Monday, September 15, 2014

Feeling Witchy - Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars

 

There was a nip in the air over the weekend, and that's all it took to start decorating.  Last fall, I found some vinyl lettering and made a sign for the gossip bench in our bedroom.

 
 I crave the scents of  fall and have been gathering recipes to start baking. Last year, I made fabulous Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars from the blog Faithfulness Farm. The recipe makes a 10" x 15" pan, so be prepared to share. I brought them to the office and they gave the bars five stars out of five!!
 
 
Recipe for Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars:

Bars:

2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup rolled quick oats

Filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs

Glaze drizzle:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
 
Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and molasses until creamy. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture and place in a small bowl. Scoop the remaining mixture into a 10" x 15" baking pan lightly coated with nonstick spray. Add the oats to the reserved mixture and mix until combined - set aside.
 
For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and mix until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing just until combined. Scoop the mixture over the uncooked base and use an off-set spatula to evenly spread the mixture over the top. Crumble reserved oat mixture over filling.
 
Bake until the topping is a golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
 
For glaze drizzle, in a small bowl, mix together confectioners' sugar, butter and vanilla. Mix in just enough milk until the mixture will easily flow from a spoon - drizzle over cooled bars.

Thanks for stopping by!
Debbie 
 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Overnight Sriracha Pickles

 
 
One of my favorite ways to use cucumbers from our garden. If  you are a fan of Sriracha, which is a type of hot sauce or chili sauce made from a paste of chili peppers, distilled vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt, I hope you will try these pickles
 
 

In a saucepan, add 1 cup of white or cider vinegar, 2 cups of sugar, 3 tablespoons of sriracha and a teaspoon of celery seed.
 
 Heat just until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
 
Add half a thinly sliced red onion and enough sliced cucumber to fill the bowl but still be covered in brine.
 
Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. 
 
We love them on our sandwiches.
 
Thank you for stopping by! I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.
 
Debbie
 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas (Tranches d'aubergine á l'italienne)


Happy Labor Day! The unofficial end of summer, seems too soon yet.
Julia's eggplant pizzas are one of my favorite summer meals. We have been enjoying them for dinner with a salad. I hope you will try this....it's that good. I'll be making it again tomorrow since some nice person left me some beautiful plum tomatoes and an eggplant from their garden. I still don't know who ;o)

 
Julia Child's Eggplant Pizzas (Tranches d'aubergine á l'italienne)

(Makes 3-4 servings or 6-8 appetizer servings, recipe adapted from one found in From Julia Child's Kitchen.)

Ingredients:
1 globe eggplant, about 8 ounces and 9-10 inches long
about 1 T salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
about 2 T olive oil, for brushing eggplant before roasting
about 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, for sprinkling on eggplant before roasting
10 large basil leaves, cut in chiffonade strips (optional)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/3 cup finely grated low-fat mozzarella blend
hot red pepper flakes for sprinkling finished pizza (optional)

Sauce Ingredients:
2-3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
1 can good quality petite diced tomatoes with liquid (or use 3 cups peeled and diced fresh tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1/4 tsp. dried oregano (use Greek or Turkish oregano)

Instructions:
Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut it into 3/4 inch thick slices (trying to make them the same thickness!) Put the eggplant pieces on a double layer of paper towels and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for about 30 minutes to draw out the liquid. (After the eggplant sits for 15 minutes, turn on the oven to 375F/190C.)

While the eggplant sits, make the sauce. Heat 2-3 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan) and saute the finely chopped garlic just until it becomes fragrant.  Add the petite diced tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning, and dried oregano and let the sauce cook at a low simmer until it's thickened, breaking up the tomatoes with a fork as it cooks.

After 30 minutes, wipe the eggplant dry with paper towels (this also removes most of the salt.) Spray a roasting sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray, lay eggplant slices on, brush the tops of the eggplant with olive oil, and sprinkle with dried Italian seasoning. Roast the eggplant about 25 minutes (but "not so long that the slices become mushy and lose their shape" as Julia says.)

While the eggplant roasts, thinly slice the fresh basil leaves (if using) and combined freshly grated Parmesan and low-fat mozzarella blend. After 25 minutes or when eggplant pieces are done, remove eggplant from the oven and turn oven setting to broil. Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the top of each eggplant slice, sprinkle with thin basil slices (if using) and top with a generous amount of cheese. Put pizzas under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. (This took 6-7 minutes for me, but I was using a toaster oven and in a more powerful broiler it would probably only take a few minutes.)Serve hot, with red pepper flakes to sprinkle on pizza if desired.
 
 
With this post, I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.
We took time to enjoy the beautiful weather on Saturday. Thank you for stopping by!
Debbie

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Jewels for the Hummingbirds

 

I'm seeing a lot of farewell to summer in blogland, but this gal does not have any Fall Fever yet. We spend weekends at the lake and the hummingbirds entertained us. Does anyone remember "touch-me-nots" from their childhood? As children, we would touch the plant when the capsules of seeds were ripe, and they burst forth spreading more plants-to-be.
 


The hummingbirds are a frequent visitor to Jewelweed, which is a native species of Impatiens. I read recently, that if you get stung by nettles, the jewelweed is always growing nearby.  Some folks grind it up in the blender and put it in an ice-cube tray, and have some ice-cubed jewelweed to rub on their skin for rashes or irritations. 

 
Wanna go on one final summer picnic with me? Enamelware is perfect for picnics.
 

 I  love surprises, so you can imagine how I felt when I received a birthday package from a dear friend I met through blogging and discovered these HAND MADE butterfly napkins to coordinate with the MacKenzie-Childs plates.


Labor Day Weekend is the last hurrah for us. Joe is a teacher and starts school next Tuesday. We continue to go to the lake through the month of October and the weather will be changing soon.


A picnic is not complete without dessert right?
 

I was looking for something quick and easy, and Strawberry Apple Pie sounded delightful. The recipe is  from Ricardo in Canada, and was shared on La Table De Nana's blog.

  
The photos below have been in my camera since July.  Our get togethers are very casual in the summer, so I stack salad and dessert plates with a paper napkin in between. Everyone helps themselves ;o)
 

 
I hope you are having a nice summer. This is about the best summer I can remember. Sunshine and low humidity almost all summer. With this post, I am joining Cuisine Kathleen for her Farewell to Summer Table Challenge, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.
 
Thanks for stopping by!
Debbie
 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Tomato Tart

 
 
 I was off from work last week and had time to try a few new recipes. When I saw the Tomato Tart on  Kitty's Kozy Kitchen blog, I knew we would really enjoy it, and we did. Joe would like it again this week ;o)  It is perfect for the cooler weather we are having. I can feel Autumn in the air. We will  have a few more days of summer heat, but the changing foliage and cool mornings is our sign. Yesterday I was given a tip to get my tomatoes to ripen during this cool weather and if it works, I'll share it with you.
 
Tomato Tart
 
1 refrigerated pie crust
1 garlic bulb
1/2 t. olive oil
1 1/2 cups shredded fontina cheese
4 large tomatoes
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper.
 
  Press refrigerated pie crust on bottom & up sides of a tart pan. Bake at 450 degrees for 9 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside.
 
Cut off pointed end of garlic bulb; place garlic on a piece of aluminum foil & drizzle with olive oil. Fold foil to seal. Bake garlic at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the garlic is tender. Test it with a paring knife. Squeeze pulp from garlic cloves into bottom of baked pie crust.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of fontina cheese over the garlic.
 
Slice tomatoes & place on folded paper towels. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & let stand for 10 minutes. Arrange tomato slices over shredded cheese. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until lightly browned.
 
I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.
 
Thank you for your visit!
xo
Debbie