Tag Archives: mouthwatering monday

Butternut Squash Soup

PhotobucketMy second foray into the world of winter squashes was making Butternut Squash Soup. I’ve never had Butternut Squash Soup before but after the yumminess of the lasagna, I was eager to try another recipe. I searched around the Internet until I came across this recipe on FoodNetwork.com by Alton Brown (love me some Alton Brown!) It looked really simple and very tasty! And sure enough, it was!

Ingredients I used:

  • 1 large, seeded butternut squash cut into 2-inch chunks (be sure to set aside the seeds)
  • Melted butter, for brushing
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon (I used black pepper)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used vegetable)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger (2 -3 teaspoons would have been better!)
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel the squash, cut it in half, seed it (save the seeds!) and then cut it into approximately 2-inch chunks. Brush melted butter on the chunks, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until fork tender and slightly browned.

Add the squash to a large pot with the stock and the ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender. (I don’t have a stick/immersion blender, so I had to transfer my squash mixture to a regular blender for this step. It was worth the extra effort and clean-up because you get a really smooth and creamy consistency by blending it.)

Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

While the soup is in it’s final simmer, rinse the saved seeds (you saved the seeds, right??), toss them with some olive oil, spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast on 350 until slightly browned. After pouring the soup into bowls, sprinkle some seeds on top. The combination of the sweet soup and the salty seeds is…wait for it…tonguegasmic!

butternutsquashsoup

I served this soup with a Harvest Salad (lettuce from our CSA, apples [they were honeycrisps from Trader Joes, yum!], craisins, walnuts, blue cheese crumbles and a white vinaigrette dressing.)

I really liked the soup. DB said is was good, JBelle liked it, GMan said he liked it at first, then changed his mind (typical).

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Braised Bok Choy with Peanuts

bokchoyleavesThe CSA adventures continue. Another completely new vegetable to me has been bok choy. I’ve heard of bok choy. I may have consumed bok choy at some point though I can’t be certain. I know I’ve never cooked with it before which means I didn’t really know what to do with it.

I sent up the Twitter signal (something along the lines of “what the heck do I do with this thing?”) and all the replies that came back were “stir fry”. OK, sounded simple enough.

Next step was Google. I searched bok choy recipes and perused several before settling on a combination of two recipes:

Braised Bok Choy & Baby Bok Choy with Cashews

But before I could cook it, I needed to know how to prepare it. I went back to Google and found this video tutorial on YouTube:

Now that shows you want to do with the white, crunchy part but what about the green leafy part? Basically you just chop that part, as well, into bite sized pieces. And when cooking it, add the white part to the pan first because it takes longer to cook. You’ll just want the greens to wilt a bit.

Here’s what used & how I cooked it:

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 pound to 1 pound bok choy or baby bok choy, washed and trimmed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ~ 1/2 cup lightly salted peanuts

Directions

  1. Heat the canola oil and olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add grated ginger and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until ginger perfumes the oil.
  2. Add the white bok choy pieces to the skillet. Stir fry for a 2-3 minutes until they become tender but not mushy, then add the greens. Allow them to wilt and turn bright green.
  3. Remove bok choy to a serving plate.
  4. Add broth, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar to the pan. Cook another 2 minutes or so to allow flavors to meld.
  5. Pour over bok choy. Toss with peanuts. Serve immediately.

bokchoystirfry

This was really delicious! I was quite pleased with how it turned out and I’m looking forward to making it again. DB gave it a hearty endorsement (he practically licked the plate) and the kids…looked at me like I had two heads. But that was about what I expected so no surprise there.

I pan fried some slices of polenta and poured some of the sauce from the stir fry over that as well. It was a filling, satisfying meal.

If you look at the recipe links you’ll see they call for sesame oil, which I didn’t have on hand, so I substituted the olive oil. One of them calls for oyster sauce (?). Didn’t have that either, so I omitted it. And I didn’t have cashews but I did have peanuts so that’s what I used there. Apparently, you can do that kind of thing with bok choy.

My friend Brittney sent me this link about bok choy: Five Way to Eat Bok Choy – a good tool for figuring out what to do bok choy!

Updated – Take a look at what Tracy did with this recipe. Yum!

Photobucket and fearless-fridays

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

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I have never, ever* made anything with butternut squash. In fact, I’ve never really been a “squash person” so to speak. Well, except for zucchini. I heart zucchini!

Our experience with the CSA has yielded lots and lots and lots of squash. Over the summer it was various summer squashes and now that we’re entering fall, it’s fall squashes like acorn and sweet dumpling and butternut. I roasted a sweet dumpling squash a few weeks ago that smelled and looked (once cut open) exactly like pumpkin. It had a very sweet, pleasant, squash-y taste but I was not enamored with the texture.

Last week, I picked up a butternut squash. My first inclination was to make soup. But then through a discussion on Facebook, my sister mentioned something about lasagna. That was rather intriguing. So, to the Internet I went! I perused several recipes until I found this one on RecipeZaar. (btw, great site for recipes!) Two things caught my eye about this recipe. First, the use of swiss chard (which I also had on hand from the CSA) and second, the white sauce which sounded much yummier than a tomato sauce.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1 large butternut squash, about 3 lbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions (1 extra large onion)
  • 1 1/2 lbs swiss chard, chopped,tough stems discarded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 4 cups milk (2% is fine)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (I used 2 cups because IMHO, lasagna should be really cheesy!)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped green onions (I omitted because I did not have any on hand.)

butternutcollage

Directions

Take the butternut squash and peel, seed, and cut it into 1/2-inch chunks.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash chunks with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then place the chunks in a single layer on a large cookie sheet.

Roast the squash chunks for 30 minutes or until they’re easily pierced with a fork, stirring after 15 minutes.

Remove chunks from the oven and mash squash with a food processor (or fork or potato masher) until almost smooth; set aside. (I think the squash needs a tad more seasoning, maybe some more salt or a spice or herb to add a bit more flavor. We found it to be a bit bland done this way.)

Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, over medium heat melt together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 10 minutes or until golden, stirring often; add the Swiss chard and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the chard is wilted and the liquid evaporates, which will take about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, pepper, garlic salt, nutmeg, thyme, and sage and cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and cook the sauce over medium-high heat until it boils and thickens slightly, stirring frequently. Boil for an additional 2 minutes while stirring, then whisk in all but 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Remove the saucepan from heat.

In a 13″ x 9″ glass lasagna pan, spoon about 1/2 cup of the white sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Arrange 4 cooked lasagna noodles over the sauce, overlapping to fit; evenly spread all of the Swiss chard mixture over the noodles, top with about 1 cup white sauce, and sprinkle with about a 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top, then about 1 cup white sauce and all butternut squash chunks, then a 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Top with remaining lasagna noodles, remaining white sauce, sprinkle with the chopped green onions and the remaining mozzarella cheese; sprinkle with the reserved 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.

Cover the lasagna pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until hot and bubbly; let lasagna cool for 10 minutes before cutting, for easier serving.

butternutlasagna

I won’t lie, this dish took a really long time to make but you know what? It was SO worth it!

*OK, that’s partially untrue. I did assist my sister with the making of a butternut squash soup once. But it wasn’t a recipe initiated by me or consumed by me or my family.

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Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie

Photobucket
There are several dishes that I make every year that announce the arrival of Autumn. One of them is crunchy caramel apple pie. I get entirely too much credit for this dish but that’s because it’s just so amazingly yummy!

I came across this pie recipe a several years ago while watching Good Morning America. Emeril Lagasse was hosting an “Apple Pie of Emeril’s Eye” contest. People from all over submitted apple pie recipes that were judged by Emeril. This particular apple pie was the winning recipe.

I had not been much of a pie maker before encountering this recipe. Cookies, brownies, cakes, banana/pumpkin bread, etc were where my baking talents had been focused. But this pie sounded rather appealing and really not all that difficult to make. The woman who submitted the recipe even said that she usually used store bought crust! I was all over that (well until recently!) I printed off the recipe and gave it a go. And I’ve never looked at another apple recipe!

The recipe combines the best of apple pie and apple crisp. In fact, when I don’t have (or don’t want to make) pie crust, it easily adapts into a crisp (just put in a baking dish instead of a pie shell.) It’s crowning glory are the pecans and drizzled caramel that are added just after taking the pie/crisp out of the oven. I always, always get compliments when I make this pie. There are even some members of our Life Group who specifically request that I make this pie for our Life Group Thanksgiving meal.

Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pastry crust for a deep-dish pie, 9-inch (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (Golden delicious, fuji, gala and granny smith, alone or in combination, make great pies. I generally use what I have on hand.)
  • 1 recipe crumb topping (see below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup caramel topping (I use Smuckers caramel ice cream topping)

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup butter

Directions for Crumb Topping:

  1. Stir together brown sugar, flour and oats.
  2. Cut in butter until topping is like course crumbs. Set aside.

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Add apple slices and gently toss until coated.
  3. Transfer apple mixture to the pie shell.
  4. Sprinkle crumb topping over apple mixture
  5. Place pie on a cookie sheet so the drippings don’t drop into your oven.
  6. Cover edges of pie with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and put back in for another 25 to 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven. Sprinkle pie with chopped pecans then drizzle with caramel.
  9. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy warm or at room temp. (Even better with vanilla ice cream!)

applecrisp

This is a terrible picture but it’s all I have! I made this yesterday for Life Group but completely forgot the nuts and caramel topping. It was still tonguegasmic!!

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Mr. Leeson’s Revenge

PhotobucketWhen DB was younger, he and his family used to go out the farm of a family friend, Mr. Leeson. They had all sorts of fun and frivolity at Mr. Leeson’s farm but one thing in particular that DB and his brothers remember is the pineapple sherbet that Mr. Leeson would make. After doing some recipe searches on the Internet, DB found what looked to be, if not THE recipe, a very similar recipe to Mr. Leeson’s.

Last Sunday evening we had an ice cream social at church and David wanted to make that recipe. We thought it would be interesting to give it a little twist. I remembered that last year, the Las Paletas ladies had a “throw down” with Bobby Flay. The winning paletas recipe (courtesy of the Las Paletas team) was hot pepper pineapple. With that in mind, we added red cayenne pepper to the pineapple sherbet recipe.

The taste was….interesting. Part of the peculiar taste comes from the pineapple sherbet itself. This recipe is not really like what you buy from the grocery store. It’s made with buttermilk, so it has a kind of sweet/sour taste to it. The pepper pretty much just added heat. The key, really, is to add just enough pepper so that you get that back of throat spicy sensation without changing the flavor of the ice cream.

DB found this recipe on Cooks.com:

6 c. buttermilk
2 c. sugar
1 (1 lb. 4 oz.) can crushed pineapple
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 egg whites, beaten

Combine buttermilk, sugar, pineapple, lemon juice, and salt. Fold in beaten egg whites. Pour into ice cream freezer and freeze.

To make it “special” add red cayenne pepper to the mix after it comes out of the ice cream freezer. This way you can taste test to adjust. Start with 1/2 a teaspoon and add in small amounts from there. Don’t be tempted to add too much if you like things spicier, you really will compromise the taste of ice cream. You want the sweet of pineapple, the sour of the buttermilk and then the heat of pepper to hit you after you’ve had a bite or two.

Last week, I teased at the end of the basil ice cream post saying that this week’s MM would be Kilauea Hala Kahiki Sherbet. That’s kind of a mouthful. And, you may be wondering what it even means! Kilauea is a volcano in Hawaii (hence the heat aspect of the confection) and hala kahiki is Hawaiian for pineapple.  But after more consideration, I believe this version of pineapple sherbet is best named, Mr. Leeson’ Revenge.

sherbet

If you look closely at the “revenge” scoop, you can just make out the red flecks of pepper.

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Basil Ice Cream

PhotobucketYes, you read that right. It says basil ice cream. I, too, was a bit skeptical when DB suggested it as a way to use some of the basil we get from our CSA. And the recipe, it’s just a tad bit…involved. But you know me, I like to try new things in the kitchen and it is ice cream after all!

The recipe we used was found on Epicurious. The only thing I did not have, equipment wise, was the fine mesh sieve. I picked one up at Target for under $10 (Sorry I can’t be more accurate than that but the receipt is long gone. You can be sure, though, that I got the best one I could for the least amount of money!) The whole milk and cream had to be specifically purchased but that’s par for the course when making homemade ice cream.

I really enjoyed the process of making the ice cream. The only drawback is that for all the work you do, you don’t get much more than about 2 – 3 cups of ice cream. However, basil ice cream is not really a “fill a bowl and veg on the couch in front of the television” type of ice cream. It’s more of a tasting ice cream, or a palette cleansing ice cream that you find in über fancy/gourmet restaurants.

(But I will confess…as good as it was, it was really good with some dark fudge sauce on it. Shhhh….our secret.)

Basil Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup well-chilled heavy cream

Special equipment:

  • an instant-read thermometer
  • an ice cream maker
  • a fine mesh sieve (if you don’t already have one)

Preparation:

steepingbasilBring milk, basil, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring, then remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes. Transfer to a blender (reserve saucepan) and blend until basil is finely ground, about 1 minute.

Beat together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1 minute. Add milk mixture in a stream, beating until combined well. Pour mixture into reserved saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Set bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in cream and freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.

basilicecream

You may not believe it but, yes, totally tonguegasmic!

Next week…Kilauea Hala Kahiki Sherbet.

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fearless-fridaysI added this recipe to Home-Ec 101‘s Fearless Fridays. It did take a certain amount of setting aside cooking fears to accomplish this, so it fits rather well!

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I Found My Thrill On Blueberry {Pie} Hill

PhotobucketI just had the most satisfying kitchen experience I’ve ever had. It was truly a thrill! I made a blueberry pie totally from scratch. I picked the blueberries (with a bit of help from the children.) I made the pie crust (not store bought!) I mixed up the blueberries with a few simple ingredients (not pie filling from a can!) And I baked a gorgeous, yummy, blueberry pie. (I feel a little bit like the Little Red Hen!) I got the best rush from this experience and it has me itching to do more!

pieMKC

I made the pie using a combination of two recipes. The pie crust recipe is from Heather at Home-Ec 101. I was delighted at how easy it really was! I don’t think I can ever justify buying pie crust from the store again. I used the 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup shortening version because I prefer a flaky crust. The only thing I’ll do differently next time will be to not roll the crust out as thin. It was just a tad too thin (in my opinion) in a few spots.

The filling I made using this recipe from Simply Recipes. I also did the recommended egg wash on the crust.

We just couldn't wait any  longer to dig in, that's why the filling is runny. It will thicken more as it cools down.

We just couldn't wait any longer to dig in, that's why the filling is runny. It will thicken more as it cools down.

I topped it with real, homemade whipped topping! (Ice cream would be good, too.) It was a truly tonguegasmic experience!

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Messiest, Ugliest, Tastiest Cupcakes. Ever.

glamour MaliaDB’s favorite cake is a German Chocolate Cake. Just about every year since we’ve been married, with only a few exceptions, I’ve made him a cake for his birthday. It’s really a very tasty cake. I’m always pleased with the end results but it is kind of a pain to make. There are at least 10 steps in the cake part alone and then you have to make to frosting.

I asked DB a couple weeks ago if he wanted me to make him a cake again this year. I got a non-committal, if you want to kind of response. Then a day or so later, I happened to reading about a new cupcake place in Nashville and the thought occurred to me to make German Chocolate cupcakes for his birthday. So, I Googled it and read at least half dozen or so recipes. Most of them were just slight variations on the cake that I usually make but there was one that really stood out.

fearless-fridaysI wanted to try it but I was a bit afeared of venturing out with a new recipe like that. Then I remembered what Heather has been talking about at Home-Ec 101, being fearless in the kitchen. Determined to do this, I made my shopping list, headed to the store and proceeded to try this recipe. I’m going to skip ahead a bit and say, the cupcakes were amazing! So this post is a cross between Rachel’s Mouthwatering Mondays and Heather’s Fearless Fridays, which is why it’s appearing here on Wednesday!

Read the rest of my cupcake adventure, after the jump!

Continue reading

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Mouthwatering Monday Redux

PhotobucketWell hello, May? (Checks calendar.) Ah, yes it’s May. You’re feeling an awful lot like November. I don’t usually think chili for a May evening’s dinner but today’s dreariness and cooler temps have me in the mood for some warm comfort food which, in my book, equals chili. So, I’ve got this recipe simmering on the stove and all the trimmin’s for it at the ready.

And tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! I totally forgot until I checked out Rachel’s Moutherwatering Monday post – homemade guacamole…droolz. I’m going to have to make another trip to the grocery store so that we can have yummy Mexican goodness for dinner tomorrow.

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Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwich

PhotobucketI’ve been a little absent from Mouthwatering Mondays. Sorry. My cooking has been hit and miss lately and I’ve been relying on several old standbys. It’s challenging to cook for my family right now. JBelle is being a rather picky vegetarian and GMan is just being plain old picky. I like trying new things but there’s not much that has been acceptable to their palates. Today’s recipe is no exception which is why I made it just for myself!

The fabulous Rachel inspired me with her grilled cheese post today. In fact, I have put the ingredients for her sandwich on my grocery list because that is one good looking grilled cheese sandwich! Grilled cheese is my all time favorite kind of sandwich. Most of the time, around here, it’s just regular grilled cheese. But every now and then, I have ingredients on hand for something a little more special. I love using sourdough or rye or pumpernickel or a really hearty/nutty bread. I like using a variety of cheeses, my favorites being Munster, pepperjack and Havarti.

Today, I had at my disposal, sharp cheddar & monterey jack cheese. I also had some pimentos. So I whipped up a small batch of pimento cheese, spread it on my regular, 100% whole wheat sandwich bread and had a grilled pimento cheese sandwich for lunch! Delicious!

There’s really no hard and fast recipe for the pimento cheese. I just grated enough cheddar & monterey jack for one sandwich, added some mayo and pimentos to taste. I wanted my sandwich to have a bit of a kick to it so I added a few dashes of Texas Pete hot sauce and some fresh cracked pepper.

Just enough to make one sandwich

Just enough to make one sandwich

Pimento cheesy goodness!

Pimento cheesy goodness!

My mouth was certainly watering as I waited for it to cool down enough to inhale it in about 4 bites!

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