Monday, October 25, 2010

Curry Pumpkin Soup

I'm always on the lookout for some new recipe to try. You just never know where you're going to find the next family favorite. I especially love soup and stew recipes when the weather turns cold. This is the perfect recipe for a chilly autumn evening.

I found this Curry Pumpkin Soup recipe while flipping through the October 2008 issue of Better Homes And Gardens Magazine at a friend's house. Luckily BH&G keeps a catalog of their recipes online so it was each to track it down. To print your own copy click on the picture below and follow the link to the BH&G website.

Overall I was pleased with how simple a recipe and how tasty the soup was. My three year-old wasn't a fan, but my husband and I really enjoyed it.

With the exception of orange zest and onions (which we never have in our house, my husband hates them) we had all the ingredients in stock. Right there that is a plus for this recipe. I hate it when you have to go hunting for rare ingredients. The recipe was easy to follow and made enough leftovers we easily got two meals from one batch. Of course if I had doubled we could have had leftovers to freeze, but I'm short on freezer space and with such a fast and simple recipe it won't be a big deal to make it again anytime we are looking for something like this.

I should note that I don't have a food processor, so I used my blender and that worked just fine.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it can be done as time allows. It's a quick recipe, but I started it earlier in the day as that is what my schedule allowed. I completed all of step 2 and left the soup to cool. Later I came back and finished step 3 and just before step 4 I completed the Orange-Cranberry Topper (Step 1). This worked well and dinner was ready when my husband walked in the door.

One other slight change, I only had 1 can of chicken broth, so I substituted 1 can of vegetable broth for the missing can. Which got me thinking.... taking out the other can this could easily become a vegetarian soup. If you substituted the butter and milk with something else it could even be vegan. Pretty versatile if you ask me!

Definitely a great dish, would make again. Great if served with fresh bread or rolls or cranberry orange muffins.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Shoo-Fly Pie

Recently I made a Shoo-Fly Pie to bring with me to the September meeting of my book club. I wanted something that reminded me of early fall and this molasses dessert seemed perfect.

I remember my mother serving this pie once or twice when I was a child. I don't remember where I picked up this particular recipe. The copy I have is typed on a typewriter and has no name. I've had it for years.

Shoo-Fly Pie
(One 9" pie)

This pie has a "damp zone" next to the crust. It is sometimes referred to as the "wet-bottom shoo-fly." Most people prefer this one above the others.

1 Pastry shell, unbaked
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 TBS shortening (butter or margarine)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl.
3. Blend in the molasses.
4. Add baking soda to boiling water and let it dissolve.
5. Add water/baking soda mix to molasses mixture. Set aside.

6. Combine dry ingredients with shortening and work into crumbs with fingers.

7. Pour liquid into pastry shell.

8. Top with crumbs.

9. Bake in 400°F oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325°F and bake 35 minutes longer.

Serve warm or cooled.

When I've made this pie in the past I've used normal wheat flour, but since several of the ladies in my club have gluten allergies I obtained some gluten-free pie crust mix and proceeded to make the pie gluten free. If you would like to try and make this recipe gluten-free I should point out that the topping ALSO includes flour (just a cup), so it's important to obtain some gluten-free flour in addition to the flour used in the pie crust (or the pie crust mix). Having tried this pie both with and without gluten flour I declare it delicious!

Here are some tips should you decide to try this pie gluten-free.

Tip 1. If you've never made a gluten-free pie before (or are a novice when it comes to pie crusts) I highly encourage you to try a box mix. I found a mix at a local health food store, but more and more general and specialized grocery stores are starting to carry gluten-free mixes and flour. I chose a mix because I'd never made a gluten-free pie before and had no time to experiment.

Tip 2. Although they don't taste much different than regular wheat flour crusts, gluten-free pie crusts are not the same consistency. They are STICKY! It's best to use plastic wrap on the bottom and top of the cr ust when you roll it out. This will also make transferring it to the pie pan much easier and will help prevent breakage and crumbling.

For more information about the history of Shoo-Fly Pie check out the article on Wikipedia or What's Cooking America

Other versions of Shoo-Fly Pie.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

This is another family recipe. I'm sure it originated with an actual recipe from a book, but I believe it's gone through enough adaptions I can call it a family recipe. Growing up my mother refused to purchase and make the box macaroni and cheese. It wasn't until I was a teen and babysitting that I ever tried the "instant" mac. As an adult I've discovered a renewed interest in my mother's recipe and have adapted it a little to suit my family's tastes.

Homemade Macaroni & Cheese

3 cups of pasta*
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour (not whole wheat)
1 tsp. mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 lb cheese (shredded)**
1 cup sour cream (use light sour cream for less fat)
bread crumbs (optional)***

* My mother always used whole wheat elbow macaroni. I've expanded to try other cuts of pasta including spiral, small shell and as pictured here gemelli.

** My mother always used sharp cheddar cheese. I've expanded to use 1/2lb cheddar and 1/4lb Gouda. The Gouda cheese adds some color and makes the dish a little cheesier/gooier. I love it. Like the pasta in this dish the types of cheese you use can change around the taste and make it seem different each time you serve.

*** My mother always made her own breadcrumbs. I often take the easy way out and use store bought crumbs. Plain is preferred over the Italian.

1. Cook pasta.
2. Meanwhile mix together ingredients 2-6 (milk, flour, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt) in a microwavable bowl or measuring cup, leave room for liquid to expand.
3. Microwave/cook until thickened. (!!) Warning: Keep an eye on this container while it cooks. It tends to thicken suddenly and boil over if not stopped in time. (!!)
4. Add shredded cheese to sauce and mix until cheese melts.
5. Stir in sour cream.
6. Stir in pasta.
7. Pour into a microwavable/oven safe container.
7. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes to heat thoroughly.
8. (Optional) Top with bread crumbs.
9. Put under oven broiler for a couple minutes until bread crumbs or top is lightly browned.

Great served with a garden salad as a side.