Sunday, September 24, 2017

Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Soup #SundaySupper

I love harvest season.  I love the smells, the flavors, the crispness in the air.....say what???  Well, it is 85 and humid the day that I am writing this post but I can imagine how much I am going to love the crispness in the air when it finally arrives.

That is why I was excited when the folks over at Sunday Supper asked us to share our favorite Easy Pumpkin Recipes.  Pumpkins are the epitome of Fall Fruits and Veggies.  In fact, we are going to spend an entire week celebrating the Pumpkin starting October 2nd, so this was a great kick off for that event.

This delicious, creamy, savory pumpkin soup is perfect for the season.  You can enjoy it with a sandwich for lunch, as we did, but it really shines as an elegant first course at a harvest dinner party. Perhaps garnished with some fried sage leaves or garlicky croutons.  

This recipe serves four but can easily be doubled to serve more.  I flavored mine with some Pumpkin Spice Liqueur that I had on my shelf but you can also use a dry marsala or vermouth if you'd like or omit the alcohol's your soup.

I used homemade pumpkin puree but you can use canned puree if that is easier for you.  I also had some good olive oil that I had infused with garlic that I used to sauté up the onion and sage, if you don't have the infused olive oil, add a clove of minced garlic along with the onion.

Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Soup

2 t. garlic infused good olive oil (or 2 t. evoo + 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/2 of a small onion, diced
3 fresh sage leaves, minced
2 c. chicken broth
1 lb. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. pumpkin spice liqueur
1 T. flour
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over med high heat.  Add the onion (and garlic, if needed) and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add sage leaves and cook a minute or two, until fragrant.

Add the liqueur and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan for a minute or two, then add the broth and pumpkin to the pot.  Cook  for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Combine the flour and cream, stirring to completely dissolve the flour.  Reduce heat under the soup to a simmer.  Stir in the cream mixture.  Continue cooking and stirring until the soup is silky and thickened.  Do not allow to boil.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Print Recipe

More Simple Pumpkin Recipes

Meals, Sides, and Snacks

Delectable Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The First Day of Fall?? and the Weekly Menu

Happy Fall in Michigan we are still in the midst of summer weather.  The temps have been in the 80's and the sun has been shining.  Not that I am complaining, mind you, it is just that it's hard to want to stand in a kitchen, preserving food for the winter months, when the swimming pool is beckoning.

We spent last evening on a sailboat cruising the St. Clair River with a wonderful group of people including John and Kirsten, pictured here with us.  Our friends, the Bendas, had won this wonderful cruise and had generously included us in the group with whom they shared it.  We started off at the River Crab Restaurant for cocktails and appetizers.  The we cruised for an hour before returning to the restaurant for dinner.  It was a perfect evening.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Melody's 3rd birthday.  Three!  She is three!!  How did that happen? I asked.  Melody looked at me as if I were very slow...."I had a birthday, Grammy".

She is having a Moana themed party at her Aunt Amy's house.  Thankfully the weather is going to continue to be beautiful and sunny so it will be an outdoor party.  Aunt Amy and Uncle Doug live right on the Clinton River so it is a beautiful setting for a Moana party.  

Frank will be heading over there today to set up the tent and drop of tables and chairs.  I will be hitting the grocery store and spending the day cooking "Hawaiian Style" food.

Nothing else special going on this week in the household. However, we are celebrating #AppleWeek on the blog so I have a slew of apple recipes that I will be sharing with you each day.

I'm hoping to get some more canning and preserving completed and I will be cooking and baking my heart out because immediately after Apple Week we are celebrating #PumpkinWeek.

Here's what we're having for dinner each day, please stop in and visit each day.  I love seeing you.

Saturday- Moana Party
Kalua Pork
Pineapple Chicken Fingers
Rice Mingle Salad
Hawaiian Cole Slaw
Crockpot Kid Friendly Mac and Cheese

Chicken in a Crock
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Steamed Brocolli

Meatless Monday
Pumpkin Lasagna

Toddler Tuesday
Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade Bread

Out for Dinner

Chicken Pot Pie

Fish Friday
Fish and Pumpkin Stew

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas #FoodBloggers4FL

While we were in the middle of sending out an SOS for our Texan neighbors suffering the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, that witch Irma started beating up on our friends in Florida and the Caribbean!!

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So we immediately knew that we also wanted to send out our support to them as well.  We decided to blog a recipe inspired by those areas impacted, Florida, Southeast United States and the Caribbean.

We again are providing you, our readers, with the names and websites of reputable charities to which you can donate if you are in a position to help.

As many of you know, my husband and I are scuba divers.  We spend nearly every vacation in the Keys or on Caribbean Islands.  We love the people that we have met and spent time with over the years and our hearts bleed for them.  

I am holding them all in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that this small effort by our group results in some relief for them.

Our friend, Kate of Kate's Recipe Box, provided us with some websites for recipes, including the Florida Department of Agriculture, from which I adapted this recipe.

These enchiladas are chock full of sweet corn, bell peppers and black beans.  Flavored with onions, garlic and cumin they are savory and delicious.  The addition of my homemade salsa added a little bit of kick.

The recipe called for this to make 10 enchiladas but I had enough filling to make 15 of them.  I made a large casserole full for dinner one night and lunch the following day and a smaller casserole to put in the freezer for another time.

Place the some filling and cheese into each of the tortillas and roll them up so that the seam side is on the bottom.  Pour over some enchilada sauce (you will need extra sauce for the second pan) and sprinkle with additional cheese.

Place them in a preheated oven for about half an hour, until it is hot, bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.  These made a perfect Meatless Monday meal.  While I put these together, Frank made up some of his Fantastic Margaritas.  We said an extra blessing upon all of those affected by these horrible storms along with grace and then toasted to their health and quick recovery.

The whole idea behind this event is to give as much exposure as possible to this cause so please stop by and take a look at what the others have cooked up.  Sharing on any social media platforms using the #FoodBloggers4FL label would be very much appreciated.  Thanks.

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas
adapted from Florida Dept of Agriculture

1 T. olive oil, infused with garlic
1 small onion, diced
Kernels from 1 ear of sweet corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup salsa of choice
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
corn tortillas
2-3 c. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
1 (14 oz) can red enchilada sauce

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the onions, corn, bell pepper and black beans.  Cook and stir for a few minutes.  Add salsa and season with cumin, salt and pepper.  Cook for a minute or two more.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Divide the filling between 10-15 tortillas and sprinkle filling with 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place, seam side down, in a baking pan that has been treated with cooking spray.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for half an hour, until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.  Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.  Print Recipe

More Florida Inspired Recipes

Twinkie Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

Welcome to Bundt Bakers.  I am hosting this month and I chose the theme "Back to School Bundts".

I suggested a cake that was easy to slice and freeze so that it could be easily packed into a lunch box. Then, while thinking about what I used to put into my kids lunch boxes, I remembered Twinkies.

Don't children were products of the 70's.....we all gave our kids Twinkies......we had no idea that they were made of indestructible preservatives.

So I went in search of a homemade Twinkie and found this recipe from Fine Cooking. I adapted it slightly with ingredients only because I had no cake flour or buttermilk on hand so I made my own.  The recipe is written with the substitutions in parenthesis.  I also adapted the method of place the cream into the cake because I had no patience to try to tunnel and squirt when I can just cut and fill.

Did it slice up nicely.....absolutely.  Did it freeze well.....who knows?  There was none left to freeze after the guests left.

Twinkie Bundt Cake
adapted from Fine Cooking

3 c. cake flour (3 c. A.P. flour - 6 T. flour + 6 T. cornstarch)
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
6 T. butter, room temperature
1 T. vanilla
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
3 eggs + 4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 c. buttermilk (1 c. milk +1 T. lemon juice), room temperature
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and vanilla, using medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add sugar and beat until incorporated.  Add oil and continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Add whole eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Turn speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour, mixing until incorporated.  Add 1/3 of the buttermilk and combine.  Do this twice more beating after last addition of buttermilk until batter is completely smooth.

Pour into a bundt pan that has been liberally coated with baking spray.  Bake in a preheated 325* oven for an hour, until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.

Let cool, in pan, on wire rack for at least 2 hours.

Prepare the filling by beating the marshmallow cream, butter and vanilla in the small bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy.

When cake is completely cool, cut around the circumference of the cake about 1/2" from the edge of the pan and another cut about 1/2" from the inner ring of the bundt pan, angling the knife so that the inside cake is severed about 2" deep.  Carefully remove the cut portions in sections as large as possible.  Scoop out any remaining cake in the depression and trim the cake from the bottom crusts. Save any scraps not eaten for toppings on parfaits.  I, of course, had no scraps remaining.

Fill the depression with the cream filling.  Place the trimmed pieces of cake back onto the filling and turn the entire cake from the pan onto a serving plate.  Print Recipe

More Back to School Bundt Cakes


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. 

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sweet and Sour Pork #FantasticalFoodFight #CrazyIngredientChallenge

I'm very excited today.  I love when the stars align and I am able to complete 2 cooking challenges with just 1 recipe.  Today is such a day.

Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes assigned honey as our ingredient for our Fantastical Food Fight this month.

Kelly of Passion Kneaded chose the theme Sweet Potatoes and Pineapple for our Crazy Ingredient Challenge.

These are wonderful ingredients and I knew that I could combine them to make a winner of a dinner.

Earlier in the week, I had trimmed a pork tenderloin into medallions for dinner one night.  I had set aside the trimmings knowing that I could cut them into bite size pieces for this dinner.  The recipe I am sharing was just the perfect amount for the two of us.  You can easily double or triple the recipe according to your needs.

Sweet and Sour Pork

1/2 lb. Pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
Peanut oil
1/4 c. flour
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
pinch of salt
1 egg white
1/2 can (5 slices) of sliced pineapple, cut into chunks
1/2 c. of the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple
1/2 c. water
2 T. honey
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 t. soy sauce
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 small, sweet onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 1 T. water
5 mini sweet peppers, stemmed and halved (or 1 lg. bell pepper, cut into chunks)

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, water, salt and egg white in small bowl.  Add the pork and toss to coat evenly.  

Heat about an inch of peanut oil in the bottom of a wok or large skillet.  When hot, add the pork in batches, cooking until golden brown.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Discard the oil and wipe the wok clean.   Combine the juice, water, honey, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce.  Pour into the wok and bring to a boil.  Add the onion, sweet potatoes and garlic.  Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cornstarch/water mixture to the sauce.  Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring until sauce is thickened and glossy.  

Return the pork to the pan, along with the pineapple and peppers.  Cook and stir until heated through. Print Recipe

More Honey Happiness

More Super Sweet Potato and Pineapple Productions

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Eating from the Pantry and Freezer.....The Weekly Menu

My freezer and pantry are out of control, you guys.  It is the onset of canning/preserving season and I have no room for all the winter provisions.  So I am going to spend this week trying to eat only from what I have available at home.  Hopefully, my only store visits will be to pick up perishables like bread and milk.

Yesterday we spent the morning finishing up two more batches of Corn Chowder for the freezer and several pints of my Pops' Refrigerator Pickles.

We were supposed to join our friends, the Greens, at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, where we celebrate Linda's birthday each year.  Unfortunately, Frank twisted his ankle on Thursday and isn't able to walk the considerable distances required for this outing.

Happily they decided to have an impromptu get together at their lake house today so we are heading over there with our Little Angel Face while her Mama goes out to enjoy a last hurrah on the jet ski. I am taking some of the corn chowder, pickles and salsa that I put up for my donation to the potluck.

Last night we went to Windsor, Ontario Canada, for an Alabama Concert at the Caesar's Casino.  We spent the night on sight at the hotel.  Of course we went early enough to get in a little gambling and dinner before the show.  It was a great evening.

Each year we plan a little get away with my brother, Dick, and his wife, Jackie.  Our birthdays are close together in August so we normally try to plan something around those dates to celebrate together.

On Thursday evening, we are joining the Benda's as they host a sunset sail cruise on the St. Clair River.  We will be having dinner at the River Crab Restaurant after the sail.

The rest of the week is pretty typical.  I will be posting for a couple of fun events, combining CIC and Fantastical Food Fight in one recipe and hosting Bundt Bakers on another day.  I will also be posting a recipe for an important event, #FoodBloggers4FL on Thursday.  Please stop by and show your support to the areas suffering the aftermaths of Irma.

Our little Angel Face turns 3 on Tuesday!! We will be celebrating her Moana themed birthday party on Saturday.  I will be serving up a Hawaiian Feast.

So here is the Weekly Menu using what I have in my freezer and pantry......Hope you all had a marvelous weekend.

Dinner before Concert

Dinner at Greens

Meatless Monday
Sweet Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas

Toddler Tuesday
Mummy Dogs
Baked Beans

Osso Bucco
Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Broccoli

Sunset Sail Cruise

Fish Friday
Sauteed Lake Perch
Stir Fry Veggies
Steamed Rice

Saturday, September 16, 2017

One of these days........#Winophiles

Our French Winophiles group this month asked us to share a memory of a vacation in France or a dream of where we would like to visit in France if given the opportunity, and share a wine from that memory or dream.

Now, I haven't had an opportunity to visit Europe but it is definitely on my bucket list and when I do I will absolutely be hitting some wine regions in France.

When our son from Denmark, Dian, came to visit this summer he brought his girlfriend, Helena, and their son, Joyful Jordan, with him.  While we were flying to Frankenmuth to spend the day, Dian proposed to Helena.  I shared that exciting moment with you in this post.

They intend to wait until Dian is finished with University before the wedding.  Helena mentioned that she and her father have often talked of renting a castle in Nice and that perhaps they would use that idea as a venue for the wedding. 

We, of course, would love to attend the wedding and will start saving our pennies so that when the time comes we are in a position to do so.  Should the wedding take place in Nice that would be excellent but if not we still plan on spending a few weeks in Europe, visiting not only Dian and his sister, Zoey, who also became our daughter during her stay as an exchange student but also our German son, Max, and his family.

And Provence, where Nice is located is definitely on the list of places we will be visiting.  I imagine we will make a stop in Paris.  I mean you have to see the Eiffel Tower (I guess) but that doesn't hold the appeal to my as Provence does.  Give me rolling countryside over busy city streets any day of the week.

Provence is known for it's rosé wines.  I have been having kind of a love affair with rosés from France since I discovered them in this group. I never dreamed I would like them since my experience with blush wines prior to meeting the French rosés consisted of cloyingly sweet white zin's.

I spoke last month about Whispering Angel that I truly enjoyed.  I also shared a Domaine Houchart that I served during a seafood boil.  This bottle from La Sangliere was a great hit with a light lunch of a mushroom omelet.  I took a step of faith and tried a sparkling rosé, Delighted, from a Michigan winery, Black Star Farms, and was pleased with the results.

So I was excited to pick up a bottle of Domaine Fourquette when I was at the market a couple of weeks ago.  

I find that rosés pair exceptionally well with charcuterie boards.  I also love the presentation of a charcuterie and love serving them up at cocktail parties.

When creating a charcuterie board I try to offer several options of each component.  
  • Cheeses; some hard, some soft and a blue.  On this board you find a pepper jack, colby jack, cheddar, a honeyed goat cheese, a blueberry wrapped goat cheese and a roquefort.
  • Meats; salami's, prosciutto, perhaps a paté or smoked sausage. On this board I had hard salami, prosciutto, capocollo and soprasetta.
  • Garnishes; I always offer olives and another pickle of some sort, in this case pickled beets, but any pickled vegetable will work. Pickled asparagus is a favorite of mine. I also like to offer a mustard of some sort and a jam of some sort.  I like picking up small jars of specialty mustard and jam or marmalade to have on hand for just this purpose. If you see an onion marmalade it is perfect on these boards.
  • Then you need a way to convey all that yumminess to your tummy so make sure you have a nice assortment of bread, crackers and/or breadsticks on the board as well.
Once you know what you want to serve it is just a matter of arranging it so that it is appealing to the eye because we all know that we eat with our eyes first.

Back to my wine choice......of all the rosé wines I have tried, this was my least favorite.  I find that most rosé is very nice to sip with a variety of foods but also as pleasant to sip on it's own without any food accompaniment.

I did not find that to be true of this wine which was very acidic to the point of sour.  I awoke in the middle of the night with heartburn after drinking 2 small glasses of this wine. I won't be purchasing it in the future.

I want to thank Lauren of The Swirling Dervish for hosting this month and Lori of and Jill of  L'Occasion for changing the theme allowing those of us not yet lucky enough to visit France to participate today.

Let's take a look at the others Memories/Dreams