Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin soup with Gruyere: a recipe

Pumpkin soup with Gruyere
I love cooking from magazines but sometimes their ingredient lists send me on a bit of a wild goose chase.

Enter this pumpkin soup recipe from the October issue of Bon Appetit.

The soup is cooked in the pumpkin itself so the authors advise choosing a variety of pumpkin that will hold up well in the oven. Think about what a colossal mess you'd have if the pumpkin caved in on itself with all that liquid inside it. Yipes. So yes, great advice.

However, their recommendations for sturdy varieties include "Cheese" or "Jarrahdale."

Um ... say WHAT?

Now, granted, I live in the sticks so you'd expect I personally might not be as familiar with these varieties as our cosmopolitan recipe authors, but I do live in one of the locavore capitals of the United States and a place where heirloom varieties of anything can be pretty easily found at farmers markets, farm stands and even grocery stores.

So, undaunted, I headed off to a very large local farm stand, knowing that they supply not only local home cooks but also a lot of the high-end area restaurants and natural markets. Surely they'd have every kind of hip pumpkin that exists, right?

The owner had never even heard of these varieties. Great.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: pear chutney recipe

The original recipe uses this as a base for a bruschetta with blue cheese, pecans and herbs (which was awesome!) but it was so good solo that I'd recommend using as an accompaniment to roast pork or chicken, too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple-pear crumble: a recipe

Apple-pear crumble
So I know I promised to have a bit more of a savory focus this week: apparently I lied.

But, come on, can you blame me? It's apple season and somehow I think you'd rather hear about a crumble than a pork loin.

At least, you only seem to comment on dessert posts.

I like this recipe (from The Joy of Baking) because it uses both pears and apples because I'd be hard-pressed to choose between the two if it was a one-fruit-only crumble. In fact, the original recipe calls for cranberries as well, making it a three-fruit crumble, but that just seemed like one fruit too many to me.

I have made this crumble several times now -- the second time necessitated by the fact that I forgot to take a photo of it the first time around and I really wanted to share it with you on this blog.

(Really, who could possibly object to a eating a yummy crumble twice? Not Mr. Ninj, I can assure you.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bittersweet chocolate cookies: a recipe

Bittersweet chocolate cookies: leaves, not trees
Another dessert recipe.

Is it too much for you?

I swear, I have made a whole bunch of other things to eat this week. We do not subsist solely on brownies and cookies.

I asked my Facebook followers to help me decide if I should make the Nutella cheesecake brownies or these chocolate cookies. They overwhelmingly voted for the brownies, but I felt I had to be fair to the cookies.

Especially since I just got these cute harvest-themed cookie cutters: pumpkins, turkeys and leaves.

The shapes seemed pretty obvious to me. However, we had a couple of plumbers in our house the day I made these and they thought they were balloons, chickens and christmas trees, respectively.

Right. Because nothing says "Happy Fall!" quite like chickens and balloons.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nutella cheesecake brownies: a recipe

Nutella cheesecake brownies
As is evident just by the name, these brownies were wicked awesome.

But this is less a post about the recipe itself than it is about how I found it. Behold, the power of the internet.

I know, I know, this is not news.

I'm fully aware that my food blog is one of about 8 gazillion others out there, with all of us hoping that something may come from it but odds being that nothing ever will, other than our having a good time cooking, writing about it and meeting other folks who like to do the same.

The twist here is that I did not find this recipe via the usual round of link-to's from other food blogs. I found it on a relatively new site called Pinterest (thanks to Kim Chang for introducing me).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Blueberry oatmeal cookies: a recipe

Blueberry oatmeal cookies
Blueberry oatmeal cookies were not what I had planned.

Earlier in the week, I made a really yummy and easy apple and pear crumble -- so perfect for a Friday fall blog post. I even remembered to take some good prep shots, which I often forget to do.

I made it just after dinner, so there was insufficient natural light in my kitchen to photograph the final product. If I try to photograph food after sundown, it turns out looking like something you wouldn't want to see in the garbage, let alone eat, so I usually shoot post-sundown creations the next morning.

So we enjoyed half of it for dessert.

And then the other half for breakfast.

And only then did I realize I forgot the photo. Crap.

Very helpfully (and hungrily), Mr. Ninj suggested I simply make more, but by then the deer had finished off all the pears in the wee orchard (damned vermin -- be warned, hunting season begins in a mere two weeks and I've got big plans for venison jerky).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Put 'Em Up

I received this Major Award in the mail yesterday; I can't wait to start making some of the great recipes.

I think I'll start with Cucumber Aqua Fresca...

Monday, September 12, 2011

What we ate last week: some recipes and some community love

To be honest, I sometimes post these "retrospective" entries either when I've dropped the ball and not posted in a while, due to general busy-ness, or (more often) when all my recipe photos turn out like crap.

Not this time. Well, sort of, since most of my photos did turn out like crap this week.

But I thought it was a great reflection of the power of the blog community I'm working on being a larger part of that my creations last week all seemed to be linked to someone else in the community.

1. Ajvar
I harvested a bunch of red peppers from my fading garden (why do the peppers take so damned LONG?) and asked my Facebook followers for suggestions on what to do with them. Val suggested ajvar, a spicy roasted pepper and eggplant spread from Serbia, and pointed me to a great recipe featured on NPR.

Now this one is a keeper. We ate it both as an appetizer on french bread and then again alongside a lovely broiled halibut for dinner. Very versatile, very delish!

Recipe link: Ajvar

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lobstah mac and cheese: a recipe

Lobstah mac and cheese
Labor Day: summer is officially over.

When I lived in the South, this thought seemed completely absurd. I mean, when it was still a gallion degrees outside and flip flops were perfectly comfortable and acceptable all the way through October, Labor Day seemed practically like a summer midpoint -- or maybe a two-thirds point.

But this is Vermont. And northern Vermont at that.

So, despite the unusually hot and humid weather we had over the long weekend and my sporting a snazzy white skort, it really does feel like it's over. There are already some leaves starting to turn on the trees in our yard, apples are beginning to show up at the farmers markets and everything except the collards looks pathetic in what's left of my garden.  


Therefore, what better way to give summer a final huzzah! than a decadent, big bang meal -- a big FAT meal that, based solely on the volume of cheese and butter, needs to be reserved for special huzzah-inducing occasions -- celebrating one of the best foods of a New England summer.

Enter lobstah mac and cheese.