Category Archives: Food

Pecan Pie

Did you know that Canadians also have Thanksgiving? I didn’t either until this week. They eat all the same foods but their harvest is earlier (since they are located farther North, obvs). Luckily for me my next door neighbor married a Canadian so I get to celebrate Turkey Day twice this year! If you want to get rave reviews and a bazillion compliments on your pie that you are supposed to bring to Thanksgiving dinner (or any other gathering this fall) you should really make the Pioneer Woman’s pecan pie. Seriously. These Canadians think I am some sort of pie Goddess now, but I have to give Ree Drummond all the credit.  When reading her recipe, just be sure to read “serve in thin slivers” as “serve in huge chunks, possibly with ice cream or whipped cream on top.” Here is the recipe:

Recipe: Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie

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Ingredients
  • 1 whole Unbaked Pie Crust
  • 1 cup White Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Corn Syrup
  • ¾ teaspoons Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Melted Butter (salted)
  • 3 whole Eggs Beaten
  • 1 cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans

Preparation Instructions

Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.

Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.

Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.

Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.

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Roasted soup

I know that it was an unusally warm day for autumn in Portland today…but I still am fully embracing the change of seasons.

roasted veggies

With roasted soup.  I hope to make many soups this fall/winter…in my holistic health classes (I was a holistic health minor in college, didja know that?) we learned that soups are imperative to health in the colder months.

roasted soup

Plus they’re just dang delicious.

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Penne with creamy pumpkin sauce

So I don’t have a picture for this dinner but you will just have to believe me that you should drop your dinner plans and make this recipe right away.  From Martha Stewart Everyday Food, I bring you Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce.

The pumpkin is perfect for fall (and in case you haven’t heard, the canned pumpkin crisis is over so no more crazy people selling buying it for $7 a can on eBay anymore).  Also it is delicious in this dish to have savory pumpkin flavor rather than sweet like a pie.

Don’t have a rosemary bush in your yard? I feel your pain because mine hardly qualifies as a bush, more like a rosemary stick.  Instead, the BF pulled over the car and convinced me to STEAL ROSEMARY FROM A NEIGHBOR’S YARD.  Seriously I feel guilty for some reason even though their bush was more like a rosemary tree than a rosemary bush.

Oh, and I used cream instead of half-and-half, because that’s what was in my fridge.  And rotini instead of penne….and red wine vinegar instead of white wine vinegar…and I don’t know the exact measurements I used because I’ve sort of given up measuring (except for baking of course).  But a recipe is meant to be a suggestion not a set of rules, no?

Anyway, enjoy! xoxo

Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

Canned pumpkin puree isn’t only good for pie; here, it becomes a creamy sauce for penne, topped with deliciously crunchy fried rosemary.

Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 12 ounces penne rigate (ridged), or other short pasta
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and set aside.
  2. In pasta pot, heat oil over medium. Add rosemary and fry, stirring, until starting to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rosemary to a paper towel, leaving oil in pot.
  3. Carefully (oil is hot and will spatter) add pumpkin puree, garlic, half-and-half, Parmesan, vinegar, red-pepper flakes, and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir sauce until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add pasta to sauce, and toss to coat. If sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water. Season generously with salt. Serve pasta sprinkled with fried rosemary and, if desired, more red-pepper flakes.

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How to make boba

I wanted to make my own boba tea/tapioca, and went to Fubonn on a whim.  Luckily they actually had an entire section of the pearls and even drink mixes.  If you don’t have an Asian grocery near you, they are available on Ebay.  The boba turned out great! Here’s what you’ll need:

Boba supplies

Tapioca pearls, they had black, white and multicolored at the store.  Of course I got multicolored.  I picked up a honeydew flavor drink mix as well.  And you can’t forget the chunky straws!

tapioca pearls

Boil 10 cups of water, then add in one cup of the pearls.  Give the pearls a gentle stir.  Right away they will rise to the top of the water.  When they do, cover them and boil for 5 minutes more.

tapioca pearls, done

After 5 minutes, take the pearls out and drain them.  Mix them with some simple syrup (1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups water.  Heat in a pot and remove from heat as soon as it boils.)  I think the simple syrup step is to keep them from sticking together.

Next, in a shaker combine: 2 ounces simple syrup, 2 tbs. drink powder, and 2 tbs. non-dairy creamer (I didn’t have any so I used 2 tbs. milk and it worked perfectly).  Add a few ice cubes and fill to the top with cold water.  Shake to combine, making sure the drink powder dissolves.

Spoon some finished tapiocas into a glass, and pour the liquid over it.

finished boba

And that’s it!  It looks (and tastes) so impressive but is really quite easy.  I will definitely pull this recipe out next time I have friends over.  Enjoy!

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Angelhair Pasta with Bacon, Peas and Shallots

One of my go-to dinner recipes is so simple but yields delicious results.  Want to know the secret? Cook some pasta (Personally, I think angelhair is the most delicious shape); fry up some bacon; remove the bacon but keep the grease; cook some veggies in the bacon grease; add some cream; mix it all together! See how simple? I promise it is so delicious–I’d guess it’s probably the bacon grease… :/

Vegetarians beware: this post contains photos of raw bacon!

Bacon

First, fry some bacon

Cook some shallots in the bacon grease

Add some frozen peas and half-and-half (though I have been known to use heavy cream!)

Once it starts to thicken up, add it to the pasta!

I’ve had good results with all sorts of veggies, like squash and onions instead of peas and shallots.  Every veggie tastes better cooked in bacon grease!

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Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Tart in Parmesan Crust

Tomatoes are my favorite summer food.  I love putting them on sandwiches (with just a dab of mayo, salt and pepper), making an easy caprese salad and even eating them plain.  One of my favorite summer tomato recipes though is this easy tart.  It only uses a few ingredients, but the flavors are amazing.  The simple crust is buttery and parmesan-y (yes, that is a word).  Pick the prettiest diversely-colored tomatoes you can find for a real stand-out dish.  I can’t wait to make this again!

Tomato Tart

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Dill Pickles

I have wanted to can pickles for a long time, but everything I was reading online was scaring me off from the project.  You must buy this and this expensive equipment, keep your jars at exactly the correct temperature before putting your pickles in, etc.  However, I ran across a pickling basket at Wal-Mart (in their seasonal section) and decided that was really all I needed.  I already had a big soup pot, and the tongs/magnetic lid lifter/air bubble spatula/ etc. that came with the basket were all just extras.  I picked up a flat of quart jars, stopped for some pickling cucumbers on the way home, and decided to just go for it.

Cucumbers to be turned into pickles

Spears, chips and whole cucumbers ready to get turned into pickles

There are plenty of instructions online (from much more qualified writers) for pickling recipes and how-tos, so I won’t go into that here.  I simply used a dill pickle recipe that came with my supplies.  It was easy-peasy!  The hardest part was committing to the 3 hours or so that it took me to make 7 quarts, since I could only process 2 at a time in my soup pot.

Pickle bath

Amazingly, all 7 jars sealed correctly!  We opened a jar less than a week later when some friends came over for a BBQ.  Everyone RAVED about the pickles, and I couldn’t have been more proud. They are absolutely delicious!  Then at another BBQ a few weeks later we opened a second jar, and the pickles had only gotten better with age.  They were a big hit again.  They keep for up to 2 years, though I doubt they will last much longer with the rate we’ve been BBQing!

Finished dill pickles

I can’t wait to can many more foods now.  Pickled green beans are a favorite, but ones I’ve gotten at the store are so bland.  I’d also like to make some simple jams with local berries–come August the blackberries in the Portland area are absolutely everywhere.  The BF loves PB&J sammies, but I refuse to buy most jams/jellies because most of them have high fructose corn syrup as their second ingredient!  Trader Joes and “Just the Fruit”-type jams are so expensive, so I can’t wait to try my hand at homemade.

Of course, my loyal feline assistant had to check all the seals on the pickles to make sure we didn’t get botulism.

Cat and pickles

What are your favorite things to can?  I need some new ideas, suited for a beginner. 🙂

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