Absolutly Amazing Savory Pumpkin Soup

Alright, I have a confession to make. I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon for the past year and a half. Maybe that has something to do with being a new parent and having a huge love affair with all things sweet. To my surprise my husband feels the same way. What? It’s not like he works two jobs. Oh wait, he does. Well I guess I can forgive him for being tired too. That being said we decided we were going to cut back on some of the calories in hopes of restoring some of our energy. What better way to do that tan going vegan on a few dishes? But what to make?

You probably already know that it is the peak of pumpkin season.  I know no surprise there. In that spirit I naturally had two one dollar pumpkins sitting on my counter, that I had no idea what to do with. Their just these little things maybe a pound worth of meat on them, so I figured I would make a dish that features these tricky little beasts. Now it had to be delicious and it had to be vegan, those were my stipulations. Now what is more delicious and filling on a cool day than a warm bowl of soup. Answer… NOTHING! sorry I got a little excited their. I love soup in the fall. In any case I found a beautiful recipe that doesn’t use any milk or heavy cream, a requirement in many, many pumpkin dishes. It did however feature chicken broth, which by the way I didn’t have.  So I used a pumpkin broth. That’s right a pumpkin broth, don’t worry it was home made and if you are making this recipe you already have the pumpkin you need to make this broth. Lucky you, and me now that I think of it. It is the same base I use to make my veggie broth and it really is amazing. That being said let me show you how to make this savory pumpkin soup.

The first thing you have to do is cut the pumpkins open and remove all the seeds and pulp.

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Now make the broth, and soften the pumpkin. So you want to fill a large soup pan a little more than half way with hot water, drop in both of your pumpkins with the stems removed upside down in the water. Add 1 tsp. paprika, 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder, 3 tbsp. salt (or more to taste), 2 tbsp. chives, 1/2 tsp white or black pepper.  and let them simmer on medium for an hour and a half until they are super soft.

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Remove and let cool.

While cooling  dice 2 peeled white russet potatoes into small cubes.

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Do the same with 2 -3 very large carrots.

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Toss both into the broth.

Cut 3 stocks of celery into small semi circles and add to the broth.

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Add 4 tbsp. olive oil. Let the broth and veggies simmer for an hour, or until all veggies are super soft.

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While the veggies are simmering remove the meat of the pumpkin and set aside until the veggies are tender.

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Once all veggies are sufficiently tender toss in the meat of the pumpkin.  and mix it in. Now for the fun part, take the soup mix and drop by portions, as large as your blender can accommodate,  into a blender. blend until very well mixed. Place into a separate bowl until all the mixture is blended. Sorry I don’t have any pics of the blending process as I had a very sleepy 11 month old demanding my attention at the time, and who could say no to such a cute little face. Once all the soup is blended place back in a container or in the pan and serve. It is so good and you can top it however you want. Mushrooms and onions sautéed work great for this recipe.

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Now most importantly Enjoy.

Now for the simple directions

Ingredients:

2 small pumpkins (and yes ghost or white pumpkins will work in this recipe)

2 medium russet potatoes

2 large celery stocks, or 4 small ones

2 large carrots, or 4 medium ones.

1 tsp. paprika

1 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder

3 tbsp. salt (or more to taste)

Directions:

Open the tops of the pumpkins  and remove the seeds and pulp, set aside the seeds for roasting if desired. Fill a large soup pot a little more than half way full with water and place the pumpkins upside down in the water to tender them. Go ahead and toss in the tops too, they have meat on them so why not. Add the spices to the water to add flavor to the pumpkin broth. Let the pumpkin and broth simmer for roughly an hour until the pumpkin has been infused into the broth and has become tender. Remove the pumpkins and let drain on a separate plate. Save the broth you will need it later. Dice the potatoes, carrots, and celery. Toss into the broth. Let simmer on medium until they are super soft.(approximately 1 and 1/2 hour.) While they are softening remove the cooled meat from the pumpkin and set aside until the broth is ready. Once all veggies are soft toss in the pumpkin meat. Then place by portions into a blender and blend until super smooth. Continue until all soup is blended. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

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Italian Radish Dip

Okay before you slink away, yes the thought of radish can be a little intimidating but trust me this recipe is not only simple but simply delicious. The radish gives a delightful light  zing to an otherwise heavy recipe. I was looking for something to prepare for a church potluck. It just so happens that my wonderful sister-in-law gave me a tone of radishes that she had received from a home delivery service that sends you local produce. It seems she had no idea what to do with them. In fact she doesn’t even like radishes.  Which got me to thinking, can I do anything with such a harsh vegetable and make it so everybody will like it, or at the very least most people. So I got to doing my research and stumbled upon this interesting very simple recipe for radish dip on Allrecipes.com. It was a nice cream cheese dip, and who doesn’t love a nice cream cheese dip?

So here’s what we did. I say we because my husband helped me grate the veggies, because as he says “You can be a bit clutzy maybe I should do this.” I began to object naturally, but hey when he’s right he’s right. It was probably safer to have his help. And he did a great job, you’ll see.

The first thing I did was take 8 whole radishes and cut off the stringy roots and the leafy part.

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See the root’s I was talking about, I then shaved off most of the ground spots and the red.

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This just helps the dip be a little more clan and it’s bout the flavor more than the color. After this my dear husband started grating. Now the original recipe required putting it in a food processor and mincing it, but sadly my daughter seems to have lost the lid during one of her many pantry excursions, and the one I had doesn’t work without the lid, so I had to improvise.

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He also grated in the garlic I used 6 small cloves but only if you love garlic, we love garlic in my home, if you would like a less powerful garlic taste only do 4 cloves. Be careful on this step you don’t want to cut yourself. If you have it you can even use finger guards, but we don’t have them so we made due.

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Here’s what it looks like when their all grated.

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Now take it and dump it into your 3 boxes of cream cheese. I let mine sit on the counter for about a half hour to soften them a bit.  It makes it easier to stir.

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At this point you will want to stir it up so that all the radish and garlic are mixed thoroughly.

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This is what it will look like at the end of the original recipe. Now I took it a step farther and added some Italian meats left over from a pizza my husband and I made two nights ago.

First I took 4 pieces of salami,

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then I cut it into fine chunks.

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I then did the same thing with the pepperoni.

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You drop it in and mix well.

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The next steps up to you. You can be finished right here right now, or if you are serving it at a dinner party or something you might want a little more in the way of presentation. If that’s the case you can take you’re very own, very clean, hands and form it into a ball. Or use gloves, as I did, it’s much more sanitary. Line with crackers and you’re done.

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Now at this point I chose to put it in the refrigerator over night it really lets the flavors meld together extremely well.

And it looks pretty much the same.

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Now the most important job, Enjoy.

I can’t wait to see your alterations. Feel free to share in the comments section or even link to your own blog. I look forward to it.

Okay so I just realized that I forgot to t the simple instructions on here, so for any of you who may have read this before I apologize but I have fixed the problem.

Here are the simple instructions.

Ingredients:

6 cloves of garlic (4 if you don’t like powerful garlic taste)

8 large radishes

3 packages of cream cheese

4 slices of salami

approximately 19 slices of pepperoni, or one generous handful.

Directions:

Set the cream cheese on the counter to warm for approximately 30 min. to soften. Use a shredder to shred the radishes and garlic. Empty the room temp cream cheese into a large bowl. Add in the shredded garlic and radishes and mix well with a firm spoon until it’s well mixed. You may have to press against the sides a bit to get the mixture well mixed. Now take your meats and cut them into small cubes before mixing it thoroughly into the radish dip. Once all ingredients are mixed well use very clean hands to form into a ball. Adorn with crackers on each side, and wa-la home made Italian radish dip.

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Easy Raspberry Cheese Cake

Now that I have homemade cream cheese just sitting in my fridge the question becomes what to do with it. After some careful deliberation and countless hours of research, or maybe just a desire to give into my sweet tooth, I decided on homemade cheesecake. What could be better than creamy decadent homemade cheesecake all from scratch? Yes even the cheese is from scratch. You can go to my rennet free cream cheese post, however I will post the cream cheese recipe at the bottom of this post. For this recipe you can also use store bought cream cheese. It may be easier, but if there’s heavy traffic on your way to the store it won’t be that much easier.

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For now I am going to put down the recipe for the cheesecake. You want to start with one ball of homemade cream cheese.

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Put it in a mixing bowl

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Add ½ cup sugar.

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Add 1 egg

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About a 1/2 tbsp of vanilla extract. I like to use more than called for in any recipe the original recipe calls for a tsp. A teaspoon, don’t be silly vanilla is way too good to leave it at that.

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Now you will want to beat it together until it’s slightly lumpy.

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Here comes the fun part take a handful of rinsed raspberries and toss them into the batter. No need to be gentle you are going to beat them anyway.

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Speaking of which this is just the time to do that. Beat the batter until it’s smooth, this will take a while with homemade cream cheese. You want to make sure it’s as smooth as you can get it or you will have mealy cheese cake.

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Alright now that that’s smooth were going to set it to the side to get started on the crust.

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The original recipe calls for a vanilla wafer crust but we’re going to go with a gram cracker crust.

This is super easy.

Take one package of gram crackers about 12 crackers Blog food 113

and put them in a food processor. Blog food 114

Grind them up till they’re good and processed.

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Now pour in 4 tbsp of melted butterBlog food 119

and process until the butter moistens all the crumbs.

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Take the crumbs and press into the individual cupcake molds. As a side you may want to use cupcake liners it will make the cake easier to get it out.

Place the crusts in the oven for about 3-6 min just enough to get the moisture out of the crust.

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Take them out and spoon in your cheesecake.

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Bake for 15 min. When you take them out they will still be a little wobbly in the center. That’s good it means it’s not over done.

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Take it out and set it on a wire rack for about 10 min. Once it’s cool enough not to spoil your milk put it in the fridge to continue cooling until your are ready to serve.

To decorate I added a raspberry to the top and covered it in chocolate syrup.

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Now for the fun part,

Enjoy

Ingredients

For the Cheesecake:

1 ball of homemade cream cheese

you can also use 1 package store bought cream cheese

½ cup cugar

½ tbsp. vanilla

1 egg

Hand full of raspberries

Add all ingredients except raspberries in a bowl and beat until the mixture is smooth with only a few lumps. Toss in the raspberries and continue beating until it is completely smooth. This may take a while but you want to make sure it’s smooth or your cheesecake will be mealy.

Ingredients

For the Crust

12 gram crackers

4 tbsp melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350. Toss the gram crackers into a food processor and process until the crumbs are very fine, pour in the melted butter and process again until they are all moist. Press into the cupcake liners and bake for 3-6 minutes until the crust hardens. Leave the oven on.

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Now pour the cream cheese mixture into the liners over the crust and bake for 15 min at 350 degrees. Take them out. The center will still be a little wobbly that’s a good thing. Let them set out on the counter for a few minutes so they won’t spoil your milk. Then place in the fridge to cool quickly.

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Decorate and serve. I used a fresh raspberry and some chocolate sauce.

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To see the original recipe go to. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mini-Cheesecakes-I/Detail.aspx?evt19=1

For the home made cream cheese

1/2 gallon milk

1 oz vinegar

1 pinch salt

1 cheese cloth

1 colander

1 bowl for draining

Pour the milk into a pot and heat at medium heat until it reaches 185 degrees F. higher.  Remove milk from the heat and add in 1 oz vinegar.  Stir occasionally until the curds separate from the whey. Pour the curds and whey into the cheese cloth lined colander, which should be over a bowel. Let the whey drain majorly from the curds while on the counter. once the curds are mostly dry put it in the fridge for two hours while the whey finishes dripping.

Rennet Free Cream Cheese

I am a cheese lover, there I said it. It’s out there for the world now and there’s no taking it back. It doesn’t matter what kind, Gouda, Feta, Cheddar, Cream Cheese, Brie, Swiss, I love it all. Yes even Goat Cheese. So with a half a gallon of milk one day past expiration just sitting in my fridge I got an idea. Why not make cheese? I must say when I took on this endeavor I had no idea how easy it would be.   My only problem is no rennet a main ingredient in almost every cheese. Bummer! I really wanted to try my hand at cheese making. Luckily I stumbled across a recipe for just what I needed rennet free cheese.  It turns out this recipe can be used to make cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, or if whipped, cream cheese. Alllright, let’s do this.

First you take your leftover milk, a half-gallon of 2% in my case.

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Pour it into your pot.

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As you can see, mine had a huge chunk of ice in it. If yours does don’t worry about it. This recipe still works.

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Now heat slowly over medium heat until it reaches 185 degrees F. Now Milk boils at approximately 200 degrees F. So you want to get it to where it’s just about to boil if you don’t have a candy thermometer.

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Take it off the heat and add 1 oz vinegar per half gallon and let sit stirring occasionally. Note:  If you are in a hurry you can return it to the heat and it will curdle really quickly.  In other words it doesn’t have to be exactly 185, heck you could bring it to a full on boil and the recipe will still work.

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While it’s curdling  and coagulating take a cheese cloth and line a colander with it over a tall bowl. This is to separate the curds from the way.  I am very excited to tell you that because of this recipe I now know what Miss Muffet was eating while she sat on the Tuffet, which by the way means a clump of something or a footstool, not a mushroom. Oh the things we learn.

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I folded it so you could see the colander.

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If you don’t have a cheese cloth a clean handkerchief, pillow case, or in my case a receiving blanket all work equally well.

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See what i mean, it even has baby written on it.

Once the curds and whey have separated you slowly pour the curds and way into the colander.

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Let them sit on the counter until the whey has completely drained from the curds.

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Once the Whey stops draining gather up the corners of cheese cloth or receiving blanket, and place it in the fridge for two hours so that the curds can be completely drained and mesh together.

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Place in a mixing bowl

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and add a pinch or two of salt and there you have it.

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The mixture will be spreadable like cream cheese.

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But for fun you can mold it into a ball if you want.

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See how simple was that?

Now for the simple recipe all written down nicely.

1/2 gallon milk

1 oz vinegar

1 pinch salt

1 cheese cloth

1 colander

1 bowl for draining

Pour the milk into a pot and heat at medium heat until it reaches 185 degrees F. higher.  Remove milk from the heat and add in 1 oz vinegar.  Stir occasionally until the curds separate from the whey. Pour the curds and whey into the cheese cloth lined colander, which should be over a bowel. Let the whey drain majorly from the curds while on the counter. once the curds are mostly dry put it in the fridge for two hours while the whey finishes dripping. Put the dried curds into a mixing bowl add the salt mix and form into a bowl. Blog food 111

That’s it, For the original recipe go to

http://www.ehow.com/how_5117463_make-cheese-rennet.html

 

Just a hint though, Do NOT use the amount of salt it tells you, you will spoil all your hard work.

 

Buttermilk Free Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Who out there doesn’t love a soft delicious cheddar biscuit? I know I do and if by the way they  all vanished is any indication I’m not the only one. Now the recipe I found for them I am sure amazing but sadly I lacked the buttermilk necessary to complete the biscuits and the parsley necessary for the glaze, so why not improvise.  Trust me it turns out you don’t need either. Before we get started I should warn you that though delicious they don’t keep well without being microwaved so if you’re planning to take them to a pig pickin’ or potluck you might want to try something else like I had to. However, if you are serving them for dinner you really couldn’t do much better.

To start off with you need to make the buttermilk substitute, which is surprisingly simple. Just take 1 cup milk, and 1 tbsp lemon juice or white vinegar. I used lemon juice.

Blog food 057 You simply put the lemon juice in the milk and wait. 1, 2, 3 minutes. My word how long does this take? It turns out it takes about 10 min in my case.  You want to wait until the milk is slightly thicker and a little curdled. Don’t worry it hasn’t gone bad that’s how it’s supposed to look.

Alrighty now that that’s done it’s on to the fun part.

We’re going to combine the dry ingredients.

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Now the buttermilk and melted butter

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Pour that beautiful liquid gold mixture into the dry ingredients. The mixture will be slightly lumpy.

now for my favorite part, the Cheese. I used 1 1/2 cup freshly grated extra sharp cheddar cheese.  I happened to have it, but I find that freshly grated cheese makes the whole recipe taste a little better. Okay maybe it’s all in my mind but it really tastes better to me.

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Gently fold in the cheese. Why gently? Why not

The mixture will look a something like this once it’s done.

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Place in spoon sized dollops on a greased cookie sheet.  I did small ones because I was making it for a large group, but if it’s just for family you could easily make them bigger.

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Let them bake in an oven at 450 degrees for 10-12 min.

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The glaze is very easy and it’s the only step remaining.

Take 3 tbsp butter, add about a tbsp garlic, and dried chives to your liking. That it.

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Now spread it generously over your biscuits and your done. Go ahead try it. They taste amazing don’t they.

The original recipe is as follows. My alterations are in bold.

INGREDIENTS

2cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (I used ½ tbsp. paprika as well)

1 cup buttermilk (1 cup 2% milk mixed with one tbsp. lemon juice let set at room temp for 10 min.)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (Extra sharp Cheddar)

 

  • FOR THE TOPPING
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves (1 tbsp dried Chives)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper, if using.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and butter. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Gently fold in cheese.

Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

For the topping, whisk together butter, parsley and garlic powder in a small bowl. Working one at a time, brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter mixture.

Serve Immediately they don’t hold well.

To see the original recipe just go to http://damndelicious.net/2014/02/03/red-lobster-cheddar-bay-biscuits/

 

P.S. sorry for the bad word, it’s I didn’t realize it when I made the recipe .

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