13 Comments

Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup with Nutmeg, Homemade Crispy Baked Beet Chips, and Dry Apricot-Hazelnut Bread

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This picture-perfect, crusty loaf will satisfy both the novice and the experienced baker. Use it for breakfast toast or sandwiches.

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Ingredients for apricot-hazelnut bread: 
  • 300 ml mineral water
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shelled and roasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup dry apricots, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 cups bread flour (min 12% protein)
  • 1/2 cup rye flour

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Direction for apricot-hazelnut bread:
Mix the yeast with the brown sugar, add a bit of water and two tablespoons of flour, stir thoroughly, leave for 10 min. Add in the rest of the water and mix well. Adding gradually the flour make a dough, add the salt, dry apricots and roasted hazelnuts at the end. Knead the dough for 5 min, shape into a ball, dust thoroughly with the flour and leave to rise covered in a container for 1 hour. Shape the bread into a loaf of any form, generously sprinkle with the flour and transfer the loaf onto a baking paper. Cover with the kitchen towel and leave for 30 min.
Preheat the oven together with the baking tray to 420F. Score the loaf, using a sharp knife at a 45° angle. Bake for 5 min, reduce the heat to 400F, and bake for 35 min. Switch off the oven, transfer the bread on a grid and keep it in the oven for 10-15 min, leaving the oven door ajar.
Take the bread out of the oven and cool down completely on a wire rack.

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As colorful as it is good to eat, soup is sure winner, whether for midweek family supper or a dinner - party first course. A delicious soup that makes the most of freshly picked apples.
Ingredients for roasted sweet potato and apple soup:
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 leeks, sliced thinly
  • 1 large carrot, sliced thinly
  • 1 lb 5 oz/600 g sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large apples, peeled and diced
  • 5 cups broth
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup light cream
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh chives or cilantro, to garnish

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Directions for soup:
Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
In a bowl, combine the carrots, sweet potatoes, apples, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until the carrots are tender and golden around the edges, 35 to 40 minutes.

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In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring, until tender 5 to 10 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, broth, nutmeg and bring to a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Using a blender, food processor or stick blender, puree the soup, then pass it through a chinois. Return the soup to the pot add cream and season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish each serving with a cilantro sprig and the beet chips.
Serve immediately.

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Ingredients for beet chips:
  • 1-2 beets, large, scrubbed clean
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • salt, to taste
Directions for beet chips:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Using the slicing blade of your food processor, a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice beets thinly. You want them to be the size of a potato chip.
Spread evenly on a cookie sheet, spray with nonstick spray and season with salt.
Roast about 2 hours, turning halfway through, until crisp. Check often to make sure they don't burn. you may need to roast for a shorter or longer period of time depending on your oven and how crisp you want them - so keep an eye on them -)

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17 Comments

Decorated Pumpkins Contest and Chocolate Rice Crispies

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Every year our Town has the “Paint Our Town” competition. Last year my daughter and I entered for window painting. We were assigned a big window in one of the restaurants. We liked our idea: we invented a new character, the Tree-Cula, a big happy tree with a cape and Dracula teeth. Our Tree-Cula turned out very funny and very nice. We did such a great job and had lots of fun. Although we did not win anything, our experience was wonderful.

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This year we decided to do something different, and we entered  the “Decorating Pumpkin” contest. One of the rules was not to carve our pumpkins. My husband gave us the idea about how to do the snow man, and we liked that-))
Three white pumpkins were carefully collected from our local Styer Orchard farm. We worked diligently and every day came up with new ideas for the decoration. After a week of creative work I proudly can show you our splendid results.

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Although, our pumpkins were white in the beginning, we gave them a little color for a rustic effect. The bottom one we decorated with fallen leaves from our backyard, the tummy piece with apples that we cut from the fabric I have. We found wild pecan nuts in the park and converted them into buttons for our snow man. The nose is a stem from the middle pumpkin, and an old lamp shade was turned into the hat. When the snow man was done we decided to call him Fall-Man, after all he is made from pumpkins and has a scarecrow on his head.
Enjoy!

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For more photos visit Newtown Window Painting 2011

After a hard work and lots of fun we treated ourselves with the Crunchy Chocolate Rice Crispies.
Kids love to make them, specially round them with a coconut oil hands-)))

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Ingredients:
  •  8 tbsp (4 oz, 120 g) unsalted butter
  •  1/3 cup (32 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  •  Two 10-oz bags (565g) mini marshmallows
  •  10 cups (300 g) crisp rice cereal
  •  ¾ cup (150 g) semisweet mini chocolate chips
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Preparations:
Combine the butter and cocoa powder in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Let the butter melt, and stir so that the mixture is well combined. Add the marshmallows and let them melt completely.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rice cereal.

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When it is well coated in the marshmallow mixture, stir in half the chocolate chips. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
Let cool to room temperature.

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Oil your hands with coconut oil, and shape some of the cereal mixture into a ball the size of a golf ball (1.68-inch, to be exact). Using an ice cream scoop for measuring helps to achieve the uniform size of the balls. Place the ball on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining mixture. Let the balls set, then store them in an air-tight container in a dry, cool environment for up to 3 days. If you like you may refrigerate them, they will harden. I like them that way.
What are you eating these days?

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10 Comments

Cashew, Coconut and Butternut Squash Curry Stew and Basmati Rice

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From Sunset October 2011

I love pumpkin, so October’s festivities always provide me with an excellent reason to make as many dishes from it as possible! Cream of Butternut Squash Soup, Roasted Pumpkin with honey, Pumpkin Jam--you name it. Butternut Squash Curry Stew and Basmati Rice are the best recipes ever for the month of Hallows Eve. Creamy Coconut Sauce mixed with a variety of different spices, cashew nuts, and squash melts on the tongue, delighting it with sublime flavor. Here you will find the original version. When I make it, however, I add dry curry instead of the curry leaves--an innovation that has worked fine for me.  I also added cilantro as a garnish for color and extra flavor. Happy Autumn everyone!

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Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ qts. peeled, 1 ½ in. chunks pumpkin or other orange-fleshed squash (from a 3-lb. squash)
  • About 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 onion halved and cut into half moons
  • 1or2 red or green Serrano chiles, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2 ½ in. long)
  • 20 fresh curry leaves or 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. each turmeric and cumin seeds
  • 1 cup salted roasted cashews
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Steamed basmati rice
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Directions:
Sprinkle pumpkin with ½ tsp. salt. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown half the pumpkin in oil, turning once, 6to8 minutes; reduce heat if pumpkin starts to get dark. Transfer into bowl and repeat with1 tbsp. oil and remaining pumpkin.

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Heat remaining 1 tbsp. oil meanwhile in another large frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until deep golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer half to the nonstick frying pan and reserve other half to bowl.

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Add chiles , cinnamon, and curry leaves to onion in pan. Cook, stirring often, until curry leaves are very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, and remaining ½ tsp. salt and cook, stirring until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

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Return pumpkin to nonstick frying pan (with onion) and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat, then simmer until pumpkin is tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in cashews and lemon juice, and add more salt to taste. Top curry with reserved onion and serve with rice.

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16 Comments

Wonderful Autumn Preserves: Candied Pumpkin in Syrup with Cinnamon, Pickled Pumpkin and Pickled Beets

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Ingredients for the candied pumpkin in syrup with cinnamon:
  • 1 3/4 pounds sugar pumpkin, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp spice clove
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 2 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • cinnamon sticks
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Directions for the candied pumpkin in syrup with cinnamon:
Soak pumpkin overnight water, (water should cover pumpkin).
The next day, remove pumpkin from water
Bring water, granulated sugar, cinnamon stick, spice clove and honey to a boil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add pumpkin and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer pumpkin, covered, until tender but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pumpkin to a bowl using a slotted spoon, then boil syrup until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, 5 to 8 minutes.

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By: Elin Gottschalk

Pickled pumpkin is a holiday tradition waiting to happen! Diced pumpkin is pickled overnight in vinegar with sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Use 1 cup of water along with the vinegar for a milder flavor. The longer the pickled pumpkin is stored before serving, the better it tastes. Rescue all those poor Halloween pumpkins by doubling or tripling the recipe for pickled pumpkin throughout the holidays.


Ingredients for the pickled pumpkin: 
 
  • 4 pounds peeled and diced pumpkin
  • 5 cups white sugar
  • 5 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 15 whole cloves
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Directions the pickled pumpkin:
Place the pumpkin in a large, deep bowl.
In a large saucepan, mix the sugar, vinegar, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Boil 5 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the pumpkin in the bowl. Cover and set aside 8 hours, or overnight.
Strain the liquid into a large saucepan. Boil 5 minutes. Remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves, leaving a few bits for decoration. Place the pumpkin back into the liquid and return to boiling. Boil 5 minutes, or until pumpkin is transparent but crisp. Allow the mixture to cool. Transfer to sterile jars
and refrigerate.

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From The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard.

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Ingredients for the pickled beets:
  • 10 -15 small beets
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup small whole onions, peeled
  • 2 tsp pickling salt
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
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Directions for the pickled beets:
In a large pot of water simmer beets for 25 to 40 minutes or until they are tender. Drain, rinse beets and remove skins. If your beets are very large, cut them into halves or quarters.
Combine vinegar, sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, remove jars from canner and divide onions and seeds equally among the jars. Add beets.
Pour boiling liquid over beets, seal and process for 30 minutes for pint jars and 35 minutes for quart jars.

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10 Comments

Pumpkin (Blue Hubbard) Jam with Raisins and Vanilla Bean over Multigrain Pancakes with Wild Pecan Nuts

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The jam has a beautiful bright yellow colour. You can have it on pancakes, and it's also great spread of a slice of toast, or served as a condiment with some grilled meat.

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Blue Hubbard
Described as a "starchy, dry, thick, flaky, floury, melting, nutty and fine-textured winter squash.....with brilliant orange flesh".

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This squash was likely used by your great grandmother and is a fall tradition in New England.
 
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Ingredients:
  • 5 pounds Blue Hubbard
  • 2 1/2 pounds sugar
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 pound raisins
  • 2 lemons (optional)
  • vanilla bean
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Directions:
Pare squash. Remove seeds and cut pulp into small cubes or shred it.

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Add sugar and water. Stir well, and allow to stand overnight.

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Two lemons, sliced thinly, may be added. I made with vanilla bean  this time.
Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until the squash is tender and clear.

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6 Comments

Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Homemade Croutons and Boiled Egg

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Creamy in texture and buttery in flavor, cauliflower soup makes an elegant beginning to a holiday feast. If you wish, garnish the soup with homemade croutons, which are simple to prepare: Toss small cubes of day-old bread with a little extra-virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange them on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a 300°F oven until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
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Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks, white portion only rinsed well
  • 1 head cauliflower, outer leaves and stalks removed and florets separated into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock, or canned broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. finely ground toasted coriander seeds
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • herbs for garnish
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Directions:
In a large soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring constantly, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the stock, cream, bay leaf and coriander, bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

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Using a stick blender, puree the soup directly in the pot until it is very smooth and creamy. Alternatively, using a food processor, puree the soup in batches. Press the soup through a chinois or other fine-mesh sieve set over a clean saucepan or soup pot. Season with salt and white pepper. Keep the soup warm over low heat until ready to serve.
Ladle the soup into warmed individual bowls, put hard boiled egg and garnish with a herbs. Serve immediately.

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14 Comments

Apple Bread with Almonds

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Adapted from Carina Forum

Ingredients:

  • 125 ml warm butter milk
  • 250 ml apple puree
  • 50 ml + 1tsp beet molasses (Cane molasses, maple syrup, honey)
  • 20 g fresh yeast (7g dry yeast)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 250 ml rye flour
  • 400 ml bread flour (min 12% protein)
  • 100 ml almond flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Sliced almonds
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Direction:
In a bowl sieve together bread flour, and rye flour. On a hot dry pan toast the almond flour for 20-30 sec. Mix with the flour.
Add the fresh yeast to the flour, rub the yeast into the flour with your fingertips, for 3-4 minutes, ensure it's rubbed in completely.
In bowl whisk together buttermilk, apple puree and molasses, stir well. Make a dough gradually adding the flour mixture to the buttermilk and pear puree mixture (adding a little more flour if the dough feels sticky). Add salt at the end.

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Knead the dough again, place it into the greased bowl, and cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 45-60 min until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, and shape the dough into loose ball, and transfer onto a baking paper.Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

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Preheat the oven together with the baking tray to 440F. Whisk together 1 tsp molasses with 2 tbsp water, brush with mixture the bread and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Place the bread with baking paper onto the hot baking tray.
Bake for 5min, reduce the heat to 400F, and bake for 45 min. Switch off the oven, transfer the bread on a grid and keep it in the oven for 10-15 min, leaving the oven door ajar .
Take the bread out of the oven and cool down completely on a wire rack.

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