Friday, August 21, 2015

Curried Pumpkin and Corn Soup with Rice and Sausage

Winter is coming... that means time to take out all that delicious pumpkin purée you've been saving up in the fridge and make room for what's coming this season. Delicious, quick, simple soup.

Curried Pumpkin and Corn Soup with Rice and Sausage
adapted from Not Quite Nigella
makes large stock pot batch

4 sweet Italian sausages
6 oz. beer 900-1000 grams pumpkin purée
12 cups stock (I used 1/2 veggie 1/2 chicken)
8-9 ears of corn 
2 cups dry rice
2 Tbs. curry powder
3/4 cup cream

1. In a large stock pot, combine puree, stock, corn, rice, and curry powder. Bring to a simmer while you cook sausages.
2. Bring a cast iron pan to medium-high heat. Add sausages and beer, and cover with a lid. Leave for 5-10 minutes, until the browns start to bottom. Then turn sausages in pan, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until other side has browned.
3. Pour beer juices in stock pot, and brown sausages in pan for 2-3 minutes until well browned. Carefully chop up into medium-sized pieces then add to pot. Simmer for another 5 minutes to let the flavors combine.
4. Take soup off heat, and stir in cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sweet Zucchini Bread

So, our little garden has been over flowing with food. Particularly zucchini. You comb through the garden, see a cute baby zucchini like the ones they have in France, then 2 days later BOOM. Mega zucchini taking you by storm. We've had counter tops filled with the stuff, and it's been an on going battle to beat them down into submission. This is one of the recipes that helped fight the good fight.

Sweet Zucchini Bread
from Peachy Hill

2.5 cups flour
2.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

4 cups zucchini, shredded and drained
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cups milk
6 Tbs. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Prepare shredded zucchini by placing in thin layer in a colander over the sink. Let drain for 20-30 minutes. Then squeezing out as much moisture as you can by hand, by taking a small handful of shredded zucchini and wringing it hard over the drain with your hands. Place into a large mixing bowl after zucchini has been wrung out.
2. Pre-heat oven to 375F, and lighly butter a 9"x5" loaf pan.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flower, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. In the large zucchini bowl, combine sugars, eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
5. Toast the pecans in a skillet on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Chop coarsely if needed, then add to flower bowl.
6. Pour flower mixture into zucchini and stir until just combined.
7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes; until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool for 10 minutes in pan, then place on wire rack. Wrap to store or place in air-tight container.

Almond stuffed chocolate covered dates

Hey all!

It's been a long time. I'll be honest: I've been busy. Completely renovating a humongous century home with your friends, being fought tooth and nail by your mother, working full time in tech, doing grad school in the evenings, and throwing yourself fully into a relationship with your Canadian lover keeps a gal busy.

BUT! Somehow, I'm developing a rhythm in the chaos and I'm starting to get back into one of my favorite things: cooking! I'll have to update my profile, as I'm no longer a vegetarian (!!!) After 10 years of commitment, the hectic-ness of my life and the physical labor involved with renovations tipped me over the edge into eating for my new life style. I hope to soon find the balance between meat and veg, but that's something I'm working on.

At work, I've been part of project room, so there's been 7-9 of us in this interior meeting room that's been converted for the purposes of this project, for the last 6 months or so. We have a snack table, and one of my Indian co-workers brought in pitted dates. Folks tried them, but many decided they didn't like dates. For many, it was their first exposure to them! So, I asked him if it was alright for me to bring them home and bring date-products back that perhaps people would like more. He was fine with it, so voila! The first of several date recipes. This one was a hit; every single person said they liked it, even those who said they didn't like dates. #win

Almond stuffed chocolate covered dates

12-15 dates, pitted
12-15 almonds (raw or toasted)
1 chocolate bar (I recommend dark, but I happened to have milk on hand)

1. Break up the chocolate into a bowl. Microwave until melted, stopping every 10 seconds to stir and check.
2. Prepare a platter with wax paper.
3. Slip an almond into each date.
4. Using a fork, drop a almond-stuffed date into the melted chocolate, roll around in the bowl until well coated in chocolate, then place on wax paper. Repeat with all remaining almond stuffed dates.
5. Place plate in refrigerator for at least an hour until chocolate is set. Serve.