Friday, November 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Pear Dessert

Old Fashioned Pear Dessert


Costco is a glorious place. Not only can you buy wonderful foods there, but they also feed you while your shopping with high-class samples. I love Costco also because their Kirkland Signature brand is where my home is, Kirkland, Washington. When my parents were visiting last week we of course had to make a trip to Costco. We found this crate full of beautiful pears and just couldn't resist it. So I decided to make this pear dessert for one of my three Thanksgivings, and it was a hit! I think people enjoyed a little break from the apple and pumpkin pies too.


Old Fashioned Pear Dessert

  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • FILLING:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups chopped peeled ripe pears
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and lemon juice; stir into dry ingredients with a fork. Remove 1 cup to another bowl; stir in the remaining sugar and set aside for the topping.
  • Press remaining crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, for filling, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, salt and cinnamon in a small saucepan; slowly stir in water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in butter and vanilla.
  • Toss pears with remaining cornstarch; spoon over crust. Top with filling. Sprinkle with reserved topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Turkey-Cranberry Grilled Cheese

Turkey-Cranberry Grilled Cheese


I love leftovers. I even had a party this past weekend to celebrate the leftovers of Thanksgiving! There is something so exciting about the possibility of experimentation with leftovers. This is probably by far one of my most favorite ideas involving left overs. If I ever have a restaurant someday, this will most certainly be on the menu. It sounds weird, but trust me it is the essence of comfort, with a hint of gourmet.

Turkey Cranberry Grilled Cheese

Turkey meat
Cranberry sauce (preferably homemade)
White cheese (I used mozzarella, but anything works...next I'll try white cheddar or brie)
Butter
2 slices of bread

Butter bread and layer cheese, cranberry sauce and meat onto bread. If you want the turkey meat hot, microwave it for a few seconds before putting it on the sandwich. Heat a skillet and put bread, butter side down, on the pan. Cook each side until it starts to brown before flipping over. Cut it in half and eat it!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Apple, Raisin and Rum Bread Pudding

Apple, Raisin and Rum Bread Pudding


I had so much fun making this delicious bread pudding with my fabulous best friend and roomie Letitia Jap! She is an expert bread cutter as I'm sure you can tell from the picture below. I've never really eaten much bread pudding before, but we had this huge leftover loaf of bread that needed eating and so bread pudding was a must. I was a little worried that it wouldn't be sweet enough because we were using whole wheat bread, but it turned out great (and took away a little of the guilt...). We decided to jazz it up a bit with some apples, raisins, and rum, and it turned out really great! Not only was it a great dessert, but it was also really good for breakfast! If you've never had bread pudding before this would be a good recipe to try it out with.


Apple, Raisin and Rum Bread Pudding
Recipe from Food.com

2 1/2 cups milk or 2 1/2 cups light cream
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
8 cups stale bread cubes
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup rum or 1/4 cup apple juice
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine milk, eggs, vanilla and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar.
Stir in bread cubes; let stand for at least 30 minutes; stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, combine raisins and rum or apple juice. Set aside.
In another bowl, toss together apples, cinnamon and remaining brown sugar.
Add raisin and apple mixtures to the softened bread, mixing well.
Spread evenly in a greased 8”x8”x2” baking pan.
Drizzle with the melted butter.
Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown and apples are tender.
Serve warm or cold.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Asian Pear Clafoutis

Asian Pear Clafoutis



Asian pears always reminded of my childhood. My neighbors had this gorgeous Asian pear tree that hung over their fence, and I would always run over and steal from it. Asian pears are quite an interesting fruit. They are actually rather tasteless, but are beautifully crisp and juicy. In other words, perfect for baking into a clafoutis! This is an easy and rather impressive dessert to make for your guests. Another plus to this recipe is that you can drink the leftover wine while you cook! It really enhances the experience... ;) Thank you Ryan for giving me the Asian pears!!!



Asian Pear Clafoutis
Recipe from She's Cookin


3/4 cup sweet white wine (such as Riesling)
2 Asian pears, cored, cut lengthwise into thin slices
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk* (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
Yield: 6 servings
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
1. Combine wine and pears in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Drain pears, reserving 1/4 cup wine.
Butter 9-inch diameter glass pie dish. Beat eggs, sugar and salt in medium bowl, to blend. Whisk in flour. Add milk, butter, vanilla and reserved 1/4 cup wine; whisk until smooth. Arrange pears in prepared baking dish. Pour batter over pears.
Bake clafoutis until center is set and top is golden, about 55 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Apple Galette

Apple Galette


Happy Thanksgiving! As you may easily guess, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What food blogger wouldn't be excited about a day almost entirely centered around celebrating food? And I am so so thankful to be blessed with the resources to eat every single day, never having to worry about my next meal. We must not get distracted by the joys of stuffing ourselves into food comas though. Today is a day where we must reflect on the blessings that God has given us. Thanksgiving should really be present in our every day lives as we recognize how blessed and thankful we are for the people, resources, and opportunities around us. Strive to live every day like Thanksgiving and indeed you will be richly blessed.


Apple Galette
Recipe from Epicurious


  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) ice water

  • 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • Whole milk

Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and blend just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep dough chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch-thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine apple slices, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Slide long thin knife between parchment and galette. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Persimmon Oatmeal

Persimmon Oatmeal


Some may think me boring because of this, but I must admit that I eat oatmeal literally every day for breakfast. For some reason I never get tired of it. That may also be due to the fact that I like to put different things in it each day. I've made chocolate oatmeal, pumpkin oatmeal, cinnamon-raisin oatmeal,  apple-pecan oatmeal...the list goes on and on. My most recent oatmeal adventure came about because I had left over persimmon puree from my persimmon pie! It worked as a great natural sweetener and was something I'll definitely make again.

Persimmon Oatmeal

1/2 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup milk or water
1 heaping Tbsp persimmon pulp
Chopped walnuts
Dried cranberries
Cinnamon

Combine oats, water/milk, and persimmon pulp in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1-2 minutes or until oats are cooked. Top with walnuts, cranberries, and cinnamon. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Persimmon Pie

Persimmon Pie


Tired of eating pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving? Try making a persimmon pie this year!  It has the same great texture and appearance, but the taste is quite different. The persimmons make this pie a little lighter and sweeter tasting than normal pumpkin pie. Impress your guests with this twist on an classic Thanksgiving day dessert! Thank you Abigail for making the pie crust! I've heard making pie crusts is therapeutic...

Persimmon Pie
Adapted from Cupcake Project

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups persimmon pulp (2-3 overripe persimmons pureed
12 oz evaporated milk
2 large eggs


Pie crust

1 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 425 F. Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring continuously, bring mixture to a boil for about a minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. While cooling, make a pie crust!

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate a few hours. Roll out dough on a floured surface, don't overwork. 

Place dough into a pie pan and crimp the edges. Pour persimmon mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 F, and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Persimmon Cupcakes

Persimmon Cupcakes


These cupcakes would not have come about had it not been for my fantastic friend Ryan. Not only is he fantastic because he just gave me a bunch of persimmons, Asian pears, and apples, but he knows that the best gift anyone could give me is food! If you ever want to make me super happy, just give me some food and I will be beyond content. So, thank you Ryan for your generosity! I was also excited to receive persimmons because I'd never cooked with them before. This challenge was particularly fun, and the results were great. Persimmons are sweet, fall fruits that helped make these cupcakes perfectly moist and flavorful. 


Persimmon Cupcakes
Adapted from Cupcake Project

Yield: 12 cupcakes 
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cloves)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup persimmon pulp (the insides of 1 to 2 seeded over-ripe persimmons, pureed)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. 
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar, then mix in eggs, persimmon pulp and orange juice until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated. 
  5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full with batter. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed clean.
Vanilla-Ginger Buttercream

2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground ginger

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and ginger and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, add some milk or cream if needed for spreading consistency.




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn

Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn


Like I mentioned before, popcorn is my all time favorite food. I've decided to justify my popcorn obsession by linking it to my performance on tests. So I always treat myself to it when I have to study. Last week, while I was studying for my management test I whipped up this massive bowl of popcorn. It was so delicious and it definitely helped me get through the studying!

Rosemary Parmesan Popcorn

Popcorn
Olive oil
Dried Rosemary
Shredded Parmesan

Pop some popcorn in the microwave in a brown paper bag. In a large bowl, toss popcorn with olive oil and rosemary until sufficiently coated to your liking. Sprinkle with parmesan and microwave for 20-30 seconds until cheese is melted. Eat the whole bowl by yourself!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins



If you were to ask me what my favorite kind of cake was, I would probably have to say carrot cake. I believe it is the perfect combination of the spicy and sweet cake, paired with cool cream cheese icing. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Anyway, I'm always looking to make carrot cakey sorts of things. And since my new obsession is pumpkin, why not pair it with carrot cake! So, if you like pumpkin and carrot cake, you must try this recipe.


Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup raisins
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat sugar, oil, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add in eggs one at a time. In another blow, sift together flours, spices, baking soda, and salt. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients slowly to make sure it is well blended. Lastly, add carrots, raisins, pumpkin, and walnuts to mix. Line muffin pans with liners and fill about 3/4 full. Bake for 28-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

No Yeast Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

No Yeast Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls



I know you all thought I was done with my pumpkin obsession, but I'm just getting started! So I'm kind of scared of yeast. I hate having to put a whole lot of effort into something and then having to throw it away because it didn't rise. Plus yeast takes so much time, and I'm not very good at waiting, especially when it's something yummy I can eat. These pumpkin cinnamon rolls took only about 45 minutes start to finish, which is unheard of if I had been making them with yeast. And they were no less delicious. So if you're impatient like me, try out these no yeast pumpkin cinnamon rolls.




No Yeast Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Quad City Moms Blog


For the rolls:
2 1/4 cup flour (+ more if dough is too sticky)
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk
For the filling:
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs of cinnamon
For the frosting:
4 oz of cream cheese frosting; room temperature
1/2 cup (+/-) powdered sugar
Directions:
Sift together your dry ingredients. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender. Work the butter into pea sized pieces.  Mix in pumpkin puree and milk. If dough is still sticky you can add a tbs of flour at a time until it is easy to work with.  On a floured surface roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll the dough into a long log. Cut into 1-2 inch thick slices.
Place each roll into a buttered pie plate or cake pan OR into a muffin tin.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden and cooked through.  Allow to cool 15 minutes.  Meanwhile in an electric mixer mix cream cheese and powdered sugar together.  Pipe frosting onto rolls or slather over the top while warm.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts


Brussel sprouts have always weirded me out. I had never had a good experience with them. So I decided to give them another chance. And since roasting vegetables can make anything taste great I decided that would be the best way to go about preparing them. Oh my word. They were delicious! The outside was salty and crispy and the inside was tender and flavorful. Though broccoli is still my favorite roasted vegetable, these brussel sprouts are definitely up there on my favorites list!


Roasted Brussel Sprouts


  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt if desired. Serve immediately.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rice Krispies with M&M's


Rice Krispies with M&M's


I know rice krispies are probably the easiest thing to make in the world, but I couldn't pass up the chance to put them on my blog. No matter how easy, no one can deny their deliciousness. Plus, I'm sure some of you are getting tired of all that halloween candy, so why not spruce it up a bit? Chop up your favorite candies and mix them in to your rice krispies. M&M's work great, but so do heath bars, chocolate bars, reeses peanut butter cups and many more. Get creative!


Rice Krispies with M&M's

6 cups of crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz) bag mini marshmallows
1 cup M&M's

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter and marshmallows. Once melted, stir in rice cereal. Stir in M&M's. Press mixture into a 9x13 inch pan lined with aluminum foil. Let cool. Cut into big fat squares and serve.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds


One of my goals in life is to make the most out of everything, and not let anything go to waste. So, when I was making my squash soup the other day I though, "why don't I roast the seeds!" If you can roast pumpkin seeds why not butternut squash seeds? To my delight, I actually think I prefer these to pumpkin seeds, but I'll let you decide.

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds
1 cup squash seeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt

Preheat oven to 275 F. Wash and remove all gunk from squash seeds. Pat dry with a paper towel. In a bowl, combine seeds oil and salt, making sure to thoroughly coat. Transfer seeds to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle with more salt if desired.