Pumpkin Pie!

A couple of boxes ago I got a sugar pumpkin. Instantly I knew it was destined to be a pie. I sat it on my shelf for a month and once Thanksgiving rolled around I took it down and cooked it.

When I was a girl my mom and I opened up one of her presidential cookbooks from the 1800s and found a recipe for pumpkin pie. We had a pumpkin and so we decided to go for it. It was the best pumpkin pie I had ever tasted. It still is. I am not sure it is possible to make one better, but it doesn’t stop me from trying.

I have made it with regular Halloween type pumpkins and I have noticed little difference. Some suggest adding more sugar for regular pumpkins, but I’ll leave that up to you.

What you’ll need:
Sugar pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
Clove
Nutmeg
Ginger
Allspice or mace or both
Cinnamon
Pie crust
Cooking spray

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Begin by cutting the pumpkin in half and removing the seeds. Place skin side up in a pan filled with an inch of water. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes or until flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

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Scoop out the flesh or peel off the skin, whichever is easier. Using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend pulp until smooth and silky.

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Each pumpkin will make approximately 3 cups of puree. Depending on how many pumpkins you roast, you may have more. Set aside 3 cups puree and either freeze or refrigerate remainder. Puree will keep for up to one year in the freezer or two weeks in the fridge.

Making the pie:
Combine 3 cups puree with remaining ingredients. Use about 1 tsp of each spice. You can also use pumpkin pie spice. I usually do a combination of both.

Grease the pie tin and line with crust. I don’t often make my crust, though feel free to do so.

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Pour pie filling into crust up to 3/4, but not all the way to the top. The pie will rise slightly.

This recipe makes 2 pies, so either make 2 or keep filling for up to 2 weeks and make a second pie.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and cook for 45 more minutes or until fork/toothpick comes out clean when pie is pierced in the center. Cover crust midway through to avoid burning.

Optional:
Using a mixer, combine heavy whipping cream and sugar. Whip on high until cream thickens. See how pretty it is!

Top pie with cream and serve warm!

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Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Soup’s On!

This week I made two kinds of soup, including the stock for both of them. I started making my own stock last year and I have yet to find a reason to go back to purchasing it. I save a couple hundred dollars a year by making it myself and the best part is that I know exactly what’s in it. I also feel like I am being more conservative with my waste. My method of making stock is the scrap method. I keep a container in my freezer and add all my vegetable scraps and/or meat bones. You can throw onion and garlic skins in as well! Once the container is full, I make a new batch of stock. Each batch yields about 4-5 quarts and keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Once the container is nearly full, I start to reserve the liquid from beans and other canned vegetables to add substance and flavor. I have saved pasta/potato/sweet potato water and that works well also.

Vegetable Stock

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To start use a large pot and heat about a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the contents of the container to the pot and cook for about 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Add 5 quarts of water to the pot as well as your liquid reserves. Left over pasta sauce, tomato paste, or salsa works well as a base. Add some seasoning. I used salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, and onion powder.

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Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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To strain, remove large pieces and transfer from one container to another 2-3 times or until strainer is clean.

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This batch yielded 16 cups or 4 quarts of liquid.

Sweet Potato Leek Soup

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I used this stock to make my Sweet Potato Leek Soup.

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Ingredients:
4 cups vegetable stock
2 yams skinned
2 leeks
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 tsp ground sage
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter

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Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot. Saute the leek until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the sweet potato, liquid, and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

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Strain liquid and add 1 cup liquid back to the solids. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add liquid until the soup is the desired consistency. I used all the liquid, but if there are leftovers, reserve for a future recipe.

Chicken Noodle Soup

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Last but not least, I made a chicken noodle soup. I made a simple broth using the chicken and vegetable scraps from these ingredients.

Ingredients:
4-6 oz chicken
1-2 quarts water
1 leek
1/2 onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup mini spaghetti noodles
Basil
Oregano
Rosemary
Salt
Pepper

Chop vegetables and blanch until tender and liquid is reduced. Set aside.

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Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add chicken and vegetable scraps. Add salt and pepper. At a light boil, cook chicken for 10 minutes or until juice runs clear when chicken is pierced.

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While chicken is cooking, cook noodles as until aldente; approximately 8 minutes.

Remove chicken and chop into bite size pieces. Remove the solids and filter the broth.

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Return to stove. Add chicken, vegetables, noodles, spices, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.

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It’s Fall! Let the rain and comfort food commence

As promised in my previous post, here is the result from my last box. James and I started a diet, so the below is also low fat and low cal.

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Roasted Chicken with Smashed Red Potatoes. The potatoes were pretty excellent. I took my own photos of the process, but they looked like the ones already on the recipe so you should check it out. One tip is that they might mash into separate pieces, but that’s ok, when they bake, they’ll stick back together when they crisp on the bottom.

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Grilled Salmon with Lemony Baby Broccoli, grapes and mini kiwis. Admittedly, this looks like a really small piece of salmon, but it’s a 4oz serving. One thing I like about being on a diet is that I get a daily reality check on my portion sizes. The broccoli came out nice, but I would leave off the red pepper flakes, it didn’t work. Now, let me take a minute to talk about these kiwis. How adorable are they? So tasty and teeny. I loved them paired with the grapes too. It was a very refreshing side dish. Lastly, the salmon marinade should be mentioned. It is the best and only marinade I will ever use for salmon for the rest of my days. 1 part teriyaki sauce and 1 part butter for 1 hour then grilled. That’s it.

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Grilled Lamb Chops with Lemon Radish Pilaf and Mixed Greens. I marinaded the lamb in coconut milk and Mediterranean spices. I like using coconut milk to marinade meats. It coats the meat nicely and then cooks off when you grill it. If a marinade calls for yogurt, skip it and try coconut milk instead. You’ll be glad you did.

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So, I was bad and didn’t plan my meals with my last box. I even got a pomegranate and I have been meaning to try a recipe for balsamic beets with basil and pomegranates. However I did not do that and I have basically squandered my lovely box of produce.

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The contents of this week’s box are pretty awesome.

Apples
Pears
Persimmons
Carrots
Leeks
Kiwis
Sweet potatoes
Lettuce
Kale
Sugar pie pumpkin

Recipes for this week
Sweet potato leek soup
Chicken noodle soup
Balsamic beets with basil and pomegranates
PUMPKIN PIE!

Kiwis and Carrots and Radish Chips, Oh My!

1 bunch kale
1/2 lb green beans
1 bunch carrots
2 red potatoes
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch baby broccoli
4 pears
4 apples
2 oranges
1 container berry kiwis

The most interesting thing of note in this box is the berry kiwi, also known as the hardy kiwi. At first I thought that they had not given me my kiwis and instead had given me some weird unripened cranberry that somehow was not hard. In your box you get a list of the items you receive as well as a newsletter and some recipes to go with some items in your box. I had lost the sheet with the item on it and when I looked on the website for my delivery, I couldn’t find this strange berry. Google was no help because I just came up with pages of those red winter berries on wreaths and weird Dutch pies. The only thing left for me to do was open it up. I was surprised to find that inside was a little kiwi! The outside was smooth and so I popped the thing in my mouth, skin and all.  They were super delicious and would be excellent in a salad.

Recipes for this week:

Lamb skewers with orange couscous and basil carrots
Roasted chicken with baked red potatoes and green bean casserole
Grilled Salmon with lemony baby broccoli
Sweet curry kale chips
Radish, carrot, and beet chips (I have some beets left over from my last box and just bought a mandolin, so I am excited to try this!)

Stay tuned for recipes and pictures!