Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Pumpkin Pasta Post (And Cranberry Cupcakes)

A couple posts ago (here) I wrote about a creamy pumpkin sauce that I had made and mentioned the changes I wanted to make to it. I'm now ready to post the completed recipe and a (sad, blurry) picture.

The second time around preparing this sauce, I made the changes I wanted to make, but mostly I played it by ear. The resulting product was creamy and a perfect mix of sweet and savory. I piled it on my pasta (in a most unhealthy fashion) and was really satisfied with the taste. The pumpkin gives the sauce a slight nutty taste and a richness you don't find in your average tomato sauce.

The main thing you need to know about this recipe is that I am seriously approximating all measurements. While cooking this, I didn't measure a thing. So if you choose to make it (which I strongly recommend) taste it often while cooking and be prepared to adjust. At one point while throwing it together, I accidentally added a bit too much salt. I balanced that out by adding more pumpkin and soy milk.



Creamy Pumpkin Sauce: Revised Recipe
yields: about 1 or 2 cups of sauce. This is a small recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup canned pumpkin puree

  • 1/3 Cup vanilla soy milk (I am really approximating on this. I periodically added soy milk whenever it seemed too thick and to help mix in powdered ingredients, like seasonings.)

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 medium onion

  • 1 teaspoon jarred chopped garlic, or about one clove chopped

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

  • 1 ounce shredded cheddar cheese

  • The following seasonings should be added to taste: ground red pepper (I used a good amount, because I like the kick), garlic powder (not a lot, because there's already garlic in it), salt, pepper.

  • 1 package fettuccine, penne, or other pasta that works well with creamy sauces, prepared according to package directions.


Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat

  2. Saute the onions and garlic until translucent

  3. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix until the butter and onions are incorporated

  4. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix (remember to taste as you go and adjust accordingly.)

  5. Keep it on the heat, mixing often, until the sauce is thoroughly heated and seasoned to your liking.

  6. Toss with the pasta, or serve alongside the pasta so you can dollop on as much as you like.



You may also remember this post where I talked about the delicious cranberry cake I made. I also mentioned that I was going to try them as cupcakes. Well this past shabbos, I went ahead and did just that. I adjusted the baking time to about 30 minutes, instead of an hour, and got 23 cupcakes out of this recipe. (Obviously, that required more than one muffin pan, so I also rotated the pans halfway through baking to ensure they cooked evenly.) The recipe is the same, but I took much better pictures this time.

First, a picture of the eggs and sugar when they're just about ready (the consistency reminded me of marshmallow fluff):


And an aerial view of the cupcakes when they're done:


And last but not least:


I strongly recommend you try making these yourself. These cupcakes go fast, so maybe a double batch would be in order. ;o)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Adventures of D.S. Bunny & Friends: #1 - Love Nubules

I don't know if I ever actually mentioned it on this blog, but a while back I started making a comic with the idea that I would eventually post it as a webcomic. Well, I'm not quite there yet, but just to give a taste and to get some feedback, here's the first comic I made.

The art is...well, keep in mind, this was my first foray into digital art. The sketches in my notebook looked significantly better, but I still think this is pretty cute.

PS -- some people have commented to me that it's difficult to tell what's going on in the last panel. The pink thing is a bag full of "love nubules" which the bunny is dumping on the table. Also, because I made the images a little small before putting them together into the comic format, it's hard to read what it says, so check below the comic to read the signs.



The banner in the last panel reads:

Black Market
Every Other Tuesday
12-3PM
Bunnies only. No law enforcement allowed.


The sign next to the table reads:

Love nubules for sale here.
3 kibbles/nubule

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pizza and Pasta - An Italian Post

Well, here I am in the midst of what would be midterms if I had any. Instead, I've got more than my fair share of papers to write before Thanksgiving. But that doesn't mean I'm not more than happy to distract myself by cooking something interesting for dinner and then blogging about it. So come on. Enable my procrastination and read on.

On Monday I announced on Facebook that I had made pasta with a "creamy pumpkin sauce." I also mentioned that I hadn't perfected the recipe and wouldn't blog about it until I had. Here's the problem with that. I'm unlikely to remember to perfect it later on if I don't blog about it now. So here goes: I wanted to make pasta, but I didn't want to make boring ol' pasta with cheese. I wanted something quick and easy, but interesting and tasty. Well, let's say I got 3/4 of it right. It was quick and easy and definitely interesting, but it was definitely bland. In the following recipe, I'm going to write what I did and share what I would change in these {} brackets. All measurements are approximated, so feel free to take your liberties with them.

Pasta with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients
  • Pasta (Penne, fettuccine, rotini - something with more surface area to hold onto the sauce.)
  • 1/2 cup of pureed canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup soy milk (or cream or any milk other than skim)
  • 1 tablespoon margarine {it's what I had, but butter would be better}
  • garlic powder {I don't think I used enough of any of the following seasonings. Particularly, I think I should have added some ground red pepper to give the sauce a sharper taste.}
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • hot sauce
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • a little shredded cheddar
  • {1/2 small onion, diced}
  • {1 teaspoon minced garlic}
  • {1 teaspoon or more of sugar}
Instructions
  1. {melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add in onions and garlic and saute until "translucent."}
  2. Add in pumpkin and soy milk, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Add in seasonings and cheese, mixing them in

  4. While doing all of the above, start the pasta cooking (according to package directions)
  5. Drain pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve quickly with more parmesan cheese for garnish.
Let me know how that sauce comes out for you guys if you make it. I think the little changes I made will result in a much tastier sauce.

Now on to part II of this post. Pizza.



Some of you may recall that I recently posted about my accidental cheeseless pizza. Well, since then, it's become a little bit of a favorite for us. The dough is quick and easy, and the toppings are whatever we want, without all the extra fat and calories of cheese. The main problem is that we were getting a lot of carbohydrates and only a very limited number of veggies with little to no protein.

So tonight I decided to try something a little more interesting, and maybe a little more nutritious.

Veggie Veggie Chicken Pizza

Ingredients
  • Pizza dough, rolled out to preferred size and shape (My recipe can be found here.)
  • Pizza sauce
  • 1 zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1/2 8 ounce package of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head of broccoli, checked for insects, washed and steamed or par boiled.
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 package vegetarian soy chicken food substance
  • dried basil and oregano to taste
Instructions
  1. spread on sauce.
  2. Place slices of zucchini and squash in a spiral from the outside of the pizza towards the center, alternating between zucchini and squash as you go.
  3. Sprinkle on mushrooms and onions to cover pizza
  4. Break up and sprinkle on broccoli.
  5. Add chicken-like food substance
  6. Season with basil and oregano to taste
  7. Bake in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes (if using my pizza dough recipe. If not, bake it as long as your pizza dough calls for.)


We really liked this pizza. I hope you do too. Here's an unappetizing picture I took of a slice of said pizza:



That concludes tonight's post. Hope you enjoyed it. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

L'Kavod Shabbos Baking: Cranberry Cake

Hello ladies and gents!

Welcome to my new segment, "L'Kavod Shabbos Baking." I can't promise that there will be one every week because usually my l'kavod Shabbos baking is really boring (aka - stuff I've already blogged about). But this week, while perusing one of my favorite time wasters, Tastespotting.com, I cam across a couple great things I want to share.

The first is a blog called "Couldn't Be Parve," which is written by a Conservative Rabbi on a mission to develop Parve foods that are so good, you can't believe it's not milchig. She has some pretty awesome sounding recipes on there, but my favorite thing is her In the Pantry section where she introduces all sorts of really great substitutions for dairy ingredients. I recommend checking it out if you like cooking Parve.

The second thing I found is a very easy recipe for cranberry cake. If you're anything like me, and I hope you are, you love cranberries. So the choice to make this recipe is a no-brainer. Short ingredient's list, quick prep time and absolutely wonderful outcome. The only downside is that you probably really want a stand mixer if you're going to make this since it requires you to beat the eggs for 5-7 minutes until they "increase in volume" and "form ribbons." But trust me, this recipe is just amazing enough for it to be worth it.

This can be made in a 9x13 pan or a 10" springform pan. I made it in a 9x13, but on the blogs where I saw it, it was made in a springform. I really wanted to make it into muffins, but I wanted to first see how it would bake up normally so I could get a feel for time. If you try it, let me know how it goes.



Cranberry Cake as seen on one cake, two cake, which adapted it from Vanilla Garlic

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into chunks {I used margarine}
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk {I used soy milk}
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups cranberries (12 ounce bag)
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13 pan or a 10-inch springform pan.

  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar for 5-7 minutes, until eggs have increased in volume and stream into ribbons when you lift the beaters.

  3. Add butter and vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes.

  4. Beat in milk and salt.

  5. Stir in flour, then fold in cranberries.

  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan.

  7. Bake for approximately an hour, until a tester comes out clean (but there might be cranberry juices on it). Cool on a wire rack. If using springform, run a knife around the cake and then unmold.