Tuesday, November, 26, 2013
Why am I sharing these recipes today of all days?
Because tomorrow or Thursday you might find yourself in the kitchen, frantically digging through your spice collection for that jar of Pumpkin Pie Spice you haven’t used since last year.
So three things about that:
1. It’s gonna be old. It’s best to not keep ground spices more than a year (some say six months). You and your guests deserve all of the full flavors of pumpkin pie spice that is fresh.
2. You’ve probably got everything on hand to make the spice blend. Then you’ll have an easier time keeping your spices fresh AND you won’t have so many rarely used containers of spice blends floating around.
3. Do you know what’s in those spice blends? Sometimes an anti-clumping agent is added. Maybe it’s got gluten in it. If not it’s got corn or maybe something you can’t pronounce. Best to read the labels on spice blends very carefully. OR…just make the blend at home. It’s easy and you can make as little or as much as you’d like!
Ok, so I’ve convinced you to either make your own out of desperation or because you like the idea of a fresher blend with no mystery ingredients. So here’s the scoop: folks aren’t in agreement on what spices are used in Pumpkin Pie Spice. I’m going to share options for you and hopefully you can find everything you need already in your cupboard. I’ve listed three recipes in order of my flavor preference.
These recipes are created using “parts” instead of a set measure. You choose how much a “part” is based on how much Pumpkin Pie Spice you need to make. Mix all of the ingredients together in a glass container. I like 1/2 pint mason jars or empty spice jars sold at Penzeys.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Version #1
1 part ground cloves
2 parts ground ginger
2 parts ground nutmeg
4 parts cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Spice Version #2
1 part ground cloves
1 part ground allspice
4 parts ground nutmeg
6 parts ground ginger
12 parts ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Spice Version #3
Equal parts ground spices:
Wishing you the happiest of Thanksgivings! I’ll be back on Black Friday with my holiday wish list, just in case you want to buy me or your favorite home cook a little something.
Monday, November, 18, 2013
I’m almost done with pumpkin recipes for the year. Almost.
Oh, okay, not at all.
I eat pumpkin year round, hoarding the inexpensive cans of organic pumpkin puree from Trader Joe’s deep in my pantry, as though someone might take them and use them for some less-than-delicious purpose. We eat pumpkin in overnight oats almost every week. It’s an injustice that a superfood such as pumpkin gets only seasonal love.
Today I’m sharing a recipe that will ease me out of my preoccupation with pumpkin and into my next obsession, cranberries. These pumpkin pancakes are fluffy yet moist, the cranberry syrup thick enough to almost be a compote. Both the pancakes and the syrup have a hint of maple syrup, perfect for autumn. Or any other time of the year if you eat at my house!
Couple of ingredient tidbits: I used cashew meal/flour in the pancakes. Trader Joe’s is carrying it now for about half the price I can buy almond meal at my local market. That said, almond meal works just as well in these pancakes with a less sweet result. Second, I use Eden Organics dried cranberries. They are sweetened with apple juice, not sugar. I also think they rehydrate better than the sugared counterpart.
- 1 cup cashew flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup nut butter of your choice (I use cashew butter or sunbutter)
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
- Warm pancake griddle of low-medium to medium heat. Spray with a small amount of oil of your choice.
- Scoop batter onto griddle 1/4 of a cup per pancake. Cook until bubbles form around the edges and into the middle. Flip and cook until second side is firm.
- Serve with cranberry syrup or pancake syrup of your choice.
This makes a small quantity of syrup, just about enough to go with pancakes for two. If you have leftovers, refrigerate.
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup maple syrup (depends how thick/thin you want the syrup)
- Soak the dried cranberries in hot water until the water has cooled, 30 minutes or so.
- Using an immersion blender in the bowl the cranberries soaked in OR transferring to a blender, puree cranberries and water until there are no large chunks of cranberry.
- Transfer 1/2 of the cranberry mixture to a small saucepan. Over medium heat, stir in cornstarch or arrowroot powder, incorporating well to make sure no clumping occurs. Once incorporated, stir in remaining cranberry mixture.
- Add coconut sugar and lemon juice, stirring often. Once coconut sugar crystals are no longer noticeable, stir in maple syrup. If you like a thinner syrup, you may choose to use the entire 1/2 cup. I like thicker syrup and add only 1/4 cup.
Monday, November, 11, 2013
Are you all pumpkin’d out? I sure hope not! I’ve got a couple more pumpkin recipes to share before I get all cranberry crazy.
This Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip is delicious with gluten-free gingersnaps and with apple slices. I’ll be serving this before Thanksgiving dinner, a sweet nibble to keep the hungry masses out of the kitchen. It can be made a couple days ahead of time, freeing you up for more time-sensitive dishes on the big day.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)
- 1-13 oz. can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
- 2 containers Daiya non-dairy cream cheese
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned works)
- 2 t. pumpkin pie spice
- 1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- dash of sea salt
- cinnamon to sprinkle on top
- Open the can of coconut milk that has been refrigerated overnight. Remove the solidified part and place in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk/whip attachment. Keep the liquid in the can of coconut milk for making a smoothie or cocktail later.
- Turn the mixer on medium to medium-high and let the coconut milk whip until it resembles whipped topping.
- Add all other ingredients, mixing until well combined.
- Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Serve with gingersnaps and apple slices.
Monday, October, 21, 2013
Last Winter I went a little crazy making all sorts of creamy, cheesy sauces with butternut squash and nutritional yeast. Last week I craved comfort food and was thinking about making a similar sauce again. Since it’s the season of all-things-pumpkin, I started wondering how I could use pumpkin for a similar sauce.
Truth be told, it was really mac ‘n cheese I was craving. That’s the king of comfort food for me. Creamy, cheesy goodness with pasta, baked in the oven until the top has a little crunch to it. It really doesn’t get much better. With an abundance of pumpkin puree right now, working it into a dairy-free sauce was a good plan.
So here’s the outcome. You’re gonna love this part: this recipe makes sauce for THREE batches of mac ‘n cheese. Make one batch the day you make the sauce, split the others and refrigerate or freeze them for use later. Talk about a quick weeknight meal, already prepared sauce for mac ‘n cheese so all you need to do is boil your pasta and pop this under the broiler for an easy meal. I think that’s what I’ll do for dinner tonight!
Quick note: I used Woodchuck Hard Cider’s pumpkin flavor to make one batch of this. I’ve also used just a regular, non-seasonal flavor hard cider to test a batch. While I like the flavor of the pumpkin cider, this is great with a regular hard cider as well. I share this because in a few weeks, the pumpkin cider will be gone. I don’t want you to limit your consumption of this creamy, cheesy dish to the time of year when pumpkin cider graces the shelves.
Pumpkin Mac ‘n Cheese (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)
- 3 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 Tablespoons brown rice flour
- 1 cup hard cider (I've used Woodchuck hard cider pumpkin and also a standard apple hard cider)
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- 1 3/4 cup Daiya cheddar style cheese shreds
- smoked paprika, to sprinkle on top
- 12 oz. gluten-free pasta PER BATCH (this recipe makes enough sauce for 3 two-quart casseroles)
This recipe makes sauce for THREE two-quart casserole dishes of mac 'n cheese. You will use 1/3 of the sauce with 12 oz. of pasta. Reserve the remaining sauce for use another time.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt coconut oil.
- Add in brown rice flour and whisk for 3 to 4 minutes. This will not clump the way butter and regular flour will when making a roux, but whisking is important to prevent browning.
- Add in hard cider. Reduce until it has nearly evaporated and sauce base is thick.
- Add maple syrup and milk, along with spices. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is thick enough to coat the spoon.
- Whisk in pumpkin puree and Daiya shreds. Stir until sauce is thickened and Daiya shreds are incorporated.
To make into baked Mac 'n Cheese:
- Prepare 12 oz. gluten-free pasta according to package instructions. Drain and place in a 2 quart baking dish.
- Pour two cups of the prepared sauce over the top of the pasta, stir to combine.
- Top with 1/4 cup Daiya shreds.
- Place under the broiler, heating until the top is just starting to brown. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Regular paprika is fine, too, but the hint of smoky flavor is a nice addition with the pumpkin and fall spices.
This recipe was inspired by a pumpkin mac 'n cheese recipe Rachael Ray demonstrated on her show back in 2011. I've modified it to be gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. I like to give credit where credit is due, so kudos to the Rach for this one!
Friday, October, 18, 2013
My childhood friend Jim recently shared a recipe with me for a roasted beet spread he has been making for his family. I’m a huge fan of roasted beets and have been known to convert more than a few formerly beet-averse folks into beet lovers with my roasted beet salad. I decided to have a closer look at the shared recipe and see if I could modify it to work for me…and maybe for you. Because I want you to love beets!
The shared recipe contained a slice of wheat bread (tossed that!), some walnuts (shared with a nut-intolerant friend so tossed those, too) but was otherwise pretty terrific just as it was. Instead of using walnuts, I used pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, and pine nuts. If you aren’t a fan of pine nuts, just double the quantity of pepitas. It will be slightly less creamy but still incredible on a sandwich, served with crackers or in a salad with goat cheese.
To make the salad shown in the photos, I used a food ring and layered beet tapenade and goat cheese, pressing down between each layer to compact it. It works best if you chill it for a few minutes before removing the food ring. When serving this on a bed of greens, I found it unnecessary to add any additional salad dressing. Good stuff!
Roasted Beet and Pepita Tapenade
- 3 large roasted beets (about 12-16 oz.)
- 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic, adjust based on your taste
- dash of sea salt
To roast beets:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash beets and trim off the greens. It is not necessary to peel the beets.
- Toss with just a tiny bit of olive oil and place in a baking dish.
- Roast for 35-40 minutes or until fork-tender.
To make tapenade:
- Combine all ingredients in bowl of food processor fitted with "S" blade. Process until all ingredients are finely chopped and come together into a tapenade.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Wednesday, October, 16, 2013
This is the time of year when I start having trouble getting out of bed in the morning. It’s cool in the house, toasty under the covers and daylight arrives late.
But the lure of these breakfast cookies is enough to pull me out of bed. Is that bad to admit that food entices me to get up and get moving? One of these, warmed a bit, with a hot cup of coffee is the perfect way to start a crisp, autumn day. Well, okay…two cups of coffee.
Autumn Harvest Breakfast Cookies with Maple Drizzle
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line ba aking sheet with parchment or Silpat baking mat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Break up any clumps in the dried cranberries.
- In a second mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, coconut oil and vanilla. Combine well. Add to dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Using a 3” round biscuit/donut/cookie cutter, press spoonfuls of batter into it. Or you may like to use a 1 ½” cutter to make smaller cookies. Turn out onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. For smaller cookies, check in on them at 15 minutes. They are usually done around 18 minutes depending on your oven. Allow to cool before adding the drizzle, which is optional.)
For the drizzle:
- In a small bowl, combine maple syrup and powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of cooled cookies. Allow to set a few minutes before eating.
- These may be eaten warm or at room temperature. They will keep well for 2-3 days in an airtight container or up to a week in the refrigerator. They also freeze well!
Thursday, February, 21, 2013
Brrr! We’re having a snow day here. There’s really nothing better than a crockpot full of chili on a cold, snowy day!
Last month I shared this post with you about my calendar project. I brought a calendar home from my favorite little grocery store in Key West and am re-making each month’s featured recipe to fit my dietary style.
This month the calendar features Turkey Pumpkin Chili.
This didn’t require a lot of modifications on my part. I really could have just subbed tempeh for the turkey. But that would have been too easy. I’ve upped the phytonutrient content in addition to subbing out the meat. I knew you were over there googling “chili high in phytronutrients,” right? To do that, I added a bunch of kale. If you have picky eaters in your house, you can chop the kale up into teeny tiny pieces or even chop it until it’s almost a puree in your food processor. We’re big kale fans here, so we just give it a rough chop.
A quick note about the tempeh: beyond making sure it is gluten-free (not all are, some contain barley, read the labels carefully as always), it is a very forgiving protein, super easy to work with. You may choose to grate it on the large side of a box grater so that it is crumbled like ground meat, you can cut it into cubes or break it by hand into pieces. I broke it into pieces by hand in the batch pictured here. I used a variety that contains flax seeds, but any gluten-free variety is fine.
Pumpkin Kale Chili in the Crockpot
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 package tempeh, gluten-free
- 1 bunch, 6 to 8 stems, kale (remove from stems, chopped to desired size)
- 4 cups vegetable broth, gluten-free
- 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with chiles
- 1 T. chili powder
- 2 t. ground cumin
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- Heat a large sauce pan until droplets of water poured into the pan will sizzle and dash across the pan. Once the pan is that warm, add 2 Tablespoons of water, the chopped onion and garlic. (This is water sauteing.)
- Once onions are transparent, add tempeh. Cook, stirring occasionally, to brown the tempeh just a bit. Add kale, cooking until kale has softened a bit.
- Add this mixture and all remaining ingredients to crockpot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Friday, November, 23, 2012
Thanksgiving night we had friends and neighbors over for dessert. It’s such a nice way to wrap up the holiday, a low-key evening with lots of sweet treats. The conversation always turns to what we ate earlier in the day, followed by how we are going to re-purpose them for the next several days.
One of our neighbors mentioned a dish that was rice-based and baked in a pumpkin. She didn’t know the details, it was someone else’s recipe but she did say she would check into it for me.
I’m impatient about these things. I just brought my pie pumpkins in from outside since it has turned chilly here all of a sudden. I wanted to do something with them today. So I looked around on-line, found lots of stuffed pumpkin recipes. Some sounded similar to stuffed peppers, some used lots of bread and cheese. Some even used the grey, jiggly, condensed mushroom soup in a can. Then it struck me, I have a fridge full of dishes that blend well with the flavor of pumpkin.
So here it is, an un-recipe of sorts. Mine is different from what you may make as we have different leftovers. What I can tell you is this is the tastiest way I’ve re-purposed our Thanksgiving leftovers. We are fans of pumpkin crepes stuffed with leftovers, but this even trumps that. Not only that, it was easy!
Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin
1 small pumpkin, top removed, cleaned out
Thanksgiving leftovers (we had mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, maple sweet potatoes, tofu roast and gravy)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After cleaning out pumpkin, place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Layer in your Thanksgiving leftovers, pressing down firmly on each layer to make more room. I poured in a bit of gravy on top of every second or third layer to keep the ingredients moist.
For the last layer, sprinkle a bit of stuffing on top if you have it. It will get that terrific crunch on top.
Bake for 90 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the pumpkin. It is done when the pumpkin is soft on the outside. Give it a good poke with a spoon, you’ll be able to tell if it is soft. It may also be starting to collapse a bit on the baking sheet. Because the pumpkin is now soft, this makes transferring it to a pretty serving platter problematic. You may find it easiest to serve from the baking sheet.
You may either cut out slices of this to serve or scoop it out along with the pumpkin. We drizzled Orange Bourbon Cranberry Sauce on ours.
And now I find myself wishing we had more leftovers…
What are you making with your leftovers? I’d love to hear!
Tuesday, October, 30, 2012
My dear friend Suzanne recently told me she had indulged in the best pumpkin cookies EVER. She got them at a bake sale. As Suzanne does so well, she made friends with the gal who had baked them and got a copy of the recipe. The recipe landed in my inbox with a request to make it gluten-, dairy- and egg-free.
Because I’m all about pumpkin right now and also enjoy a challenge, I set to work on this recipe. The result is a cake-like cookie, minimally sweetened and full of deep, dark chocolate. I love the flavor combination of pumpkin and chocolate.
Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies
Makes 24-27 cookies
1/2 cup coconut oil, liquified
2 T. Flax meal dissolved in 5 T. hot water (replacement for two eggs)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1-15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups almond meal/flour
1 cup teff flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. fine sea salt
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
4 oz. dark chocolate, roughly chopped or chocolate chips of your choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In bowl of stand mixer, cream coconut oil, flax “egg” slurry, coconut sugar and pumpkin. Next add dry ingredients, mixing until well combined. Gently stir in chocolate.
Drop by large spoonfuls onto a lightly oiled or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on a rack before storing in an airtight container. These are delicious warm and so good with a cup of coffee!
Tuesday, September, 25, 2012
I am a bit enamored with the spiral cutter.
It started with zucchini. We had spaghetti, lemon almond pesto, pasta salad…so many dishes that I almost got tired of zucchini noodles. It was time to branch out…
On to the sweet potato. I was unsure how I would like this uncooked. Turns out it makes a slightly crunchy noodle. The bonus over zucchini for me is that the sweet potato has lots of flavor. I like it!
Because I think every dish should have pumpkin in it this time of year, I made an uncooked pumpkin alfredo sauce to go with the sweet potato noodles. If you prefer a warm dish, you can gently saute the sweet potato noodles and heat the sauce a bit. It’s tasty room temperature or heated.
Pumpkin Alfredo with Sweet Potato Noodles
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1 1/4 cups cashews, raw and dry
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (great instructions for raw here from Rawmazing, or use canned if raw isn’t a concern)
1/2 cup filtered water
2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. dried parsley
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
pepitas for garnish (optional)
Using the Spiral Slicer, cut both of the sweet potatoes into noodles. Set aside.
In bowl of food processor or in high speed blender, combine cashews, pumpkin, water, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and nutmeg. Process on high until a creamy texture is achieved. Taste before adding salt and pepper. Add a bit more to suit your taste.
Serve sauce atop a bed of sweet potato noodles and sprinkle with pepitas. Quick, easy and nutritious!