Tag Archives: Pumpkin

Baby It’s Cold Outside.

fox cold

Brrrr….I’m chilled to the bone.  As January comes to an end, winter lets us know that it is not over yet.  The weatherman is using terms like wind chill, arctic blast, polar vortex.  Each term used with a dramatic fervor  to scare the bejesus out of you.  Well stop it!  I know that it’s as cold as a witch’s tit out there.  I don’t need your melodramatics to help me to remember to put my hat on before I venture outside.  This is Wisconsin and yes it does get this cold in the winter.

So, with that off of my chest.  I could see my breath as I spoke.  It is time to cook up a heaping pot of veggie chili.  As I dig through my pantry to find all the fixings, here is what you’ll need if you too want to cook up some chili to heat up your insides.

28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
28 oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 quart of tomato juice
1 tbsp Better than Bullion soup base
1 onion chopped roughly
2 pablano chili peppers roasted chopped roughly
2 anaheim peppers roasted chopped roughly
2 hungarian peppers roasted chopped roughly
1-2 jalapeno pepper chopped fine
2 red bell peppers roasted chopped roughly
2 cups pumpkin that is cubed and cooked in vegetable broth until soft
Two 16 oz cans of black beans
One 16 oz can of pinto beans
6 garlic gloves chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp fennel seed
3 tbsp chili powder
1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
1 tbsp Vindaloo Seasoning
1 cup bulgar wheat
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Empty the canned tomato products in a deep stock pot.  Add the soup base and chopped garlic and all the seasonings.  put on medium heat until it starts to boil and then begin to simmer.  In a pan saute the onion and jalapeno peppers in olive oil until the onion softens.  Add them to the stock along with the roasted peppers.  Add the pumpkin and beans.  Simmer for about 2 – 3 hours.  Added the cilantro and bulgar wheat.  Simmer for 1 more hour.  If the chili is too thick stir in more tomato juice or water.

I like to serve it with sour cream and crusty bread but it is also great without the dairy as a vegan dish.

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A great way to beat the cold weather.

This pot will serve 12 healthy appetites.

You can freeze it for the next day the wind chill drops to 40 below.

Cheers.

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http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/pumpkin-shrimp-curry Pumpkin Shrimp Curry Today was one of those part time days.  I had oatmeal for breakfast and a tomato sandwich for lunch.  But for dinner I veered away from the vegetarian diet and had Pumpkin Shrimp Curry.  The recipe … Continue reading

My Date with a Pumpkin

Video courtesy of Blame Society Films Youtube

It is October.  Large orange pumpkins can be seen on many a dimly lit doorstep hiding from devious children whose desire is to smash them on cold hard pavement and scream with pleasure at their great success.  Grown in summer fields for our autumn delight.  Carved with ghoulish faces, baked into delectable pies, cakes, muffins and the sort.  It is October.  The season of the pumpkin is upon us.

Yesterday I happened to stop into the local coffee shop.  Coffee Bean Connection.  Friendly place.  Great coffee and food.  I was intent on satiating my pumpkin latte craving.  Yes, I am one of those people that take delight in things pumpkin.  I like pumpkin muffins and pumpkin in my stir fry.  I freeze pumpkin so I can have it early spring when the snow melts.  So pumpkin latte is not anything out of the ordinary.  As  sip on my latte and the caffeine travels through my brain waking long forgotten synapses, I decide that it is time to try my hand at baking a vegan pumpkin cheesecake.  Pumpkin cheesecake would be a good fit.  The heavy flavors of the pumpkin would enhance the taste of the vegan cream cheese and tofu.  So tonight I would bake.  I would have my date with a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Night 2

Being a pastry chef I learned long ago that the best baked goods are made from real dairy and eggs.  They do not contain artificial sugars.  Yet, my non-vegan half wanted cheesecake…my vegan half said not.  I decided on a compromise (unlike the current government).   I would use vegan cream cheese and tofu, also cornstarch instead of eggs.  A good cheesecake would be pumpkin if I was going to be successful.  The flavors of the pumpkin would have to be complimentary to the vegan cream cheese.   The cinnamon, ginger and clove should not overwhelm the pallet.  The hint of cream cheese should still come through the flavors of pumpkin and spice.  This is the vegan version that I created.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1 cup ground roasted pecans
1 cup ginger cookies ground
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar

16 oz Tofutti Non-Hygrogenated Oil Vegan Cream Cheese
16 oz soft tofu
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (dewatered), you can use canned if you prefer.
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3 tbsp cornstarch

Mix the ground pecan, gingersnap cookies, vegetable oil and 1/4 cup sugar. Pat into the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan.  Set aside.  In a Kitchenaid type mixer cream the tofu, Tofutti cream cheese, corn starch, half cup sugar, and half cup brown sugar until smooth.  Add the pumpkin and spices. mix until just incorporated. Pour on top of the crust in the springform pan.  Wrap the bottom and side of the pan with a single sheet of tin foil.   This must be waterproof as the pan will be in water and it will leak and give you a soggy crust if there are more than a single sheet of foil.  Place this into a large pan filled with one inch of water. Put into a 325 preheated oven.  Bake for one hour.  When the hour is up turn off the oven and crack the door.  Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for one hour.  Remove the cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.  I like to serve this with maple encrusted pecans.

The cheesecake was delicious.  It was just enough spice and the vegan cream cheese provided just enough richness to the dessert.  I hope that you to will find your date with a pumpkin tonight.

Cheers.

Cheesecake, Cheesecake, and more cheesecake.

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As a former pastry chef I have a passion for pies, cakes, tortes, muffins….you get the picture.  Out of all the delectable treats that I have created I will always love cheesecake.  That creamy cake topped with fruits, nuts or chocolate is heaven.  The way the cheesecake melts in your mouth.  The combination of sweet dairy and fruit is intoxicating.  When I cut a cheesecake the smell fills the air and I am not satisfied until that sweet taste finds my tongue.  Of course I have been following a mostly vegan diet and cheesecake is the polar opposite of vegan.  Butter in the crust.  Cake made with cream cheese, eggs, sour cream and sugar. A far cry from vegan.  It is vegetarian and fits into the vegetarian diet.  And as long as you do not eat to excess I believe that you have not taken a drastic detour away from the healthy diet.

The basic cheesecake recipe is simple.  Eggs, Cream cheese sugar and sour cream.  Yet to get that creamy taste you have to use a couple of tricks.  Do not over mix the batter.  Add your eggs one at a time.  Start when the cream cheese is at room temperature.  Bake the cheesecake in a water bath.  Once the baking is done crack the oven open and allow it to cool for one hour in the oven.  If you follow these you will have a cheesecake that will be a delight for your dinner guests.  There is nothing better than the look on your guests face when they bite into a fork full of cheesecake and fresh strawberries. SO now that you know my secrets I am going to give you my two favorite recipes.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Recipe:

6 oz shortbread cookies

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp sugar 

Grind the cookies and melt butter. Add all in a bowl with the sugar and mix until moist. Pat in the bottom of a ten inch springform pan. Set aside.

4 eight oz packages cream cheese

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup sour cream

In a kitchen mixer cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and one egg at a time until the mixture is smooth. Do not over mix.  Add the Sour cream and mix until incorporated. Pour into the springform pan on top of the crust. Smooth the top of the batter.  Wrap the outside of the pan in foil so that it is water proof.  Use a single sheet of aluminum foil.  Two pieces folded together will leak.  I speak from experience.  Submerge it in a water bath so that the water comes up one inch on the side of the springform pan.  Put in a preheated 325F oven for 1 hour.  After one hour shut off oven and crack open oven door. Let cool for one hour in the oven then refrigerate for 3 hours.

In a double boiler heat 3/4 lb to 1 lb white chocolate. Add a bit of milk to thin it.  The chocolate needs to be thin enough to pour over the strawberries, thick enough to set and thin enough to cut easily when served.  Cut the green top off 2 quarts of strawberries and place them on the top of the cheesecake cut end down.  Spoon the warmed white chocolate over the top. The finished cheesecake will look like red snow capped mountains.  Refrigerate overnight.  When serving cut with a sharp knife that has been heated in hot water.

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Recipe:

6 oz chocolate cookies

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp sugar 

Grind the cookies and melt butter. Add all in a bowl with the sugar and mix until moist. Pat in the bottom of a ten inch springform pan. Set aside.

4 eight oz packages cream cheese

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup heavy cream

shaved dark chocolate approximately 1 lb

Heat the heavy cream until it boils.  Pour over shaved chocolate and stir until it is smooth.  You can put into the microwave for 10 seconds on high to heat some more if it is still stiff.  The chocolate needs to be thin enough to pour over the raspberriess, thick enough to set and thin enough to cut easily when served.  Set aside.

In a kitchen mixer cream the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and one egg at a time until the mixture is smooth. Do not over mix.  Add 3/4 cup of the melted dark chocolate and mix until incorporated. Pour into the springform pan on top of the crust. Smooth the top of the batter.  Wrap the outside of the pan in foil so that it is water proof.  Use a single sheet of aluminum foil.  Two pieces folded together will leak.  I speak from experience.  Submerge it in a water bath so that the water comes up one inch on the side of the springform pan.  Put in a preheated 325F oven for 1 hour.  After one hour shut off oven and crack open oven door. Let cool for one hour in the oven then refrigerate for 3 hours.

Rinse 1 pint of raspberries and pat them dry.  Place evenly in one layer on top of the cheesecake. Rewarm the dark chocolate mixture.  Spoon the warmed dark chocolate over the top. Refrigerate overnight.  When serving cut with a sharp knife that has been heated in hot water.

 

You now have two basic cheesecake recipes.  To make other cheesecake variations you can substitute various items for the sour cream/chocolate cream.  For Pumpkin Cheesecake substitute pumpkin for the sour cream and add pumpkin pie seasoning to the mix.  Put on a pecan crust.  For Peanut Butter Cup cheesecake substitute peanutbutter for the sour cream and put on a chocolate crumb crust with chocolate topping.  There are endless variations.  Just have fun and enjoy the recipes.

Day 10, Pumpkin Patch Soup

It is time for the cool weather to usher in the change of seasons.  The autumn leaves have appeared on the maples trees in the neighborhood.  Bright orange and scarlet leaves shimmer in the sunlight.  It is time to start thinking of squash and pumpkins as the weather turns to cooler days.  I like pumpkins.  Their orange skin bright in the garden as the leafy vines fade hide a delicious flesh that can be used in a variety of recipes.  I like pumpkin stir fry with lemongrass and  rice noodles.  I like pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cheesecake.  Mashed pumpkin is good with a little allspice and butter.  And everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie.  My favorite is a recipe that I came up with several years ago.  It is pumpkin soup with toasted pecan cream.  It has a slight spiciness and an Indian undertone.  I like to eat it with some warmed naan on a cold day.  So for all you pumpkin lovers here it is my favorite pumpkin soup.

Pumpkin PatchSoup

4 cups of fresh pumpkin peeled and cubed

4 cups of vegetable stock

1 cup milk

2 tsp rogan josh seasoning

1/2 tsp fresh grated cinnamon

1 chili pepper minced (a spicy one if you like them)

1 cup of pecans

1 cup of heavy cream

salt

 

Add the stock, pumpkin, pepper, and seasonings to a stock pot.  Simmer until the pumpkin is tender.  In a food processor blend the pumpkin and broth until smooth add milk and return to the heat.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  In another pan add the pecans so they cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer.  Put them on medium heat and cook until they start to sweat.  Pour in the heavy cream and continue to cook until the cream boils.  Stain out the pecans and put on a cookie sheet.  Save the cream.  Put the pecans into a 350 degree oven until dry.  Chop the pecans and set aside.  Serve the soup in shallow bowls.  Drizzle 4 tablespoons of cream over the soup.  Garnish with chopped pecans.  Serve with warm naan.

 

Day 2, What kind of cookie?

I was on my walk for the evening.  What an enjoyable pastime.  The cool night air has a hypnotic effect on my senses.  The sounds in the neighborhood are masked by the setting sun as it rushes past the horizon to reveal the night sky.  Cool air washes my face as I quicken my pace.  And then it hits me.  The restaurant on the corner has a sign in the window.  “We Have Pumpkin Walnut Cookies”  Damn.  Pumpkin Walnut.  How can a squash and a dried up nut sound so wonderful.  I can imagine myself munching on cookies in front of the fire with my socked feet warming as the wood pops sending sparks into the air.  I can imagine the cookies dancing across the table teasing me.  Wanting me to taste their silky doughy centers.

So cookies are vegetarian.  There is no meat in a cookie.  There is no animal flesh hiding beneath the glistening frosting.  And if they were made with vegetable shortening and egg substitute they could be considered vegan.  Mmmmmm.  I can taste those cookies already.   But.  I have to stop kidding myself.  These cookies were made with pounds of butter and eggs that give the cookie it delectable flavor.  These cookies are definitely not vegan.  But they are vegetarian.

So I have to add some other stipulation to my diet.  Step away from the bakery.  No early morning trips to the doughnut counter for me.  No pumpkin walnnut cookies, no caramel brownies, no tres leche pastel.  I need to have some will power.  I am one of those people that can go to the bakery and order four muffins.  Watch those muffins be put into that white bag.  White bakery bags are so seductive.  I know what is  inside.  Those delicious bakery treats.  I just want to rip them open and devour what is inside.  I get the bag home thinking that I would have a muffin each morning during the week.  On the counter it sits.  Hmmmm.  Acting so like a brown bag but I know better.  Most likely that bag of muffins will not make it to the next morning.

So.  Even though those cookies may be vegetarian I am not going to succumb to their deliciousness.  I shove my hands into my pockets and walk even more briskly to hurry myself home. 

Today zucchini and tomatoes for lunch and eggplant with yogurt and couscous for dinner.  And popcorn for later.