Monthly Archives: October 2008

The last bit of pumpkin…SEEDS!

While I haven’t always been the biggest fan of pumpkin…I have always been a big fan of pumpkin seeds.  Carving pumpkins is already a treat, and then you get to make a snack out of the orange goo that you dig out…amazing!  Making a batch of pumpkin seeds is super easy but if you need some instructions you can hit up a very entertaining site. I decided to toss the seeds with some Chesapeake Bay Seasoning that I bought at the Spice House with no recipe in mind. Man were they tasty!

I might have to buy a big pumpkin to carve before Halloween just to that a I can make a big batch of these seeds! Don’t think we will get many trick-or-treaters living on the 15th floor of a Chicago high-rise though. Dang. Do city kids get to o trick-or-treating? I’ve never thought about that until now.

drizzle with some olive oil

drizzle with some olive oil

sprinkle some seasonings

sprinkle some seasonings

this stuff rocks...I need to think of more uses...Ideas?

this stuff rocks...I need to think of more uses...Ideas?

Salty, crunchy, and homemade...what more could you want?

Salty, crunchy, and homemade...what more could you want?

TWD#6: Pumpkin Muffins

I will be honest that I have never been a huge fan of pumpkin.  I don’t know if it comes with growing up in Houston where Fall doesn’t really exist or what but I have been appreciating all the pumpkins at the market and all the recipes hitting the blogs and the food mags.  I used my homemade puree in Dorie’s pumpkin muffin recipe and I will be honest, they didn’t taste very pumpkin-y.  Not sure if it was the homemade puree or what but that’s how they turned out.  Maybe I will try them again with canned.

Lots of spices

Lots of spices

grate the nutmeg

grate the nutmeg

Nutmeg

Nutmeg

Muffins

Muffins

Pumpkins: So Cute and So Many Uses


Growing up, I used to love go to a pumpkin patch (really just a parking lot of one of the many churches in The Woodlands) and pick out the perfect pumpkin.  Then a few days before Halloween, I would carve it with my Mom and inevitably I would break one of the little pumpkin kit knives.  Then we would roast up the seeds to crunch for the next few days.  However, I can’t remember the last time that I carved a pumpkin but I have been tempted to buy one from Green City every time that I have been in the last few weeks.  After reading Kristin’s post about pumpkin puree and that TWD this week is pumpkin muffins, I finally had an excuse to buy a cute little pie pumpkin.  Don’t worry, I have bought myself, and my boss Melissa, little pumpkins to have at our desk at work.

It really is amazing to really use a pumpkin for more than just a carving surface.   I have already added the puree into muffins, the seeds have been roasted, and I have 3 more cups of puree in the freezer for future use.  It took some time, and made a mess our of the kitchen, but it was a fun project for a Saturday (and much better than starting my Bankruptcy outline or working on a Secured Transactions Problem).

Halved and Ready for the Oven

Halved and Ready for the Oven

All you have to do is cut the pumpkin in half, pop off the stem, scrap out the seeds and goo (yes-goo is a technical term), save the seeds!, then place the halves on a parchment lined baking sheet in the oven for about an hour at 400.

Roasted and Ready

Roasted and Ready

Once the pumpkin gives to the touch, let it cool until you can handle it. Then scoop out the flesh from the skin.

Pumpkin Leftovers

Pumpkin Leftovers

Throw away the leftovers and puree the flesh in batches. I added a little water to help the Cuisinart out. Then drain it overnight through a cheese cloth (I used a paper towel, but bought a cheese cloth today at Dominicks).

Puree

Puree

Then freeze the leftovers in 1 cup portions for future receipes.

Ready for the freezer

Ready for the freezer

TWD #5: Lenox Almond Biscotti

Simple ingredients, yet so so very good.


These are AWESOME.  I used vanilla extract since I didn’t have any almond extract on hand and added a decent amount of good cinnamon.  I had to bake them a few extra minutes on each bake.

Step 1-Bake the Logs

Step 1-Bake the Logs

I also took the advice from some on the TWD website and put a cooling rack on the baking sheet and laid them on the side for the 2nd bake.  I flipped them after 15 mins and baked them for another 5.

Step 2-Dry them out

Step 2-Dry them out

Perfectly crunchy without being rock hard.   Dave and I have been enjoying them for dessert with a glass of Disaronno on the rocks and dunked into coffee for breakfast. (BTW…I love this mug

!)

Dunk.

Dunk.

Perfection.

I will def. be making these again.  Dorie was right, make these in double batches :)

Weekend Adventures

This weekend was eventful for a variety of reasons.  Friday night I managed to almost chop of the tip of my thumb chopping up a bell pepper for salad.  I especially liked the makeshift gauze and packing tape bandage.  It has healed pretty nicely so no worries.

Ouch.

Ouch.

On Saturday, I hit up GreenCity like always and came home with some goodies, including an associate bunch of peppers.

Goodies.

Goodies.

I remembered seeing a post about pickling hot peppers and since I found such a pretty assortment at the market, I decided to give it a try. In the middle of the cutting, I quickly remembered that I almost cut a chunk off my thumb the night before. Needless to say, peppers + healing wound = ouch.

Peppers.

Peppers.

Pickling.

Pickling.

Then on Sunday, Dave and I got up at 5AM to volunteer at the Chicago Marathon. We worked at the Fleet Feet Sports Aid Station that is right by our apartment in Old Town. It was a blast. It was so inspiring to see the wide range of people running and the tremendous elite athletes racing in the event. It makes me wonder if I could commit to training for a fullhalf marathon ;-). I think I might enjoy the longer distances because I really start to get into a running grove after 3 miles or so. 5Ks just don’t cut it.

Stacked.

Stacked.

Dumped.

Dumped.

Happy.

Happy.

Thai Chicken Curry


When Dave and I first started dating, it was quickly apparent that we enjoyed staying in and cooking a nice meal, rather than going out.  We are boring and practical like that. I had a few go to recipes but I quickly realized that is was time to try out new recipes.  Since I was spending all my time at his apt for various reasons (close to school, my crazy roommate, the closure of the Montrose Brown Line stop, etc), I relied on various cookbooks that he had on his shelf, resulting from various graduation presents. This recipe is from Dave Lieberman’s “Young and Hungry” This isn’t a bad cookbook. Lots of pretty pictures, but I’ll be honest, this is the only thing that I have made out of the book, but it is def. yummy. I have made this half a dozen times since that first time in his tiny PT Studio kitchen. It is even better the next day, packed in gladware for lunch. I promise.


Thai Chicken Curry

2 cups white rice (we buy Jasmine by the HUGE 10Lb bag)
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (around 2) cut into pieces
Crushed red pepper flakes
Vegetable Oil
1 small onion, diced
I red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon curry power
1 tablespoon sugar
Thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (get the full fat stuff…seriously)
Handful of snow peas
Handful of basil (I only throw them in if I already have them, no need to buy if you are lacking)
Juice of 1 lime (also something you can omit if you like)
Zest of 1 lime (optional…I like the rice plain)
Salt and Black Pepper-duh.

Cook the rice (get a rice cooker-it rocks).

Toss the chicken strips in a bowl with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat a skillet over high heat and cook the chicken until they start to brown (about 5 mins, push them around so they don’t stick). Once there is no pink, scoop the chicken onto a plate. Lower the pan heat to medium-high and add a bit more oil. Slide in the onions and cook, stirring until they turn translucent (4-5 min). Add the red bell pepper and garlic (mmm garlic) and cook another 2 mins. Add the curry powder (hold your breath), sugar and ginger and cook 1 more min. Add the broth and coconut milk and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often until the sauce reduces by 1/4 (whatever that really means), 7-8 min. Slide the chicken back in and add the snow peas. Cook for a min or two, add the basil and lime juice and season with the S&P to taste.
Stir the zest into the lime (if ya want). Then serve the rice and curry in a bowl so that you can mix them together. Yum.

TWD #4: Caramel Peanut Topped Brownie Cake


I will say that while I had fun making the caramel, I wasn’t a big fan of the final product. The cake turned out dry and the topped was really hard to chew through. I took it with me to a friend’s apartment for dinner on Friday night and came home with half that ended up in the trash today.  I just didn’t want another slice :(

This was the fun part.

This was the fun part.

Look forward to next week!