Archive | October, 2010

Savory Pumpkin Double Header!

28 Oct

Hi Everyone!

It feels like fall is finally here! I am a big fan of pumpkin pie and really anything that has a buttery crust! I wanted to get outside the box on this one so I decided to indulge my salt tooth by a making savory pumpkin pie. Thats right, I decided to go all salty on the pumpkin pie this time. I am super pleased with my quiche(y) pie. It has taken a couple of tries and many a feedback from Jo, but together we have struck the balance of pumpkininess and salty. I love the body that sage offers with the delicacy of the Pure Luck feta cheese.  This is something that I would happily eat for breakfast or as a side dish.

For me the bonus of working with real pumpkin is that I get to enjoy the seeds too. It is a sense memory from my childhood. We would carve pumpkins, pull out the slimy seeds, and mom would roast the seeds for us. Everything from the slick of the seeds to the smell of them roasting to the anticipation of them being cool enough to eat takes me back to that time. I am totally addicted and want more, right now, but I ate them all.

Pie crust is a tricky thing. If you have the inclination and willingness to get your hands dirty, making a good pie crust is among the most rewarding culinary feats. I use Thomas Keller‘s recipe from his Ad Hoc cookbook. It is simple and requires playing with your food, which is why I cook in the first place. This is a crust that could be used in many applications. I think I will use it next for a chicken pot pie. A store-bought pie crust will work just as well, so don’t let the crust part deter you from trying the recipe!

Pie Crust

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1 1/4 t. salt

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut small and chilled

About 5 T ice water

The trick to making a flakey pie crust is to not over work the butter and keep it cold. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add butter pieces. Quickly work the butter into the flour using your finger tips. The goal is to not let the butter get warm. This is where I always start sweating. If this happens to you, pop the mix back in the fridge for a couple of minutes and carry on. Once you have achieved a sandy texture with the mix, start adding the ice water until the dough pinches together, you may not use all of the water. Pour onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a ball. Don’t worry if it is a little crumbly. Divide into two pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. An alternative to using your hands is to add flour, salt and butter to the body of a food processor and pulse until sandy mix is achieved, then add ice-cold water a little at a time and follow the rest of the instructions.

Roll out on a floured surface into a thin round, place in a pie pan and return to fridge for at least 15 minutes. I mean, butter is really temperamental, but totally worth it. Just ask Paula Deen.

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Pumpkin Filling

2 1/2 c. pumpkin, puree

3 eggs

1/3 c cream

1-2 T sage, finely chopped

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/3 c. feta, crumbled

2 T olive oil

salt and pepper

Turn oven on to 375. Cut a pie pumpkin in half, remove seeds and goo with a spoon. Reserve seeds in a bowl of water. Get rid of the goo. Oil the flesh sides and add salt and pepper. Roast pumpkin cut side down until you can pierce the outside skin easily with a knife. Once pumpkin is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh of the pumpkin into a bowl. Using an immersion blender or food processor blend pumpkin until it is baby food consistency. (If you have a baby, you can feed this to your little one.) Using a whisk, combine eggs and cream then mix in pumpkin puree and sage. Lastly, gently stir in the feta. Crank your oven to 425. Pour pumpkin mixture into waiting pie crust. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 and continue to bake for an additional 35-40 minutes or when a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.

Let the pie cool. Garnish with whole sage leaves. Cut, serve and enjoy. Serves 8.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

1 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds

1/4 t. cayenne

1/4 t. cinnamon

1-2 T. salt

Heat oven to 350. Pat pumpkin seeds dry. Toss on roasting pan with salt, cayenne and cinnamon. Let bake for 15-20 minutes or until fragrant. Wait for a couple of minutes and eat them up!!!

Do all of this and have yourselves a pumpkin party!!!

As always, thank you for reading!

Not That Martha

* You will notice that the photography is again much elevated and downright edible, thanks to Sarah Wilson!

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Sweet Potato Mash with Blue Cheese

19 Oct

Hi All!

The time for sweet potatoes has arrived! This is hands down my favorite preparation of said potato. I was led down this road, about this time last year, by my friend and über talented local chef, Michael Brantley. The salty and creamy blue cheese is soul satisfying when combined with the sweet orange tater. And it is a pretty dish. It goes well with anything from veggies to shellfish to chicken to pork to darker meats. This round I used Hopelessly Blue, a goat variety blue made by Pure Luck. This cheese is amazing on its own, but I love the way that the earthy goat cheese played with the sweet potatoes. And, any blue cheese will work well here. The milk is from Texas Daily Harvest and the kind that you have to shake up before you use it because there is honest to goodness cream on top! Prep and clean up are quick and easy. My family will be eating this for Thanksgiving and a few times before then. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Sweet Potato Mash with Blue Cheese

2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled (2 large or 3 medium)

2-3 oz blue cheese, crumbled

4 T butter

1/4-1/2 c. milk

salt and pepper

Cut the peeled sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks. Start the chunks in cool, salted water, to help them cook evenly. Bring water to a boil and cook until fork tender. Drain potatoes and combine butter and 1/4 c of milk in potato pan. Melt over low heat. Once butter is melted, add potatoes back to the mixture. Mash with potato masher or a big wooden spoon. Add blue cheese crumbles, salt and pepper and mix. Here is where the extra milk comes in. If I am serving these right away, this yields the consistency that I like. But, if I am going to reheat these to serve them later, I make the potatoes a little looser (add more milk). I am serving them for dinner tonight, so I made them a little loose, and sprinkled more cheese on top. I will reheat them at about 300 degrees for 10 minutes. Its as easy as that.

Challenge update…

Although we went into this challenge with the agreement that we could partake at special events such as weddings and birthdays, I feel that I must confess that I had a piece of cake this weekend at my dear friend, Evan’s gorgeous wedding. It was perfect and delicious and I loved every single minute of buttercream and chocolate. Jo was stronger than I in that moment and stayed true to the challenge. It was worth it for me though. I couldn’t resist that cake. Also on the food front, Jo has been diligently working on a recipe for the perfect refried beans to alleviate some of our longing for Taco Mex. She is honing in on the right balance and soon, I think we will be able to satisfy the bean and cheese taco craving at home. When we do I will report our results here. Here is what you should know. It involves generous amounts of bacon. I celebrate bacon.

On the clothing front, this morning we flipped through the new J. Crew catalogue during breakfast and I am pretty sure there was something on every page that one or both of us coveted. That catalogue is now safely in the recycling and we are in the clear until the next round of shopping mags shows up.

As always thanks for reading!

Not That Martha

Whiskey Apples and Shortbread, Damn!

11 Oct

Hi Everyone,

I must admit that one year(ish) ago I didn’t even know that apples grow in Texas. Well, they do and they are pretty great. I made this with some Texas Gala apples. Originally I was just going to saute them with honey, butter and cinnamon, but there was something missing. That something, my friends, was the smokey and delicious Balcones Baby Blue. It is a handcrafted whiskey made in Waco, TX by Balcones Distilling (insert smartass comment about booze made in Waco here). The stuff is made from blue corn and is delicious. It did lovely things to those Texas Gala apples and on top of the Hope and Glory brown butter shortbread it is like apple pie without the mess of homemade pie. This would be an outstanding dessert to serve for a dinner party. It takes about 20 minutes start to finish and you get to lite it on fire, which I love! The apples would also go nicely on top of some Mexican vanilla ice cream, just sayin’. Today I had this with a steaming cup of coffee that we have been getting from Pilot House. You guys this coffee is GOOD and they drop it off at your door with a frequency and quantity to accommodate any coffee appetite. The big bonus is that it makes your house smell like the holidays.

Whiskey Apples

3 apples, sliced thin

2 T butter

2 oz Baby Blue Whiskey (add more for a strong whiskey flavor)

1/2 t. cinnamon

1 T lemon juice

Melt butter over medium high heat. Add apples, let cook for a couple of minutes. Add whiskey*, cook down until it no longer smells strongly of alcohol, 4-5 minutes. Add honey and let cook another 4-5 minutes, until there is a syrupy goodness to the apples. Squeeze lemon on once apples are done.

*to lite the whiskey here is what you do… on a gas range, tip your saute pan forward just above the flame. Don’t spill the goods onto the flame, just exposing the lip will lite it up! Put the pan back on the flame and let the alcohol cook off. Pretty please, don’t hurt yourselves trying this.

A word on the challenge. Jo and I are in month two of our twelve month challenge and I must say that October has been harder than September. We heard a couple talking about Taco Mex at the farmers market the other day and I chased them down to butt into the conversation, oh how I miss Taco Mex. We are definitely streamlining our cooking for the week, though and that is making life immeasurably easier. A post in the near future will be how to make a pork shoulder last for the week.

I hope that you all have a great week and can find a couple of minutes to enjoy this recipe for the fall.

As always, thanks for reading.

Not That Martha