Winter Squash Archive

Thursday, October 18, 2007

pumpkin bread pudding

pumpkin bread pudding

Here is a recipe that every single person should have in their arsenal, and I couldn’t be happier that it is now in mine. After a week of flan that never set and floppy, leaky quiche crusts, there are no words for the serenity brought on by a recipe with TWO steps. Heck, the entire set of instructions tops out around 50 words.

pumpkincustardbread cubesmeasured

It was so easy that despite being at my wit’s end after Tuesday night’s fiasco, I made it anyway. Burrowing our spoons into still warm, bourbon-spiked (like I could resist) sweet fall comfort was heavenly, and as I chewed on those buttery bread cubes and pondered the ginger’s edginess, memories of cooking failures fell away, and there was just this, a blissful and eerily wholesome calm.

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, October 11, 2007

butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

butternut squash and caramelized onion galette

I love fall. I mean, I know how decidedly unoriginal that is to say, but I can’t help it. I just want to inhale it, take a picture of every flame-thrown tree, mull over all of its cider and crunch through all of its dried leaves. I have been fortunate enough to marry someone who feels exactly the same way, but the only problem is figuring out how to make fall longer than it is and that solution, my friends, is to drive north to catch the early show.

upstateupstatesandals in octoberupstate

We headed upstate last year for the weekend and stayed at the most sigh-worthy B&B–where every window is ringed with tiles of stained glass and a man named Richard makes you amaretto-brushed French toast on Sundays–and made a point to get back there this year. Of course, its hard to predetermine when fall will peak; last year, we felt that we were a week too late, this year, we went a week earlier and felt that we were two weeks early. I hear an 80-degree October will do that.

Nonetheless, I have a whole new appreciation for early fall. I used to eschew its predominantly green cast and lack of ta-da shrubbery, but now I really get its charm: how else will a few superstars stand out?

Continued after the jump »

Sunday, December 3, 2006

winter panzanella

winter panzanella

Among the few Food Network chefs that don’t terrify me, Michael Chiarello is high on that list; his cooking, style and not overly-aggressive healthfulness fits cleanly with the type of foods I like to make and we like to eat. But, I have yet to make a recipe of his and it is, quite frankly, because he can be such a pain in the ass. The gray salt, the extra-virgin use for cooking, the $218 Balsamic, the fifteen-step recipes and his endless gadgets put me off. Would it still taste good from the kitchen of Simple Folk? Due to some haphazard sense of principle, I never bother finding out.

But he’s finally broken into the Smitten Kitchen with a winter vegetable panzanella I couldn’t resist, you know, the one he whipped up for his “holiday gift wrapping lunch,” my god. This week I had found myself missing that summery panzanella salad I’d made for a dinner party last month, but I wanted something more seasonal. I’ve had this roasted vegetable version bookmarked for a while, but… something about it seems lackluster. When Chiarello, in his just-enough-rumpled shirt said butternut squash and brussel sprouts, I had very much a “bingo!” moment.

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

bourbon pumpkin cheesecake

My sharp-eyed husband caught this bourbon pumpkin cheesecake recipe while I was — typically — flipping through a Gourmet magazine last year. Although it was a total hit at Thanksgiving, my fleeting recipe attention span struck again this year, but as I began hunting for a new and different fall-themed cheesecake it was made clear I’d still be welcome at the table with something else — just a little less so.

boubon pumpkin cheesecake

Like any good newlywed, last year I made two cakes — one for the family we would spend the afternoon with, and one for the family that had reserved our evening shift. I had intended to do the same this year until I realized that I’d left the base to one of my springform pans at my parents. Already having two batters and crumb crusts prepared, I cursed several times, refilled my wine glass and decided I’d try to make twelve cupcake-sized cheesecakes with the second batter. (Why oh WHY did I not buy these the fifteen times I have seen them at the store and fawned over them? The headaches $15 could have saved me!) While the full-sized cake looks lovely, the jury is still out on whether those cupcake cheesecakes are ever coming out of the pan, and it’s not looking very promising.

oh, i went there

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

pumpkin muffins

pumpkin muffins

See, now I’m a girl who keeps my promises, eh? About everything but picking up the dry-cleaning, at least. As I expected, these pumpkin muffins were a cinch, which is good, because I expect that from my muffins. They should max out at two bowls for prep, you should be able to mix them by hand and there shouldn’t be any excessively difficult steps. It’s not rocket science.

This recipe was all of that, plus, I discovered something – you know how they always say not to over-mix muffins? A large wire whisk, when mixing by hand, really allows you to incorporate all of the drying ingredients quickly without mashing them up too much. It’s made it much harder to overdo it, despite my better efforts.

crimped-up

And now, the part where I am a moron, because what entry would be complete without a little self-deprecation? Evidence the first: the recipe calls for a solid-pack pumpkin puree. What did I buy? Pumpkin pie filling; you know, the stuff doctored up with sugar and spices and some crap with a lot of letters. In my first attempt at the batter, I had already mixed the sugar with the eggs and oil when I realized the pumpkin already had enough sugar. So, I dumped it (please don’t ask where, because the state of our kitchen drain is unappetizing at best). But, then it turned out that maybe the pumpkin pie filling didn’t have enough sugar, but at this point (evidence the second) I had run out. Of sugar. It baffled me too. The muffins could use some more, both sugar and spice, which was by the way the other thing that I skipped, assuming the pie filling had enough. Well, meh, not enough for my tastes.

Continued after the jump »


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