Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Butter

1 medium-large pumpkin
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or fresh!)
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Wash the pumpkin with water; don’t use soap. Cut the pumpkin in half, leaving the rind on, and scrape out the stringy pulp and seeds with the spoon. Save the seeds to roast!

2. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, in 2 large baking dishes. Add about 2 inches of water to each dish to keep the pumpkin from drying out. Cover the pumpkin with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until it is very tender when poked with a fork.

3. Let the pumpkin cool and then scoop the pulp out of the rind with a spoon. Puree the pumpkin pulp in the blender or food processor to make it smooth or just mash it with a fork.

4. Combine pumpkin puree and the rest of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed stainless-steel or other nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; lower the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring it very often with a wooden spatula, until it has become very thick, 15-20 minutes. Sample the butter and add a little more of any or all of the spices, if you like (remember, the flavors will blossom in storage). Add more sweetening if your tastebuds request it.

5. Remove from heat and ladle into jars with lids (I used tupperware). Store in refrigerator 2-3 weeks. Serve with warm, fresh bread or scones.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chunky Apple Cake

With the apples I picked in New Jersey during my recent vacation, I decided to make an apple cake. After perusing a new website I like a lot, tastespotting, which collects recipes from lots of blogs, I found a cake recipe on a blog called Smitten Kitchen.

(NOTE FROM MOM 11/6/10: To make this in a full-size bundt pan you need to double the cake recipe, and multiply the apple portion by 1.5)

I adapted the recipe slightly. Here's my version, which stayed moist for several days. Enjoy!

4 apples
2 t cinnamon
3 T sugar
- - - - - - - -
1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 C sugar
splash of OJ or AJ
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
2 T molasses
juice from 1/2 lemon, or to taste
1/2 C toasted, chopped walnuts

Peel and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Stir together wet ingredients + sugar. Add dry ingredients and walnuts. Pour half of batter into a grease pan (bundt or otherwise deep pan). Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 45 min- 1 hr at 350 degrees, or until a tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Zucchini Oat Bread

This recipe is healthy and hearty, and has great spices. Adapted from this blog:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grate enough zucchini to measure 2 cups
Mix in 1 teaspoon kosher salt
And 1 cup regular oats, and let sit for about 30 minutes. This will draw some of the moisture from the squash and allow the oats to absorb it, which will soften them up a bit.

In another bowl, whisk together:
3 1/2 cups flour (I suggest half white and half wheat)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

Add to dry mixture: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Add to zucchini mixture:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (light brown is ok)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, until combined. Divide evenly between 2 greased 5 x 8 bread pans. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out clean. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Knead Four-Grain Honey Bread

Four Grain-Honey Bread

From Nancy Baggett, author of Kneadlessly Simple.

Four Grain-Honey Bread

- yields 1 large loaf -


2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached white bread flour, plus more as needed
1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white or yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup rolled oats, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup cooked and cooled brown rice (I used cooked barley!)
Generous 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon instant, fast-rising, or bread machine yeast
1/2 cup clover honey or other mild honey
1 1/4 cups ice water, plus more if needed
Corn oil or other flavorless vegetable oil for coating dough top and baking pan


First rise: In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, oats, brown rice, salt, and yeast. In another bowl or measuring cup, thoroughly whisk the honey into the ice water. Vigorously stir the mixture into the bowl with the flours, scraping down the bowl sides and mixing just until the dough is thoroughly blended. If the ingredients are too dry to mix together, gradually add in just enough more ice water to facilitate mixing; don't over-moisten, as the dough should be stiff. If necessary, mix in more bread flour to stiffen it. Brush or spray the top with oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. If desired, for best flavor or for convenience, refrigerate for 3 to 10 hours. Then let rise at cool room temperature for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once during the rise.

Second rise: Vigorously stir the dough. Using a well-oiled rubber spatula, fold the dough in towards the center, all the way around the bowl. Dust an oiled 9x5-inch loaf pan with 1 tablespoon each cornmeal and rolled oats, tipping it back and forth to coat the pan sides. Turn out the dough into the pan. Brush or spray the top with oil. Smooth out the top and press the dough into the pan with oiled fingertips or a rubber spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon each cornmeal and rolled oats over the top. Press down to imbed. Cut four or five 3-inch-long, 1/4-inch-deep evenly spaced slashes diagonally across loaf top. Cover the pan with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap.

Let rise using any of these methods: For a 2- to 4-hour regular rise, let stand at warm room temperature; for a 1 1/2- to 2 1/2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in a turned-off microwave oven along with 1 cup of boiling-hot water. Or, for an extended rise, refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours, then let stand at room temperature. Remove the plastic when the dough nears it, then continue the rise until the dough extends 1/2 inch above the pan rim.

Baking preliminaries: 15 minutes before baking time, put a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 350°F.

Baking: Bake on the lower rack for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the loaf is well browned and firm on top; cover with foil if necessary to prevent over-browning. Continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes longer, testing until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with just a few particles on the end (or until the center registers 207 to 209°F on an instant-read thermometer). Bake for 5 to 10 minutes more to ensure the center it done. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the loaf onto the rack; cool thoroughly.

Serving and storing: Cool thoroughly before slicing or storing in a plastic bag or foil. The bread will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, and may be frozen, airtight, for up to 2 months.

Printed from

© Serious Eats

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sweet Potato Pone

From WPA (writers project) book
yield: 12 - 2"x2" squares

2 c sweet potato, grated (1 large potato)
1/4 c molassas
1/6 c sugar
1/2 c milk
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 t lemon rind, grated
1 t cinnimon
butter size of walnut, melted

Soon after grating, mix sweet potatoes and milk to prevent discoloring
Mix in molassas and eggs
Mix rest of ingredients together, then mix in with potatoes
Pour into a greased shallow baking pan
Bake in a 350° oven for 30 min then stir with a fork
Bake 15 min longer or until browned and crusty on top

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Bread Machine Challah

Everyone in my family has his or her own version of bread machine challah. Mom's might have some leftover oatmeal, mashed potatoes, or bran flakes in it; Tova's might be rosemary-lemon (thank you WSM) or 7-grain vegan. This recipe is for a straight-forward half-white/half-wheat challah, with a touch of honey. Adapted from

Makes one big or two small challahs.

1 1/8 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 T honey
1/8 cup sugar
1 t salt
4 cups flour (2 cups white and 2 cups wheat)
2-3 t vital wheat gluten (optional - helps the bread rise)
1 packet dry yeast (2 1/4 t)
additional egg for egg wash

1. Measure wet ingredients into bread machine bowl - water, oil, eggs, and honey. Make sure the water is warm but not hot, to activate the yeast without cooking the eggs.

2. Add the sugar, salt, and flour(s). Make sure that the salt is under the flour because you don't want it to touch the yeast. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the yeast into the well.

3. Put the bowl into the bread machine and set to "dough" setting.

4. When the dough cycle is done, punch it down (this is my favorite part) and invert onto a lightly-floured counter. Knead the dough a little bit and add more flour if needed. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

5. Divide and braid the dough into 1 or 2 challahs! See the bottom of the poast for how to make a 4-stranded braid.

6. After loaves are formed, place on a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet (you can use a Silpat). Allow to rise again on top of pre-heating oven, covered with a clean cotton towel.

7. Make an egg wash by beating 1 egg with 1 t cold water. Brush this mixture over the challah with a pastry brush - do this once before the challah goes in the oven and once about 10 minutes after the challah has been in the oven.

8. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the challah is golden brown (if you're like me and like your challah a little bit doughey, don't cook it for more than 25 minutes).

9. Cook on a baking rack and serve warm!

Always braid from one direction (either right or left, doesn't matter, just be consistent). Place "outside" strand (A) over second strand (B), under third strand (C), and then over fourth strand (D). The new "outside" strand (B) goes over (C), under (D), and over (A). Then the new "outside" strand (C) goes over (D), under (A), and over (B), etc.