Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall...Cooking Dishes I Thought I Never Would

Coming off of the Farmers market this week – one of the last ones of the season  - you definitely noticed a change of produce.

Instead of the normal summer fare (although I did see some tomatoes), dried corn, pumpkins and celery root had made their way into the line-up and there was no turning back for a grasp of summer. Even the peaches were gone.

Don’t know that I am mentally ready for fall but I am up for some of the great recipes that takes us into the season.
Bon Appetit!
That ugly, unattractive root that you see at the farmer’s market near the turnips and rutabagas has a subtle flavor and a velvety texture. You would never guess by looking at it.
In this recipe a Yukon Gold is perfect and becomes another way to enjoy mashed potatoes.
In my wildest dreams, I never thought that I would enjoy celery root but incorporated into mashed potatoes, I would definitely do this recipe again.

Potato and Celery Root Purée

1 medium sized celery root, the size of a grapefruit, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup of water
4 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
¾ cup milk
1-2 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

In a medium sized saucepan, put the celery root, and the water. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the milk and bring to a boil. Season with salt, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook with the lid of the saucepan partially on for 15 minutes. Remove the lid entirely, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. It is okay if milk gets frothy. Celery root and potatoes should be softened at this point, and the vegetables should be falling apart.

Remove from heat and with a hand-masher, mash the ingredients well. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of butter. Upon serving, top with additional tablespoon of butter, if desired.

People who love pumpkin pie may be surprised to learn that not everybody feels the same way. For years, I was one of those people who refused to eat pumpkin of any kind.
What changed it for me? Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was indisputable love even at 380 calories and 13 grams of fat. I was addicted and still am to this day. Is it worth every calorie? Absolutely!
The pumpkin recipes that follow took me beyond latte and into the celebrated taste that only pumpkin can provide...a taste that I discovered way too late so I have to make up for lost time.
Getting my pumpkin fix will be far too easy once I go home and get into my sister’s pumpkin dip. Look for it there on my recipe page.
Bon Appetit!
These easy parfaits make for a simple, fall dessert. I used Anna’s gingersnaps because they are so rich and I actually piled on double of what it called for. I’m into the crunch!
Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits

1 15-ounce can Pure Pumpkin
4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ginger
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar
12 Gingersnap Cookies
Crush 8 of the gingersnap cookies. Beat together the pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, and spices until evenly combined. In a separate bowl, beat together the heavy cream and sugar until thickened.
To assemble the parfaits, divide half of the pumpkin mixture into four cups. Sprinkle half of the gingersnap crumbs over the pumpkin. Spoon about half of the whipped cream over the gingersnaps in the four cups. Sprinkle with the remaining gingersnap crumbs. Spoon the remaining pumpkin over the gingersnap crumbs. Top with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish each parfait with a gingersnap cookie.
Serves 4
Now you’re talking dessert. I love bread pudding and this variation is the perfect complement to any fall meal.
Next round: I would change this out and add some really great apples for variation.      I will also use croissants or brioche as it produces a much richer pudding.
I used Kahlua instead of the Grand Marnier.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Adapted from a recipe in Gourmet, October 2007
Yields 6 servings

5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread*
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)
1/2 cup pecan, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Whipped cream, caramel sauce, and more chopped pecans, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Toss bread cubes with butter in a bowl and set aside.
Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in another bowl, then pour pumpkin/cream mixture over the bread. Toss to coat the bread well.  Let it sit, covered, for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator to let the custard absorb into the bread.
Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Alternatively, for individual servings, divide and transfer to 6 ramekins.
Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, a drizzle of caramel sauce, and a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

No peaches at the Farmers Market so I had to use frozen peaches… but they were just as good in this fall preserve.

This would also be a nice gift to give for the holidays.

2 large peaches (They were gone from the Farmer’s market so I used frozen and adapted)
3 cups water
1 cup sugar (it seems like a lot but adding unsweetened pumpkin will need a little sugar), divided
3-4 pieces fresh or candied ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried ginger powder
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
Wash and remove the pits from the peaches and chop into large cubes – about 1″ or so.
Put in a medium saucepan and add the 3 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar and the fresh or candied ginger.
Bring to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes until the peaches are very tender.
Set aside for a few minutes to cool.
Using a wire mesh strainer add some of the peaches, remove any ginger pieces in there, and push through the strainer into a clean bowl. You want as much of the peach pulp as possible but want to discard the skins.
Repeat, being sure to keep the liquid from the pot, until all the peaches are used up.
Scrape the bottom of the strainer and add the peach pulp, pumpkin, extra 1/2 cup of sugar, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and dried ginger to the pot.
Note: With frozen peaches, I combined all with a cup of water and slow cooked on top of the stove. I used a hand masher to mash the peaches as they softened.
Stir to combine then bring to a boil on the stove over medium-high heat. You’ll want to boil for about 10-15 minutes, stirring very constantly, until the mixture has reduced by about half and is very thick.
You want the mixture to thicken and turn a deep brown, but not burn. As with other preserves if you put a little dollop of the mixture onto a cooled plate it should be thick enough to not run.
You’re talking my kind of coffee. I can think of a few dozen variations of this drink so the possibilities are endless when it comes to mixing it up.
Pumpkin Mocha Frappe
Cold strong coffee.
Chocolate milk
Whipped cream
Pumpkin pie spice
In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups of ice cold coffee, 1 cup of chocolate milk, 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and few ice cubes. Blend.
Pour mocha mixture in a glass. You will start to see a foam at the top. Scoop whipped cream on top.
Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
I love anything Vietnamese and this Iced Coffee is no exception.
I especially loved the flavor of the pumpkin spice syrup and you can use it to put in other drinks as well. It will store in the fridge for up to 2 months.


Pumpkin Spice Vietnamese Iced Coffee


6 ounces freshly brewed coffee, chilled
1 ounce pumpkin spice syrup – see below
4 ounces half & half
1 ounce sweetened condensed milk

Fill a tall glass with ice.
Pour the chilled coffee, pumpkin spice syrup, half & half and sweetened condensed milk into the glass, and stir well to combine.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
3 whole cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 whole cloves
7 whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla, or 1 whole vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat.
Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to come to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.
When the syrup is cool, strain into a clean jar through a fine mesh sieve.

For anyone you know who loves cinnamon rolls, this is the recipe. It’s safe to say that includes almost every kid under the age of 10.
It looks complicated but worth it in the end…especially when they take their first bite.
I’m not a huge fan and even I enjoyed them for a change.
I also served them with maple syrup.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Yield: 8 large pancakes - Adapted from Recipe Girl

For the cinnamon swirl:
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the cream cheese icing:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the pancakes:

1 1/2 cups 1% milk
1 cup pure unsweetened pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2/ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar

Prepare the cinnamon filling:
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat butter for 40 to 60 seconds, just until butter is melted. Whisk in brown sugar and cinnamon and let the mixture sit on the counter to thicken while you work on the next steps.
Prepare the icing:

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and cream cheese 30 to 60 seconds, just until butter has melted and cream cheese has softened. Whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla and combine until smooth. Pour the icing in a sandwich-size ziplock bag and set aside.
Prepare the pancake batter:

In a large bowl, whisk together milk, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vinegar. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, salt and brown sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until all is moistened.
Check on your cinnamon filling:

Whisk up the cinnamon mixture again if the butter has separated at all and pour into a sandwich-size ziplock bag. The mixture should have thickened to about the consistency of toothpaste (throw it in the refrigerator for a few minutes if you need to - the swirl won't work if it is runny). Snip off a small piece of the corner of the bag and set aside carefully so nothing leaks out.
Cook the pancakes:

Preheat a large skillet or griddle to medium. Use a ladle or an ice cream scoop to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or ladle to spread out the batter into a nice, even circle. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Pick up your cinnamon filling baggie and squeeze the filling into the corner. Starting at the center of the pancake squeeze the cinnamon filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl. Cook the pancakes 3 to 4 minutes, or until bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it is golden brown on the bottom.
Slide a thin spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling.
Just before serving, cut the tip off of the bag with the cream cheese icing and drizzle it on top of the pancakes. Serve pancakes hot.