Archive | October, 2012

Everything in Moderation: “Pumpkin” Pie and More!

19 Oct

As a follow-up to my Thanksgiving entry, today I bring you a guest post from my friend Jacalyn who has graciously agreed to share her mom’s squash pie recipe.  I guarantee you will not be disappointed!

I was asked by a reader of this blog to post my Mom’s deliciously rich “pumpkin” pie recipe.  As you read from the last blog post, the pie was actually made with squash, not pumpkin.  Let’s face it, Squash Pie doesn’t sound as appealing.  Why squash?  Well, squash is much richer in flavour than pumpkin.

This photo hardly does the squash pie justice!

Not a crumb of pie left on anyone’s plate… enough said.

After telling my Mom that her pie recipe went down a treat at Lisa’s Thanksgiving dinner party and that someone on Lisa’s blog wanted the recipe, she was thrilled and more than happy to share it with you all.  In fact, she was so excited that she headed with great gusto to her recipe cupboard and pulled out my Great Grandma Goodwin’s (circa 1890) “pumpkin” cookie recipe and said “give them this recipe too!”  So, below are two very simple but much loved recipes from the Goodwin household. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: These recipes have not been modified to be healthier…but remember everything in moderation.  In other words, don’t eat the whole pie in one sitting!

“Pumpkin” (aka Squash) Cookies

 

“Pumpkin” Pie 

1 cup cooked squash
(a drier squash is preferred such as a Hubbard or Buttercup)
¾ cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
3 small or 2 large eggs
¾ cup milk (2%)
¾ cup evaporated milk (or 18% cream)
2 heaped tsp of pumpkin spice
(mixture of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger)
¼ tsp salt

1 unbaked pastry shell
Whipped cream

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Combine all pie filling ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into uncooked pastry shell.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes (this cooks the pastry); then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until centre is set.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream.

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Deliciously Soft “Pumpkin” Cookies

Wet ingredients
1 ¼ cups of brown sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
½ cup cooked squash
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
2 ½ cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 ½ tsp of pumpkin spice
(or use a mixture of ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon)
1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 335 degrees Fahrenheit (convection oven) or 345 degrees Fahrenheit (conventional oven).  In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, butter and eggs.
  2. Add squash, lemon juice, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Add dry ingredients to squash mixture and mix until all ingredients are well combined; mix in raisins.
  4. Drop “pumpkin” batter from a teaspoon onto greased baking sheet.  Bake for 11 minutes or until just turning brown on bottom (will continue to cook when you remove from oven).

Makes approximately 2 ½ dozen cookies.

   

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Giving Thanks for Friends, Family, and Food

8 Oct

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve always told my mom that I have no interest in voluntarily sticking my arm up a turkey’s butt and that she would be in charge of turkey dinners for as long as she lives.  Yet for reasons unbeknownst to me, this year I was filled with the desire to stuff and cook a turkey for some of my dearest friends.

The centrepiece: a pseudo-cornucopia filled with gourds and apples

Wanting to avoid the last minute rush that often comes with a big dinner, I scoured the Internet for make-ahead recipes that would allow me to relax and enjoy my company.  I was pleased with how well they turned out and how calm I felt all day.  The most popular dish was the cheesy mashed potatoes, which were cooked the day before and re-heated in the crock pot while the turkey was in the oven.  Personally, my favourite component of the turkey dinner was the cranberry sauce (with the stuffing coming a very close second).  While I grew up eating the canned variety, I’ve learned that homemade cranberry sauce is marginally cheaper and tastes a whole lot better.  The best part: I’m able to control how much sugar is added.

I started with one bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of orange juice, 1/3 cup of sugar (opposed to the 1 cup that most recipes call for), and a pinch of cinnamon.  The resulting sauce was fairly tart so E insisted on a touch more sugar.  Since the cranberries had already cooked down, I added sweetness in the form of maple syrup to avoid leaving any sugar undissolved.  The final product had that hint of tartness characteristic of cranberry with the warm flavours of orange and cinnamon subtly shining through.

Easily eaten by the spoonful!

Even better than my cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mashed potatoes combined?  The homemade hubbard squash pie brought over by Jacalyn.  It was my first time having squash pie and it tasted identical to pumpkin pie.  The crust was perfectly flaky and the filling was much richer than you’d ever get with canned pumpkin (or squash).

Remnants of Jacalyn’s fabulous squash pie

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey is merely a vehicle for Cranberry sauce

 

Cranberry Sauce with Orange and a hint of Cinnamon

1 package (12 oz/340 g) fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
Dash of cinnamon (approx 1/4 tsp)
2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Combine orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, add cranberries, cinnamon, and maple syrup and return to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool completely at room temperature.  Refrigerate before serving.

Makes 2-1/4 cups.  Per 2 tbsp serving: 37 kcal, 9 g CHO, 1 g fibre.

Mission Accomplished: the “Gala”-ctic Apple Frittata

1 Oct

It’s been a very exciting couple of weeks for me with adventures that have all shockingly(!) revolved around food.

The first exciting outing was a trip to the Ontario Food Terminal.  Last Saturday, for the first time in history, the terminal opened its doors to the public.  I’ve always dreamed of setting foot inside the terminal, curious to see the inner workings of the place that houses all of the produce that eventually makes its way onto our grocery store shelves.  The day did not disappoint: there were tours, cooking demonstrations, ample opportunities to chat with vendors, and free food.  I was on cloud nine!

My second thrill was being served dinner by Lynn Crawford (of Food Network fame).  When I booked E’s birthday dinner at her restaurant, I secretly hoped we would catch a glimpse of her but never expected that she would be waiting on us: filling our glasses with water and delivering our main course and dessert.  She described the food with the same enthusiasm that she does on TV.  It was totally surreal.

Finally, for the past two weeks I’ve been partaking in weekly ‘Food Missions for Food Lovers’ organized by the National Post newspaper.  I’ve been published in the paper both weeks, and I even got my own ‘Gastrosketch’ last week (sadly, cartoon Lisa appears to have a mustache).

Mission #17: Your Favourite Food

Mission #18: Taste Something New

This week’s challenge is to eat something with apples.  Challenge?!  Ha.  Apples just happen to be one of my favourite foods and they’ve made it into several recipes that I’ve posted on my blog since its inception.  Wanting to do something a little bit different, I decided on a frittata recipe that combines vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, and jicama… again!) and fruit (apples).  The result is a very hearty, satisfying dish with a delicate balance of savory and sweet.  It was a bit of a pain to prepare so I’ve included some tips that may (or may not) make the process less aggravating.

Don’t be alarmed, the purple flecks are from an heirloom carrot

 

Stovetop Potato & Apple Frittata
(from Clean Eating magazine, January 2011)

3/4 lb Idaho or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
3 tsp olive oil, divided
4 eggs
4 egg whites
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2 stalks celery, minced, leaves reserved and minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 c peeled and grated jicama, placed into a bowl of cold water to prevent it from browning
1 large firm Gala or Fuji apple, unpeeled
1/2 Spanish onion, sliced into thin rounds

 

  1. Thinly slice potatoes by cutting them in half, placing them flat side down on a cutting board, and then using a very sharp knife to make thin, even slices. As you finish cutting the potato halves, push the slices back together to prevent them from browning.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a 10 or 12 inch thick bottomed nonstick pan over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add potatoes in a thin layer, so each slice is touching pan’s surface. Cook potatoes undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip each slice over and cook for another 4 minutes. (The edges will brown and the centers will be nearly translucent when done). Work in batches, if necessary, placing each round of cooked potatoes on a cool plate and setting them aside. [Lisa’s aside: it would have taken me 5+ batches to get all of the potatoes cooked using this method.  I ended up microwaving the sliced potatoes in a dish with a bit of water (in 2 batches), then I quickly browned the potatoes in the pan to remove some of the moisture]
  3. Meanwhile, crack eggs and egg whites into a large bowl and break up yolks with a fork. Stir in carrots, celery stalk, and salt. Squeeze water out of jicama and stir jicama into egg mixture.
  4. While last batch of potatoes is cooking, thinly slice apple. Transfer final batch of potatoes onto a cool plate and set aside. Then add 1 tsp oil, apple, and onion to same pan used to cook potatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apple and onion slices are nearly translucent.
  5. Add potatoes to egg mixture then stir in apple and onion. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to same pan, pour in egg mixture and cover. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until edges brown and begin to pull away from pan. As you’re cooking frittata, slip a heat proof spatula around its sides once or twice and jiggle pan to make sure frittata isn’t sticking. Invert frittata by removing the pan from the heat, placing a large plate over the pan, and flipping frittata onto the plate. Slide frittata back into pan, uncooked side down, and cook, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. Slide frittata back into pan and onto serving plate. Garnish with reserved celery leaves.  [The frittata was way too massive and heavy to flip… plus, I’m not that skilled!  Instead, I cooked the frittata with a lid to help steam the top]
Makes 4 servings.  Per serving: 246 kcal, 8 g fat (2 g saturated), 30 g CHO, 5 g fibre, 13 g protein, 422 mg sodium.