My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.
We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.
My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.
Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …
Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
- 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar
- Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
- When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
- Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
- When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
- Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.
Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream
- 3 oz. light cream cheese
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
- 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Wonderful Food Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.
with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing
I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.
So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …
Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing
Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!
- Mixed greens
- Black grapes, sliced or halved
- Walnuts, toasted
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)
Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.
Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing
- 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
- 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
- milk or rosewater, to thin
In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.
This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous Fridays, Scrumptious Sunday, All my Bloggy Friends, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.
I’ve been toying with the idea of making a thai-style curry soup with my aubergines … aubergine, isn’t that a fabulous word? It sounds so fancy and cultured to me. Usually I just use the word “eggplant”, but it doesn’t carry the same elegance that these beautiful purple vegetables really deserve.
Anyway, I came home from yoga class the other night STARVING and decided to begin the creation of the Thai curry soup. Somehow thought this would be a quick thing to do … I started up the grill because I’m really loving the smoky flavor from the grill and set a bunch of lovely vegetables on there for their “fire” roasting. Yes, I really did start up the grill just to roast vegetables. It didn’t take long to roast them … but then I got busy with other things and with the kids.
Hours later (just before bedtime), I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of my curried red pepper aubergine soup. It’s not that the soup really takes that long to make … it’s just that … well, I’m a mom … and I’m easily distracted (look! facebook!) … and my kitchen was already a mess so there was a bit of work to do there too … oh well, it got done eventually and I did get a bowl of soup and now I have a delicious soup I can quickly reheat for lunches this week.
Curried Red Pepper Aubergine Soup
Yields a little over a quart of soup.
- 3 good-size Japanese Eggplant (the long skinny dark black purple kind of eggplant … or 1 large globe eggplant) … yielding about a cup of eggplant after roasting (a little more or less is fine)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 hot red pepper (or if you don’t want your soup to be spicy, use a bell pepper in place of the hot pepper)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled, chopped
- 1/2 of an onion, peeled, chopped
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons Thai red curry paste (to taste)
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (or other sweetener of your choice … to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Garnish: plain lowfat yogurt (or Greek yogurt) and fresh parsley or better yet, cilantro!
- Poke the eggplant all around with a fork. Light up the grill and when the coals are hot, set the eggplant and the peppers right over the hot coals to roast. (A gas grill would work fine too … you COULD even roast them in the oven if you prefer …) Here’s a shot of my eggplant and peppers on the grill. I used these 3 eggplant, the red bell pepper, and one of the hot peppers in this soup. The other two peppers I’m going to put in a salsa (I think …)
- You don’t want to burn them, but the skins of the eggplant will turn dark and the pepper skins should turn black. Turn the peppers and eggplant over to make sure you roast all sides. The peppers will be done very quickly. Pull the peppers off the grill and let them cool while you finish cooking the eggplant. Cook the eggplant until it is limp and soft.
- The peel on the peppers and the eggplant should come right off after roasting. Pull off the peel, chop off the top stems from the eggplant, and put the “good parts” of the peppers and the eggplant in a blender or handi chopper. Puree them until smooth.
- In a saucepan, sautee the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent, soft and starting to brown. Stir in the eggplant/pepper paste and the remaining ingredients. Stir everything together till it’s well mixed, bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until the flavors have had time to “meld”.
- When the soup is done, puree it in a blender (or use an immersion blender). I’ve heard of people cracking the glass of a glass blender with hot soup, so you might want to let it cool a bit before blending it if you are using a glass blender.
- Garnish with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley and serve hot. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. This soup reheats nicely in the microwave.
My yoga friend brought me a little bag of tamatillos from her garden, but they weren’t that intense tart green like you think of when you see tamatillos–several of them had turned a light yellow color. She mentioned to me that she had cooked hers down and they were really sweet. That made me think of this tomato jam that Melissa over at ChinDeep had posted. In just an instant, I knew what I was going to do with the tamatillos.
I thought about making tamatillo jam, but I only had a few tamatillos and I have a huge box full of tomatoes from my Mom’s garden … so the tomatoes and tamatillos partied together in this spicy sweet jam. It’s a unique condiment … sort of almost like ketchup, but sweeter and spicier. Melissa suggests lots of wonderful ways to use it:
“Slather some on a toasted garlic bagel with cream cheese, dip your french fries in it, spread it on a thick slice of sourdough bread and top with gooey soft boiled eggs, place a little dish of it next to a cheese and cracker tray, use it as a sandwich topping with ham or turkey and fried onions, use it as a glaze for fish, chicken or pork. Top rosemary scones with a bit of chevre, tomato jam and crumbled bacon for a standing ovation.”
The only way I’ve tried this jam so far is on crackers with some cream cheese. That was wonderful. I have so many more things yet to try …
Spicy Hot Tomato Tamatillo Jam
This is a cross between two of Melissa’s recipes: tomato jam and spicy summer garden jam. I did cut the amount of sugar considerably because the tamatillos really were quite sweet, and the tomatoes were too.
- 7 tomatillos (about 0.425 lb), outer shell and the stem core removed, then chopped
- 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1.7 lb after they are peeled and cored), then chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 jalapenos, chopped fine (use more or less depending on how spicy hot you want your jam)
- 1/2 cup sugar (or more, depending on how sweet your tomatoes and tamatillos are … )
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Chop the tomatoes and tamatillos and put them in a saucepan.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently until the jam is thickened to your liking. I cooked it for about an hour and by then it was plenty thick.
- I pureed about 1/3 of the jam in the blender, then stirred it back into the jam. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Melissa tells me it will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
With Goat Cheese Crumbles and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
It’s one of the last lazy summer Sundays we have left and I’m thinking about peaches. It’s that peachy time of year when you are assaulted with their beauty every time you walk into the store and you can’t help but put some in the shopping cart. And then I get home and wonder what to DO with them all!
So of course the first thing I must make is a good salad. Fresh seasonal fruit is so lovely in salad.
Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles
and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
- Mixed greens
- Chicken (1 patty or breast per person)
- Peaches (1 peach per person)
- Goat Cheese, crumbled
- Roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)
First, make the dressing and set aside. Cook (or reheat) the chicken and chop into pieces. (This is a good use for leftover chicken!) Make a good bed for your salad on a big salad plate or bowl. Pit the peaches and cut into chunks. Tuck the chicken pieces and peach bits in and around the greens, sprinkle with goat cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with the dressing.
Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.
This is a #peachlove post.
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to see all the other lovely #peachlove recipes …
I was at the grocery store last week and they had these HUGE locally grown cantaloupe … my daughter had been staying with her grandparents for the week and would be coming home soon and she loves cantaloupe, so I bought one, brought it home, cut it up, and had this gargantuan tub of pretty orange cantaloupe chunks in my fridge to greet her upon her return.
She was quite pleased to see it and munched away at her cantaloupe. But, well, it was a HUGE cantaloupe and she didn’t make much of a dent in the big tub at her first munching. I expected she would have more later, but she didn’t. A day passed, then another, and she didn’t touch the cantaloupe, though I asked her if she would.
It became clear to me that I need another solution for using up this cantaloupe. I had seen a cantaloupe sorbet that was quite beautiful … I briefly considered that, then thought, no, I want something more creamy. With ginger. Yes! Ginger would be perfect with cantaloupe.
So this ginger cantaloupe ice cream is what I came up with. It’s quite healthy for you with loads of vitamins from the cantaloupe plus ginger is so good for the sinuses and digestion … but the most important thing is it’s totally delicious. The ginger is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet mellow cantaloupe flavor and I really like the cream taste and the hint of rum.
Even after making this, though, I still have a big pile of cantaloupe pieces in my fridge. Would anyone like some cantaloupe?
Ginger Cantaloupe Ice Cream
- 1 cup fat free half and half
- 1 egg
- 2 thin slices of fresh ginger root
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cups of cubed cantaloupe
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup whipping cream (I used 1/4 cup to keep my ice cream low in fat, but if you want it extra-creamy, add a little more)
- 1/4 cup golden rum (optional, but it helps the ice cream from freezing too hard and adds a nice flavor … if you want the rum flavor without the alcohol, use 1 teaspoon of rum extract)
- In a saucepan, stir together 1 cup of the fat free half & half with the sugar and cook over medium heat just until hot. While the milk and sugar are cooking, in a small mixing bowl, beat the egg till it is fluffy and a consistent yellow (that is, no blobs of egg white floating about).
- In a slow stream, add about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture to the egg, whisking or beating constantly as you do. Beat it a little more just for spite, then add it back into the saucepan in a thin stream (while whisking) and heat at medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Blend the cantaloupe, vanilla, ground ginger, and whipping cream in a blender until smooth. Mix the cantaloupe mixture with the cream mixture, pour into a jar, cover and refrigerate until it’s nice and cold.
- Just before freezing, add the rum and shake it well (or stir), and pull out the two ginger root slices. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Eat it straight away, or put it in the freezer for an hour or two to firm up a bit more. Either way, it’s lovely.
It’s hard to choose, but I think this is my favorite of all the recipes I made for my party last Saturday night. It’s a rich, decadent, creamy no-bake blueberry gooseberry mini-cheesecake made with nonfat greek yogurt and light cream cheese. The graham cracker crust is made with candied ginger, egg white and just a bit of butter.
Well, okay, you do bake the crust, but the creamy ginger yogurt filling is not baked. The gooseberry sauce is cooked on the stove and it’s quite simple to make. Then you mound fresh, sweet blueberries over top.
This cheesecake is the most Bohemian, Ally-style cheesecake I have ever made. If you have ever run across my friend Ally from Ally’s Kitchen, you know exactly what I mean when I say that. She has this bold style of cooking, food styling, and photography that transcends amazing. So I’m dedicating this recipe to my dear friend Ally.
Each part of this recipe is quite simple, so I suggest making this in steps. I made the crust and the gooseberry sauce one evening, and set the yogurt to drain overnight, then mixed up the filling in the morning. This was done days before the party, so at party time, I just pulled it out, put on the sauce and the berries, and cut little slices for the friends who wanted to try the cheesecake. Seriously, serve this in little slices. It’s really rich.
Blueberry Gooseberry Ginger Yogurt Cheesecake
a.k.a. Bohemian Blue Goose Cheesecake
Adapted from Food & Wine. Makes a 7-inch cheesecake with a pretty thick crust. If you want a larger cheesecake, double the yogurt filling recipe. There will be enough of the crust (although the crust will be thinner) and plenty of gooseberry sauce to make a normal-size cheesecake.
- 10 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons of crumbs
- 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (if you want to make your own, here’s a recipe)
- 1 tablespoon ginger sugar (the sugar that falls from the ginger pieces when you make candied ginger … you can substitute white sugar)
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg white
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 4 oz. light cream cheese
- 3 Tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- Juice and zest from 1/2 of a lemon
Gooseberry sauce: (makes more sauce than you’ll need for the cheesecake)
- 1 3/4 – 2 cups of gooseberries, cleaned (snip off the tough stems of the berries)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
- Fresh blueberries
- Mint leaves, for garnish (if desired)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 7 inch springform pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray.
- In a handi chopper or food processor, process the graham crackers with the candied ginger, sugar and salt until finely ground. Add the butter and egg white and blend until the crumbs are evenly coated. Press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the crust is light brown. Set the crust aside to cool.
- While the crust is baking, set the gooseberries and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and smashing a few of the gooseberries with a spoon to release the flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the chia seeds (they will thicken the sauce). (If you don’t have chia seeds, you can use cornstarch or tapioca to thicken the gooseberry sauce–chia seeds are just a very quick, healthy way to thicken things.)
- Now for the filling! First you will make a “cheese” out of the greek yogurt. Take a coffee filter and place it in a strainer or funnel over a tall mug or something to catch the juices. Put the yogurt in the coffee filter and set it in the fridge to let it strain overnight.
- In the morning, mix the yogurt cheese with the cream cheese, honey, ginger and lemon zest & juice till smooth and well mixed. You might need to use a blender to get it smooth. (I did!) Pour the filling into the crust and smooth it out to cover the crust. Cover and store in the fridge till serving time.
- Just before serving, spread the cheesecake with a layer of the gooseberry sauce, then add a tumble of blueberries (as many as you like). Serve in small slices because the taste is really rich, and garnish with a mint leaf or two, if you so desire.