Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lemon Curd

It was about a couple years ago when I first discovered Lemon Curd. It called for it in a bread/pastry recipe I was making. Trader Joe's (one of my favorite stores) fortunately carried it and I was hooked. I would try to stock up when I went every couple of months, but there would be a time when I needed it and there was no way I was driving 45 minutes one way for it. So I searched and searched recipes online till I came across one that I liked. The Joy of Cooking website seemed to have the best method and ingredients. After following it a few times, I of course had to tweak it. Who wants to do a double boiler or strain it? I have the recipe down to using one pot.

3 large eggs
~1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice ( 1-2 large lemons)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon zest ( basically the zest from the lemons you use- I don't measure)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Melt the butter and sugar in a sauce pan, stir till blended. Let the mixture cool down, so when  you add the eggs they aren't cooked. Beat in one egg at a time. Next, stir in the lemon juice and zest and cook on medium heat. Keep stirring the curd till it thickens.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups. 
It will last about a week in the fridge. Use with pies, tarts, pastries, muffins, etc.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Apple Butternut Squash Soup

This is seriously one of my all time favorite soups (next to French Onion). It's a super quick and easy soup that can be done during the week. Throw in some fresh hot bread from the oven and you're all set.

1 onion chopped or leeks
3 ribs of celery chopped
3 carrots chopped
1 tbsp of butter
1 butternut squash (or whatever kind you have on hand) roasted
1 apple (the tarter the better ... say that three times fast!) peeled, chopped, and cored
***You are looking for about a 3 to 1 ratio of Squash to Apple***
3 cups of chicken or veggie stock or whey (from when you make cheese)
cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, and salt

Cut up the squash, place face down in a pan with some water and roast in your oven at 350F till tender (about an hour). Scoop out the flesh (once cooled) and place in a separate bowl. 
Saute the onions, celery, and carrots in butter till tender in the pot you're cooking the soup in. Add in the stock, squash, and apple. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend all the ingredients and add the spices to your liking.
Enjoy with some fresh hot bread and good company!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Apple Cranberry Oat Crisp

Besides apples, cranberries is one of the fruits I really look forward to in the fall. When I used to live in Westford there was this land behind the house where we hiked everyday. My landlord showed us this random spot where wild cranberries grew. I have no clue how they started there, but it was fantastic.  So for three years in a row I went out there to pick cranberries.  This also included last year when I was no longer living there and they also had "developed"  this beautiful land so my friend Amy and I had to sneak through to get to the trails. It's a bit tedious picking cranberries, but also relaxing. And no, you don't have to wade through a bog to pick them. These cranberries are much tarter than your store variety, but oh so tasty.  I would use them to make cranberry vodka or gin, cranberry apple jam, Thanksgiving stuffing, or put a twist on the classic apple crisp.

Apple Cranberry Oat Crisp

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup of melted butter

6 medium apples sliced, peeled, and cored
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of tapioca
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of cranberries

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter the dish your cooking it in.
Prep your apples and place them in a bowl. Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients and place in your buttered dish.
Mix all of your dry topping ingredients together before you add in the melted butter. Crumble the topping over the apple mixture and place in your oven. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fruit is tender.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Squash Ravioli w/ Sage Butter Cream Sauce

I know I'm a bit behind, but that wicked October snow storm knocked us out of power for five days. We are fortunate to have a wood stove so Miss Rosalie would not be too chilly.  Even without power we are stubborn enough to cook (thank you gas stove).  We made pizza and potato wedges for dinner one night.  The storm brought 18" of snow and luckily our neighbor lent us his smaller generator. Chris made a snow fridge to keep our food cold and the chest freezer remained frozen as long as our generator ran every so often.  Central, MA has been kicked around by mother nature really recently- tornadoes, hurricanes, and early snowstorms (snow days in October?), so we are overdue to purchase our own generator that can run at least our well, freezer, boiler, and a few other amenities. 
Anyway back to the recipe.

Squash Ravioli w/ Sage Butter Cream Sauce 

Your favorite squash
1-2 eggs
Ricotta Cheese
Parm Cheese
Homemade Pasta
Flour/Corn Starch

Take your favorite kind of squash (acorn, butternut, buttercup, etc..) cut it in half, scoop out the seeds (save these), place upside down on a pan w/water and roast it at 350 F until soft.  Scoop out the squash once it has cooled a bit and puree it in a food processor.
Next add in 1 or 2 eggs, 1 cup or so of Ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of Parm, and some cream until you get a nice consistency- not too watery, not too thick.
Roll out your pasta (see pasta recipe on previous post) to nice thin sheets ( I go to number 5 on my pasta machine).
Add a teaspoon of you squash mixture onto the pasta sheets going down the line. I typically will fold it over and cut them into nice squares.
Make sure to press the pasta down around the pocket to seal in the squash. Use a fork to press around the edges. Then place the ravioli on a rack to dry (about 30 mins at least).
Get your water up to a boil (don't forget to add some salt to make it boil faster) and add in the ravioli.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes. You can see the past turning a lighter color.  Take out the pasta and place on a plate.

Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. Next add in some sage (about 1 teaspoon).
Pour in some cream (1- 1 1/2 cups of cream) and bring to a simmer. Add a teaspoon of flour or corn starch to a separate cup with a tablespoon of water and mix together.  Combine with the sauce and continue to cook till thickened.

Serve the pasta with cream sauce and enjoy! I'll be posting some recipes soon on making your own Ricotta and Mozzarella.
****Squash Seeds**** Take your seeds, rinse off the squash gunk and place them in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and Franks Red Hot sauce. Place on a cookie sheet and cook for about 20 minutes at 350 F until crispy. Make sure to stir every so often.