Good Gourd


The purée overflowith and another Holiday to eat pumpkin pie is fast on my heels, I just couldn’t be happier.

Pumpkin pie is one of those things rarely eaten but certainly loved. Perhaps it’s absence is why it’s so cherished by so many. I don’t care really. It’s the highlight of Thanksgiving dinners everywhere and a terrific way to eat pumpkin.

This year having so many varieties to search for the ultimate pie pumpkin, I wanted got the urge to try out a few different ideas stemming from the same great end result.

With the scraps I made these super Pumpkin Pie Poppers. It was a perfect way to taste test and to say I ate the whole pie, so with the winner, I made a fresh batch.

Of all the pumpkins collected from the patch, I found some that were fabulous in soups, some that were great for pasta and of course pie.

In the top three, the all classic Sugar Pie Pumpkin is always standard. It has a good texture, dense and creamy for pies.
Next, silky with a hint of melony sweetness was the Rouge Vif D’Etamps. This Cinderella pumpkin is not just charming for it’s good looks. Once it’s prepared for pie, it’ll make you and your guests all feel happy forever after.
Last it’s the queen of Venice. I know I just when on and on about how I love the Marina Di Chioggia but, as far as pumpkins go, it’s practically perfect in every way. This gourd tasted great on it’s own so naturally, it’s sweet and creamy texture worked beautifully in the gnocchi, cake, pie, pasta and CUSTARD that followed.

Essentially that’s what pumpkin pie is right, custard in a pastry shell? This notion got me to thinking about my own likes for pie and maybe others too. I’m more for the insides and not so much for the crust. I try, really I do to eat every last crusty crumb, but after all this testing, I was looking forward to my second, er, third Thanksgiving of the year, I thought maybe to just put the good stuff in a cup.

This revolutionary classic is so versatile and sure to please everyone at the Holiday table. Topped with whipped cream and fresh nutmeg or made extra decedent with a good sprinkling of sugar and a dusting of fresh cardamom, then brûléed to a sharp, crunchy perfection.
Ahhhhhh. Don’t even get me started on my love of crème brûlée.


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Pumpkin Mushroom & Leek Risotto


With autumn here it’s not to tough to find the cooler weather ingredients. As the farmer’s markets begin the preparation of shutting down for the winter, the fall finds and harvest colours are still filling the tables.

Since Jack-o-Lanterns aren’t very good for eating, I used the Jarrahdale pumpkin left from my day at the patch. Although I didn’t have to worry about the abundance of carving pumpkins flooding the market, I figure a butternut squash may also do in a pinch.

With winds blustering and my grocery bag full, I was set for anything including a challenge.
Upon making my dinner, I was quite excited to read of A Slice of Cherry Pie’s call for my same three ingredients. It seems that shopping locally and celebrating of seasonal food isn’t all that uncommon, so if you too found these great ingredients at your local market, you can check out her round up for this and other great recipes using these wonderful autumn finds.


Continue reading Pumpkin Mushroom & Leek Risotto

Gluten-Free Olive Oil Pastry Dough


OLIVE OIL TART CRUST (Gluten Free)

1 Cup (Cranberry) Bean Flour
1/2 Cup Soy Flour
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Frozen
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Ice Water

Freeze pre-measured olive oil in a small bowl.
Measure flours into the bowl of a food processor, pulsing to sift.
Add the salt and frozen olive oil.
Combine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
With the motor running, add the water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Stop once about half of the water has been added to begin checking the consistency of the dough by pinching the crumbs. The dough should hold together but not be sticky.
Add the remaining water as necessary.
Bring the dough together into a ball, then flatten it into a disk.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Roll the chilled dough 1/8″ thick to fit a 10″ tart pan.
Fit the dough in the pan and dock the dough with a fork.
Line the dough with a circle of parchment.
Add dried beans or pastry weights.
Blind bake for 12 minutes and allow to cool in the oven slightly before removing.

Savory Zucchini Loaf


It’s September, September! I was not only aghast that summer vacation is over but also that I’d made it this far without tinkering into a zucchini bread.

There are probably about a million recipes out there, I know, I’ve tried many, but I think that this can safely be added as a million and one.

My Nana makes one of the most incredible sweet zucchini breads out there, so in my recipe book she’s got that one covered but I don’t often find a savory variety. I just love the texture of zucchini bread. It’s so wonderfully moist, if weren’t for the lively green flecks from the zucchini’s skin, you’d almost never know it was in there. Sweet is great, but images of zucchini also conjure spices, tomatoes and cheese. I wanted something perfect along side soups, toasted under eggs or of course on it’s own, I wanted a savory version of one of the best quick breads this side of a banana, to stand out from any other loaf of artisan bread. Of the limitless flavour combinations, this one works pretty well. Besides which, I thought this might be a good start to brace myself of the quickly approaching autumn and all the good things that come with it.

SAVORY ZUCCHINI LOAF

1/2 Package Medium-Firm Tofu (225g)
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 Cups Finely Shredded Zucchini
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Unbleached, All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
Juice and Zest of 1/2 Lemon
10 Kalamata Olives, pitted* and roughly chopped equal to a scant 1/4 Cup
1/2 Cup Pecans, broken

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Spray loaf pan lightly with oil, and dust with flour.
Shred zucchini with the small hole of a box grater, or food processor, remove any excessive liquid and set aside in a large bowl.
In the bowl of a food processor, purée the tofu with the oil, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Pour tofu mixture over the zucchini and combine well.
Add the brown sugar and rosemary.
Mix in the flour just until combined.
Stir in the lemon, olives and pecans, less 1 Tablespoon for garnishing.
Fill the prepared loaf pan 3/4 full and top with reserved pecans.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a toothpick can be cleanly removed.

Alternatively bake in a greased Madeleine pan for about 15-18 minutes.
These freeze very well and go unbelievably well with this Creamless Potato Leek soup.
A little something to bring back fond memories of zucchini when it’s chilly outside.

*Olives may be quickly pitted by applying pressure with the flat side of a wooden spoon. Simply mash the olive between the spoon and a hard surface, the pit should be loosened enough to easily remove with your fingers for easy chopping.

Glamping Meals



Have no idea what I’m talking about do you?

I think I could say I’ve been glamping for years but it’s finally fashionable to go camping in style without baked beans from a can. Honestly, it’s the only way I know how to camp and now there’s a name for it.

Having just returned from my first camping trip in over five six years, I can safely say that we are all unscathed. A few mosquito bites richer but certainly not any hungrier, our almost rain-out of a weekend finished up a sunny success.

Expecting an onslaught of this glamourous “Glamping” camping, I began to imagine froufy pink Gucci tents, pocket dogs with their own inflatable beds and a/c adapters for hair drying in the wilderness. Being not much of that myself, I thought more about the food. We pitched our tents with another two families, so there was certainly no shortage of it! There was Portabella Pasta Alfredo, Red Pepper Fajita’s, Campfire Roasted Baba Ghanouj and Cast Iron Fritata and that was just the first day – kidding.

All this gourmet glamping almost, just almost made me long for that can of beans and a hot dog on a stick – but not quite.

BLACK BEAN & FRESH CORN QUESADILLAS

1 Can Black Turtle Beans
1/2 White Onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Filtered Water
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
8 Soft Tortillas
2 Cobs of Corn
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Tomato Salsa

Set a pot of water to boil.
In a sauté or cast iron skillet, heat the oil and add the onion.
Once the onion has softened and become translucent, add the garlic.
Drain, rinse and add the beans.
Sprinkle over the spices and add the water allowing everything to absorb and simmer for about 3 – 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Mash the beans with a fork, potato masher or a hand blender until they are smooth but recognizable.
Set aside.
Drop the freshly husked corn into the awaiting pot of boiling water and sprinkle over the sugar.
Once the water returns to a rolling boil, remove the pot from direct heat. Let the corn sit for 5 minutes <only> then pull it out of the water.
With a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the corn cobs.
Lay out 4 of the tortillas and spoon over a thin, even layer of the bean mixture,dot with salsa and sprinkle with the fresh corn before topping with the 4 remaining tortillas.
Place the tortillas in a heated skillet, or on a grill over the campfire coals.
Cook until golden and crisp. Flip and repeat.
Slice into wedges and serve with additional salsa or guacamole.

Raspberry Tart


After a meal last week, I thought about some of my recipes on the site.
You see, my sister in law, along with being vegan, suffers from Celiac Disease which is a gluten intolerance restricting her diet of all wheat, rye and barley products.
No meat, no dairy and no bread. Poor girl.

To her, wheat shows it’s ugly head often. It’s in so much more that the mere loaf of bread – it’s in cakes, pastries, muffins, most veggie burgers, hot dogs and soy sauce.

This was the problem I feared when I first met with my vegan cooking challenge. I’ve gone on about creating a satisfying meal for my guests. I have to admit I feel just awful when I see her eating only hummus or grilled vegetables then skipping dessert, all while we’re all slathering our freshly toasted buns with bar-b-qed goodies.

It’s not the full meal, but here’s a little more than a popsicle for your next dessert; a gluten free, no bake raspberry tart. Happy early birthday, my dear. I hope you like it.

RASPBERRY TART

You will need about 2 Pints (3-4 cups) of fresh raspberries for the final topping.

CRUST

1/3 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Margarine
1/8 teaspoon Salt (pinch)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a saucepan, melt the margarine. Add the vanilla and brown sugar; mix well.
Simmer over a medium heat and allow to simmer for 2 -3 minutes.
In a food processor, combine the almonds and half of the oats, until well ground.
Add the remaining oatmeal, cinnamon and salt; pulsing to combine.
Empty the dry mixture into a medium sized bowl and pour over the hot syrup.
Once the crust mixture is well combined, transfer to an 8 inch tart pan.
Spread out and evenly press the mixture along the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Chill to set, about 20 minutes or just while you prepare the filling.

TOFU CREAM

1/2 Package Soft Silken Tofu
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 Tablespoons Confectioners Sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons Arrowroot Powder
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Combine tofu and sugar in a food processor and process until smooth.
With the machine running, add the arrowroot, soy milk, lemon juice and vanilla through the feeder cap.
Taste and adjust vanilla and soy milk for flavour and consistency, if necessary.

Pour into the waiting crust and return it to the refrigerator.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

1/2 Cup Chocolate Pieces, vegan
1 Tablespoon Margarine
2 Tablespoons Soy Milk

Melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler or in a heat safe bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water.
Stir in the margarine.
Whisk in the milk to combining until smooth.
Pour over chilling tart.

Top with raspberries and dust with confectioners sugar, if desired.
Chill until ready to serve.