Monday, November 13, 2017

White Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Pretzel Crust

White Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Pretzel Crust


It's been pumpkin time for quite a while now. It seems it begins each year just a little earlier than the year before. I love pumpkin. I really, really do. That being said, you can most definitely have too much of a good thing. Enter the white pumpkin.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I'm in the throes of menu planning and shopping, and this year as I looked at the uncarved white pumpkin on my porch, I thought, "Why not?" It turns out you can make a pumpkin pie from just about any pumpkin you can purchase, including the white variety.

The flavor is milder and sweeter than that of a traditional orange pumpkin, and so surprisingly different that I've had requests to make this one for Thanksgiving Day. I am more than happy to oblige! This pumpkin variety is so sweet in fact, I am using sweetened condensed milk and no sugar. This changes the usual baking time, so read carefully! Please taste your pumpkin puree to decide whether or not you want to add sugar. Add sugar to the puree first and check before making the filling.

Now, you don't run to the store and simply pull white pumpkin puree from the shelf, you make it in the usual way. You can find instructions for that here: Which Pumpkin?  All pumpkins are edible, but some are more tasy than othersFollow the general rules for which pumpkin to cook, and you'll be fine.

UTZ Holiday Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks

On to that crust! I was greeted one day in my local Giant food store's vestibule by a bag of UTZ Holiday Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks. I love these things. They are very mild in flavor and lightly sweet, but with all the delicious crunch of the usual UTZ pretzel. On their own, they are lovely, but as a pie crust? A whole new dimension of texture an flavor. I though this would pair well with the white pumpkin, and I was right. If you are not able to find these, you can use any pretzel for the crust.


White Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Pretzel Crust
Makes one 9-inch pie

Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed UTZ Holiday Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter - melted
1/2 cup brown sugar

Pie Filling:

2 cups white pumpkin puree
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk!)
2 large eggs
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (this is to your liking)

Directions:

For the crust:

1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Press into the bottom and sides of a well-greased 9-inch pie plate. Set aside.

For the Filling:

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
3, Pour into prepared crust.
4. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until pie does not jiggle when touched.
5. Cool for 1 hour then refrigerate before serving.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Aunt Dorothy's Refrigerator Yeast Rolls


Aunt Dorothy's Refrigerator Yeast Rolls

Everyone has a food that takes them instantly back to their childhood with a single bite. For me it's these rolls. Served at every large family gathering, they were gone before they cooled and it's still the same way today in our home. These are perfect for Thanksgiving, which is just around the corner here in the United States.

Aunt Dorothy's Refrigerator Yeast Rolls


The original recipe directions were so simplified, almost too much for more novice cooks, that I've expanded the preparation details here. Many refrigerator roll recipes call for using the dough as far out as 3 days, but I find that it rises too much in that period of time. Perfect timing is within 24 hours but can be pushed to 48.

Aunt Dorothy's Refrigerator Yeast Rolls*
Hand-On Time:
Ready In:
Serves: Makes 3 dozen rolls

Ingredients:

1 packet dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
3 tablespoons unsalted butter - room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1 large egg
8 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Combine 1/2 cup of the warm water with yeast in a large bowl and stir until dissolved. Let rest for 5 minutes until bubbly.
2. Add remaining 2 cups of water to yeast mixture along with butter, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved and butter has melted.
3. Beat egg lightly and add to water along with 1 cup of flour. Stir until well blended.
4. Add in remaining flour, a cup at a time, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon until no more flour can be added. Knead in remaining flour with hands, a 1/4 cup at a time until dough is smooth and elastic - about 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Put dough back into bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours but not more than 48 hours.
6. When you are ready to bake rolls, pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F, punch down dough and portion into 36 equal pieces. Shape dough into rolls and put into greased muffin tins. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
7. Once rolls are doubled, brush with olive oil or egg wash (1 egg and 2 tablespoons water blended well) and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.

*Aunt Dorothy was my grandfather's sister-in-law. I absolutely adored her and my uncle, Hershel. She was sweet and quiet, which was necessary as my uncle took the spotlight every time we visited. He was a real hoot, definitely a story for another time.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nutty Pumpkin Drinks



When it comes to autumn and winter holidays one of my favorite parts is what we’re drinking. I don’t necessarily mean alcoholic beverages, but everything we drink. As a rule my family drinks water, coffee or the occasional cup of juice so, when holidays roll around I get excited about flavored coffees and different types of ginger ales and warm ciders. Using ShopRite’s coffees and hot chocolates as a base makes whipping up delicious drinks so easy. Here are two grown-up versions of drinks you’ll want to try this season.

Note: For teetotalers or children, leave out the liqueur or pick up a bottle of hazelnut flavored syrup in the coffee aisle.


Nutty Pumpkin Coffee
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 ShopRite Colombian Roast K Cup
1 ounce pumpkin simple syrup*
1 ounce hazelnut liqueur or hazelnut flavored syrup
Creamer to taste if desired
Whipped cream for topping

Directions:

1. Make a 12 ounce cup of coffee using the K Cup.
2. Add pumpkin simple syrup and liqueur and stir well.
3. Add creamer if desired and serve topped with whipped cream. Serve hot.

Nutty Pumpkin Hot Cocoa
Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 packet ShopRite Instant Hot Cocoa Mix – with or without marshmallows
1 ounce pumpkin simple syrup*
1 ounce hazelnut liqueur or hazelnut flavored syrup
Whipped cream for topping

Directions:

1. Make one cup of cocoa according to package directions.
2. Stir in simple syrup and liqueur and stir well.
3. Top with whipped cream and serve hot.

*Pumpkin Pie Simple Syrup

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

1. Combine puree, sugar and water in a small saucepan.
2. Cook over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth.
3. Add in pie spice and stir well.
4. Keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Monday, October 16, 2017

No-Knead Honey Whole Wheat Bread


 No-Knead Honey Whole Wheat Bread

When it comes to comfort food the most comforting of all is homemade bread. There is something warm and wonderful about the aroma as it bakes that makes you want to slow down and take the time to savor it. Baking bread can be time-intensive without a machine, and even then it can take longer than anyone wants to wait for fresh-baked bread. No-Knead bread is just as delicious as the kneaded kind and even the kids can handle this - making it just that much more enjoyable for parents.

No-Knead Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour
Serves: Makes 2 - 8 inch loaves

Ingredients:

3 cups warm water, 110 - 120 degrees F
2 packets instant dry yeast
1/4 cup honey - for vegan use agave nectar
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

1. Grease two 8 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch loaf pans or two 1.5 quart oven-proof bowls.
2. Combine warm water, yeast and honey. Stir to dissolve yeast.
3. In a large bowl, mix together flours and salt. Pour liquid into dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly - dough will be sticky.
4. Divid dough equally between pans. Let stand in a warm spot for 20 minutes until slightly risen.
5. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 40 minutes. The bottom of the loaves will sound hollow when tapped.
6. Turn out of pans and cool on a rack.

8 servings per loaf=

Monday, October 09, 2017

Maple Glazed

I've heard tell of those who find the football game secondary to the tailgate party. I'm one of those people. Don't get me wrong; I love a good football game, but the fun had with others on a crisp fall day sharing our favorite hearty fall foods just can't be beat.

Most football get-togethers consist of fans of one single team with everyone rooting for the same side, but what happens when you have rivals in your midst? Ply them with good food. That being said, this time of year just begs for everything maple. These two recipes are so good, and so simple. Both have 3 ingredients or less and both are done in 30 minutes! Easy and delicious, my favorite.

Kielbasa in Maple and Beer



Kielbasa in Maple and Beer

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 pound kielbasa, cut into 1" chunks
1 cup beer (any type)
1/2 cup real maple syrup

Directions:

Combine everything in a heavy bottomed sauce pot and simmer until sauce thickens and kielbasa starts to brown (about 30 minutes).



Maple Glazed Nuts


You can use any type of shelled nuts you like, raw or roasted, salted or not. I like to use roasted and salted nuts as we really like the salty-sweet combination. Please do use real maple syrup if you can, the flavor profile is different than using imitation syrup.

Maple Glazed Nuts

Hands-On Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 25 minutes
Yield: 1 cup

Ingredients:

1 cup nuts, any type (almonds are pictured)
2 Tablespoons real maple syrup

Directions:

1. Heat the nuts in a non-stick pan over medium heat for about 1 minute - just so they start getting warm.
2. Add maple syrup and toss the nuts quickly slowly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the syrup starts to them. This happens quickly, only about 20 seconds. 
3. Moving quickly, remove from heat and spread out evenly on parchment paper or a greased baking sheet to cool. Try to spread them out so they are not touching and let them cool for 20 minutes. 
4. Once cooled, break apart any that are stuck together and serve. 

*Note: Once glazed, they don't store well as an humidity in the air will cause them to start sticking together.