Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Filling
The most important step when making a pumpkin pie (or other recipe that calls for pumpkin) with fresh, rather than canned, pumpkin is to to use a pie pumpkin. These pumpkins are small and bred to have dense, sweet flesh, unlike Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins with flesh that is stringy and tasteless. I use this technique for any squash puree that I make.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Wash the pumpkin rind and cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out all of the seeds and strings. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down in a rimmed baking pan. Add about ½ inch of water to the pan and then place it in the oven. Bake the pumpkin for about 30 minutes and then flip to cut side up, add a dollop of butter, maple syrup or honey if desired and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until it is soft when peirced with a fork or knife.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven and set it aside for about 30 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle. Then, scoop out the flesh out of the rind. Place the flesh into a blender or food processor and puree until it is very smooth.? If you want extra smooth pumpkin puree, first run the pumpkin flesh through a food mill, then process it in a blender or food processor.
You can refrigerate the pumpkin puree for up to a week or you can freeze it for later use. To freeze, pour the pumpkin into ½ quart plastic freezer bags, leaving ½ inch of headroom at the top of the bag. Seal the bag, being sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible. Lay the bag flat on a freezer shelf and freeze. Once the puree is solid you can stack the bags wherever you like in the freezer. Use the frozen puree within one year.
Pumpkin Hazelnut Flaugnarde (Clafoutis)
This simple French custard-like dessert is very light and not too filling- the perfect thing after a heavy meal! You can swap in walnuts or pecans for the hazelnuts. This is my favorite pumpkin dessert.
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
10 tbsp light agave nectar (or sugar)
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
pinch of salt
1 cup 1% milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 inch vanilla bean, split, pulp scraped out, or 1/2 tsp more vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
2/3 cup pumpkin puree, homemade or canned
1/3 chopped lightly toasted hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with baking spray. Add the hazelnuts to the dish.
Place the eggs, egg whites, agave, milk, vanilla extract, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a blender (or a food processor). Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin purée and blend well. Add the flour and pulse until well combined.
Pour in the batter into the pie dish. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 375°F and bake until the center is just set, about 12 minutes. Serve immediately.
Everyone loves apple crisp! This is a basic recipe you can use for any fruit type.
3 lbs tart apples peeled, cored and sliced
?2 tbs lemon juice?
1/2 cup light brown sugar (pack it tightly)
?1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour?
1/3 cup granulated sugar?
1/3 cup rolled oats?
4 tbs of cold butter (Half stick)?
1/2 cup hopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Grab two bowls. In one bowl, add the apples and lemon juice. In the other bowl, combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon, mix sugar mixture in with apples and lemon juice. Mix the flour, sugar, and oats. Slice the butter into small pieces. Use two forks to mix the the flour and butter until it looks crumbly. Add the chopped nuts. ??
Preheat oven to 375F. Spread apple mixture into a 9x9 baking dish. Top it off with the crumbly oat mixture. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes at 375F, or until the apples are soft and topping is browned slightly. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.
Fall Harvest Squash Soup
You can make this soup with either your pie pumpkin or kabocha squash. To add sweetness to my squash soups I usually add at least 1 or 2 peeled, chopped and cored apples.
1 pie pumpkin, about 3 lbs
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1 quartt water, as needed
Fresh or dried herbs to taste: thyme, sage, parsley, fennel greens
Pinch or red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 350; cut squash in half, place in baking pan cut side down, add 2 inches water. Bake until tender, about an hour. Cool to handle, discard seeds, scoop out flesh and chop up a bit if it’s in large pieces. Set aside for now.
Now you could make a nice vegetable stock with the pumpkin shell, and the parings from the onions, fennel, and turnip. Cover with water in a large stock pot and simmer 15 minutes. While this cooks, you can chop and sauté the vegetables.
Dice the turnip, fennel bulb, and onion. Mince the garlic.
Heat olive oil in large soup pot, add onion, sauté 5 minutes; add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until fragrant and slightly browning. Add the salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir around a couple of minutes, and then add in the pumpkin. Set a mesh strainer over the pot and very carefully pour in the vegetable stock. Simmer about 30 minutes, adding more stock or water as needed.
This can be a thick chunky soup or a velvety smooth puree, so add as much broth or more water as needed to make the desired consistency. A splash of cider is also lovely. Puree if you wish.
Garnish with fresh snipped parsley/fennel greens and/or some roasted pumpkin seeds.
Swiss Chard with Raisins and Pine Nuts
This is a great all around recipe for any greens- kale, bok choy, or chard.
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss Chard, rinsed, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the chard in batches, adding more as each batch wilts (the only water you will need is the water clinging to the leaves from rinsing), and keep the pan covered between batches. When all the chard is added and the leaves are wilted, stir in the raisins, pine nuts, lemon juice and the remaining 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great recipe for a Sunday brunch. It's easy to make yet is very impressive - both in looks and taste!
dough for 1 piecrust
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup butter, divided
1 small onion, diced
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
1 tsp salt, divided
3 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 cup grated Fontina or Swiss cheese
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 F. Roll out the piecrust dough to fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Place the crust in the pan and put it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork.
Line the crust with a large piece of foil and fill with pie weights or beans; bake for 12 minutes. Meanwhile beat the egg with the 1 tbsp water to make an egg glaze. Remove the foil and beans from the crust, brush on the egg glaze, and return the crust to the oven for 3 more minutes. (The crust will only be partially baked at this point). Cool on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven to 375 F. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cauliflower, 1/2 tsp salt, and 3 tbsp water; cover and cook for 10 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. The cauliflower should be just barely tender, as it will cook more in the oven. Remove from heat and let cool.
Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Stir in the cream, remaining 1/2 tsp slat, and nutmeg. Sprinkle half the cheese on the bottom of the crust. Add the cauliflower mixture in an even layer. Pour the egg/cream mixture over the top, being careful not to add so much that it goes all the way to the top of the crust as it will rise during baking. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and dot with the remaining butter.
Bake until quiche is lightly browned in spots, 25 to 35 minutes.
Chard and Watercress Soup
The chard cooks beautifully in this soup and is all blended together in the end so you may not even know it's there!
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 white button mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 shallots, sliced
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 bunch chard, stems and center ribs discarded, cut into 1-inch strips, divided
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 bunch watercress, trimmed, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
4 slices whole-grain bread (optional)
In a large pot over medium heat, add butter. As it melts, add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, half the chard, salt and white pepper. Cook until shallots are translucent and shard starts to cook down, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, remaining shard and 2 cups water. Cover; reduce heat to low. Cook until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
In a medium pot, simmer cream and milk; season with salt and pepper. Add watercress to soup; stir to wilt; remove soup from heat. Stir in cream mixture; simmer. In a blender, blend soup in batches until smooth. Divide among 8 bowls; top with sour cream and watercress leaves, if desired. Serve with whole-grain bread, if desired.
Broccoli with Asian style dressing
This recipe can be addictive! For variety try adding matchstick-size strips of steamed carrots.
1 medium head broccoli
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 tbsp soy sauce, or tamari
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp hot chili oil (optional)
Separate the florets from the stalk; break into smaller florets. Cut the stalk into 1-inch lengths and then into matchstick size strips. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket set over 1 1/2 inches boiling water and cover. Steam for 5 minutes. Transfer the broccoli to a bowl.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well combined. Pour the dressing over the broccoli and mix well. Enjoy!
Broccoli Mac and Cheese
This is a great recipe from a blogger friend of mine, the Yankee Kitchen Ninja. This mac and cheese comes together quickly and easily on a week night!
4 cups broccoli florets, cut into very small sections with no stems left attached
8 ounces elbow pasta (I use multi-grain)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups skim milk
4 ounces grated cheddar cheese (I like Cabot's Seriously Sharp)
2 ounces grated pepper jack cheese (this makes it nicely spicy -- if you don't want spice, substitute an equal amount of regular cheddar cheese)
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the broccoli. Wait for the water to reboil then cook the broccoli for about 3 minutes. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. When done, drain and stir until the broccoli breaks down.
While pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until the mixture is thick and bubbly (a couple of minutes). Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to cook and whisk until the mixture thickens (just a few minutes, really). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese until it melts.
Add the cheese mixture to the pasta-broccoli mixture and stir thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.