Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Cauliflower Soup with Cinnamon Sugar Croutons


This is the inspiration for this recipe:

My daughter loves this book and we read it every night. The other night she asked me if we could make pumpkin soup, and since I couldn't think of a good reason why not, I said sure. I thought for a few days about how I would make this soup and then bought the ingredients on my last shopping trip.

It's very easy and can be made very healthy (use olive oil instead of butter and skim milk instead of whole). And it's fall so of course pumpkin stuff is all the rage, yes?

What you need:


1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced onion
3 cups chopped cauliflower
3/4 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp herbs de province
1/2 tsp dried mustard
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock (5 if you like it thinner)
3 cups of whole milk (4 if you like it thinner)
1 large can (29 oz) of pumpkin

1/2 stick butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sugar

What you do:
1) Saute the onion, celery, and chopped cauliflower in the 1/2 stick butter until soft.
2) Add in thyme, sage, herbs de province, ground mustard and salt
3) Simmer for 10-15 minutes on LOW stirring often.


4) Add in the chicken/vegetable broth
6) Simmer for another 10 minutes.
7) Add in the canned pumpkin, all spice, and cinnamon. Simmer another 10 minutes.


8) Add in the milk and then blend using an immersion blender. (Worst case, if you don't have one of these, you can blend the soup in batches)


9) Simmer for another 10 minutes or so to let the flavors meld.

To make the croutons:
1) Get a loaf of bread of your choice and cut a 6-inch piece.
2) Soften 1/2 stick of butter, and add cinnamon and sugar and mix.



3) Spread onto bread, cut into cubes, and bake low on 250 for 20-30 minutes until crunchy and crouton-y. Yes, crouton-y IS a word, spellcheck.




*Sorry these pictures kind of suck. I had my camera on the wrong setting and didn't even notice until I was done.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Pumpkin Nectarine Muffins with Maple/Clover Honey Cream Cheese Frosting


I'm dead.

Really. This is my ghost typing. I made these muffins and this frosting completely from scratch, completely of my own recipe, and then I died.

My daughter loves the pumpkin muffins they have seasonally at Dunkin Donuts and I've been getting her one or two a week. Her and her baby brother (and the floor) (and the dog) share them and they're all happy. But then I realized 1) I was spending way too much money on something I can make myself and 2) They can't possibly NOT be filled with chemicals and processed stuff.

So today when she asked to stop at DD, I instead said we were going to the foodstore to buy pumpkin and that we'd bake our own together. THEN, because I'm a self-proclaimed reduced-produce whore, I saw a package of six nectarines for $0.50! I HAD to have them. But they were super-ripe as all the food on this section is so you need to cook/eat them that day. I had no intention of making anything with nectarine and there was no way my little family could eat them in one day.

I had a thought: What if I somehow used them with my pumpkin muffins I had intended on making? And this recipe was bred. You're welcome.

What you need:

For the wet muffin mixture:
(You only need 2 1/2 c. of pumpkin mixture. You may have more depending on the size of your nectarines, so make sure not to use too much.)

2 c. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
3 very ripe nectarines (I suppose you could use peaches as well)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (this is a combination you can buy that has cinnamon, clove, nutmeg)
1/4 c. sweet white wine (or applejuice)

For the rest of the muffin:
1 stick softened butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. white sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

For the frosting:
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese (room temp)
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter (softened)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. real maple syrup (OR 1/2 tsp. maple extract)
2 large tbsp natural clover honey (we use local organic)

What you do:

-Peel and chop up the nectarines:

(Please note that I made a double batch, so it looks like more than you'll have)

-Place in pot with white wine, brown sugar, and vanilla. Cook covered on low, stirring/mashing for around 10 minutes, until reduced. It should look like this:


-Let cool for a few minutes, then add in pumpkin and spices:


-In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and set aside.

-In a mixing bowl, beat softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add in eggs and beat another 3 minutes.

-Alternate adding in flour mixture with wet pumpkin mixture. You only need 2 1/2 c. of pumpkin mixture. You may have more depending on the size of your nectarines, so make sure not to use too much.


-Pour into lined muffin cups (this is so much easier for clean up)


-Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.

-To make the frosting, simply beat all ingredients together on high for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.


-Frost cupcakes and dash with cinnamon if desired.
(Note: Personally, I do not frost all of these muffins at once. Cream cheese frosting should be refridgerated when not being eaten soon and I don't like cold muffins. So I keep the frosting in the container and frost the muffins as needed.)

-Let your biggest critic try.


-Get approval


-Try a piece yourself, die, come back as a ghost and immortalize recipe on the internet.


Now if I could only find someone to clean my KitchAid, I'd be set. Ugh