Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Delights

When there's a chill in the air, I have a strong desire to make pumpkin recipes. This year I wanted to break away from my usual pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. My search yielded muffins and shakes.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a 12-count muffin tin.
2. Put the dry ingredients, from flour to salt, in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar and oil, mixing until combined. Then mix in the pumpkin and water. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients; beat just until moistened. Mix in the chocolate chips.
4. Fill the muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test.

A typical can of pumpkin holds about one and a half cups of pumpkin puree. So I found a recipe that uses up the rest of the can of pumpkin. However, it only makes about 2 cups. That was not enough for the whole family. So you can either make this after the kids go to bed, or double the recipe to share with everyone. Of course, it's so yummy that you can double the recipe, pour it in a graham cracker crust, and chill in the freezer for a frozen pumpkin pie. Mmm . . . frozen pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Shake
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup milk, non-dairy creamer or water
~1/2 cup (or the rest of the can) pureed pumpkin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp vanilla
cool whip for garnish (optional)

1. Put all the ingredients in the blender. Blend. Add an extra 1/4 cup of milk if needed. Pour into your cup(s) and top with cool whip, if desired.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I like an NPR show called The Splendid Table. A little bit ago, they had a segment on about cilantro and what you can do with it other than just Mexican food. This sauce is Moroccan and is traditionally served with fish as a marinade and a sauce. I used it as a sauce that we added on after broiling. The guest says she likes to have it with roasted cauliflower, roasted winter squash, chicken, or even stir it into couscous. These all sound good to me.

2 cups cilantro leaves (2 large bunches)
1 1/2 cups parsley leaves (1 large bunch)
3-4 cloves garlic (to taste), halved
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander (I used 2 1/2 teaspoons of a cumin/coriander mix)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (more to taste)
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil, to taste
1/4 cup lemon juice

Coarsely chop the cilantro and parsley. Then place them in a food processor and chop very fine, or chop on a cutting board. You should have 1 cup finely chopped herbs.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and puree. Add a small handful of the chopped herbs and gently but firmly grind until the herbs begin to dissolve. Add another handful. When all of the herbs have been mashed, work in the spices, 1/3 cup olive oil and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings.

I don't have a mortar so instead, after I had the finely chopped herbs, I added chopped garlic and salt and tried to just mash it in with an ice cream scoop (it was all I could find that was vaguely pestle shaped). Then I added the other ingredients and just kind of mixed and attempted to grind. It's not quite as sauce-like as it would be as written but more has the consistency of a pesto. Still quite good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Boneless Pork Ribs

I've recently discovered how to cook boneless, country-style ribs and they are so yummy I have to share. I've made this recipe twice now with two different sauces and each time it was dang good. I found this recipe on (a dangerous site if there ever was one).

Sauce of choice - two yummy options below
3 country-style ribs, boneless (I've used both big ones and small ones, the big ones were perfect, the smaller ones were a bit dry so the cooking time should be less. I just don't know how much less.)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Add enough oil to a hot, large skillet to just cover the pan. Add ribs and sear for three minutes each side. Remove to large, shallow roasting pan.

Add sauce over the ribs and turn to cover. Seal tightly with foil and roast for 3 hours. Marinate each hour with sauce. Take foil off for the last 30 minutes of cooking, or until tender.

Mojo Sauce
The sauce that came with the original recipe but with a few of my changes.

4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
10 large cloves garlic, chopped (I used a little chopper and it was an easy way of doing them all)
half of an onion, finely minced (chopper again, way handy thing)
2/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup lemon juice with maybe a tablespoon of lime juice (the recipe calls for 1 cup lime juice and only 1/3 cup orange juice but this was what we had - let me know how it is as written)
2/3 cup water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (because the 10 cloves wasn't enough)
2 teaspoons cumin/coriander powder (it only calls for the cumin but this is the only way I have it so the coriander gets to come too)

In a skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once heated, add the garlic and onion. Cook until pale golden brown, 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients with 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let cool while prepping the ribs.

Cheyenne Burger BBQ Sauce
Another recipe. I made the burger and had sauce left over so I used it for the ribs. A touch spicy.

2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons chile powder (I don't remember if I used this much, it seems like a lot)
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 heaping Tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Tablespoon molasses
salt and pepper

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the onion, cook until soft; 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ketchup and 1/3 cup water, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except salt and pepper). Simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor (I used a blender) and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simple Chinese Pork

I don't know if any of you made Hilary's delicious Pork Potstickers. They were wonderful. And they took forever to make. I enjoyed them so much that I wondered if there were an easier way to enjoy the flavors. I decided to use the flavoring as a marinade and grill the pork.

1 lb pork or chicken or beef (you can slice it and then thread it on skewers to grill --who doesn't love food on a stick.)
2 Tbsp. minced chives/green onions
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. beef broth (I usually just put in a Tbsp. of water and a few boullion granules--plain water is also fine.)
2 tsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil (this adds a lot of flavor, it's worth getting it.)
1 tsp. cornstarch

Mix together all the ingredients and let marinade for about an hour. It doesn't make a lot of marinade, so if you feel like it, you can double the marinade ingredients. You can grill this, broil it, or saute it in a frying pan--so long as the meat is cooked through.

Make the dipping sauce and dip your meat in it. I also like teriyaki sauce as a dipping sauce.

Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

In a bowl, stir together 1/4 c. soy sauce, 3 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger, 2 tsp. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. sesame oil.

If you haven't tried it, rice vinegar is a lovely vinegar. It has a very mild flavor that is not as acidy as regular white vinegar.

I keep reading this over, and it doesn't seem clear some how. Let me know if I can clarify sometime when I'm thinking more clearly.