Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Bread


I'm really in the fall spirit these days...  so another pumpkin recipe seems only appropriate!  I didn't think you'd mind since the pumpkin chip cookies I posted recently has been my most visited recipe according to my blog statistcs!  Part of that most likely has to do with Liz at Blog is the New Black sending a batch of my cookies as a prize to one of her lucky readers.  I hope she enjoyed them!

So on to today's recipe... I mentioned a couple of posts ago that my husband and I went to visit our friends James and Erica in Cape Cod, MA.  Erica is an extremely talented hostess... particularly because all of the recipes she made us were out of this world.  One that stuck out among the rest was her pumpkin bread.  To our surprise she had a loaf baking in the oven when we woke up.  What an amazing breakfast to wake up to!  Nothing is more delicious than warm spiced pumpkin bread with a little melted butter.

She was nice enough to share the recipe with me and I had to share it with you!  In my humble opinion, this is the best pumpkin bread I've had.  Not only is it delicious, but it's beyond simple to make and conveniently makes two loaves, which you can freeze for a rainy day. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Recipe Tip:
  • If you don't want to use both loaves, freeze one for later when you have an unexpected occasion to bake for!
  • I made this recipe with the ground cloves, but I think it would taste just as good without it.  If you don't have this ingredient on hand, don't worry about making a special trip to the store for it.


Start by beating the sugar and vegetable oil with an electric mixer on medium/high speed until blended:


Lower your speed to low add your eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition:

Raise your speed to medium and add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix until blended:

Meanwhile, sift together your flour, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a separate bowl:


Add the dry ingredients to the wet:


And mix with a spoon until combined.  At this time you can add your chopped walnuts if desired:


Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter and lightly flour 2 9x5x3 loaf pans.  Transfer half of the batter evenly into both pans.  If you don't have two pans you can bake them one at a time:



Bake in the middle rack between 1 hour and 5 minutes and 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick pricked in the center of your loaf comes out clean:


If you'd like, in a separate bowl combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Sift your cinnamon and sugar over the top of your loaf and sprinkle with additional cinnamon on top.  Then carefully slice your loaf into 1 inch thick slices and transfer to a dish to serve:




Pumpkin Bread
Adapted by Erica from Bon Apetit
(original recipe can be found on Epicurious)
Makes: 2 loafs
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
 3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16 oz can of pumpkin (do not use pie filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Optional topping:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
Start by beating your sugar and vegetable oil with an electric mixer on medium/high speed until blended. Lower your speed to low and add your eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition.  Raise your speed to medium and add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix until blended.  Meanwhile, sift together your flour, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, baking soda, salt, and baking powder into a separate bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a spoon until combined.  At this time you can add your chopped walnuts if desired.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter and lightly flour 2 9x5x3 loaf pans.  Transfer half of the batter evenly into both pans.  If you don't have two pans you can bake them one at a time.  Bake in the middle rack for 1 and 5 minutes to1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick pricked in the center of your loaf comes out clean.

If you'd like, in a separate bowl combine 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Sift your cinnamon and sugar over the top of your loaf and sprinkle with additional cinnamon on top.  Then carefully slice your loaf into 1 inch thick slices and transfer to a dish to serve.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Olive Tapenade



I love easy appetizer recipes that can be thrown together with little time and effort that guests will enjoy.  Often times my husband and I commit to plans at the last minute.  With that comes last minute planning that I used to panic over.  The usual questions would arise- what should I make, what do I have on hand, how much time do I have??  I used to feel unprepared for occasions like this, but now with appetizer recipes like this one- entertaining has become so much easier!

Olive tapenade is easy to whip up because it requires most pantry staple items.  Those few items that aren't pantry staples have a late expiration date and are great to keep stored in your refrigerator to have conveniently available whenever you need to throw a tapenade together.  With a few ingredients and a simple pulse of your food chopper, you can have an easy and delicious appetizer for your guests to munch on.

Not only is it easy and convenient, but it can also be used in many variations, making it extremely versatile and fun to play around with!  My friend Missy loves to use marinated olives with chili peppers for some added heat.  It's also great dressed up with some sliced pimentos on the top for a garnish or spooned over a cracker spread with goat cheese.  The possibilities are endless!  How do you like your olive tapenade?

Recipe Tip:
  • Make sure not to chop until a puree consistency- should be slightly chunky.
  • Liquids may separate so stir before serving if you're using it as a dip.


Start by roughly chopping your kalamata olives and adding them to your food chopper or food processor.  Then add your anchovy paste, capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and fresh ground pepper:



Pulse your food processor a few times until your ingredients are blended and your olives are roughly chopped.  Then add your olive oil:



Continue to pulse your food chopper or food processor, scraping the sides once or twice, until you have a slightly chunky, pasty consistency:



Serve over toasted baguette slices as a crostini or with crackers and a sprinkling of parsley:


Olive Tapenade
Makes: 1 1/2 cups 
Prep/Cook Time: 15 minutes
I can't remember where I found this recipe... If this is your recipe, please tell me so I can give credit where it's due.  Thank you!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups pitted kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste or 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions
Begin by roughly chopping your kalamata olives.  Then combine your olives, anchovy paste, capers, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and ground pepper in your food chopper or food processor.  Pulse a couple of times until your ingredients are blended and roughly chopped.  Then add your olive oil and continue to pulse, scraping your sides once or twice, until you have a slightly chunky, pasty consistency.  Make sure not to pulse until you reach a puree consistency otherwise your tapenade will be too wet and runny.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Classic Fall Pot Roast



Last week we had our friends Kevin and Eva over for our annual scary movie night to celebrate Halloween and I was in need of an easy and quick dinner recipe.  Pot roast came immediately to mind.  It's that time of year now and I'll take a crock pot recipe any day!

This pot roast in particular is one of my favorites because of the beautiful fall colors it has through the vast mixture of vegetables.  The sweet potatoes and carrots provide a punch of orange throughout the dish as well as a great sweetness to each bite.  The fluorescent green peas are a great contrast to the bright orange as well as the browned mushrooms and beef.  It's truly fall in a pot.

Not only does it have a beautiful presentation, but it has a great balance of flavors between the tomatoes and white wine, creating a wonderfully tender roast that falls apart in your mouth.

This dish is easy, seasonal, and flavorful... a real crowd pleaser!  Hope you enjoy this easy and delicious pot roast recipe as much as we did! 


Start by mixing the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary in a small dish:


Then drizzle your pot roast with olive oil and rub the dried herbs over the entire roast:

Then in a large pan, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/high heat and place your pot roast in the pan to brown:


Sear every side of the roast until browned, adding olive oil if your pan appears to dry up:


Put your roast in a crock pot and in the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic.  Saute and then add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, making sure to scrape the bits of roast on the bottom of the pan:

In the large crock pot, add your onions and garlic as well as the canned diced tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, carrots, and celery.  Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper and cook on low for 8 hours:



Once cooked, remove your roast from the crock pot and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  Then carefully slice into 1 inch thick pieces:


While you're waiting for your meat to rest, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pan over medium/high heat.  Add your button mushrooms and saute until browned.  Add to your crock pot once cooked:


 Meanwhile, peel and cut your potatoes and cook in a large pot.  Add to your crock pot once cooked through:



Add your frozen peas at the very end and allow to cook for 5 minutes in the cock pot.  Then serve and enjoy!

Pot Roast
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
1 bottom rump roast (best cut for pot roast)
olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 bunch baby carrots
2 cups white wine
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1 small package of whole mushrooms
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions
Start by mixing the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and rosemary in a small dish.  Then drizzle your pot roast with olive oil and rub the dried herbs over the entire roast. In a large pan, warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium/high heat and place your pot roast in the pan to brown.  Sear every side of the roast until browned, adding olive oil if your pan appears to dry up.  Put your roast in a crock pot and in the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the minced garlic.  Saute and then add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes, making sure to scrape the bits of roast on the bottom of the pan.  In the large crock pot, add your onions and garlic as well as the canned diced tomatoes, wine, bay leaves, carrots, and celery.  Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper and cook on low for 8 hours.

Once cooked, remove your roast from the crock pot and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  Then carefully slice into 1 inch thick pieces.  While you're waiting for your meat to rest, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium pan over medium/high heat.  Add your button mushrooms and saute until browned and add to your crock pot.  Meanwhile, peel and cut your potatoes and cook in a large pot.  Add to your crock pot once cooked through.  Finish by adding your frozen peas at the very end and allow to cook for 5 minutes in the crock pot.  Then serve and enjoy!
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Chocolate Devil's Food Halloween Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting


We're days away from Halloween and I've been trying to rack my brain for a good Halloween post.  I'm not very creative when it comes to cupcakes... not like my best friend Liz over at Blog is the New Black.  I call her the "cupcake queen" because she is the master at cupcake making.  Just check out these pumpkin cupcakes and you'll know exactly what I mean! 

So for you creatively challenged bakers like me, this recipe is pretty straight forward- just buy whatever Halloween sprinkles and candies you can find at your local grocery store and sprinkle away!  It doesn't get easier than that and your kids will love to help decorate them with you.  

The cupcake recipe itself requires new baking techniques that I don't usually use so I was a bit out of my comfort zone.  However, they baked well and tasted rich and delicious.  This recipe makes about 30 cupcakes so if you're having a Halloween party or in my case, having two groups of friends over back to back, this recipe makes enough to feed a crowd or two!  Hope you enjoy it!

Start with combining the cocoa and hot water:


Mix until smooth:




In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together:


Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium/low heat and mix until combined:


Then put into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium/low until cooled, about 7 minutes:



Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well mixed:


Add the vanilla:



Then add the chocolate mixture and mix until combined:


Beat on low, adding half of the dry ingredients slowly and mix until combined:



Then add half of the sour cream and mix until combined.  Then repeat adding the rest of the flour mixture and the rest of the sour cream:



Mix until combined:



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with paper liners.  Fill your muffin tins 3/4 full with batter:


Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Allow your cupcakes to cool completely:



When your cupcakes are cooled, prepare your chocolate ganache glaze.  Roughly chop 4, 4oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate bars (1 pound of chocolate):


Meanwhile, heat your cream and corn syrup over medium/high heat in a small pan until just to a simmer.  Pour your liquid into the center of the chocolate bowl.  Let it sit without stirring until your chocolate begins to melt.  Then with a whisk, starting in the center and working your way outward, slowly begin to stir until your chocolate and cream are combined.  Do not over mix.  Refrigerate your mixture, stirring every 8 minutes until your chocolate just barely begins to set:



Meanwhile, prepare your toppings:


Dip the top of your cupcake into the chocolate ganache:


Then decorate with your toppings:



Top with some candy corn and set aside to allow your chocolate frosting to set:




Serve and enjoy!



Happy Halloween!



Chocolate Devil's Food Halloween Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes 30 cupcakes
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
cupcake liners
Halloween sprinkles
candy corn
tube of orange icing for writing

Directions

Start by combining the cocoa and hot water: and mix until smooth.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium/low heat and mix until combined.  Then put into the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium/low until cooled, about 7 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well mixed.  Add the vanilla, then add the chocolate mixture and mix until combined.  Beat on low, adding half of the dry ingredients slowly and mix until combined.  Then add half of the sour cream and mix until combined.  Repeat adding the rest of the flour mixture and the rest of the sour cream.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with paper liners.  Fill your muffin tins 3/4 full with batter and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Allow your cupcakes to cool completely.

When your cupcakes are cooled, prepare your chocolate ganache glaze.  Roughly chop 4, 4oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate bars (1 pound of chocolate total).  Meanwhile, heat your cream and corn syrup over medium/high heat in a small pan until just to a simmer.  Pour your liquid into the center of the chocolate bowl.  Let it sit without stirring until your chocolate begins to melt.  Then with a whisk, starting in the center and working your way outward, slowly begin to stir until your chocolate and cream are combined.  Do not over mix.  Refrigerate your mixture, stirring every 8 minutes until your chocolate just barely begins to set.

Meanwhile, prepare your toppings.  Dip the top of your cupcake into the chocolate ganache.  Then decorate with your toppings.  Set your cupcakes aside to allow your chocolate frosting to set.  Serve and enjoy!
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