Thursday, September 25, 2014

Time for Spooky Treats

The weather has been b-e-a-utiful and we're having quick tasty meals on the grill. I've been making quesadillas for years, and use leftover chicken, some grated Mexican cheese, and a little bit of salsa. Then top it with tomatoes, sour cream, additional salsa, homemade pickled jalapenos and cilantro. This is the recipe I use from Taste of Home.
Have you seen the spooky treats in Country Living Magazine this month? I think they are the cutest I have seen. Beware: These chocolate and pumpkin cupcakes with creamy hazelnut frosting are totally bewitching.
Spiced chocolate bats! Yes please. I like Halloween treats that please my palette ;o) No eye balls please.

I must make these owls!

I am joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday with this post.
Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

We did enjoy this

I was looking for something quick to serve for lunch today, so I grabbed "The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook - The Original Classics". I seem to have good luck with most of Martha's recipes.
The day was beautiful, 80 degrees, and we enjoyed this black bean chili so I wanted to share. When I added the nasturtium to the bowl of chili, it brought back memories of when my son Bryon was seven years old. He does not eat salad, never has. I eat a lot of salad, and garnished my salad with a few nasturtiums. He plucked the nasturtiums off my salad and ate them! I could not believe my eyes.
Adapted Martha Stewart's Black-Bean and Tomato Chili - 1998
1-3/4 cups dried black beans (I used canned)
3 large guajillo chiles (I used dried chiles that I had on hand)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin (I used one teaspoon)
1-3/4 cups Vegetable Stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
2 pounds assorted ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 Drain beans in a colander, and set aside.
2 Set a small skillet over high heat. Place chiles in the pan; toast on both sides until browned and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer chiles to a small bowl, and cover with 2/3 cup hot water. Let sit 10 minutes. Cut chiles in half, and remove the seeds and stems. Transfer the flesh, along with the poaching liquid, to the bowl of a food processor. Process until a puree forms.
3 Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil, and let warm. Add onions, 3/4 of the minced garlic, and cumin. Cover, and cook until softened and slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Add the chile puree and cook 2 minutes more. Add stock and the reserved black beans. Cover, and cook until beans are soft, about 1 1/2 hours. If beans seem dry, add another 1/2 cup hot water.
4 In a large bowl, toss together tomatoes, remaining minced garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and vinegar. Let sit 5 minutes. Stir half of the tomato mixture into the beans. Cover, and simmer 1 minute more.
5 Divide the chili among 6 bowls. Top with remaining tomato mixture, and serve.
Thank you for stopping by!

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!!
Printable Recipe for Gingerbread Pumpkin 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

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! I'm joining Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

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.

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'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.)

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)

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!