Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin "Dream" Cookies...

I woke up, in the middle of the night, Friday night and had this great idea for a cookie. I think I started dreaming it then woke up to kind of finish the details. Funny how the mind works sometimes, isn't it? I decided a good name would be "Pumpkin Dream Cookies" and it even fits because they are dreamy. They worked just as I'd hoped except that I'd pictured them filled in my dream. I thought I'd scoop out a small hole in the middle then pipe the frosting in and kind of spill it out but they ended up being more flat than mounded so I frosted them. They are cake-like and sweet but not too sweet. They are a great fall treat and I hope you make and enjoy them!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!!!!!! Have a safe and fun night of tricks and treats!!!

Pumpkin "Dream" Cookies...

3/4C shortening
2C brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2C flour
1 1/2t baking powder
1t cinnamon
1t nutmeg
1/2t ginger
1/2t allspice
1t vanilla
1 1/2C pureed pumpkin

Cranberry Compote...

2C fresh cranberries
1C water
1t vanilla
1t cinnamon
2T sugar

In a small saucepan combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes and set aside to cool and thicken. While the berries are cooling, continue with the cookie dough.

Combine shortening and brown sugar and whip till light and fluffy then add the egg and combine completely. Whisk dry ingredients together and add to the sugar mixture then add the pumpkin and vanilla. With a spatula, fold in the cranberry compote (which should be cooled to room temp and quite thick).

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely then frost with...

Cream Cheese Frosting...

1 package cream cheese (room temp)
2C powdered sugar
2t vanilla

Combine all ingredients then frost the yummy cookies!

*the compote can be made ahead of time. It will keep, tightly lidded, in the refrigerator for a month.

*Set out some cookies to be eaten the day you make them but keep the remaining chilled until ready to serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin

This recipe is everything deliciously warm and fall-like, it'll make you feel so comforted and it's so versatile. You can change it up and add something you'd prefer or make it new each time. I enjoy trying a different cheese each time but the cheeses below are an excellent first choice! It's a perfect appetizer, for a larger crowd, or a perfectly suitable main course, for 4.

Stuffed Pumpkin

1 3-4 pound pie (or sugar) pumpkin
3-4 slices crusty french bread (or a baguette if you like a less soggy bread)
3 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese (cubed)
1/4 pound fontina cheese (grated or cubed)
1/4 pound mild white cheddar cheese (cubed)
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs (I used oregano, basil and thyme)
1 Cup cream
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with foil. Cut a lid in the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the insides (discard). Cube the bread and toss into a large bowl along with the cheeses, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Set aside and fry the bacon to a nice crisp (not burned) then chop into small bits and add to the bread mixture. Toss all of those lovely ingredients together and pack it all into the pumpkin tightly. Leave enough room at the top to be able to fit the lid back on. Pour the cream over the mixture, slowly. Keep pouring and packing the mixture down and pouring some more until it's full but not overflowing. Place the lid on top, place the pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about one hour.

Remove and transfer to a platter. Cut into slices and serve.

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family Food Flashback

A group of local food bloggers/foodie friends got together for a baby shower last month and got to chatting about nostalgic foods from our childhood. Heidi of Foodie Crush orchestrated the "around the circle" talk and got each of us to share a food memory, mostly from our mothers, that took us back to our little girl years. For the most part, none of us had a formal, gourmet upbringing and our fondest food memories were those of pre-baked, store bought, semi-boxed foods. A lot of us were giggling and connecting over funny food flashbacks and Heidi decided it would be fun to bring all of our memories together for one big food flashback post. Here is my contribution:

I mentioned two foods. One my mom still makes at Thanksgiving and one she used to make for lunches, when I was a kid. It's hominy. She ate it as a child and we both still eat it today. I love it. My husband thinks it is one of the nastiest foods out there but it's so comforting to me. A lot of the girls at the party had no clue what hominy even was an
d a lot of them did know but had never had it the way my mom and I (and my grandma and my aunts) eat it. I can remember eating a warm, salty, puffy, buttery plate of yellow hominy with my mom,on the couch, in the house I grew up in. I know for certain where I got my love of butter and salt... my mom. You have never known a woman who loves that combination more than my mother. I think she adds food in just to make herself feel better... she could salt a stick of butter and eat it alone, I just know it! I was excited to do this post just so I could make myself hominy.

Please follow along closely as this will be difficult for you to try at home.

1 can yellow hominy
1 T butter

In a small frying pan, melt the butter. Drain the hominy and
pour the contents of the can into the hot pan. Cook for 5 minutes, salt generously and eat.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have been known to consume the entire can myself.

The second food that reminded me of my childhood and my mother but that was also so far from gourmet yet so super comforting was Sour Cream C
heesecake. My mom has been making this for years! It's a Thanksgiving staple but I remember begging her to make it other times throughout the year too. I still sneak a small sliver every Thanksgiving. The ingredients make me laugh. Truthfully, I feel like Cool Whip has to be the most horrible invention almost ever yet... here it is... shining in it's glory. Without it, there would be no Sour Cream Cheesecake. When I was little, I had to eat a slice with a huge spoonful of canned cherry pie filling smothering the top... I pass on that now and just eat the pie! I'm including a picture of my mother's recipe card. I borrowed it for this post because the card alone brings back memories and because my mother's handwriting makes both she and i (and everyone else we know) laugh.

Please check out Foodie Crush for a complete list of all the Family Food Flashbacks.