Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Squares

These pumpkin squares have become a tradition around our house. Their moist spiciness is perfect with a cup of tea on a cool afternoon or evening. The recipe makes a large pan full and they freeze well. Sometimes I add grated orange rind and orange juice to the icing which adds another level of flavor.

Pumpkin Squares

4 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 16-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
2 tsps Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan. In large mixing bowl beat together eggs, sugar and oil. Gradually add the pumpkin, beating until smooth. Add the flours, baking powder, spice, and baking soda. Stir until smooth (there may be a few small lumps). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

When cool, cover with a layer of vanilla butter icing (soft butter, icing sugar, vanilla and some milk) then chop a few sweetened dried cranberries and sprinkle them on top. Enjoy with a cup of hot Earl Grey tea.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ginger Chicken Soup

I wanted to make some chicken soup, but also wanted something a bit different than the usual, and very good, traditional flavour. So I thought about what I had in the fridge, and what I felt like, and ginger came to mind. A bit of red curry paste paired with the ginger made for a soup that was comforting and spicy and oh, so warming. I've made it again and like it even more.

1 T vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
2 T minced fresh ginger
2 leeks, sliced (white part and a bit of the green)
1 can coconut milk
4 cups chicken broth (homemade, or low-sodium)
1 sweet red pepper, diced
5 baby bok choy, sliced (white and green parts)
2 carrots, diced
1-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
2 T fish sauce
1 T brown sugar
1-2 T lime juice
2 T fresh basil

Heat the oil in a large soup pot and add the red curry paste. Stir until fragrant and the oil is colored. Add the ginger and stir for about 1 minute. Add the leeks and continue stirring just until barely softening. Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, sweet red pepper, and carrots and bring to a boil. Simmer gently until the carrots are almost tender, 15 - 20 minutes. Add the chicken and the bok choy. Simmer another 5 - 10 minutes.

Stir in the fish sauce, the brown sugar, the lime juice and the fresh basil. Taste the soup. There should be a nice balance of sweet, salty, and sour. Adjust the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar if needed.

Enjoy the fragrance and the taste - both are wonderful!

This is a very forgiving recipe - if you don't have leeks, use onions. No bok choy? Try kale or spinach. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Prunes

This represents a perfect fall dish to me - earthy apple and rosemary flavours, tender meat and a hint of sweetness in the prunes. Served with roasted potatoes, baked tomato halves and steamed broccoli.

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Prunes

1 T olive oil
1 pork tenderloin
salt and pepper to taste
2 apples, quartered, cored and cut into wedges
1/4 - 1/2 cup dried prunes, quartered
2 Tablespoons grainy mustard
1 cup white wine (or apple juice)
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper. Brown in the oil on all sides. Whisk the wine with the mustard to blend, then add to skillet along with the apples and prunes. Lay the fresh rosemary sprig on top. Simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes or until tenderloin is tender. The apples will have cooked down somewhat and all will be wonderfully fragrant.

Slice the tenderloin and serve with the apples and prunes. Garnish with another sprig of rosemary, if desired.
Posted by Picasa