Thursday, December 15, 2011

French Bread Pizza

Two pieces of French bread were hollowed (I saved the bread for bread crumbs), filled with Italian sausage, salami, pepperoni, peppers, onions, spinach, and homemade ricotta.  Then, they were topped with provolone and mozzarella, and baked at 400 F. for about 12 minutes.  So simple and so good.  You could make the filling whatever you like.  Usually I don't like "pizza" with so much meat, but the combination of everything was amazing.  We topped/dipped these in marinara.  One loaf of bread made enough food for the two of us for about four days.  Next time I have a party I will serve these and cut them into 16 or 24 pieces.  Try this tonight!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This year instead of buying canned pumpkin I bought fresh pumpkins, roasted them, pureed the flesh, and froze it for cupcakes, breads, and whatever else I needed pumpkin for.  It was very easy, and I will do this again next year.  The added bonus of roasting pumpkins are pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds are a little bit of a pain because you have to get all the stringy, goopy stuff off the seeds, but it's completely worth the effort.  Once the seeds were cleaned I put them on paper towels to dry.  Next I tossed the seeds in a bowl with a little oil to coat them and I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.  You could use any seasoning you wanted, I'd like to try ranch or Italian seasoning sometime.  After the seeds were coated I spread them on a cookie sheet and roasted them at 350 F. for 1 hour, stirring the seeds every 15 minutes.  I seeds ended up crispy, and I think they taste a lot of popcorn, but that could just be because I season my popcorn exactly the same way.  Now I just have to get my hands on some more pumpkins.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Steel Cut Oats and Sauteed Apples

It's very late, and I have just completed a little over 5000 words on a 15th century manuscript, but I'm highly caffeinated, so I thought I would complete a post about breakfast to try and wind down instead of lying awake in bed.

I love breakfast, and as I've posted before I loved savory breakfast, but I also love sweet oatmeal.  For me, steel-cut oats have a better texture than rolled oats.  They take a little longer to cook, but it's mostly inactive time, so you can get ready for work or school while your oats are cooking.  Do not try to make overnight oats using steel-cut oats.  I found out the hard way that you need rolled oats for that.
The oats pictured above are topped with a sauteed apple.  I diced an apple and sauteed it in some coconut oil (I use butter too) while the oats were cooking.  I like the texture of the skin, but you can peel the apple if this bothers you.  When the apple was almost done cooking I sprinkled it with some cinnamon and brown sugar.  Then I pour it on top of my oats and try to get a piece of apple in every bite.  I'm out of apples, and because I don't buy apples out of season (they don't taste good to me), but I will try this same technique with pears.  Maybe I'll do this tomorrow since my paper is done and I'll have time for something other than leftovers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls: Well, Actually More of a Nut Roll

I really like savory breakfasts like omelets, bacon, sausage, eggs Benedict.  My husband likes the sweet stuff. I had my parents and his parents over for a few days for Thanksgiving, and I decided to make cinnamon rolls, which I had never attempted before.  I knew this would satisfy the sweet breakfast people.  I also made a fritatta with potatoes, eggs, sausage, peppers, onions, and cheese for us savory folk.

I found the cinnamon roll recipe in the December issue of Food and Wine magazine.  I knew they would take awhile to make, but they called for a lot of freezing and resting in the refrigerator, so I knew I could make them ahead and then bake them on Thanksgiving morning.  They tasted good, but they were really more of a nut roll.  I'm now on a quest for big fluffy cinnamon rolls like I had as a child.  I'll keep working, and I know my family will be happy to eat all the experiments.  The recipe I made 24 cinnamon rolls, and between 6 people and 2 breakfasts there were only 5 rolls left.  I guess everyone liked them.   Let me tell you one thing though, when you run out of cinnamon you cannot grate a cinnamon stick fine enough in a food processor to make up the extra.  The food processor did smell amazing though.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Finally Found my Camera Cable and Stuffed Acorn Squash

Wow, I just realized that it's been over a month since I have last posted.  I'm sorry about that, and I really find in unacceptable.  My excuse, though not a very good one, is that I had lost the cable that connects my camera to my computer, but I have finally found it.  I've finally found a good routine with school and life, so expect to see a lot more posts in December.  There is also an upcoming trip, and a lot of homemade Christmas goodies, so I will post pictures from that when it happens.  It should be an exciting month.

Even though I made this dish almost 3 weeks ago, I thought I should post it right away because at least where I live, you can still buy acorn squash.  My husband gave me a strange look when I set this dish on the table, but he really liked it after giving it a try.  To me this is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, and if you omit the sausage and use vegetable broth it is a great vegan entree.  This would be a good dish for vegan or vegetarians at a Christmas dinner because it seems special, but it's easy enough to make on a weeknight too.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 acorn squash cut in half and seeds removed (you can save the seeds and bake them)
  • 1/2 loaf of sandwich bread white or wheat, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or sausage (leave out for a vegan meal)
  • 1tsp. salt
  • ground pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 3 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage plus 1 tsp. dried sage
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or poultry broth
1. preheat oven to 350 F.  Place acorn squash cut sides down on cookie sheet and bake for 1/2 hour.  Set aside while preparing stuffing.

2. Meanwhile, brown turkey in a skillet with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tsp. ground sage, 1tsp. salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste.  If you are using sausage you can omit the salt and pepper.  Do not drain fat from browned meat.

3. In a large bowl add bread, celery, onions, dried sage, cranberries, broth, remaining oil, and browned meat with fat.  Mix together until the bread has soaked up the broth.  You are looking for broth to come out of the bread when squeezed, but not so much broth that there are puddles in the bottom of the bowl.  Think of a saturated sponge.  You can now taste the stuffing mixture for seasoning and add salt, pepper, or more sage if needed.

4. Stuff mixture into prebaked acorn squash halves.  I usually have extra stuffing which I bake in a small casserole dish.  You could omit the acorn squash completely and bake all the stuffing in a casserole dish.  The squash and stuffing can be wrapped at this point and held in the refrigerator overnight.

5. Bake stuffed squash for 1 hour.  When you eat this pull some of the squash out with the stuffing to enjoy the sweetness of the squash and the savory stuffing.