happy halloween!

October 31, 2010 § 1 Comment

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pumpkin hot white chocolate

October 30, 2010 § 2 Comments

Well, it’s time to wash down a whole week’s worth of pumpkin with, well, more pumpkin.  Yes, I love it so much, I could drink the stuff.  And why not?  Though I’ve noticed pumpkin spice latte to be a growing trend, I haven’t actually bought some.  I’m not very big on any type of latte and only submit to it on occasion.  Now if they could have you choose how you want your pumpkin spice drink mixed.  A veto on the latte.  A vote on hot white chocolate.   Until the baristas conjure this up, my last batch of pumpkin purée has been rationed out to some hot white chocolate.  No better way to end my pumpkin week!

1 c milk

1/3 c roasted pumpkin, puréed

1/4 c white chocolate, chopped

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Over medium heat, simmer all ingredients until white chocolate is melted.  Sip and enjoy on a beautiful autumn day like today (well, I can have it any day or everyday, for that matter)!

baked wild salmon and puréed pumpkin

October 29, 2010 § 1 Comment

Naturally, I get my desserts and snacking out of the way.  Now, it is time for the main dish.  I am a big eater of salmon.  No sobering warnings of mercury levels have stopped me from over-consuming the stuff.  With all the pumpkin cooking in the kitchen, of course I had to concoct some type of purée to compliment my salmon.  And compliment it did.  I was so stunned, in fact, that I ended up Googling it afterward to see just how many people are catching on to this.  Not as many as I had hoped (why is unknown to me), but I’ll give it time.  Salmon and pumpkin are a sensational team!

The salmon is sweetened, bringing to mind the same sweetness of teriyaki — the most universal savory sweet salmon dish available.  I wanted to call the puréed pumpkin a glaze, but that would be a downright misnomer.  I still have no idea what to call this dish, but for now it is what it is…and it is delish!

4 fresh wild salmon fillets

1/2 c roasted pumpkin, puréed

1/4 c brown sugar

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 tsp granulated onion

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin purée, brown sugar, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.

2. In a baking dish, arrange the salmon fillets and generously top with the purée.

3. Bake uncovered at 400°F for 15-20 minutes.

roasted spiced pumpkin seeds

October 28, 2010 § 1 Comment

Just yesterday, Dr. Oz mentioned that pumpkin seeds are chock-full of magnesium, iron, and zinc.  Well, I am glad I had my healthy dose of pumpkin seeds over the past week.  Mine were roasted as soon as I opened my pumpkin.

I made up this recipe aiming for a great-tasting snack, but was delightfully surprised at the wonderful aromatic scent that filled the air while roasting.  If only my house could smell like that all the time!

2 c pumpkin seeds

1 tsbp butter, melted

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp powdered sugar

1. Wash your pumpkin seeds and separate from strands.

2. Lay the seeds on a baking sheet and dry overnight.

3. Coat with melted butter and toss in the spices and powdered sugar to coat.

4. Bake in 300°F for 20 minutes.

Here is an informative article from USA Today explaining all the health benefits of pumpkin.

maple walnut candied pumpkin

October 27, 2010 § 5 Comments

After having recently tried a Turkish pumpkin dessert called kabak tatlısı (pot-roasted pumpkin slices in sugar syrup), I was inspired to create a similar recipe with true north Canadian flair.

I am positively partial to the flavor of maple syrup, Canada’s quintessential ingredient (sugar syrup pales in comparison).  As you know, when there’s maple syrup, walnuts are not far behind.  Maple walnut is an irrefutable natural pairing, and just the right combination for pumpkin.  So with maple syrup and walnuts in hand, I adapted my own Canadian version of Turkey’s candied pumpkin.  I also thought it fit to take it to the oven for roasting, which makes for a firmer texture than a long simmer in the pot.

12 pieces pumpkin slices, 1/2″ x 4″

1/4 c maple syrup

1/2 c walnuts, finely chopped

1/4 c yellow sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin slices in maple syrup until well coated.

3. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts and yellow sugar.

4. In a greased baking sheet, arrange the pumpkin slices and generously top with the walnut-sugar mixture.

5.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool and serve.

pumpkin panna cotta

October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment

With a recent post on my indulgences in Italy, I think it’s clear that I have no reservations about Italian fare.  I am so fond of the wonderful texture of panna cotta, and consider it a great base for a pumpkin dessert.  What I love most about panna cotta is that it’s an effortless undertaking.

I find the key to making this pumpkin panna cotta tasting much like pumpkin pie is in the spices and use of evaporated milk, as used in pumpkin pie.  The mini bundt molds create a perfect pumpkin-like finish!

1/4 c water

2 tbsp gelatin

2 c roasted pumpkin, puréed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

1 c table cream

1 c evaporated milk

1/2 c sugar

1. In a small bowl, dissolve gelatin in water for 5 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  You can substitute the individual spices with pumpkin spice.

3. In a sauce pan, combine cream, milk, and sugar and simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Add dissolved gelatin, pumpkin purée, and whisk.  Simmer for 5 minutes and pour into a greased mini bundt tray with 6 molds.  Chill in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours or until set.  To unmold, fill a 9 x 13″ baking pan with 1″ of hot water and place the bundt tray into the water for 2-3 seconds.  Serve chilled.

pumpkin butter

October 25, 2010 § 4 Comments

I’m happy to start this pumpkin week with an item for breakfast.

Flavored butters have been in fashion for some time and are now a culinary staple.  I remember a meal this summer at The Rotunda at the top of Neiman Marcus in San Francisco, where their darling popovers were served with strawberry butter.  Last month, at a friend’s wedding at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, the bread basket was paired with strawberry butter and basil pesto butter.

Here’s my own flavored butter — pumpkin, of course!  Now I’m aware that there is such a thing as “pumpkin butter” that is not really made of butter, instead it’s a pumpkin puree spread.  This is not what I have here.  What I have here is a very swift, simple, and savory butter spread blended with pumpkin purée and nutmeg, for use on breads, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, scones.  Indeed, gourdmet!!

This easy recipe requires:

1/2 c unsalted butter, melted

1/4 c roasted pumpkin, puréed

1/4 tsp nutmeg

Blend the ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over a ramekin or mold.  I used a rubber pumpkin ice tray I picked up from, of course, nowhere else other than my favorite, Dollarama.  If pouring into a rubber or silicone mold, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes or until firm.  This will ensure the shape is solid.  Remove from mold, thaw in refrigerator, and serve at room temperature.  Or if using a ramekin, set in refrigerator and serve at room temperature.

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