November 18th, 2008
I’ve always wanted to do this, and actually I have done it once but it didn’t turn out so good. This time is different though — it turned out GREAT! I used a whole (small) ambercup squash to make this delicious treat taste homemade and, well, delicious! Even after having a couple of things go wrong the pie still turned out to be good and it looked good to boot. This process takes (…read more and get the recipe)
June 20th, 2008
Heavenly! Pretty much sums up this delicious cup up of rich, chocolatey goodness. I have to admit, I am a coffee snob. I like my coffee so I go to a lot of good coffee shops. When I first saw someone order a hot chocolate at my favorite coffee shop downtown I was amazed to see them steam the milk and use REAL chocolate sauce. To top it all off they put fresh whipped cream on top — something we didn’t have very often growing up. I suppose it’s this attention to quality and freshness that makes Red Horse my favorite to begin with. The point is, their hot chocolate amazed me! I started noticing other coffee shops made it like that too and they were delicious! Some still use the powder and water method which usually tastes either too watered down, not rich enough or slightly like tin. (…read more and get the recipe)
April 9th, 2008
This last weekend was my sister-in-law’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful and my wife especially looked hot! I wasn’t part of the wedding party, but I did have the pleasure of cooking breakfast for the “day of.” She didn’t want to put me out or have me do any major cooking in the morning, so we decided on muffins and fresh fruit. After going to Costco and looking for muffins I decided they looked WAY too unhealthy (sugary and such) for a bridal party and to last them throughout the morning. I definitely didn’t want anyone having a sugar high and subsequent crash.
My solution was to bust out the muffin tins, whole wheat and go light on the sugar! The result was about 100 delicious small muffins. I made both pumpkin and banana muffins with hazelnuts in each and raisins in the pumpkin variety. Everything turned out good, except I wish I would have had riper bananas and I might add a little more oil, butter or milk next time to the banana muffins.
My wife and I also had a discussion about the whole wheat flour. We noticed that the flavor of these and other things I’ve made has been turning out weird with this brand of flour I have. I usually buy King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour which makes for great bread making too (I know I owe you this recipe sometime!). I think, even though the prices of wheat keep going up, I am going to have to keep buying this brand due to the quality. Of course, I used my wife’s Stahlbush Island Farm Organic Pumpkin again with great success!
I’m going to share the Pumpkin Raisin Hazelnut Muffin recipe. Here’s what I did:
- 1 cup regular flour (mix and match to your taste)
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup of raisins
- 1/2 cup to 1 cup of roughly chopped hazelnuts (walnuts work too) — try Hazelnut Hill!
- 1 can Farmer’s Market Organic Pumpkin (15-oz)
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or unsalted butter for a slightly richer flavor)
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 cup of sugar (down from 1 and 1/4 in the recipe I modified!!)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of fine sea salt
- cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top right before baking
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f.
- Pour about 2 cups of boiling water over the 1 cup of raisins to plump them for about 5 minutes, drain well before using.
- Place muffin liners in your muffin tin (this will make about 20 average sized muffins or about 12 large ones)
- In a small glass bowl mix flours and baking powder, set aside
- Mix together remaining ingredients until combined well to create a pumpkin mixture
- Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix only until just combined
- Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of batter
- Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on size) or until a toothpick comes out clean
- Remove from oven and let cool
I hope you enjoy them!
November 1st, 2007
I’ve noticed the pumpkin recipes on my blog have been pretty popular so I thought I would try another. I’ve been using Stahlbush’s “Farmer’s Market Foods Organic Canned Pumpkin” only, it’s straight from the processing plant where my wife works. All the food she brings home is a great perk of the job! It almost makes me wish I had her job!
I’ve never really made pumpkin cookies, nor do I remember what they are supposed to be like, but I sure can imagine. I envisioned an extremely moist, pumpkin/spices flavored goodness melting in my mouth. YUM! I just ate my sample cookie and the rest are now baking! It is good!
Keep in mind when looking at my list that I cut back on the sugar — they are still sweet and delicious. You can feel free to add up to 1 cup of sugar depending on your taste. I also added too much flour and for fun poured in a little heavy cream to thin out the dough. I still feel like this dough is missing something (perhaps more butter?), even though the cookies turned out good. I am going to continue reading my food science books so I can learn more about the science of what we bake. Here is how I did it (minus a little flour and the cream):
- 2 and 1/4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- a pinch of ground cloves
- a pinch of ground ginger
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of Farmer’s Market Foods Organic Canned Pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 stick of butter — melted
Now to make the cookie dough:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixer or bowl
- Whisk the eggs until they are well beaten
- Add the pumpkin, vanilla and butter to the eggs and combine
- Mix the egg and pumpkin mixture into the mixer and mix well.
- Place about 24 large spoonfuls of the batter onto two cookie sheets and bake each for 15 to 18 minutes
- Cool and enjoy!
Here’s your chance to have your sweets and save the world too.
I hope you enjoy it!
October 28th, 2007
I’ve been reading a cookbook: Nightly Specials: 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at Home. I love how they combine simple recipes and ingredients to make delicious foods! I’ve already made a few things out of it including “Toasted Barley and Butternut Squash” and “Coffee Barbecue Sauce” with chicken. There are plenty more delicious-looking recipes in this book (like the Chicken Pot Pie), and since it’s only a loaner from the Library I think I’m going to have to buy it:
Well anyway, I promised you a recipe with my homemade chicken broth and I keep my promises. The Toasted Barley and Butternut Squash looked really good in the book’s picture and it was good! It uses homemade chicken stock and maple syrup, but my wife said to use less maple syrup next time — it was a little sweet for dinner.
I didn’t actually use butternut squash, since I didn’t have any. I grew a small garden outside my duplex this year and had an acorn squash plant. From that ONE plant I must have harvested over 25 acorn squash and so I had plenty to spare!
One last note, this dinner goes GREAT with the pumpkin dinner rolls! Try it tonight!
Here’s what I did:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup barley
- 2 cups of homemade chicken stock
- 1 large Acorn Squash (the recipe actually calls for butternut squash, so use that if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tsp total of Kosher salt and whole pepper kernels ground
- 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (the recipe calls for 3, I’d reduce it to 1 tablespoon next time)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat
- Add the onion and cook until it starts to brown
- Add the raw barley and cook it for about 3 minutes
- Pour in the hot broth, stir and simmer uncovered until the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender (about 40 minutes)
- Take your squash (chopped into cubes) and oil and toss in a bowl. Season it with the salt and pepper, toss again.
- Turn it out onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and roast it in the oven until tender (about 15 minutes).
- Add the syrup and other spices and stir.
- Roast for another 10 minute
- Now, stir the squash into the barley, serve and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy it!
October 17th, 2007
I love applesauce. I can only remember my Mom making it once, but my Grandma’s applesauce was the MOST delicious applesauce you have ever had! I loved the sweet and juicy apple chunks that she had, it didn’t remind me of the store bought kind — and that was a great thing! A year ago, during apple season, I decided I was going to try my own. I could not believe how simple it was to make, not to mention how delicious it was. My mother-in-law let me borrow an apple/potato peeler (a handy little machine) and I was off to work. It turned out great and I made quite a few batches over the months.
Once apple season ended (no more cheap apples) I sort of forgot about it, UNTIL NOW! Cheap apples are back. I got some fresh apples for 65 cents a pound at a fruit stand nearby this weekend so I could make applesauce. Sometimes I find “baking apples” (the bruised and beaten ones) over at Hazelnut Hill for 25 cents a pound during the season (I also can’t resist their chocolate covered hazelnuts!). For my next batch I hope to get over there and buy some cheaper apples.
Now, I don’t remember exactly what kind of apples I bought (shame on me) but you can just ask the clerk which apples might be best for applesauce (gala, granny smith all work though) . Here’s my recipe:
- 6-8 apples
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (more or less to your taste)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- You can do one of two things to get started: Peel the apples, or leave the peels on. (If you leave the peals on, later you will HAVE to put them through a food processor. I don’t recommend it, unless you like the peels and don’t want larger apple chunks. I forgot that detail today and left the peels on for fun.)
- Next, cut the apples into quarters, then trim out the core and seeds.
- Then place the apples in a pot and turn the stove on to medium-low.
- Place the lemon zest and juice in the pot and mix it in.
- Cover the pot and let it sit, come back and stir every 10 minutes or so. You’ll start to notice it turning more and more into applesauce after 20-30 minutes. You can be the judge based on thickness and number of apple-pieces to tell when its done.
- Now, add the cinnamon or, if you’re not a fan, leave it out or use less.
- If you don’t like my sugar free version, feel free to add sugar here too. I don’t think I need it after all the pumpkin cupcakes!
- This step is optional, but if you want to (or if you left the skins on) here you can process the pan. Since I left the skins on mine this time I pulsed mine a few times just to get the skins to bite-sized pieces.
That’s it! I just finished eating (and loving) a warm bowl of applesauce and am looking forward to my next batch already!
In the mean time, I have a lot of books to read. I went to the library today and checked out a bunch of books on food and cooking.
* These probably have a ton of natural sugar from the apples.
October 14th, 2007
Have I got your attention now? My mouth has FULL attention on these cupcakes! These cupcakes are so moist and melt-in-your-mouth! And the frosting, it’s the best frosting I’ve ever made (which I guess isn’t saying that much) but it’s up there on the best I’ve tasted list.
The pumpkin and spices in the cupcake blend so well with the ginger-infused whipped cream. You probably wouldn’t believe that this whipped cream frosting is good, and to be honest, by itself it’s pretty bad. My wife’s face did a 360 when she licked the spoon. I told her, “You have to try it WITH the cupcakes!” Here’s how it should be done:
A year ago I read an article in the Oregonian about flavor-infused whipped cream. I just tucked it away in my memory banks for a rainy day. Today was that day. I whipped out the recipe and got to work. The article/recipe lists a bunch of different flavors you can use, which makes this fun! I decided that the ginger would go really well with the pumpkin and other spices.
I boiled the cream and added the flavorings. I cut up a few thin slices of ginger and also threw in two cinnamon sticks for good measure. Next I let it steep for 45 minutes. Then, because I didn’t have enough time, I put the cream on an ice bath and put it in the refrigerator while I worked on the cupcakes. This REALLY cut down the cooling time called for in the recipe so if you’re in a hurry, it’ll do!
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup whole milk (I used whipping cream + skim to make whole)
- 1 – 15 oz can pumpkin (I used Stahlbush Island Farm “Farmer’s Market” brand Organic Pumpkin)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together and mix in a bowl
- Beat the butter until “fluffy”
- Add the sugar and mix
- Add half of the dry mixture, then half the milk, repeat while mixing
- Mix in the pumpkin, stirring the sides with a spatula (if you are using an electric mixer).
Now fill about 24 cupcake tins (lined — and I did 12 at a time twice) half-way and bake for about 15 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
Back to the frosting…
Now take the completely cooled flavor-infused whipping cream out of the fridge and place it in a clean mixer. Add about 4 oz of cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar per cup of whipping cream. Whip the cream until it is fairly thick, so that you can ice the cupcakes with it. Now you’re ready to put it all together.
I had a lot of fun with this part. I handed my wife the camera and got to icing. I had to hand-make a piping/icing bag, for the first time ever. I made it way too short and got icing all over my hands, it was really fun though!
Take a cupcake, fill an icing bag and have fun. That’s my advice. I even made a little R + K in the cupcakes for my wife (I gotta keep her happy)!
I hope you enjoy it!