Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Extraordinaire







I'm addicted to Starbucks Pumpkin Loaf but at $2.50 per slice I don't indulge myself very often.  However, on the off chance that I happen to get sucked into what I call the the Starbucks Vortex, I almost always order a Vente, whole milk, no foam Latte with two fake sugars, to wash down my most adored confection. This indulgent little snack quickly adds up to a whooping six bucks! UGH!
 
Instead of breaking the bank on coffee and cake this week, I decided to do some recipe recon and make some pumpkin bread at home. 
 
I not only found the Ultimate Pumpkin Bread recipe, I also found a community of food enthusiasts dedicated to sharing their cooking videos at the Streaming Gourmet!
 
 
 
Amy, the blog owner of the Streaming Gourmet, has featured some gruesome Halloween Party Starters this week.  Her Jack O' Lantern Puking Guacamole recipe is sure to get the attention of your party guests!  
 
Her site is also filled with food information and hundreds of "how to" cooking videos posted by community members. 
 
Let me share Amy's discription of "How It Works".
 
Not sure what's for dinner tonight? Looking for new recipes? Want to learn new cooking techniques? Search for cooking videos you love and create your own video cookbooks by saving them to your profile page. To see video collections created by our editors and by StreamingGourmet community members, click on the Watch button. To create your own video cookbooks, click on Manage Your Playlist.
Want to share your own cooking videos with an audience passionate about food and wine? Want to increase exposure of your food blog or vlog? You can embed your cooking videos already posted elsewhere or upload them directly to StreamingGourmet. You can also upload recipes with a photograph. To start posting today, click on the
Add button.
 
Amy has graciously given me permission to share this delicious recipe with you! My Pumpkin Bread addiction has been satiated. Thank you Amy!
  
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, really soft, half melted really
  • 3 large eggs (I used 4 small)
  • 1 16 oz can of pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)



Method
  • Preheat oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. (I used a bundt pan)
  • In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached, dump in the sugar. Take the butter and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Dump it into the sugar. Add the eggs. Cream these three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.
  • In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.
  • Pour half of the batter into a one of the prepared pans (or all the batter into bundt pan). Fold the pecans into the remaining batter and then pour it into the other prepared pan.
  • Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean the top is golden (for bundt pan bake at 350 for 50 minutes .
 



Notes
Yields 2 loaves or one bundt cake.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Canning Lime Pickles



Lime Pickles are sweet and crunchy with a serious jaw dropping zing. Pickling with Lime adds a crispness to these tasty pickles that just can't be replicated by using any other method.

The process of Lime pickling is a bit time consuming but well worth the effort. When using Pickling Lime be prepared to spend 3 full days to process your recipe.



To make this recipe use Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime. Most local food markets carry the product in the baking or seasonal foods isle. The recipe for Sweet Lime Pickles can also be found on the back panel.


Lime Pickles Recipe:

7 lbs. cucumbers (Slice crosswise)
1 cup MRS. WAGES Pickling Lime
2 gallons water
8 cups distilled white vinegar, 5% acidity
8 cups sugar
1 tablespoon salt (optional)
2 teaspoons MRS. WAGES Mixed Pickling Spices


1.Slice and Soak clean cucumbers in water and lime mixture in crockery or enamel ware for 2 hours or overnight. Do not use aluminum ware.

2.Remove sliced cucumbers from lime water. Discard lime water. Rinse 3 times in fresh cold water. Soak 3 hours in fresh ice water.

3.Combine vinegar, sugar, salt and mixed pickling spices in a large pot. Bring to a low boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove syrup from heat and add sliced cucumbers. Soak 5-6 hours or overnight. If time does not permit skip step 3 and move directly to step 4.

4.Boil slices in the syrup 35 minutes. Fill sterilized jars with hot slices. Pour hot syrup over the slices, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cap each jar when filled.
If desired, food coloring can be added during this step. Separate the hot syrup in half prior to covering cucumbers, add a few drops red food coloring to half and a few drops green to the other half, stir with a wooden spoon until food coloring is well blended then pour over cooked cucumbers as directed above.


You may choose to add an additional canning project such as Pickle Eggs during the brining and soaking steps. Hard boil 1 dozen eggs, place several eggs in sterilized jars and ladle hot syrup over, process in hot water bath with pickles.





5.Process pints 10 minutes, quarts 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.


6.Test jars for airtight seals according to manufacturer’s instructions. Refrigerate unsealed jars



For detailed instructions of jar sterilization and canning preparation click HERE

recipe source: mrswages.com

All Photos by At Home with Rebecka


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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Idaho Potato Bacon and Cheddar Soup & Rutabaga Votives


Now that the weather has turned I'm pulling out all my Fall favorite recipes.  Soup has top billing at my house this time of year! My family is always eager to gobble up a warm bread bowl filled with Idaho Potato Bacon and Cheddar Soup.

Recipe

6 cups Idaho potatoes
6 cups cold water
3 tablespoons chicken base
1/2 pound bacon
2 tablespoon bacon fat
1 large white onion
2 bay leaf
5 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup table cream
salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

4-6 small round bread

Method

Brown rough chopped bacon in a heavy bottom stock pot on medium high heat until crisp, remove cooked bacon and set aside, drain excess fat from pan leaving about 2 tablespoons to saute onions.  Cook chopped onion until translucent, add cold water, chicken base, bay leaf and chopped potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add salt and pepper to taste. 

Cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, gently mash potatoes with a potato masher to thicken soup making sure to leave about half of the potatoes chunky. 

Reduce heat to low, add table cream and 5 cups cheese, reserve 1/2 cup for garnish and stir until cheese has melted, do not boil.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Cut a hole in the top of the bread rounds, set topper aside, create a reservoir in the bread round by pinching out the soft center, leaving a 1/12 inch thickness. 



Ladle hot soup into bread bowls and garnish with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serves 6







I've also added a little crafting project to this post inspired by Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Votive Holders and  Apple Votive Holders.   Simple to make and elegant to behold Rutabaga Votive have a natural beauty that will add a new twist to your Holiday table. 

To make

Using a melon ball-er, carve out a well in the center of the root end of the rutabaga, if the bottom of the vegetable is uneven use a sharp knife to create a flat bottom.  Fill with votive candles. Optional, carve a deeper well leaving a very thin layer of rutabaga.  This will create a glowing candle. 


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Soup and Awards





This is a highly classified recipe, so much so, that the only recipe known to man is locked away in the mind of my friend, Chef Joe.

Joe is the executive Chef at Brooks Place Tavern, the restaurant where I'm currently employed. I call Chef Joe the "Soup Dude", because he is a stellar soup creator.  His other foods are extremely good but the gift for soup making runs deep in his soul. 


I've asked Joe for several of his famous soup recipes only to be denied! Pfft!  Really, the nerve of the guy! As a home cook and food blogger I can't help but share my recipes with the world.  On the other hand, I can understand Joe's unwillingness to divulge his secret recipes for fear of being copied and used by a competitor! I guess I'll have to cut him a little slack...this time!

Joe's Pumpkin Pie Soup is the bomb!  The very first time I tried a taste, the flavors literally moved me to tears.  Leave it to me to get all verklempt over a bowl of soup. The rich pumpkin flavor balanced by the pumpkin pie seasoning and savory base is pure nirvana!  What I wouldn't give for a bowl of that hot, creamy heaven! So, what am I to do without the recipe? 

There's a simple answer to that question.  My passion for recreating dishes that evoke sweet memories is what this blog is all about. 

Here's my version of Chef Joe's Pumpkin Pie Soup, I hope it brings as much joy to you as it has to me!




Pumpkin Pie Soup

serves 6

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
45 ounces canned pumpkin
1/2 cup white onion
1/2 cup carrot
1/4 cup celery
2 teaspoons chicken base (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
4 cups water
1 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cups granulated sugar

Roughly chop onion, carrot, and celery, add vegetable oil to a heavy bottom 5 quart stock pot, cook vegetables on medium high heat, until onions are translucent, do not brown. Season with salt and pepper

Add water, apple cider and chicken base to vegetables, stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Lower heat to medium and add canned pumpkin and spices, stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes more. 

Remove from heat and blend ingredients with a immersion hand held blender until mixture is smooth, return to heat

Reduce heat to low and return stock pot to stove top, add heavy cream and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with ginger snaps or graham crackers and a dollop of whipped cream.

Enjoy your bowl of this hot liquid heaven!

AWARDS:




These beautiful Awards were past on to me by Biren at Roti and Rice.  I've learned so much about food blogging and all that goes with it from Biren.  She is a master food blogger, stylist and food photographer.  Thank you Biren for bestowing me with the honor! 

As part of the awards presentation I'm to share 7  things about myself and then pass the awards onto 15 of my favorite blogger friends...so here it goes!

1. I will eat just about anything you set in front of me.
2. I won't eat cooked raisins, goat cheese or lamb.
3. I want to be a snowbird; living on the Florida Gulf Coast in the Winter months and in the Colorado Rocky Mountains in the Summer months.  Guess I need a better job!
4. I'm a food competitor junkie!
5. I adore my French Press coffee maker!
6. I also adore my newest kitchen gadget; Cuisinart coffee grinder. I purchased it for $1.75 using my Kohls' coupons.
7. I have a small addiction to makeup and hair products.


My Top 15

1. Gloria's Blog Viva La Vida
2. Shirely's Luxury Haven
3. Crafty and Cooking Momma
4. CW's Cafe Today
5. kitchen flavors
6. Krakilette
7. Mommy Blog Designs
8. Jade Louise Designs
9. My Dish Washer's Possessed
10. Rate the Plate Utah
11. Not Your Ordinary Recipes
12. Icing and Crumbs
13.Cravings of a Lunatic
14. My Nuggets of Truth
15.Hoopfinity's Happenings

This recipe is being linked to
Friday Shout Out Pumpkin Blog Hop
Tablescapes Seasonal Sundays

My Meatless Mondays

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Guest Post Challenge-Margs for Mommy's Meat Loaf

Margs for Mommy's Kid Friendly Meat Loaf Recipe

I've just joined a wonderful online community called voiceBoks.  It's a meeting place for moms doing the blog thing! All genres of blogging are represented in this invitation only group.

Last week while looking through the voiceBoks forum, one very funny mom caught my eye. Andrea from Margs for Mommy.  Andreas blog is filled with humorous anecdotes from her everyday life of mommy-dom.  Genius at drawing humor from life's particularly stressful moments, Andrea is a breath of fresh air! 

I know you'll enjoy Andrea's humor as much as I do  so stop by her blog for a visit and make sure to leave a comment letting her know you were there!  



I have to be honest, when Rebecka asked me to guest post a story about a child friendly recipe my first response was, “you know I don’t cook right?”  Literally just three weeks ago I made a tomato zucchini soup neither my husband nor my son would touch.  It was that night that I declared I was retiring my apron.  But Rebecka was smart with her request and threw in the phrase “I challenge you.”  Well I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge, so back to my recipe stash I went!

Oddly enough for someone who hates to cook, I absolutely LOVE to find recipes I’d like to try.  Try eating that is, not cooking.  I have a shelf full of cookbooks and three foodie magazine subscriptions that I am constantly pulling ideas from to hand over to my husband.  Luckily he actually enjoys cooking and is quite good at it.  Which is a good thing, otherwise our children would be growing up solely on chicken nuggets and pizza.

So for my challenge I hit the latest issue of Cooking Light and pulled out a “kid-friendly” meat loaf recipe which you can find below.   I got home from work early enough to get the onion cutting and cooking out of the way before my husband showed up with the kids.  There is nothing more frustrating that trying to cut and cook with two kids crawling under your feet.
Upon their arrival I was moving on to the assembly of my ingredients in the mixing bowl.  My 3-year old son Jackson immediately ran to get his stool so that he could help. I literally turned around from grabbing the ketchup just in time to find his daycare covered hands on their way into the bowl to “help.”  One scream, scoop up, and hand wash later we were back in business!
I did the mold onto the baking pan and then let Jackson do the final ketchup topping.  He had a ball making lines and circles and basically a big mess.  Then off in the oven our little creation went!
Dinner was served with a side of applesauce and potato salad (store bought of course, I can only take a challenge so far).  Upon his first bite of meatloaf Jackson exclaimed, “this is really yummy mommy.”  Upon my husband’s first bite of meatloaf he exclaimed, “good job honey, this is great.”  And upon my first bite of meatloaf I exclaimed, “how utterly boring.”  But hey, it worked!  And guess who is having leftovers tonight!


Ingredients



Cooking spray

1/2 cup chopped onion

6 tablespoons ketchup, divided

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound ground sirloin

1 large egg white

Preheat oven to 350°

   Method


Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion to pan; cook 6 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Combine onion, 3 tablespoons ketchup, and remaining ingredients in a bowl, and gently stir just until combined.


Place meat mixture on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; shape into an 8 x 4-inch loaf. Brush top of loaf with remaining 3 tablespoons ketchup. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160°. Let stand 10 minutes; cut into 8 slices.
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Acorn Squash Slaw...YUM!




Acorn Squash Slaw

This past week I had the pleasure of dinning with my mother at the Mount Vernon Country Club in Golden Colorado.  The Country Club has been around for decades and serves one of the finest brunch buffets is in the Denver area. Our brunch was laden with hot and cold dishes, most of which I enjoyed however, one particular bowl on the salad table caught my eye. 

The salad was so visually appealing with its bright orange shredded "something" served in a large silver bowl, dotted with dark cherry craisins.  The look of it made my mouth water with anticipation.  I asked myself if this slaw could be shredded papaya?  The color was right but the texture was all wrong.  The shreds had a crisp crunch and delicate flavor that I couldn't distinguish.  I have a pretty good palate but was stumped after eating my first helping!  I finally gave up guessing and asked the wait person for the ingredients.  She told me that the shreds were made form Acorn Squash and dressed with a light vinaigrette.  I was really surprised I was eating raw acorn squash and it was delicious! 

My cooking experiences with acorn squash has been limited to just a few recipes. I've prepared them baked with brown sugar and butter or pan fried with sea salt and sage, but I've never tried acorn squash raw.

One of the best things about buffets is that you get to go back for seconds, I found myself going back for thirds.  I've tried to recreate the recipe with relatively good success.  I used Green Acorn Squash in my recipe but found the color to be a bit more pale than the restaurant version.  My dressing turned out a bit more tangy but suited my taste beautifully. 

Acorn Squash Slaw
1 large Acorn Squash (any variety)

2 tablespoons scallions, white part only
3/4 cups rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2  tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup craisins


 
Method
Cut acorn squash in half and remove seeds, remove green skin with a vegetable peeler, from stem to stem, cut into thirds or fourths, this way the shreds will be a little longer and texture less like coleslaw.

Using a food processor, using the shredder attachment, process pieces in batches, place shreds in a large mixing bowl sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, reserving the other 1/2 tablespoon for the dressing.

Vinaigrette
Using a food processor blend together scallions, vinegar, water, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, olive oil, and sugars until emulsified, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Pour dressing over shredded squash, add craisins and toss to combine.  Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving.

This year my Holiday table will be dressed with a beautifully delicious side dish!






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Saturday, October 1, 2011

I'm the Featured Guest on "Saturday Spotlight"!





A special big thanks to my friend Jenny at Rate the Plate Utah for featuring At Home with Rebecka on her blogs, Saturday Spotlight! Jenny's blog is a wonderful place to stop and stay a while.

You might just find yourself being tempted by one of her great Giveaways such as, one of the most delicious Goats Milk-Caramel Sauces around. Not to mention, it's made by one of my favorite Artisans The Fat Toad Farm. Jenny's blog lists several Utah eateries where a diner can eat for less, food reviews as well as so much more!


Stop by Jenny's blog to check it out and don't forget to leave a sweet comment for this lovely lady, just to let her know you stopped by from my place!


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