Weekend Recipes

These are the dishes we made over the weekend, but I’m sure they’ll taste just as good any day of the week. :)

2013-04-06-pumpkin-mushroom-soup

First up, Saturday night, was this very simple pumpkin soup recipe, adapted from Epicurious. We used fresh pumpkin instead of canned, fresh ginger instead of powdered, and a small, almost whole piece of star anise. The rye bread, pictured, was also freshly homemade.

  • 2 15-ounce cans pure pumpkin (we used a small pumpkin, about 3 pounds)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder*
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, sliced

Since we used fresh pumpkin, there were these added steps:

Cut skin off outside of pumpkin and discard. Cut pumpkin into approx. 1-1/2 inch chunks, making sure to cut away any of the stringy bits and seeds. Place pumpkin in boiling water and boil, covered, for about 3 minutes, until pumpkin is just about cooked through. You don’t want the pumpkin too soft since it will cook a little more in with the rest of the ingredients in the soup. Puree the cooked pumpkin chunks with just enough water to make it easier for the pumpkin to move around the food processor or blender. Puree until it looks like baby food—small pieces are okay.

Bring first 4 ingredients to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking often. Whisk in syrup, 2 tablespoons butter, and five-spice powder. Simmer soup 10 minutes, whisking often. Season with salt and pepper. (Soup can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Bring to simmer before serving.) Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle soup with mushrooms, dividing equally; serve.

* A blend of ground anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and ginger available in the spice section of most supermarkets. We used fresh ginger instead of ground; since we were making our own spice blend. We chopped the ginger finely and then sauteed it with the mushrooms and put into the soup at the end.

2013-04-07-pita

Next, I made some pita, recipe slightly adapted from smitten kitchen. I made only 1/2 the recipe and used active dry yeast that I dissolved in the water for about five minutes before adding to the dough instead of the instant yeast.We like to eat pita, warm, with (homemade) hummus and possibly some restaurant-made felafel.

2013-04-07-asparagus

Dinner, Sunday night, polenta and mackerel and asparagus. We simply steamed the asparagus. Broiled the mackerel with this marinade and sauteed onions and mushrooms and added them to the polenta. We are still working on just exactly how to cook polenta correctly so that it comes out the the right consistency, so I’ll get back to you on that. Anyone have any polenta-cooking tips?
What did you cook/eat over the weekend? I’d love to hear about it in the comments, or you can share with me on my Facebook page!

Ice Cream Bread

I made this bread because I was intrigued by the ingredients, especially the part about using any ice cream flavor. I got the ice cream from Trader Joe’s, and while they’re all about natural ingredients, this ice cream did fall into the category of having unpronounceable  ingredients.

I think this bread would’ve been better if it was made with all natural ingredients. The bread I made was gummy and doughy, and just weird in texture.

I thought it would work out to be a brioche-y pound cake, since the ingredients would’ve worked out that way, if they were broken down in their natural state. Ice cream is basically milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks. This, combined with self-rising flour-or what I had on hand-a combination of flour, baking powder, and salt-would be an ingredients list for pound cake. The part that reminded me of brioche was how much fat was being used. I would like to try the recipe again with an all natural ice cream, perhaps one that I make myself.  For those of you who want to try it yourself, and perhaps, comment about it, the recipe follows. Continue reading

Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Twist

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I like using ingredients that I’ve had leftover. I was also in the mood to make cookies with all of the talk about them on other blogs for the holidays. Therefore, I made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. The twist in these cookies is the whole wheat flour, along with cinnamon-sugar and semi-sweet baker’s chocolate—all ingredients I had leftover from previous baking adventures. (Including, but not limited to, doughnuts and corn-stalk rolls.)

All week long, I’ve been eating the dough out of the fridge, and just baked off a few today. Both ways of consuming the dough are really great, but of course you have to wait longer for the baked ones. :)

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Holla! I made Challah!

I wanted to make bread because I haven’t in a long while, and what better bread to start with than Challah?

I thought it would be appropriate to make it on Friday, since it is traditionally eaten on Shabbat. But I think the best is making Challah-French toast, with cinnamon sugar on top. Some people make Challah with poppy seeds on top, but with the inspiration from the blog I got the recipe from, Baking and Books, I put some sugar on top of mine. This recipe is shaped in a springform pan, in little balls of dough, to be broken apart and eaten, rather than the traditional braided style. Here is the original recipe, more of a traditional Challah. I put the two recipes together, and made a braided Challah with sugar on top. Continue reading

zucchini bread and muffins

I am sitting in my kitchen waiting for the zucchini bread and muffins to come out of the oven. Quite literally, and it smells wonderful. I wish there was some way to pass the smell through the computer, but the only way to get this smell in your kitchen is to bake it yourself! ;o)
The recipe is one of those “mix it all in a food processor” recipes, but I found it just as easy to do by hand.

Zucchini Bread (or cake or muffins)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350º. (Peel-if you desire) zucchini and grate. Squeeze out excess water. Beat eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla together (could be done in a food processor-I used my hand mixer).

 
(yum-green zucchini mixture-eh-it gets better after the next steps)

(Sift-to be sure there are no lumps) flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined.

Grease and flour (or line with foil) 2 loaf pans, OR 1 cake pan OR line muffin tin with 12 liners. (OR a combo of these-I did 1 loaf and 6 muffins, and hopefully, I will remember to bring the muffins to trivia tonight!)
Bake for 60-70 minutes. Do the knife test. (If it comes out clean-it’s done.)

Easy. But takes long to bake. But the wait is worth it, I promise.

mmm…muffins!
 mmm…zucchini bread!