Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pumpkin Apple Bread

Happy Halloween!!!!  It is definitely the season for pumpkins so naturally I have like 10 trillion pumpkin things I want to post, but I will start with this bread.  It is sweet, spicy, and full of pumpkin goodness.  A few changes to my favorite recipe, thank you Gourmet, and this bread is absolutely perfect! especially with a cup of coffee….

Pumpkin Apple Bread

makes 2 loaves

1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
5 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter

3 c. all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1 15oz can pumpkin
3/4 c. oil, I used grape seed but canola would work
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs lightly beaten
2 Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 c. pecans, rough chopped

For Topping:  Blend ingredients together with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in Pecans.

For Bread: Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F.  Butter 2 9×5 inch loaf pans.

Sift together flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice into a medium bowl.  Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs in large bowl.  Add flour mixture until well combined.  Fold in apples.

Divide between buttered loaf pans.  Sprinkle half of the topping over each loaf.  Bake until wooden pick comes out clean 50-60 minutes.  Cool loaves in pan on rack for 45 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely, about 1 hr. Enjoy!


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Filed under breakfast and brunch, Fruit Desserts

Brussels and Apples

My mom loves cabbage and apples and have been thinking about another way I could recreate the dish using something other than cabbage.  Thanks to my Mom I came up with this, Brussels and apples!

This is a sweeter side and I cooked mine down until they were really soft.  At the end the brussel sprouts and apples just melt in your mouth.

Brussels and Apples

serves 4-6 as a side

1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed
1 apple, diced
1 medium-large shallot, diced
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 Tbsp water
1/4 c. vegetable stock
sea salt

Prepare your produce. Chiffonade, or thin slice your brussel sprouts. When you dice you apple and shallot, you want everything to be a similar size for even cooking. set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a saute pan over medium heat. When hot add the apples and shallot to the pan. Saute them 2-3 minutes then add the brussel sprouts. Add the cider vinegar and cook for a minute. Next add the agave and a little water. saute stirring often about 8-10 minutes. Add 1/4 c. vegetable stock, cover, and cook about 10 minutes more.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving plate and enjoy!

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Peanut Butter Granola Cookies

It wasn’t until I had a request for peanut butter cookies that I realized how little I make them.  When I started thinking about it I realized how easy and delicious they really are.  In these I added a little granola for crunch and a little extra nuttiness.

Peanut Butter Granola Cookies

makes 2-3 dozen

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. sugar, superfine recommended
2/3 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. granola

Beat the butter, sugar, peanut butter and salt on medium speed until fluffy and well blended. Add in the egg yolk. When well blended, add in whole egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually mix in flour until just combined. Mix or fold in granola.
Divide dough into 2. Form into 2 logs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hr, or up to 1 day.
Place racks in upper and bottom 1/3 of oven. Preheat to 375°F.
Remove dough and slice cookies depending on how large you want them. Place on parchment lined baking sheets about 2″ apart. Flatten slightly with a fork or your palm. Bake cookies 6-8 minutes rotating half way through for even browning. Transfer to racks to cool.

and just for some Halloween fun…

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Skillet Polenta with Tomatoes

This polenta dish is perfect for the cooler weather that is starting to show up.  It’s hearty and meatless so if you are looking for a good vegetarian dish look no further.  The best part about it is you can really top it with just about anything you have in your refrigerator.

Oh, and if you have never made polenta do not worry.  It is sooooo easy!

This recipe comes from Bon Appetit, but as usual I have made a few changes.  In the recipe  you transfer the cooked polenta to a skillet, but I usually use a baking dish. I just think it looks nicer.  Also, it calls for Gorgonzola cheese, but if your not a fan use Feta.  They both have a bite!

Polenta with Tomatoes and Gorgonzola

serves 4 as a main

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups water
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup slivered fresh basil leaves

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about 4 ounces)
1 cup shredded mozzerella cheese (about 4 ounces)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush 12-inch-diameter ovenproof skillet or baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Combine 4 cups water, polenta, and salt in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking often. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the polenta is very thick and pulls away from sides of pan, whisking continuously, about 3 more minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 cup basil. Transfer polenta to prepared skillet or dish. Spread polenta to even thickness.

Sprinkle polenta with tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle evenly with Gorgonzola, mozzarella, and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 16 minutes. Cut polenta into wedges and serve from skillet.  Enjoy!

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Mamaw’s Banana Bread

Whenever I have guest over for the weekend what is going to be served at meal time is always a big deal.  Between all the planning and cooking it is nice to have breakfast foods that can be made ahead than set out to enjoy with coffee.  While this banana bread is not the healthy version, it is my grandmothers version, which means it is absolutely delicious.

Mamaw’s Banana Bread

Makes 1 Loaf

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 bananas
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 c. flour, sifted
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare greased loaf pan.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs. Mash together bananas and lemon juice and add to the mixture. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, and quickly add to banana mixture.

Add nuts.

Pour into pan and bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Greek Pizza

So it is football season and there is no crowd pleaser like good pizza.  If you are like me nontraditional toppings are the best part. This time I decided to go Greek!

I have several crusts that I like to rotate through, but if I am trying to please a crowd and not worried about gluten this one is the way to go.  You can whip it up in the food processor and it crisps up perfect.  Oh, did I mention it also freezes well?? The recipe came from fine cooking.

Pizza Cust

1 Package (2 1/4″ tsp.) active-dry yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water (110 F)
18oz. (4 cups) all-purpose flour; more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. cornmeal
Mix yeast and warm water together.
combine all ingredients in food processor until dough comes together in a large ball.
Split dough in half and place in a large bowl.  Cover with a damp dishtowel and let rise for at least 45 minutes covered
Preheat oven to 500°F.  Roll out dough and fold edges to form the crust.  Transfer to baking sheet or pizza stone and sprinkle each crust with 1 Tbsp. cornmeal.
Prebake crust for 5-8 minutes until starting to brown.  Keep a close eye on it, time can very due to thickness and you want it just starting to turn golden.  This helps keep it crispy once it is loaded up.
Put on ingredients and bake until cheese melted, and golden about 10 minutes.  Again watch closely.
Toppings for 1 pizza:
1/2 c. pizza sauce.
1 c. grated mozzarella
1/2 c. thin sliced red onion
1/4 c. thin sliced tomato
1/4 c. sliced mushrooms, I used portobello
1/4 c. chopped kalamata olives
3/4 c. baby spinach
1/2 c. crumbled feta, if you want a little more bite you can add another 1/4 c. to the top
1 clove minced garlic, you could skip this if your sauce contains a lot of garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
sea salt
Add 1 tbsp. olive oil to nonstick skillet over medium heat.  When hot add garlic and saute 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add spinach and barely wilt, 30 seconds more season with salt.  Transfer to plate and reserve.  Add a tad bit more oil and toss in the mushrooms.  Cook these just 1-2 minutes, add a pinch of salt and remove from heat.  You want them softened, but keep in mind they are going to bake on the pizza so you don’t want to over due it
Start layer on your pre-baked pizza crust.  I started with the sauce then sprinkled on my feta cheese.  Next I laid down the spinach followed by the mushrooms, onions, and olives.  I sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over that.  Last I put on the tomatoes, a sprinkle of salt and another handful of feta right on top.
Cook for 8-1o minutes in your 500°F oven on the middle rack to brown.  Always keep an eye on pizza they can brown quickly.

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Cardamom Scented Pear Crisp

A cold front came through Texas. Thank goodness because I was beginning to melt.  When it starts to cool down I start to crave pie or cobbler, basically all things warm and fruit filled. Oh and it’s fall…. so PEARS!

This pear crisp hit the spot.  The natural sweetness of the pears was incredible and the cardamom was perfect with it.  I was a little nervous at first because it smelled strong, but it really was perfect and not at all overpowering.  Mark Bittman got this right so let me pass on his recipe from his Food Matters Cookbook.

Cardamom Scented Pear Crisp

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more to grease pan
2 Tbsp. canola oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3 lbs. pears, cored and sliced
1/2 tsp. cardamom

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 8- or 9-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick baking spray. Cream the butter, oil, and sugar with an electric mixer or fork. Stir in the nuts, lemon, oats, flour, and salt until combined and crumbly.

Put the pears in the prepared dish, sprinkle with cardamom, and toss. Crumble the topping over the top. Bake until bubbly and beginning to brown, 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.

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