quelle est une doorknob?

the joke is. a girl is like a doorknob. at one point or another in her life, everybody gets a turn at her.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

Halloween starts the holiday sugar fest for me. When pumpkin was decided for this challenge, I knew the result would be something sweet coming out of my oven.

I bent the rules. I made a pumpkin cake, but it's not made of pumpkin....it IS a pumpkin!

The flavor is a basic spice cake baked in a bundt pan. The icing is maple syrup flavored. Basically, it's a package of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter, four cups of powdered sugar, and maple syrup....(not Aunt Jemima)....i probably used 3 or 4 tablespoons. Any more and it would be too runny.

Obviously I tinted the icing. I used my red and yellow tubes....then threw in a dollop of my orange paste. The paste really adds more depth in color. For the stem I used an ice cream cone....the kind you don't like to eat because they taste like styrofoam. I piped the green lines which I hope gives it a more round look.

I'm taking it to work tomorrow. I secretly hope that the icing turns everyone's teeth orange.

Until next time fellow doorknobs...keep those ovens and buns hot!


Bowlful of Fall: Pumpkin Gnocchi & Wilted Kale

like my cousin, i am not a fan of pumpkin. pumpkin pie makes me suicidal. ok, not really but i don't like the stuff. i've played with pumpkin before, making a soup and challah. when i decided to make pumpkin be this month's challenge, it was my intention to celebrate the coming autumn season (even tho i lament the cold), but also to play with an ingredient i normally avoid.

i went with pumpkin gnocchi, figuring that the pumpkin flavor wouldn't be overwhelming. i know Pat already did gnocchi for the roll challenge but whatever. i also decided to incorporate another ingredient i don't usually play with: kale. tis the season, yo. the finished product turned out well, the gnocchi wasn't too pumpkin-y, the kale was mild and a perfect complement to the gnocchi. success!

pumpkin gnocchi

Wilted Kale

for this portion of the recipe, it's my typical angry asian style of dumping whatever is in my fridge into the pan.

a bunch of kale, cleaned and rough chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
handful of shiitake mushroom, sliced
a few sprigs of thyme
olive oil
salt/pepper to taste
lemon juice

in a large pan, heat up the olive oil. add in the onions and sautee till translucent. throw in the garlic and mix around, be sure not to burn it. add in the kale and maybe a splashful of water. i pulled some thyme leaves off the stem and added that too. i cooked this for about 20 minutes, or until i finished making the gnocchi, making sure to add a spoonful of water every now and again. at the last minute, i threw in the mushrooms.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

1/2 cup pureed pumpkin, either fresh or from a can
1 large egg yolk
12 Tbl flour, i divied it up 6 AP, 6 Whole Wheat

mix together the pumpkin puree and egg yolk in a medium sized bowl. add half the flour until incorporated. slowly add the rest of the flour, by tablespoon, until a dough forms. on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for a few minutes. if the dough is still too sticky, add more flour, but a little at a time. when it doesn't stick to everything anymore, divide the dough into four balls. roll them out, into snake-like formations. with a dough cutter, (i don't have one, i used my pizza cutter), cut out little 1-2" pieces. i've seen gnocchi with cute indentions and whatever on them. i wasn't interested in that, i was hungry...

to cook the gnocchi, bring a pot of water to boil. add about a tablespoon of salt. cook the gnocchi in batches. when they're first put into the pot, they sink right to the bottom but when they're cooked, they float up to the surface. easy.

add to the pan of kale and allow to mix thru.

to serve, i added a splash of lemon juice. separately, the kale came out great, i would've been happy to nibble on it sans gnocchi, which turned out nice too. but together, it was lovely. just like autumn in a bowl.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm not a fan of pumpkin ...

... but I did enjoy what I made! Maybe there's some hope for pumpkinisms.

This summer, I failed miserably at getting around to making vichyssoise, aka potato leek soup. Now that the temps have dropped and fall is here, it's the perfect time for soup, warm/hot soup! I scoured the internet for a good recipe, didn't find one that I loved so I started with one that I came across from Alton Brown ... well very loosely.

You're going to need:

6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
4-6 leeks, cleaned, green leaves removed
1/2 large onion (yellow/spanish)
Half (or more if you wish) small pumpkin
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder
Vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 425. Cut up pumpkin into chunks, you'll need to remove the rind, seeds, etc. Place onto cookie sheet, drizzle with some olive oil, garlic powder, pepper. Place into oven and roast pumpkin for about 20 mins. You'll need to turn the pieces.

Clean the leeks, remove the tops and then make sure to remove all the dirt and grit from the stalk, I just soak in a bowl of cold water, it should fall to the bottom. Cut leeks in half stem-length and then into smaller pieces. Set aside. Peel and cube potatoes, set aside.

In a saucepan, add in 3 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil, sweat the chopped leeks with 2 cloves crushed garlic, and chopped onion until tender/translucent.

Add in 5 cups vegetable stock to the sauteed leeks, turn heat down to low/simmer. Add in potatoes and let simmer covered for 20 mins.

Take roasted pumpkin and cut into cubes, similar in size to potatoes, add to rest of ingredients in saucepan.

Continue to simmer for another 30 mins, until a bit of the stock has burned off. Add in 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. Salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 mins.

Place soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Add in 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 cup of cream, 3 tbsp butter. Blend until mixture is smooth. Serve while still hot, top with chives, or if you want to get crazy, some crumbled bacon.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was smooth, creamy, savory and delicious. It smelled like fall.