup cranberry puree, chilled
1 cup heavy cream, whipped until peaks form.

Fold the puree into the heavy cream, gently.  Spoon into containers and chill. Serve cold.  Will stay "set" for a day or two.  Cranberries have natural pectin which will keep them set.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cranberry Bread

While in Cape Cod, at the Cranberry Festival, we bought some fresh cranberries, well, LOTS of fresh cranberries.  I could not wait to get home and make some cranberry dishes.  This is the first one I made.
A nice breakfast treat. Not as good as say, eggs, but WAY better than dough nuts. Right?  Right?  I need some back up here.
Look at all those yummy, tart, cranberries. I was suppose to chop those cranberries, but as you can see I missed that part of the recipe and added them whole.  I didn't mine biting into that tart berry, nor did anyone else apparently because this was eaten up, no problem.
Cranberry love!

Cranberry Bread
Recipe largely adapted from this recipe at the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association. If you want to know more about the festival, click here.

1/2 cup butter
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan.  Beat butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Add in vanilla and orange zest.  Add eggs, mixing well after each addition. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed just until blended. Fold cranberries into batter. Turn into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly in pan. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

And here are some scenes from the Cranberry Festival in Wareham, Massachusets at AD Makepeace Farms.

This festival is a great place for families to go to. Lots of great activites and lots of learning about cranberries.  Wagon rides, pony rides, cooking demonstrations, crafts, little train rides for the kiddo's, and other various demos. It has the distinction of being one of the ABA's 2013 Top 100 Events. Go here to see what others have made that list.
 Lots of bags of cranberries all around.... so yum!
Amazing process of loading the cranberries onto the truck!
Look at all those cranberries!
 Love this pic!
This is how the cranberries grow.  This is before they comb it out and all the cranberries float tot he surface.  Such bounty!
 Some young chefs preparing amazing food with cranberries!
Luscious, cranberries!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lobster Bisque

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary in Cape Cod this past weekend.  We had a nice long weekend. Just the two of us.  Which was actually quite strange.  I found my self seeing things or experiencing things, thinking, oh, the kids would love this.  But then I had to remind myself to stay in the here and now. Enjoy my time with my husband where one long sentence could come out, uninterrupted. Where a trip could go by without the words, "stop touching me".  A gem of a moment to be sure but nevertheless I missed them immensely and by the fourth day I had tears in my eyes, missing them. 

Our gracious hosts who we rented from bought us a bottle of champagne.  They were the greatest!

One of the things we got to enjoy on the Cape was lobster.  Wow.  I have not had lobster since I was a single girl going with my cousin and Aunt up the East Coast to Nova Scotia. Boy, was I excited.  However I did not relish the nasty part of killing the poor things.  I did not have the nerve to do it.  I may the next time but this time it was up to my husband.  And honestly, I would have to freeze the lobsters to sedate them the next time.  Awwww.  But I used every morsel of the lobster to honor that little crustacean.  Thank you lobster, you were delicious.

First we ate our seriously huge lobsters. Then I boiled those carcasses and because we were away I had nothing to put in the broth but the carcasses.  No matter, I finished it when we got home.

It came out so good.  I had to write it down for next time. Hopefully soon.


Lobster Broth:

2 carcasses that you boiled the lobster in. Add the carcasses and simmer gently for one and half hours. Have enough water in the pot to cover the lobster.  It should already be enough from when you submerged the lobster.

Lobster Bisque:

4 celery stocks
3 carrots
2 red onions
1/4 cup parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 large bay leaves
2 cups stewed tomatoes
2 tablespoons dry rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
a nice pinch of saffron
3 quarts lobster broth
1/2 cup butter, divided 1/4 cup
1/3 cup flour
generous dose of freshly ground black pepper
heavy cream*

In a large stock pot sauté carrots, onion, celery in 1/4 cup butter until tender and slightly golden. Add in lobster broth,  parsley, thyme, bay leaf, rice, tomatoes wine and saffron. If you are like me and forget to remove the bay leaf before blending, place it and the thyme in a cheesecloth and tie with twine.  Simmer this gently for about forty minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.  Remove the herbs.  Blend the soup in batches.  Becareful if you are doing it when it is hot.  I use a towel over the blender, start off slow and then turn it up higher.  Set aside.

In that same stock pot (yes, you should probably clean it first).  Melt 1/4 cup butter and add the flour.  Stir frequently, let it brown.  Once it is golden brown, whisk in the soup you made.  Whisking until it is fully incorporated.  Before serving add in some heavy cream if desired.  It is not needed but hey it can only make it better.

*My husband can not have cream so I just added a tablespoon of heavy cream to the bowls when serving.  

Some amazing beauty for you to enjoy... I just love the Cape!

This guy was hysterical.  He flew over top of us several times and was answering questions for me and some other people that were standing under him.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Beet Burgers

I saw this recipe several years ago, wrote it in my notebook and forgot about it. I changed it up quite a bit to make it my own. Ran across it the other week and have made it three times since.  I think I can honestly say that I love it, immensely and totally need to share it with you.

For all you beet nay sayers, I must tell you that my husband is the biggest beet hater around. I mean he hates them.  And seriously my husband loves all food.  He will eat any food, out of any container and he simply does not care.  Like tomato tops, he eats those.  You know the kind that every one cuts out when they core a tomato.  He doesnt- he eats it.  You know when your bread is fiercely telling you it is about to go green, yup, he'll eat it.  I am not kidding you.  The man has a cast iron stomach.  Through all that food bravado- he can not stand a beet.  (Poor beet, I want you to know that I love you).  

Well, he actually loves these beet burgers.  I had to hide one of the burgers so that my friends could have a taste.  He would have scarfed it up in no time.

Here is a quick and pretty much no fail approach to making brown rice ( you will need it for the burgers, though you could substitute oatmeal):

Put brown rice and water together in a pot with a lid. Use the ratio of 1.5 cups water to 1 cup rice.

Set the heat to maximum, and bring the rice/water to a boil uncovered. Then put the lid on the pot, and reduce the heat to low/simmer.

Let the rice simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let the rice sit in the covered pot for another 10 minutes or more.

Beet Burgers

2 cups beets, grated
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 eggs
2/3 cup panko crumbs
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (5 ounces)
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients except for the panko crumbs.  Make sure it is mixed well.  Then add panko crumbs.  Form into patties and place on parchment paper.  

Preheat oven to 350F.  Let patties sit while the oven is heating.  Place in heated oven for 40 minutes.  Flip and bake five minutes more.  Assemble as you would a hamburger.  Or you can make small patties and have a bite sized beet burger as an appetizer.                                                                                                                            

So, if you are like me you always need to figure out the calories of something.  Its kind of a pain because you have to look up each thing you add in the quantities you add them.  I have done it for you here.  If you alter your recipe, please be aware it will likely be different. About 175 calories per burger. I doubled the recipe and made 12 - 5 ounce patties.