Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How to: Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree for #PumpkinWeek




Hi and welcome to day 2 of #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections. We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day. 17 Food Bloggers have come together to share over 65 recipes with you. In addition to homemade pumpkin puree, pie, and cookies, we are also sharing savory pumpkin dishes like hummus, chili and pumpkin corn chowder.

Come back every day for #PumpkinWeek recipes. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

On this, the second day, of #PumpkinWeek I'm sharing how to make your own pumpkin puree. Almost all of my pumpkin creations begin with pumpkin puree. Don’t buy it in a can, please. If you can wield a knife and turn on your oven, you can make your own pumpkin puree.

Here's what you have to do..,

Get a pumpkin. Any pumpkin. I've done this with thick-fleshed Cinderella pumpkins and, the most typical, sugar pie pumpkins. Whatever you use, it's the same process.

Ingredients
  • pumpkin
  • water

Procedure
Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds – just like you would start a jack o’lantern. 


Fill the pumpkin half-way with water; you can add in lemon wedges or orange wedge, if you like. 


Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It’s finished when you can easily press your thumb into the pumpkin flesh; it might take longer – or shorter – depending on the size and variety of pumpkin. 

Let cool. Drain the liquid out of the pumpkin. Now the fun begins. Scrape the flesh out and make a puree, using a potato masher. Now you’re ready for creating some pumpkin goodness.

Check out all #PumpkinWeek recipes for Day 2

Here are today's #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:



Monday, October 20, 2014

The Dining Room Table as a Nexus for Change #foodday2014



October 20, 2014 – this piece went live on the Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution website. Read it there...or here.

The Dining Room Table as a Nexus for Change
Story by Camilla M. Mann
One of my 'Eat a Rainbow' students making pumpkin-potato gnocchi

“Raise kids with fearless palates.” That is scribbled into a journal from before I was a mom.

Idealistic? Sure.

Achievable? Definitely.

At first, I just focused on my family. Then I expanded my goal to our small circle of friends. I put zucchini into chocolate cakes at birthday parties. I created a menu dedicated to the enigmatic and oft-hated eggplant. I pushed my friends’ palates and they still returned to my dining room table for more.

A good friend once asserted that he did not eat – and I quote – purple dirt circles. He meant beets. I accepted the challenge and cooked an entire dinner around those purple dirt circles, inviting him, his family, and a few other friends to my table. We ate roasted beet soup; I baked beetroot dinner rolls; we slathered beet-apple chutney on roasted leg of lamb; and ended with a spiced beet mousse for dessert.

Can you guess what happened next? He grudgingly admitted that he liked beets. He finally called them beets, too. And now, several years later, I have witnessed him spooning beets willingly onto his own salad on more than one occasion.

“More people would like vegetables if they ate them at your dining room table,” my husband Jake says. I realized that I could use the dining room table as a nexus for change: if you introduce kids to real foods and you invite them to cook it with you, they will eat it. And if you make the learning fun, they will love it.

October 24th is this year’s designated Food Day. Food Day and the FoodDay.org organization is all about inspiring both healthier diets for eaters and healthier food policies for our planet. It’s the culmination of a movement that aims to help people eat foods that are healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced. It’s also a time to focus on cutting back on processed, packaged foods every day of the year. It’s about awareness. It can be a celebration of accomplishments and a reassessment of what you can do to eat better.

This year Food Day falls in the middle of a six-week Friday afternoon elective class that I teach to a dozen 5th through 7th graders at a school on the Monterey Peninsula on California’s central coast. This session’s theme is ‘Eat a Rainbow.’ We have talked about the benefits of eating foods in every color of the rainbow. We’ve covered red, orange, yellow, and green so far. And we’ve made everything from pumpkin gnocchi to saffron-vanilla bean lemonade and from green beans with gremolata to roasted beets salad.

On Food Day, my students and I will be preparing two to three dishes that involve blue and purple foods. Think eggplant, blueberries, and purple yams!

My goal is not only to cook with my students, getting them to – perhaps – try foods that they haven’t eaten before, but to inspire them take our recipes home and cook for their own families. At the end of the session, they take home a book with all of the recipes we cooked during the six weeks. When I went to one of my student’s houses for dinner, he excitedly showed me the two recipe books from the two classes he’s taken with me. They had a prominent place in his mom’s kitchen along with her other cookbooks. I was surprised. She explained, “When he wants to share something from them, I know where they are.”

I was excited to be selected as a volunteer ambassador for Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day. That extended the scope of my goal from simply raising my own kids to have fearless palates to helping push the palates of other people’s kids. While revamping the standard American diet is laudable, raising the next generation to make healthier food choices is a necessity – for their health and the health of our planet. It starts at the dining room table.

Lemongrass-Kissed Sankaya for #PumpkinWeek



Hello and welcome to #PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections.

We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day. 17 Food Bloggers have come together to share over 65 recipes with you.

In addition to homemade pumpkin puree, pie, and cookies, we are also sharing savory pumpkin dishes like hummus, chili and pumpkin corn chowder. Come back every day for #PumpkinWeek recipes. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!


My first #PumpkinWeek offering: Sankaya. Sankaya is a Thai pumpkin custard. Think a coconut-y pumpkin pie without the crust...baked inside the pumpkin. I knew that was how I wanted to kick off this 6-day event. Enjoy. Mine is non-traditional for 2 reasons: I added in some lemongrass and I baked mine. Typically, it's steamed.

Ingredients
  • One small organic pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C organic coconut cream
  • 1/2 C organic blonde coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t minced lemongrass
  • 1 t ground cinnamon

Procedure
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and try your pumpkin. Cut a circular opening in the top just as you would start a jack-o-lantern. 


Scoop out all of the pumpkin insides with a spoon. Then rinse one more time - and dry - if you like.


Whisk together the coconut cream, eggs, sugar, lemongrass, salt and cinnamon. Place the pumpkin a rimmed baking dish; I usually use a pie pan. Pour the custard into your hollowed out pumpkin. 


Cover the pumpkin with foil and place in the oven for 90 minutes. Uncover and continue baking till the custard is puffed and firm to the touch. Mine took a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes.


Once it's done, allow your sankaya to cool a little bit before touching it. Slice into individual pieces and enjoy!

Check out all the kickoff #PumpkinWeek recipes!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crabby Madeleines




My madeleine madness continues and I am finally venturing to the savory side. My favorite!! When I first whipped up the batter, I thought these would have the consistency of a crab cake. However, once they baked, they were simultaneously crabby and bready. More like a delicious, seafood-kissed biscuit. These were amazing if I might say so myself.

This is slightly adapted from Quirk Books' Madeleines: Elegant French Tea Cakes to Bake and Share by Barbara Feldman Morse.

Ingredients

  • 10 T butter
  • 1 C flour (I used an organic pastry flour)
  • 1/2 C ground almond flour
  • 1-1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces crabmeat
  • 2 T finely chopped leeks
  • 1 T finely chopped corno di toro peppers
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese


Procedure
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter your madeleine pan* and set aside.

Place your butter in a saucepan and heat, over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Let the butter cool for a few minutes, then spoon it into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the eggs and beat for a full three minutes to incorporate lots of air bubbles into your batter.

Fold in the flour, almond flour, and baking powder with a spatula, taking care not to deflate the batter too much. Add in the crab, leeks, and peppers. Using a truffle scoop, or teaspoon, fill the shell molds with batter until almost full.

Bake till the madeleines puff up and the edges are golden. Mine took between 17 and 19 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Unmold. You may be able to tap them out; I used a small spatula to ease them out of the molds onto the cooling racks.

I served these with poached eggs and slices of smoked salmon for a great brunch dish.

*If you are interested in purchasing Madeleines for yourself, I have included an affiliate link for the book on amazon for your convenience (below). If you are uncomfortable using the affiliate link, feel free to visit amazon on your own and search for "madeleines by barbara feldman morse." I am also including a link for the pan that I have been using. I love it!

      

 Note: I received a complimentary copy of the cookbook from the publishers for the purpose of reviewing it. However, all opinions are 100% my own and 100% accurate.

Guava Mousse



When I walked into a local market with a friend of mine this afternoon, we both paused and inhaled deeply. She embarked on a search for that delicious scent and I went to grab a few of the things I needed to get.

"I found it!" she declared, coming to find me and gesturing towards a bin of guava. So, I walked over and plunked half a dozen of the fragrant fruit into my basket.

After my boys devoured half of the guavas, I decided to make an adaptation of this easy Banana Mousse. I'm going to head back to the market tomorrow to scoop up a few more. This was as delectable as it was easy.


Ingredients
  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3 ripe guavas
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon

Procedure
Destem and chop your guava into cubes. Place the pieces in your blender along with the sugar. Puree until smooth. Press the guava pulp through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. I ended up with about 1 C smooth guava puree.

In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream and ground cinnamon until stiff peaks form. 

Fold the guava mixture into the whipped cream.

Spoon the mousse into serving glasses; I used small jars. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Risalamande (Danish Christmas Eve Rice Pudding) for #SundaySupper



This week the #SundaySupper crew is sharing budget-friendly holiday recipes. I adore holiday meals and traditions. And I really love recipes that don't break my wallet. This recipe that I'll share today fits both bills.

I have several friends from Denmark and when one of them came to stay with me and my husband during the holidays many, many years ago, she shared with us the tradition of Risalamande. 


Risalamande is a traditional rice pudding eaten on Christmas Eve in Denmark. There are two traditions surrounding this delicious, budget-friendly dish. First, Risalamande is left as a bribe - to persuade the mischievous nisse (elves) to be kind to them. Second, Risalamande includes a single whole almond. Whoever gets the lucky almond wins a prize. Typically, in our family, the prize is a marzipan pig! Risalamande is often served with whipped cream and a warm cherry sauce.

I love this recipe because you put it all in a bowl, steam it in a double boiler, and leave it for 2 hours. That's it. Disclaimer: this is my version - not sure my Danish friends would approve.

I have only tried this with Koda Farms Kuhuho Rose rice. It's an heirloom variety of medium grain rice. Complex, subtle, slightly nutty but with a sweet afternote. It's also moist and slightly sticky. It's the perfect rice-pudding rice. If you can't find Kuhuho Rose rice, try an arborio.

Ingredients

  • 3 C cream or milk or a mixture of both
  • 1/2 C Kuhuho Rose rice
  • 4 T raw honey
  • dash of ground cinnamon
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • dash of ground cardamom
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 blanched whole almond
  • unsweetened whipped cream, optional
  • warm cherry compote, optional

Procedure
If you have a double boiler, use that. If not, you can improvise with a stainless steel bowl that sits snugly in atop a pot. Fill the pot with enough water that the bottom of the bowl does not touch it. Bring the water to a simmer.

Mix the cream, spices, vanilla, and honey together in the top of your double boiler. Add the rice and whole almond. Stir so that you don't have any clumps. Place over the simmering water and cover tightly - either with a lid or with foil.

Simmer for two hours, until the rice is soft and the cream absorbed. Stir and serve hot. When serving, try to hide which bowl has the whole almond. Whoever has it wins a prize!

Here's what the rest of the #SundaySupper crew brought to the table...

Scrumptious Mains (Breakfast and Dinner)
Satisfying Sides
Sweet Treats
Sips, Spreads, and Snacks

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My New Spice Rack {Halloween}




My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf came up with the idea and design for his Halloween costume. My Love brought all of his building know-how to the project. Here you go...my new spice rack. No wonder my herbs and spices have been missing in action for over a week now.


This, by the way, is when you might begin to suspect that you think, talk, and write about food a little too much!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Sparkling Saffron-Vanilla Bean Lemonade {Eat a Rainbow}



Last year, in my Spice it Up! class, we made a Rosemary-Thyme Lemonade. I decided to make a Saffron-Vanilla Bean Lemonade for my Eat a Rainbow class. This week, we're cooking things that are yellow. Perfect.

The secret to homemade lemonade is to make a simple syrup first. That way the sugar is dissolved and not grainy in your drink. The ratio for the syrup is 1: 1. For this version I added a pinch of saffron and a whole vanilla bean to the syrup.


Ingredients

  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1 C water 
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice for the base
  • 5-6 C sparkling (or still) water

Procedure
Slice the vanilla bean length-wise and scrape the caviar into a medium skillet or saucepan. Add a pinch of saffron. Add the sugar and water to a saucepan and simmer over medium heat till the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool before pouring the syrup into a jar. Reserve the syrup till you’re ready to make the lemonade.


To make lemonade: pour the saffron and vanilla-infused syrup into a mixing pitcher. Add 1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then add water to taste, usually another 5-6 C of water. If you want, you can substitute sparkling water to make this bubbly. Serve with slices of fresh lemon and if you like.