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.


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Thankful


On a recent trip to the country side, it was easy to absorb the surroundings and be thankful for what we have. The warm autumn days have brought with it a tremendous bounty.

While on the road, we were fortunate to experience one of the more remarkable pumpkin patches of recent memory. Flooded by the sea of orange, we washed up by the barn only to be further delighted by the classy heirloom varieties our hosts, the Nauman’s, had so knowledgeably grown over the past 100 days or so.

Beautiful and rarely seen French and Italian heirloom pumpkins soon filled my cart once only destined to carry orange carvers. Pink, red, blue and green classics, fit for a princess’s coach were on their way into my life to nobly, and tastily end theirs.

During the purchase of my great pumpkins, I naturally dreamed of creamy, spiced pies but thoughts shift creatively with vegan visitors and Thanksgiving at your doorstep.

Cracking into my vibrant Rouge Vif D’Etampe, I couldn’t help but imagine it’s outcome. This stunning, old French heirloom is also known as Cinderella’s Carriage, as it was used as the artist’s model in the Disney classic. It’s lovely, dense, creamy orange interior yielded about 5 cups of puréed intention. Ideal for baking, the Rouge Vif is smooth and easy to relieve of any excess liquid. This pumpkin easily puts any Holiday can of pie to shame and is well worth the small, extra effort.


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Zucchini Ginger Scones


zucc_ginger_scones

So when you find yourself asking what it is you are going to do with the baseball bat sized zucchini that your father in law grew and gave to you, without duplicating a recipe or making yet another cake, pasta, salad, pesto, side dish

Boil a pot of tea and eat a warm Scottish styled scone while you think about it.

So much more delicate and unexpected than bread, these scones are quick to make, quick to bake and quick to eat.
Try them, if you still have any zucchini left…

 

GINGER ZUCCHINI SCONES


2 Cups Unbleached Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Cold Vegetable Shortening, cubed
2/3 Cup Soy Milk
2 Tablespoons Crystalized Ginger, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
Zest of One Orange
2 Cups Zucchini, Shredded
2 oz Chocolate for drizzling, about 2 Tablespoons melted

Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Add the ginger to a food processor to coarsely chop.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon, pulsing again to sift.
Add the cold vegetable shortening in cubes and pulse to a coarse breadcrumb type consistency.
Add the the zucchini and orange zest, pulsing to combine.
With the motor running, add the cold soy milk, mixing only until everything is moist and incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a movable, lightly floured cutting board or parchment paper prepped, flat surface.
With clean, floured hands, pat the sticky dough into a workable 1″x8″ round and slice into 8 wedges.
Separate wedges and transfer parchment if using, to a baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes or until tops have slightly goldened.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
Using a piping bag or a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over the scones.
Allow to cool, only slightly, before eating.

Last Summer Weekend


Last of glamping, at least for me this year.
The days are beautiful, but let me tell you, these late summer nights can get c h i l l y.
As lovely as the morning dew and hikes with trees hinting of crimson are, that’s all folks, until next year anyway.
We just returned from a group camping trip. A trip to cook or not to cook could be the question, but what we did do was Eat For Freedom. The task for the weekend, if you’d want to call it that, was to cook only once, but to cook for the group. The trick was, at it’s high point the crowd was pushing 40+ people.
Sure, some could opt for the easy route out, cracking open a dozen cans of beans, but these guys were pretty hard core. I was told about successful curries, fresh pies, even home made gnocchi but I think the burritos topped for my favourite. Easy, delicious and vegan, fit to satisfy the 90% carnivorous crowd.

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Sweet Potato Ravioli


I’m not sure when I first had a sweet potato with tomato, but I do know I’ve always liked it.
The sweetness combined with the slight tang of tomato sauce creates such a delicious balance.

When I first decided I was going to make this for presto pasta night, I was dreading the idea of laborious ravioli when I remembered a gift from my cousin in Poland. Years back, she was here for a visit and in my typical, true form, I wanted to learn whatever she’d share about her favorite traditional and classic meals from home.
Upon her return, she sent me a gift. In it contained a cookbook of tripe, boiled potatoes, battered pork chops and borscht and a set of pierogi makers.

Not one to throw anything away, yes I still have the book – it is a conversation piece after all, I dug out the pierogi maker, rolled my dough and set to seal some sweet potato.
It was so easy and quick, honestly, I was finished making the ravioli faster than my pot of water could boil. And, as expected, homemade pasta wins again!

SWEET POTATO RAVIOLI

1/2 Cup Unbleached Flour
1/2 Cup Semolina Flour
1/3 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Tomato Purée, Optional
1 Sweet Potato

Bring a pot of water to boil; peel and dice the sweet potato and add to the water.
Once the sweet potato is softened, drain, mash and set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flours and salt.
With the motor slowly running and the feeder tube removed, add the oil, tomato purée and slowly drizzle in the hot water.
At this point the dough should come together into a ball, if it doesn’t add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and divide in half.
Roll each piece as thinly as possible and using the pierog/ravioli maker, cut as many rounds as possible from the dough.
Place one circle of dough into the maker and add about a teaspoon of the mashed sweet potato.
Seal and repeat with the remaining dough.
Bring another large pot of water to boil and add the finished pierogi.
Cook to al denté. Remove when they begin to float, after about 3 – 4 minutes.
Serve with a primavera tomato sauce or a fresh tomato sauce.

FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

2 Tomatoes, skinned and seeded
1 Clove Garlic, Puréed
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Prepare a bowl of ice water.
Score the bottom of the tomatoes and drop them into the boiling water for about 1 minute.
Remove and plunge them into the cold water.
Core the tomatoes and remove the skins; slice and remove the seeds.
Mash the tomatoes with a fork and add the puréed garlic, salt and olive oil; mix well.