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Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

Halloween has passed us by, leaving candy-jaded palates and shriveled up old jack-o-lanterns by the wayside. After one week, our jack-o-lantern, which sat atop a lamppost covered with a sheet, looked as if he had sucked on a lemon. His face had turned in on itself and he was relegated to the trash pronto. My remaining stash of candy will follow post-haste.

However, we still see pumpkins and other squash varieties in the markets and the thought of the warm, earthy, delicious taste of these vegetables whets my appetite. We made pumpkin french toast and it was delicious. No special recipe needed – for four servings, just add a half-cup or so of canned pumpkin puree to your egg and milk mixture along with 1/3 cup sugar and a sprinkling of pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg) and cook as you normally would. I plan to fix a pumpkin soup later this week and will provide the recipe when I do. Pumpkin pancakes will be on our breakfast menu this weekend, served with real maple syrup, not the fake stuff.

I have a butternut squash sitting on the counter. I will peel, cube and roast it next week as a side dish to a pork tenderloin I’m planning to stuff with dried fruit. An acorn squash also awaits my attention. 

Fall also gives us the opportunity to savor the unique tastes of the many root vegetables available. I have selected a few recipes using parsnips, one of the vegetables that I neglect, unfortunately. We enjoyed one this week, and will be having another one next week. 

The recipe I followed this week was found in the September, 2008, issue of Southern Living. The accompanying photograph of the dish caught my eye and as soon as I saw that parsnips were included, I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did. We both thought it was a great dish, and one that can be adapted in a few ways. It calls for chicken, but would work just as well with pork chops. I followed the recipe with only two exceptions. First, I did not use the “skin-on” boneless chicken breasts called for; I used “skinless” boneless breasts. Also, it called for whole wheat flour for dusting the chicken. I used white flour.

I found the pan sauce delicious, but a bit skimpy. next time I make this, I may double the amounts of shallots, and Marsala.

 

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH STEAM-ROASTED PARSNIPS, LEEKS, AND THYME

Thanks to Southern Living, September, 2008

Serves 4

1 medium leek

1 pound parsnips, peeled, cored, and sliced into spears

2-3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided

4 4-oz. boneless, skin-on chicken breasts

1 sprig rosemary, leaves removed and chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 T. whole-wheat flour

3 T. olive oil, divided

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 c. dry Marsala, Madeira, sherry or white wine (or water)

2 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 T. low-sodium soy sauce

Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish

 

1. Cut leek lengthwise and wash carefully. Thinly slice white part crosswise and discard greens. Place leek, parsnips and half of the thyme leaves in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 c. water. Cover and microwave on high until easily pierced with a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain, toss and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay chicken, skin-side down, on waxed paper on a hard surface; cover with another layer of waxed paper. Pound to an even thickness of 1/2 inch to facilitate even cooking. In a shallow dish, mix remaining thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper with flour; dredge both sides of chicken.

3. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to parsnips, leeks, and thyme; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Place in top third of oven and roast for 15 minutes.

4. Coat a 12-inch skillet with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, but not smoking, place chicken breasts in pan, skin-side down, and brown for 2-3 minutes. (Do not move; they’ll release easily once browned.) Turn and brown other side, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, cover, and keep warm. 

5. Reduce pan heat to medium-low and add shallots and garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes, until soft. Increase heat to medium-high and add Marsala or other liquid, scraping up brown bits. When liquid reduces by half (about 1 minute), whisk in parsley and soy sauce.

6. Remove chicken skin. Surround chicken with parsnip mixture and top with pan sauce. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.

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Yesterday, I began a seasonal discussion on the uses of canned pumpkin, one of which was in pumpkin pancakes. That recipe uses only 6 tablespoons of puree, leaving well over a cup left. That is enough for the pumpkin cupcakes that are such a delicious treat, very tempting to eat on the run because they need no spoon or fork. I can always convince myself to eat a cupcake, just one, of course, because it is so small. Yeah. I sometimes can convince myself to eat two, for the same reason.

Anyway, here is the recipe which I found on myrecipes.com, a treasure trove of recipes from Southern Living, Cooking Light, Coastal Living, Cottage Living, and Sunset magazines. I used to subscribe to Southern Living for the recipes in each issue and the beautiful articles on decorating, showing lovely, tasteful, traditional homes in the south.

This recipe is from Sunset magazine. I hope you like it.

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. milk
Orange frosting*
Candy sprinkles, optional

1. In a bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add pumpkin and vanilla and beat until well blended. (Mixture will look separated at this point).

2. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir half the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Stir in milk just until blended. Add remaining flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. Spoon batter equally into 12 muffin cups lined with paper baking cups (1/3 cup capacity; cups should be about 3/4 full).

3. Bake in a 350 degree oven until tops spring back when lightly pressed in the center and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pans on racks for 5 minutes; remove from pans and set on racks to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

4. Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a 3/4-inch star tip and pipe onto tops of cupcakes, or spread with a knife. Decorate with candy sprinkles, if desired.

*Orange Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a bowl, with a mixer on low sped, beat 6 ounces cream cheese and 6 tablespoons butter, both at room temperature, until well blended. Beat in 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 1 T. finely minced orange peel, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon orange extract until smooth.

(NOTES: I had no orange extract, so I used a few drops of orange juice. It didn’t add much orange flavor. Next time I would use the extract. Also, be sure to very finely mince the orange zest. I left it too big and didn’t like the feel of the orange peel in the frosting.

If you’re counting calories, each of of these babies packs a walloping 376 calories.)

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Halloween’s coming, halloween’s coming, skeletons will be after you.
Witches’ hats and big black cats, ghosts and gobelins too.
O-O-O-O-Ooooh! Boo!

That’s the little halloween ditty I’ve been singing to my grandkids the past few weeks. They are so excited about trick or treating this year in their little costumes, one a ninja and the other a princess. To keep them in the halloween spirit, I’ ve decorated my house with ghosts, witches, bats, skeletons, and of course pumpkins, both real and artificial.

I thought this would be a good time to share some ideal fall recipes using pumpkin, the canned pureed variety, not the fresh. I have several recipes we enjoy, especially at this time of the year. Some are sweet, some savory.

Yesterday, for example, I prepared pumpkin cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting. These would be good trick or treat gifts for those children who know you well enough to be allowed to accept homemade treats. Unfortunately, the days of giving all kids apples, homemade cookies or popcorn balls are long gone. A few maniacs have spoiled that for us with their vicious tricks of pins, razor blades, and drugs hidden in goodies.

Another favorite, which we enjoyed one year at the delightful Inn at Cedar Falls in the Hocking Hills of Ohio, is pumpkin pancakes. I found a Martha Stewart recipe for it that I have made a few times when I have a partial can of pumpkin left over from making something else that calls for pumpkin puree. I will probably make them this week because I have what is left over from making the cupcakes.

Here is the recipe from Martha Stewart for “Pumpkin Pie Pancakes”.

Whisk together:
1 1/4 c. flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
pinch cloves

In a separate bowl, whisk together:
1 egg
6 T. pumpkin puree
2 T. melted butter
1 c. milk

Fold egg mixture into dry ingredients. Butter or oil a griddle or large skillet and heat over medium heat.

Pour 1/4 c. batter into skillet for each pancake. (Don’t crowd the skillet.) Cook 2-3 minutes for the first side and 2 for the second.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Nummmmmy! I like this with crisp bacon for that good sweet/salt combo that really hits the spot on a cool autumn morning.

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