Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert. Many this year will, and have already, turned to canned pumpkin puree for their pies, or even worse-store bought. This is such a sad sequence of events, since it can be so easily avoided. Making YOUR OWN pumpkin puree is easy, and tastes so much better than a pie made with canned pumpkin. Also, if you can't find a pumpkin to use, use butternut squash. It tastes just about the same in this application; I personally think it is also a bit easier to work with.
Go ahead and enjoy.



  • 6 ounces gingersnap cookies
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 ounce unsalted butter, melted


  • 16 ounces Pumpkin Puree, recipe follows
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk

Heat your oven to 350.
For the Crust:Combine the gingersnaps, brown sugar, and ginger in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the cookies are fine crumbs. Drizzle the butter into the crumb mixture. Pulse 8 to 10 times to combine.
Press the gingersnap mixture into the bottom, up the sides, and just over the lip of a 9-inch glass pie dish. Place on a half sheet pan and bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool crust at least 10 minutes before filling with the filling.
For the filling: Bring the pumpkin puree to a simmer over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the half-and-half, nutmeg, and salt. Stir and return the mixture to a simmer. Remove the pumpkin mixture from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk the brown sugar, eggs, and yolk until smooth in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the prepared filling into the warm pie crust and bake on the same half sheet pan until the center jiggles slightly but the sides of the filling are set, 45 to 50 minutes in an oven at 350. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 to 3 hours before slicing. Pie can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Pie is best the day after it is made.
If you like whipped cream on it, just take 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and place it in your stand mixer. Beat on high for about 3 minutes until thickened. Add in powdered sugar to sweeten (to taste), about 3/4 cup. Then add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until it has reached your desired consistency. Dollop on the pie and enjoy!

  • Pumpkin Puree:
  • 1 (4 to 6-pound) baking pumpkin, rinsed and dried
  • Kosher salt
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice a small piece of skin off the one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling. Remove the stem and split the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, using a large cleaver and a mallet. Scoop out the seeds and fiber with a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Cut the fibers with kitchen shears if necessary. Reserve seeds for another use.
Sprinkle the flesh with kosher salt and lay the halves, flesh side down, on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. Roast until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed from the pumpkin, 30 to 45 minutes. Test in several places to ensure donesness.
Remove the half sheet pan to a cooling rack and cool the pumpkin for 30 minutes-1 hour. Using a large spoon, remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the flesh is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Coming Soon to a Computer Near You!

I Just wanted to give you all a little preview of whats to come soon. First up is…
-Red Velvet Cake
This is one of my favorite cakes. It also might be the best kind that I make. Ya, get excited.
The next thing that will be coming up is Thanksgiving dinner. Since it is only me and my parents that will be here this Thanksgiving, I'm not making a whole Turkey.Instead, i am making a stuffed turkey breast. I made it a few years back and it was delicious. Here is the line up…
-Turkey Breast Roulade
-Green Bean Casserole (Everything from scratch!)
-Cranberry Sauce (No canned stuff here!)
-Mashed potatoes 
-Creamed corn or Corn pudding (I haven't decided yet)
-Pecan Bars
-Pumpkin Pie
Every one always seems to have lots of left overs after thanksgiving. But, what are you suppose to do with all of that food? Well i am going to make a post about reusing thanksgiving leftovers. So, keep coming and checking it all out!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Many Faces of Soup II

Children are known for many things like being cute, throwing fits and loving macaroni and cheese. Many are not known, however, to love to eat broccoli (unless it is drenched in cheese or ranch dressing.) Many adults don't even enjoy broccoli. I think this is a shame. Broccoli is one of my favorite things to eat. Roasted with olive oil and garlic, or finely chopped with pasta, or even in soup, broccoli is delicious. The afore mentioned soup is what we are going to be talking about today. Yes, you read that right, i am blogging about Broccoli Cheddar Soup! Even if you are one that rejects broccoli's beautiful flavor, try this soup. Just try giving broccoli a chance.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
1 med. onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
3 TBS of butter
1/2 of flour
3 cups of half-and-half
1 cup of milk
2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 tsp of cayenne
112 oz of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 lbs of broccoli (chopped into bite size pieces)
2 cups of carrots, coarsely grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 TBS of EVOO in a large pot over medium/medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and salt&pepper to taste and saute for 6-7 mins. Remove onions and set in a small bowl. In the same pot add the rest of the EVOO and butter. Once as the butter has melted add the flour and whisk. (It will be really thick.) Cook for 3 mins over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the half&half, milk and the chicken stock. Bring to a bubble and cook for 10 minutes. Next, I add the reserved cooked onions, nutmeg and cayenne then blend (I don't like pieces of onion in my soup, but blending is optional. You could also blend after you add the broccoli and carrots added is you like a smooth soup). Next add in cheddar cheese in small handfuls and stir until completely melted in. After all the cheese is incorporated, add the broccoli and carrots. (Make sure that you dry off the broccoli after you wash it really well. Any water clinging to the broccoli will thin out the soup). Add more salt and pepper to taste. Bubble away on medium high heat until the broccoli is al dente, then serve! I like to eat this with a nice chunk of bread, but the choice is yours. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tres Leches Cake

Butter or oil/spray to lube the pan
1 cup of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
5 eggs
1 cup of sugar (divided-3/4cp+1/4cp)
3 teaspoons of vanilla
1/3 cup of milk
1 can of evaporated milk (you'll be using all but 1/2 cup of the can) 
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 pint of heavy cream
2/3 cup (approx.) of powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract

Preheat oven to 350, Rub down a 13x9 pan with butter. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Next is separating your egg whites from the egg yokes. Once as you have them separated put the egg whites in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on high for 1-2 1/2 minutes, or until you reach medium to stiff peaks, then add the 1/4 cup of sugar and mix on low. Once as stiff peaks have been achieved, move egg white to a separate bowl and set aside. Next, take the egg yokes and 3/4 cup of sugar and put in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on med-high/high until pale yellow and falls back on itself in a ribbon like manner (like in the picture), about 5 mins. Once as it has reached this thick stage, add the milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix of medium. Then slowly stir in the flour mixture; then add in the egg whites. Be sure to carefully fold in the eggs white so as not to take away all the air bubbles from the whites. Now time to pour in the pan! Bake in a 350 oven for approx. 30-40 minutes. The cake may seem a little darker than a yellow or white cake but thats ok; It is going to get soaked with milk. You don't want it to be too soft, or else it cant soak up all the milky goodness! Once as the cake is done baking and has cooled, poke all over with a fork or toothpicks. This is creating passage ways for the milk to soak into. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, 3 tbs of the heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and the evaporated milk (all of the can but 1/2 cup of it-if you use it all it gets a little too mushy esp. for my liking). Slowly pour the milk mixture all over the cake. Try to make it as even as possible. While the cake is soaking make the whipped cream! Make sure the remaining pint (one pint - the 3 tbs in the soaking liquid) of whipped cream is very cold. Pour it into your stand mixer and beat with whisk attachment on high for 1 1/2 mins. Add in the last 1 teaspoon of vanilla, almond extract and powdered sugar. (Depending on how sweet you like things, you may want to add more or less sugar to the whipped cream) Continue to beat on med-high until think. Spread on the cake and stick in the fridge to chill. Chill for at least an hour, but over night would be even better so the cake has the opportunity to soak up all of the milk!