Sunday, October 30, 2011

Potato Slabs

Football Sundays are always a great time full of food and friends. Each week, we get together with our closest friends to watch the Patriots game. It's always a potluck as we each bring an appetizer, dinner course, or dessert. These potato slabs were the perfect game watching food. I increased the amount from the recipe I found on Mrs. Regueiro's Plate.

You will need:
*3 russet potatoes
*3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
*3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
*salt and pepper
*1/2 cup monterey cheese
*7 slices of bacon, diced and cooked

Topping suggestions:
*3 scallions sliced thinly, white and green parts (3)
*sour cream or Greek yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and scrub potatoes clean. Using a mandoline slicer or sharp knife, slice the potatoes (the long way) into ¼ inch slices.

2. Place potato slices on a large baking sheet. Season with garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper on both sides of the potatoes. Drizzle one to two tablespoons of olive oil over the potatoes.

3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Flip potatoes over and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

4. Remove pan from oven and top of each potato slab with some cheese and bacon. Return the pan to the oven and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

5. Serve with any additional toppings you'd like. We served with scallions and Greek yogurt.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

This simple weeknight meal tasted like fall. On a cold rainy night, we enjoyed this soup with some Trader Joe's grain bread with pumpkin seeds. I am not feeling much motivation for cooking after work lately, so we are enjoying many recipes that are quick and complete with leftovers that reheat well. This recipe comes from Sweet Pea's Kitchen. I omitted the toppings on the original recipe simply because they were not ingredients I had on hand. I'm thinking we may repeat this dinner on Halloween while we wait for trick-or-treaters.

You will need:
*2 tablespoons unsalted butter
*1 medium onion, minced
*2 medium garlic cloves, minced
*1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
*1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
*1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (extra on hand if needed)
*2 cups water
*15 oz. can pure pumpkin purée
*1/4 cup maple syrup
*1/2 cup half-and-half
*salt and ground black pepper to taste
Topping suggestions: Bleu cheese crumbles, toasted walnuts, pumpkin seeds

1. Melt the better in a large Dutch oven over medium-heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
 Stir in the broth, water, pumpkin, and maple syrup; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the flavors have melded.

2. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool slightly before pureeing the soup with an immersion blender, or carefully placing in the blender in two different batches. Stir in the half-and-half and additional broth if necessary.

3. Reheat the soup mixture gently over low heat until hot (do not boil). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add toppings if desired.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Donuts with Maple-Cinnamon Glaze

October is officially pumpkin baking season in our household. It seems food blogs have exploded with pumpkin recipes, many of which are for donuts! I was debating which to try when I spotted this recipe from Taste and Tell. These came together easily on a Saturday morning. The only thing that we were too inpatient for was waiting to let the glaze set. Since I did not have maple extract, I used regular maple syrup in my glaze. This was perfect for eating immediately, but it didn't work so well on the donuts that sat until the next day. They tasted fine but lost their glazed look and just became sticky. I highly recommend this baked donut recipe. They are even tasty without a topping.

For the donuts, you will need:
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
*1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ginger
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*1 cup pumpkin puree
*2 eggs
*2 tablespoons milk
*1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze, you will need:
*1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
*1/2 teaspoon maple extract or maple syrup
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare a doughnut pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

2.Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream together the brown sugar, butter, and pumpkin. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with adding the milk.

4. Place the mix in a large zip-top bag. Cut off the corner and pipe into the doughnut pan. (This is always a challenge for me! Sometimes, I am better off spooning it in)

5. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the donuts rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them and cool completely on a baking rack.

6. To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, maple extract, cinnamon and milk in a small bowl. Dip the cool donuts into the glaze. Return to the wire rack to allow the glaze to set.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lentil-Walnut Burger

Sorry for my disappearing act. We've been cooking but relying on many old favorites as the weather was cooling down. I have some backed up photos and recipes to share from the end of summer into fall, so I am hoping to get back to posting a bit more frequently.

These lentil-walnut burgers were a fabulous Meatless Monday meal. I found this recipe in my Everyday Food Great Food Fast cookbook. This cookbook is divided into four sections by season, and we've loved everything we've made from it. I discovered it at HomeGoods one afternoon. Our only complaint about these burgers was that they are a bit dry. As long as you pile on the yogurt-cilantro sauce you'll be good to go. I would not consider skipping the topping.

You will need:
*3/4 cup toasted walnuts, cooled
*1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
*3 garlic cloves, chopped
*2 teaspoons ground cumin
*2 teaspoons ground coriander
*1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, depending on heat desired
*Coarse salt and ground pepper
*3/4 cup lentils, cooked, drained, and cooled
*4 tablespoons olive oil
*1 large egg
*3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (you could also use any low-fat plain yogurt)
*Coarse salt and ground pepper
*2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
*1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Combine walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor. Process until finely ground. Add lentils and 1 tablespoon oil to the mixture in the processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped-a few lentils should remain whole.

2. Whisk the egg in a large bowl. Add lentil mixture and mix well. Divide into 4 equal-size parts, roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hand to form 3/4-inch-thick patties.

3. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Cook the burgers over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, about 8-10 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

4. While the burgers are cooking, make the yogurt-cilantro topping. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, cilantro, and lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Top burgers generously.