Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Leftover Shmeftovers

It's been a while, I know. Life at the Locavore house is gearing up for the big event in less than two weeks and we're all pretty excited. The freezers are stocked to the gills with lots of ready made food, like soups, stews and lasagnas. The preserve cabinet is "jam" packed and we've got a ton of frozen fruit to see us through the winter.

So while I get a gold star for food preparation, my cooking mojo has been completely thrown off and I've had very little to show for anything remotely interesting or blog worthy. Most of my savoury dishes are Too much seasoning, not enough seasoning or not the right kind of seasoning. We'll all eating it and enjoying it for the most part, but rarely am I making something that is making us sit up and take notice.

Except sweets. My baking can do no wrong. These last few weeks have left me hankering for all manner of sweets and I partially wonder if it's my body's way at grasping quick sources of energy. Either way, we've been plowing through chocolate zucchini loaves, muffins, cakes, you name it. It's the kind of food that should be enjoyed in moderation, not 2-3 times a day like I have been. Note to self: back AWAY from the sweets!

So while I try to curb my love of homey, comforting baked treats, I finally managed to make something really delicious that incorporated a fair amount of local food items and was a lovely treat that was a breeze to prepare.

Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup
I take absolutely no credit in the recipe, as I followed it almost to the letter from this blog: Baked Alaska.

As you may remember, I'm a sucker for a great local chicken and can justify the expense by turning it into everything under the sun, like Lemon Chicken Leek and Potato Soup or Fiesta Chicken Bean and Rice Soup and even Cock-A-Leekie. This soup incorporated some homemade chicken stock, the meat from the roast chicken, local onions and garlic, Atlantic produced bean sprouts, my neighbours green onions, Canadian grown red pepper and an admittedly good smattering of very non-local ingredients like coconut milk, limes and cilantro.

It's spicy, flavourful and perfect for our cold nights. Plus, you feel like a rockstar for making something so exotic in such a short period of time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Season

I'm not sure what it is about pumpkins this year, but I'm all over the recipes I see floating around, like Dates and Quinces incredible Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze. Pumpkin is cheap and versatile and is one of the few food items that can span the range of savoury to sweet with ease.

While pumpkin is easy to dolly up, there's nothing better than your traditional Pumpkin Pie to usher in cooler weather.

Pumpkin Pie with Brandied Caramel Sauce

I think the tastiest pies comes from freshly roasted pumpkins, so like to roast up a bunch at a time, puree them in the food processor and let them sit in a fine mesh sieve for about an hour. Anything I don't use gets frozen. The crust is a special gluten free crust from Land O Lakes but any pie crust will do.

The pie filling was super delicious and made two 9" pies (not deep dish) and went like this:

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 eggs
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 can of evaporated milk (12 oz)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves

Combine all ingredients and pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook 45 minutes until pumpkin has set and is cooked through.

Brandied Caramel Sauce
Taken directly from the now defunct Harrowsmith Country Life, December 2007

1 cup white sugar
3 tbsp cold water
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla (I used ground vanilla bean)
2 tbsp brandy

Place the sugar and water in a small pot over medium-high heat and bring to a full boil. Watch carefully and remove from heat once the sugar mixture has turned amber. Pour in cream and reduce heat to low and stir until completely smooth. Remove from heat and add vanilla and brandy. Store refigerated until ready to serve. This sauce was unbelievably good and we kept wishing we could attack a bowl of it with just a spoon.


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