Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

A special fall treat!

Adapted from Made In Melissa's Kitchen, makes 24 cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the brown sugar, sugar, butter and eggs. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix on low until smooth. Fold in the pumpkin puree.

Divide the batter among the paper liners, filling only about halfway. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce, combine the 1/2 cup of sugar and water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly add in the cream and vanilla. Stir until smooth.  Let the caramel cool for about 20 minutes.

To make the buttercream frosting, in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and salt together until fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Continue to add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. 

Slowly add half of the caramel sauce with the mixer on low speed.  Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Transfer the frosting to an icing bag with a No. 1 star tip and frost the cupcakes. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over top of the frosting.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Tomato Chile Jelly

I have been madly searching for ways to preserve our beautiful heirloom tomatoes because our plants are producing faster than we can eat this year.

From Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen

18 ounces tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 to 4 red chiles
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

In a food processor, puree the chiles, garlic, ginger and fish sauce until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large saucepan and add the sugar, vinegar and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook gently for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat.

Transfer to sterilized jars. The jelly can be eaten immediately or processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Roasted Vegetable Tart

With the green tomatoes gone - time to move on to the ripe tomatoes. We had the most amazing crop of heirloom tomatoes this year.

This recipe is a little complicated for your average weeknight but is oh so delicious.

From ecurry, serves two

1 16 ounce can chickpeas
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or the oil from the sun dried tomatoes
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tahini

1 medium red onion, thickly sliced
2 leeks, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
6 cloves of garlic. minced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
red crushed pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup club soda
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese
Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Combine the chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, oil, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor. Process until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, herbs, crushed pepper and garlic. Add in the vegetables and toss to coat. Grill the vegetables on a cast iron grill or barbeque or place all of the vegetables in a single layer in a baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
In a bowl combine the flour, salt, black pepper and herbs. Whisk together club soda and oil until well combined and then pour into the flour mixture. Stir with a fork until the mixture forms starts to form a dough with no dry flour left. If it is too dry, add more club soda or water. Gently work with your fingers until a consistent dry dough.

Divide the dough into two parts and roll gently between two sheets of waxed paper into a rectangle. Prick the crust with a fork. Bake the crusts on a parchment lined baking sheet at for about 12 minutes or until golden.

Spread about 1/2 cup of hummus on each crust. Arrange the vegetables on the top of the hummus. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Bake the tart in the oven for a couple minutes, just enough to warm though and melt the cheese.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Green Tomato Gratin

A little more original and refined than the traditional fried green tomatoes. I was actually surprised how the freshen and tartness of the tomatoes lent itself so well to the creamy gratin.

From No Recipes, serves 4

1 pound green tomatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
1/2 cups breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, minced
2 teaspoons flour
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat over to 450 F. Lightly oil a casserole dish.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and oil olive. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté until fragrant. Add the flour and cook for about one minute longer. Whisk in the cream, ensuring all of the flour is broken up. Add the cheese, salt and nutmeg. Continue whisking until well combined. 
Dip the tomato in the white sauce and arrange in the casserole dish. Spread the remaining sauce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. 
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs are browned. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Year of CSA

This was our second year as members of the Noble Gardens CSA. Despite some problems with bugs and weathers, there was still an abundance of vegetables every week. This past month my grocery bag has been overflowing and we have hardly been able to keep up with eating everything before it spoils. 

We have already signed up to participate again next summer. If you are interested you can check out the Noble Gardens website and register online or search out a CSA in your neighbourhood.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

In The Garden: Harvest

This past weekend we threw in the towel and harvested the last of our garden. Our yard now looks quite sad - all bare and ready for winter.

Brussel Sprouts

Carrots and Parsnips



We ended up harvesting a large box of tomatoes - half are still green but we have several pounds that are ripe and ready for eating. We have more than we will ever be able to eat or can so drop us a line if you would like some garden fresh tomatoes for yourself!


Green Tomato Pickles

This year I didn't have the time or patience to wait for my box of green tomatoes to ripen so I decided to do something different - eat them! 

Making green tomato pickles is essentially the same as making traditional dill pickles. The best part - the acid from tomatoes and vinegar mean that a boiling water bath is not necessary.

Adapted from Williams Sonoma: The Art of Preserving, makes 6 quart jars

2 1/2 pounds green cherry tomatoes
2 cups cider vinegar
4 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
12 bay leaves
2 tablespoons picking spice
6 cloves garlic
6 teaspoons dill seed
6 teaspoons dill
3/4 teaspoon celery seeds

In a sauce pan, combine the vinegar, water and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt.

In each jar place 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon pickling spice, a garlic clove, 1 teaspoon dill seed, 1 teaspoon dill and 1/8 teaspoon celery seed. Pack the tomatoes into the jars leaving about 1 inch of room at the top of the jars.

Ladle the boiling brine into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean and tightly seal the lids.

Let the pickles sit for at least two weeks to allow the flavours to develop.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kim Chi

Kim Chi is the spicy Korean version of sauerkraut. It is served as a condiment with most Korean dishes.

It is traditionally done with Napa cabbage but I used the standard green cabbage from our CSA baskets. If you can not find the Korean chili powder (gochugaru) you can use Chili Garlic Sauce.

Adapted from Mark's Daily Apple

3 pounds cabbage
3/4 cup kosher salt
8 to10 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 to 3/4 cup Korean red chili powder
8 to10 scallions, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Cut the cabbages lengthwise into quarters and then across into 1 inch thick ribbons. In a big bowl, dissolve the salt in 8 cups of cold water. Transfer the cabbage to the bowl and use your hands to toss it in the salt water. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave it to rest for 6 hours to overnight.

Remove the cabbage from the salt water and squeeze out as much moisture as possible from the leaves.

Combine the garlic, ginger, fish sauce and honey in food processor and blend until very finely minced. Stir in the chili powder.

Combine the green onions, cabbage and spice mixture, mixing well to coat all the cabbage leaves. Divide the cabbage into quart canning jars, pressing down firmly to remove any air bubbles. Seal the jar with plastic wrap and an elastic band. Let sit at room temperature for 72 hours or longer to ferment. Once fermented to your taste it can be stored in the refridgerator up to 3 months.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Asian Chicken Burgers with Miso Dressing

These are by far the moistest chicken burgers I have ever had - I think it is due to the mayonnaise. The dressing would also work well as a salad dressing. I actually skipped the bun and served our burgers on a bed of vegetables.

Serves four

1/2 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1 1/3 cup panko or breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, onion, panko, mayonaise, egg and seasonings. Combine well and form into patties. Fry or bar-be-que the patties until cooked through.


In the mean time, combine the ginger, soy sauce, miso, rice vinegar, oil, sugar and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

Garnish the burgers as desired and serve.

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