Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bangkok Barbecued Chicken

I went in a whole different direction for inspiration for tonight's dinner since we did Jamaica on Tuesday, we're going to Thailand today.  I took a whole chicken and cut it up into 6 pieces and marinated it in a very aromatic mixture for about 6 hours. 

While the chicken was marinating I went and visited three other missions in San Antonio: Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose and Mission Espada.  It is amazing to see the structures still standing today and the glimpse of what life would have been like back then.  I also made a quick stop at the Espada Aqueduct which was an ingenuous system for diverting water to irrigate crop fields.  I love getting my fill of history.

Now, back to dinner - the chicken was grilled over moderate heat to cook through and then finished over high heat for the last 10 minutes to brown and crisp up the skin.  I served this with simply boiled, buttered potatoes and a squash saute.

Bangkok Barbecued Chicken
Makes 4 servings

For the marinade:
4 large garlic cloves
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1 medium jalapeno chile pepper, stem removed and roughly chopped
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 whole chicken, 4 to 5 pounds

To make the marinade:  In a food processor with the motor running, drop the garlic, shallot, ginger, and jalapeno, through the feed tube and process until they are fine minced.  Add the basil and process until finely chopped.  Add the remaining marinade ingredients and proess until well combined.

Cut the chicken into 6 pieces; 2 breast pieces, 2 legs with thighs, and 2 wings (remove and discard the wing tips).  Cut 3 or 4 slashes about 1/2 inch deep, into the meatier side of the breast and leg-thigh pieces.  Place the chicken pieces in a large, plastic resealable bag, and pour in the marinade.  Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly.  Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place the bag in a bowl, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or as long as 12 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and discard the marinade.  Grill, skin side down, over indirect medium heat until fully cooked.  The breast and wing pieces will take about 30 minutes.  The leg-thigh pieces will take about 40 minutes.  During the last 10 minutes of grilling time, move the chicken over direct medium heat until well browned all over, turning once.  Serve warm.

Recipe from Weber's Real Grilling

Our rating: 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ultimate Burger

I planned these burgers for dinner tonight since I played golf this afternoon.  The afternoon temperatures were in the mid-60's with blue skies, the perfect golf weather as far as I'm concerned.  It was a fun afternoon spent outside and I'm looking forward to playing again.

I prepped these burgers this morning, so it would be easy to fire up the grill and get these cooked.  These are really great burgers with the secret to keeping them moist, (shhh) bacon fat.  I have not yet made bread in our motor home, so I bought whole wheat hamburger buns.  These would be fabulous on homemade buns.  I'll try that next time.

Ultimate Steakhouse Burger
Makes 4 servings
6 strips of bacon
1 to 2 slices of white sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into 1/2-inch pieces  (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 85-90% lean
1 teaspooon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, grated on a microplane

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is browned and crisp, about 8 minutes.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain; set aside.  Spoon 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat into a bowl; set aside to cool.

Place the bread in a small brown, add milk, and let the mixture sit until saturated, about 5 mintues.  Using a fork, mash the mixture until it forms a smooth paste.  Break the beef up into small pieces in a medium bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, then add the garlic, bread paste, and reserved bacon fat.  Using a fork or hands, lightly knead the mixture until it is well incorporated and forms a cohesive mass.  Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form in 3/4-inch thick patties.  Using a finger, make several dimples onto one side of each patty.  This prevents the patty from doming once cooked.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill with a hot fire.  Grill the burgers (without pressing down!) until they are well seared on each side, about 7-10 minutes total.  Served topped with previously cooked bacon, if desired.  Enjoy!

From The Galley Gourmet

Our rating:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jamaican Halibut with Tropical Salsa

I spent the morning exploring Mission San Jose, one of the four other missions still open in the San Antonio area (not counting the Alamo).  The Alamo is in a class by itself and not run by the National Historic Park Service.  Mission San Jose happens to be less than a mile from our RV Resort so it was very easy to explore.  I had the opportunity to take a guided tour with one other person in my tour group so it was very informal and informative.  I do love immersing myself in the history and scenes of the area.  I happen to really enjoy museums.

I then explored my grocery shopping options with a Whole Foods and a Central Market about 10 miles away.  Exploring new grocery stores is also something I really enjoy (even though it makes shopping challenging in trying to figure out where things are).

Even though we are in San Antonio, I went to the islands for inspiration for dinner tonight with this Jamaican Halibut recipe.  Two halibut fillets were marinated in a mixture containing fresh orange juice, dark rum, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger and herbs and spices.  After marinating for an hour, the fillets were dried off, drizzled with oil and grilled.  Once done, I served it over white rice and topped it with the tropical salsa.  This had all the right levels of heat and spice complemented by the sweetness of the fruit in the salsa.  Can't wait to make it again.

Jamaican Halibut with Tropical Salsa
Makes 2 servings

For the fish:
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (the juice of one medium orange)
1/4 cup Jamaican dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 halibut fillets, about 6 ounces each and 1 inch thick

For the Salsa:
1/2 cup finely diced ripe pineapple
1/4 cup finely diced ripe banana
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
3/4 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil

To make the marinade:  In a medium bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients.  Add the fillets and turn to coat them evenly.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour, turning once or twice.

Remove the halibut from the bowl, pat dry with paper towels, and discard the marinade.  Brush or spray both sides with oil.  Grill over high heat until the halibut just begins to flake when you poke it with the tip of a knife, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.  Serve warm with the salsa.

Adapted from Weber's Real Grilling Cookbook

Our rating:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eggplant Steaks with Caprese Salsa

We arrived in San Antonio yesterday and will be here for a week.  As soon as we had the motor home set up yesterday we headed to the Riverwalk and had lunch on the sidewalk watching the boats go by.  San Antonio is a great city to visit with tons of things to see and do.  Our RV Resort has a walking trail also along the river, but it happens to be about 6-7 miles away from all the activity.  I am planning on exploring some of the missions (I've already visitied the Alamo), exploring more of the Riverwalk in the downtown area and playing some golf.  We are looking forward to a great week.

With the weather here in the 80's in the afternoons, I've been craving some grilled food. This eggplant dish has been on my mind for a while and this was very good, but I'm sure it would be even better with tomatoes straight from the garden or farmer's market in the heat of summer.  I can't wait to make this again in season.  I basically took a medium sized eggplant (just about 1 1/2 pounds) and sliced it in four thick lengthwise slices.  The slices got a quick marinade in a balsamic vinaigrette before being grilled.  Once done they were then topped with a tomato and mozzarella mixture (as in a Caprese salad) and served with a grilled bread slice. 

The grilled eggplant brought the Caprese salad to a whole new level.

Eggplant Steaks with Caprese Salsa
Makes 4 Servings

For the Eggplant:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 eggplant (1 - 1 1/2 pounds)

For the Salsa:
2 cups seeded and diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup diced fresh mozzarella (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Whisk together 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, salt and pepper for the eggplant in a bowl.  Cut eggplant lengthwise into four 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick slices.  Place eggplant slices in a large glass dish.  Pour vinegar mixture over eggplant, turning to coat slices; let eggplant sit for 5 minutes.

Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 2 teaspoons oil, salt, and pepper for the salsa in a medium bowl; set aside.  Do not do this step earlier in the process so that the tomatoes will keep their freshness.

Grill eggplant slices, covered, until tender, 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove eggplant from grill; top with salsa.  Garnish with more basil if desired.

Our rating:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Herbs

Until a few years ago, Brussels sprouts were not served in our house.  It happens to be that Brussels sprouts are one of our son-in-law's favorite vegetable.  I began experimenting with the little cabbage heads and as a family we have embraced the little sprouts.  The trick is to cook until just done to avoid the bitterness that can sometimes be associated with them.

In this recipe, they are browned in olive oil and butter and then braised in chicken (or turkey) stock until tender before being tossed with crisp bacon and chopped herbs.  These were absolutely worth the space on the Thanksgiving plate.  I know I will make them again and again without waiting for Thanksgiving.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Herbs
Makes 4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 1/2 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1/2 cup mild onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
2/3 - 3/4 cup chicken stock, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Remove any dry or yellow outer leaves from the sprouts.  Slice off the dry stem and cut into quarters.  Set aside.

In a medium saute pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until golden brown, about 7  minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a bowl.  Pour off all but 1/2 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

Return the pan to medium heat, add the shallots and thyme and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the shallot mixture to the bowl with the bacon.  Pour 1/4 cup of the stock into the pan and, using a wooden spoon, stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Pour the stock over the bacon mixture.

Wipe out the pan with paper towels and place over medium-high heat.  Melt the butter and oil.  Add the Brussels sprouts and season with salt; stir to coat evenly.  Cook until the sprouts begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes.  Stir again, then cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup of stock. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally and adding more stock as needed until the sprouts are soft and tender, about 15 minutes more.  Add the bacon mixture and any remaining stock and stir to incorporate.  Stir in the chives and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Slightly adapted from The Galley Gourmet

Our rating:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce

This Thanksgiving feast was a very different take for me since it was just the two of us in the motor home.  We are still in Fredericksburg, Texas which is a lovely place to spend Thanksgiving.  Since I was cooking for two, I kept on with the tradition of some of the classics, but did change up quite a few things.  Instead of roasting a whole turkey, I opted for a turkey breast (I happen to love white meat so that worked out great for me), stuffing, gravy, Sweet Potato Casserole (a family classic), homemade cranberry sauce, Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Herbs, rolls, and Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits.  I decided to skip regular potatoes this year and I added the Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce.  I replaced the typical green beans with the Brussels sprouts and I replaced the pumpkin pie with the Pumpkin Cheesecake Parfaits.

It was an absolute feast for the two of us.

Acorn Squash with Cranberry Sauce
Makes 2 servings

1 medium acorn squash (about 1 pound)
1 cup whole cranberry sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon allspice

For the Cranberry Sauce
2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tablespoon grated orange zest

Bring sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally and boil for 5 minutes.  Add cranberries and orange zest, bring back to a boil and boil gently for 5 more minutes until cranberries begin to burst and soften.

Let cool and refrigerate.

For the acorn squash:

Prick squash several times with fork to allow steam to escape.  Place in oven.  Microwave on high 15 to 20 minutes until soft when pricked with fork.  Turn squash over after 9 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Cut in half and remove seeds.  Place cut side up in a casserole just large enough to hold both halves.

In small bowl, combine cranberry sauce, honey and allspice.  Spoon into squash halves.  Bake in a 350 degree oven 15020 minutes until heated through.

Adapted from GE's Microwave Convection Oven Cookbook

Our rating:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet and Sour Marinade

I love the automatic portion size and convenience in cooking a pork tenderloin.  For the two of us I am guaranteed to have a generous serving for dinner and enough leftover for lunch.  It's also lean with no waste which makes it healthy and very affordable.  Since it is such a mild flavored protein, I find you can change up the flavors by marinating, rubbing or glazing.  Today's recipe was marinated in a sweet and sour glaze and brushed with more glaze during the last few minutes of cooking.  Not only was this delicious but very easy to make; a definite keeper.

I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans with bacon which were the perfect sides.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Sweet and Sour Marinade
Makes 4 servings

1 - 1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apple jelly
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.  Reserve 1/4 cup of this marinade and pour the rest over the pork tenderloin in a zip-top bag.  Marinate 4-10 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the pork from the bag and place the tenderloin on a foil-lined baking dish.  Place in the preheated oven and bake until internal temperature of the roast reaches 160 degrees, about 20-25 minutes.  Baste with the reserved marinade during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Let stand for 5 minutes and then slice into 1/2-inch pieces.  Spoon pan juices over roast before serving.

From Our Best Bites Cookbook

Our rating:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sugar-Rubbed New York Strip Steak

The brown sugar combined with salt and pepper in the rub on this steak helps to create a caramelized, peppery crust.  The caramelized steak with the blue cheese and tomato salad create the perfect balance of flavors.  A simple baked potato with a pat of butter was the only other thing needed to create the perfect steak, potato and salad dinner plate.

Sugar-Rubbed New York Strip Steak
Makes 2 servings

For the Steak:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 New York strip steak, 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick (12-16 ounces)

For the salad:
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1 strip bacon, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Heat a nonstick ovenproof skillet (I like my cast-iron for this) over medium heat.

Combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, pepper, and salt in a bowl.  Press sugar mixture onto both sides of steak, then sear meat on one side until browned, about 5 minutes.  Flip steak and brown second side for 2 minutes.  Transfer skillet to oven to finish cooking (about 8 minutes for medium-rare).  Remove steak, tent with foil, and let meat rest 5 minutes.

Toss together lettuce, tomatoes, and blue cheese while steak is in oven.

Saute bacon for vinaigrette in a skillet until crisp; add shallots and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.  Deglaze skillet with vinegar, then whisk in 1 teaspoon brown sugar, Dijon, salt and pepper.  Stir in oil and keep warm.

To serve, cut steak in half and place each half on a plate.  Divide salad between plates.  Drizzle steak and salad with warm vinaigrette.

From Cuisine for Two

Our rating:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pesto Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes

I love pasta, pesto, mushrooms, and slow-roasted tomatoes, so I knew this would be a positively perfect pasta dish and it was in all ways.  I took Roma tomatoes, cut them in half, drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled them simply with salt and pepper before roasting them for 3 hours in a 225 degree oven.  What you end up with is the heavenly concentrated flavor reminding you of a freshly picked summer tomato in season.   This was a perfect meatless Monday entree and if you like these ingredients, I recommend you try this!

Pesto Pasta with Slow-Roasted Tomatoes
Makes 4 servings

8 Roma tomatoes
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces farfalle or bowtie pasta
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup pesto
1/3 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese

Early in the afternoon or day, preheat oven to 225 degrees.  Slice the Roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (be careful not to use too much salt and pepper since the flavors will be intensified after roasting).  Bake the tomatoes in the oven for about 3 hours.  You want the tomatoes to be shriveled and dry, but with a little juice left inside–this could take more or less time depending on the size of your tomatoes. Once done remove from oven and set aside.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water following package directions.  Meanwhile saute sliced mushrooms in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and season with salt and pepper when almost done.  Also while pasta is cooking, place the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat.  Stir frequently until the nuts turn golden brown and look slightly glossy, about 7-9 minutes.  Cut the roasted tomatoes in half.

To assemble, toss the hot drained pasta with pesto and Parmesan cheese.  Top with tomatoes and mushrooms and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and additional Parmesan cheese if desired.

Adapted from Our Best Bites Cookbook

Gerry's rating:

My rating:

Turkey Pozole

We finally ventured out on the road and traveled to Austin.  We spent almost a week with our daughter Stephanie and her husband David which was wonderful.  We tried a few restaurants in the Austin area and had a few meals at Stephanie & David's house and one at their friend's house.  It was a very great time and a great party for our tastebuds. We took a little side trip to Fredericksburg with Stephanie and David on Wednesday and liked it so much, we decided to come back for the weekend. We found an RV park a couple of miles outside of the town and we spent the day yesterday further exploring the shops in town.  It is a quaint town, settled by German immigrants with lots of shops, great German restaurants and several wineries in the area.  We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring this area and look forward to coming to visit again.

With the cooler weather, I was craving a hearty soup and it has been a while since we had this particular one.  This is a thick and hearty soup (almost resembles a chili) and absolutely delicious.

Turkey Pozole
Makes 2-3 servings

2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 6-inch tortilla, chopped
3 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and dried oregano
1/2 lime, juiced
1 14-ounce can yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
salt to taste
crumbled queso fresco or shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
fresh cilantro
diced avocado

Sweat tomatoes, onion, garlic, tortilla pieces, chiles, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and dried oregano in 2 tablespoons oil in a large saute pan over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 10 minutes.  Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor; puree until smooth.  Return soup base to pan; keep warm over low heat. 

Saute turkey and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and dried oregano in a nonstick skillet in 1 tablespoon oil, 4-5 minutes, breaking up chunks with a wooden spoon; stir in lime juice.  Transfer turkey to soup base, add hominy, and season with salt; simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Garnish servings of pozole with cheese, cilantro leaves and avocado.

Recipe from Cuisine at Home for Two

Our rating:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Shrimp Skewers with Cilantro Pesto

Shellfish sounded perfect for today's Meatless Monday dinner.  We haven't had shellfish in quite a while and when I read this recipe, I knew it would be perfect for us.  Highly spiced shrimp were quickly grilled and served over cheddar polenta and drizzled with a cilantro pesto.  Yum, yum, yum are all the words we exchanged while devouring dinner.  The spice and heat from the shrimp with the creaminess of the polenta and the bite from the pesto was the perfect combination.  I can't wait to make this again.

Shrimp Skewers with Cilantro Pesto
Makes 4 servings

For the shrimp:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Minced zest of 1 lime
salt to taste
16 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the pesto:
2 cups packed fresh cilantro
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salt to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high.

Combine 1/4 cup oil, garlic, pepper flakes, paprika, lime zest and salt for the shrimp in a bowl.  Add shrimp and toss to coat; marinate for about 5 minutes.

Process cilantro, oil, cream, and lime juice for the pesto in a food processor until smooth; season with salt and set aside.

Thread 4 shrimp onto each of 4 skewers through both the tail and the head to hold in place.  Reserve marinade for basting.

Arrange skewers on the grill and grill, covered, for 1 1/2 minutes per side brushing shrimp with marinade as they cook.  Serve skewers with prepared pesto.

From Cuisine Grilling

Our rating:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I decided to round out pumpkin week with a quick bread recipe.  The cinnamon in this recipe helps to blend the chocolate and pumpkin flavor.  In addition to a quick snack, a slice of this scrumptious bread slathered with some light cream cheese made a wonderful breakfast with coffee.  I thoroughly enjoyed finding many ways to use pumpkin puree and I hope you did as well.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into two greased 8 x 4-inch loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

From A Taste of Home

My rating:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ravioli with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce

I know this sounds a little on the strange side, but trust me you need to try it.  It was not only delicious but simple to pull together with a relatively short list of ingredients.  This will definitely make frequent appearances on our menu.  I am so glad I decided to do pumpkin week, because I'm not sure this recipe would have made it on the menu without the challenge of finding numerous pumpkin recipes.

Ravioli with Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
Makes 2 servings

Kosher salt
1 (9-ounce) package 4 cheese ravioli
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 small shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, for topping (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the ravioli and cook as the label directs.  Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minute.  Add the pumpkin and cook, stirring 1 minute.  Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low; simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the ravioli to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen, if needed.  Divide among bowls and top with more cheese and parsley.

Adapted from Food Network

Our rating:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Curried Pumpkin Soup

I thought I would start today's post with a review of events for the month of October.    We took possession of our motor home on September 28th and spent the next week just settling in.  We sold both of our vehicles and bought a 4-wheel drive Jeep Liberty (which will be easy to tow behind the motor home).  We ordered the tow plate and wiring kit needed to attach the Jeep to the existing towing equipment on our motor home.  We actually moved the motor home to another site to see how everything fared in the cabinets while in transit (everything traveled well with the exception of one cabinet that we have since adjusted).  We have found what we think will be our home base whenever we come back to the DFW area.  We have figured the heating/air conditioning system and know how often we need to drain our tanks.  All in all, a very educational month for us.

Here are some pictures from our trip to Hickory Creek Park on Lake Lewisville.

 We really enjoyed the scenery of our stay at Hickory Creek, but since it is not a full hook-up, that means unhooking everything and driving to the dumping station every 3 days or so.  We'll see if that becomes a factor in deciding not to go there again.

Now on to the food part of the blog: Curried Pumpkin Soup which we had for lunch and it was superb.  We are both fans of the Indian curry flavor and combined in this soup with mushrooms and pumpkin was a treat for our taste buds.  I am sure this will become a seasonal favorite.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
Makes 4-6 Servings

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder (I used 3/4 teaspoon and thought it perfect)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Fresh chives, chopped for garnish (optional)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onion.  Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the flour and curry powder until blended

Gradually add the broth, stirring to combine.  Bring the mixture just to a boil, and stir for 2 minutes, or until the mixture thickens.

Stir in the pumpkin, milk, honey, salt and pepper.  Heat through.  Serve immediately. 

Garnish with chives, if desired.

Barely adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

Our rating: