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Archive for October 2007

Vodka pie crust

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I want to try this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated that I read about here. Instead of water, you use vodka, because gluten can’t form in ethanol–so your crust remains tender, and the alcohol mostly burns off during baking.

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Written by orata

October 18, 2007 at 9:41 am

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The amazing pumpkin cheesecake recipe

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Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl

Serves 10
Crust:

1 ½  cups ground gingersnap cookies

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

4  8oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 2/3 cups sugar

1 ½ cups canned solid pack pumpkin

9 tablespoons whipping cream

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground allspice

4 large eggs
Purchased caramel sauce
For Crust: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Finely grind cookies and sugar in food processor. Add melted butter and blend until combined. Press crust mixture into bottom of a 9” springform pan with 2 ¾” sides.

For Filling: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl until light. Transfer ¾ cup of the mixture to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate to use for topping. To the remaining mixture add pumpkin, 4 tablespoons whipping cream, cinnamon, and allspice and beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Pour filling into crust (it will almost fill the pan). Bake until cheesecake puffs, top browns, and center moves only slightly when shaken, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run a small, sharp knife around cake pan sides to loosen cheesecake. Cool. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Bring remaining ¾ cup cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add the remaining 5 tablespoons of whipping cream to the mixture and stir to combine. Press down firmly on edges of cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese mixture over cheesecake, spreading evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cream cheese mixture. Using the tip of a knife, swirl caramel sauce into cream cheese mixture. Can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate.
Release pan sides from cheesecake and serve.

Written by orata

October 8, 2007 at 2:02 pm

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Wheatberry and winter squash salad

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For the Bloomington Slow Food potluck. The bolded words are locally sourced foods.

Boil wheatberries for 2 hrs or so, until tender. Roast a medium butternut squash for 2 hrs or so, until tender. Cut up and saute a soffritto of onions, carrots, and celery. Mix these ingredients together, add grated Traders Point Fleur de la Terre cheese, capers, toasted chopped walnuts, fresh flatleaf parsley and green onions, and a dressing of chopped raw garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Serve cold. I used rinsed salted capers this time instead of the brined variety.

Jeanne and I just got back from the potluck and it was really nice. Some of the lovely foods there (I didn’t get to try all of them, unfortunately):

  • pumpkin cheesecake. AMAZING. Fluffy yet rich, with a crisp caramelized crust
  • persimmon bread pudding with rum cream
  • pumpkin apple butter cake with local creamy cheese filling
  • lemon poppyseed cake
  • pumpkin cannoli
  • salad with chicken
  • salad with chicken of the woods mushrooms (yum!)
  • arugula with some kind of bright orange dipping sauce
  • pork chops from Dave Tallent
  • Middle Eastern chicken stew. I tried just some of the veggies. Sarra (sp?), the girl who brought it, told me how to make it (I’m probably accidentally leaving things out…):
    • roll skinless chicken in cumin, turmeric, and coriander, and sear in oil
    • remove from pan; cook minced onions, ginger, and garlic, then add the chicken back in, and chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
    • also season with cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf
    • stew for a long time; in the last hour of cooking, add chopped root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. In the last half hour, add other vegetables, like zucchini.
  • lamb chops in a sauce involving star anise and Chinese black vinegar
  • all sorts of Capriole goat cheeses–the pyramidal ones rolled in paprika, or ashes, or the round ones wrapped in chestnut leaves
  • shagbark butter on barley bread–very sweet and tasty. I think someone said it was probably syrup tapped from the shagbark hickory tree and mixed with butter
  • butternut squash or pumpkin pureed smooth and strained, as a dip, and another savory dish, perhaps eggplant
  • little peeled potatoes cut into pieces and roasted until crispy and salty
  • roasted corn salad. I think this also had tomatoes and peppers
  • refried bean puree, some kind of grain-type salad with pureed squash and perhaps quinoa, or perhaps sprouts, and chopped corn salsa
  • some yummy potato salad Jeanne brought, with local potatoes and sour cream, mayonnaise, and apple cider vinegar
  • pumpkin ravioli with cheese on top and fried sage crispies
  • I also had a glass of Gruner Veltliner white wine and a glass of something else, I forget what, but I think it might have been Gewurtztraminer

Written by orata

October 7, 2007 at 2:30 pm

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I made a big batch of pesto on Sunday, but accidentally ground up part of my pink silicone spatula in the Cuisinart. Fortunately it was not a green spatula, and the pieces were easy to locate. The basil was from the farmer’s market, as was the cheese–absolutely delicious raw milk Trader’s Point Fleur de la Terre–and I used walnuts instead of pine nuts because the downtown Bloomingfoods doesn’t carry pine nuts. Booo! I put two Tbsp of pesto into each Saran wrap-lined cup of my muffin tin, and froze the pesto into little cakes, and put the frozen pesto cakes into some Ziploc freezer bags so I can enjoy the taste of summer basil all winter long.

Dinner tonight will come from one of my favorite cookbooks, Lindsay Bareham’s Supper Won’t Take Long. Sort of, anyway. It’s a dish called Brown Tom; the only reference I could find to this on the internet came, coincidentally, from Martinsville, IN: the Morgan County Longrifles site informs us that “Brown Tom was the nickname given to the standard ration bread issued to the British military.” Bareham’s recipe is for a gratin of tomatoes, brown bread, flat leaf parsley, garlic, and onion. My onions seem to have dissolved into a goo at the bottom of my crisper drawer, so I ended up using lots of garlic instead, and I had no flat leaf parsley. Also, I ignored her advice to peel the tomatoes first.

So my Brown Tom is really pretty different, and I don’t know if you can really call it the same thing. I pureed some of the white and whole wheat rolls my mom made while she was here (I’ve been eating them, but there sure are a lot of them) into bread crumbs, minced about four cloves of garlic, and mixed the crumbs and garlic up in a casserole dish with slices of red farmer’s market tomatoes, salt, and pepper. I sprinkled some parmesan on top, drizzled the crumbs with soy sauce and olive oil, and stuck one of my pesto-cubes smack in the middle. I hope it tastes good. It seems like it should, in theory. I will find out soon.

Written by orata

October 2, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized