October 17, 2010 § Leave a comment
I almost hate to say it, but I’m no longer going to be updating this particular blog. I love the features that WordPress has to offer, but they wanted to charge me to point my blog to the domain I owned and that seemed ridiculous. So I’ve moved.
Don’t worry! The Heritage Kitchen is alive and well! You can find it at my website, the happy life blog at http://www.aleasa.net.
Or, to link directly to the recipes, go to kitchen.aleasa.net.
Here’s what’s new:
October 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
getting back to my pumpkins… (sorry, i have had an eventful few days!)
after slicing my pumpkin in half to roast, i was left with a lot of pumpkin seeds:
i decided that instead of throwing them out, i’d roast them. a little history on me and pumpkin seeds: i had never had them until this summer. john and i tried our hand at the flat belly diet (don’t ask) and i don’t particularly love sunflower seeds. i mean, they’re okay. but the flat belly diet book had some suggestions of other foods in the same category for people to choose from and one of them was pumpkin seeds. again, i flashed back to my childhood pumpkin carving experiences and wondered why anyone would do such a thing. but, i saw them in the commissary and went ahead and bought them for kicks. we actually liked them plain and in salads and wraps. BUT when i thought of roasting them, well, that sounded pleasant. and fast forward to the other day, when i had about a cup and a half of them staring back at me.
so here is an easy “recipe” for roasting pumpkin seeds! the one i am sharing did not end up being spicy, it just had a little kick. a TINY kick. more like a nudge. my friend’s 4 year old LOVED them, if that’s any indication of their non-scary flavor.
fancy roasted pumpkin seeds
some pumpkin seeds (ok. about 1 1/2 cups!)
2 tbsp. butter, melted (probably any kind of fat works)
salt, a pinch
5-6 dashes lousiana hot sauce
1 tsp. chili powder
2 drops liquid smoke
1. Rinse seeds and spread them out over a baking sheet. Pick out the big chunks of pumpkin left over (you can leave the tiny ones… it adds character!) Let dry completely, 24 hours or so. Move them around occasionally so they won’t stick to each other or the pan!
2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
3. Combine seeds, melted butter, and seasonings in a bowl. Use your (clean) hands to mix it well. Once mixed, put them back on the pan and pop them in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Shake them up two or three times while they bake to make a pretty even color!
other toppings that sound amazing:
olive oil, garlic powder, italian seasoning and parmesan
plain butter and salt
cajun seasoning and tabasco
a ranch packet (hey, why not!)
BBQ chicken rub and liquid smoke
butter, nutmeg and cinnamon (pumpkin pie!)
i’m just making these up as i go. what are some other toppings that you think would make good roasted pumpkin seeds? i’d love to hear your ideas!
October 9, 2010 § 1 Comment
the only way i have ever really heard about people eating pumpkin is in pumpkin pie. and that was not my family, it was just a rumor that somewhere, someone had pumpkin pie instead of sweet potato pie. and it was a travesty. because i had seen the stuff my mom pulled out of the pumpkins we carved when i was a child. and no one.. NO ONE should ever have to eat that. until recently, i was simply ignorant.
first of all, pumpkins are a fruit. they are mostly water and 1 cup of puree contains between 50 and 80 calories. not only that, they are rich in potassium (which promotes bone density), riboflavin (which helps our energy), and vitamins A and C. the sugar content is moderate to high, but most recipes call for one cup and yield several servings. anyway, i am not a doctor so do your own research, but as all fresh foods, pumpkin can be useful in your diet.
so a friend posted a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip bread on her blog and admitted that she had to make it just to see for herself whether the combination would work. apparently it did, and i had to find out for myself just what made her rave about it so. the recipe called for canned pumpkin and i, as i am limiting my canned-food intake, had to do some research about whether i could use fresh pumpkin. and of course, the all-knowing internet yielded a result or five hundred. now, so that you don’t have to slave over google, i am sharing my findings.
first, pick a pumpkin. do not, i repeat, do not use one of the huge carving pumpkins. in most stores at this time of year, there are several varieties of pumpkin in a display. opt for a smaller (two or three pound) deep orange pumpkin. the actual term is sugar pumpkin or pie pumpkin, but mine did not have that distinction displayed. however, when they got scanned at the register, they did come up as “sugar pumpkin”. at any rate, both of mine were right around 2.5 pounds and that was perfect.
when you’re ready to roast it, preheat your oven on 450 degrees F. cut the pumpkin in half, remove the stem, and gut it. i emptied the seeds into a colander for later use. it was really two stages, seed it and scrape it. the scraping, of course, was getting all the good (stringy) stuff out and down the disposal. you don’t need it. and it kinda stinks.
THEN in a baking dish, put the halves (skin up) in about a quarter inch of water. i also tried a rimmed cookie sheet lined with foil, but it needs a little more water than that could hold. it almost scorched a bit. anyway, put the halves in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. take it out of the oven to cool a bit, and don’t bother taking it out of the pan because it’s very soft and will probably splash you with hot water once it falls from your forks. not that i have experience with that.
scoop the insides from the skin and put the booty in a food processor. mine could handle one pumpkin’s yield at a time.
i had no frame of reference for how much two pumpkins would yield. one was 2.5 lbs, the other 2.6, and i got well over four cups of puree. if you use the larger pumpkins, it seems that it will be more stringy and/or watery and require some straining, but don’t go that route. this puree was perfect! most recipes call for a cup, so i stored it in cup-sized portions and froze what i haven’t got immediate plans for.
now… what to do with the pumpkin?
that’s a good question:
roast pumpkin seeds
pumpkin chocolate chip bread
pumpkin cheesecake / cheesecake bars
baby food ( i made plain pumpkin and apple-pumpkin for my neighbor!)
*heading photo is from NorCal Blogs
October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment
that’s supposed to be like the sports center “da-na-na, na-na-na” …did anyone get it? no? oh well.
so a little known aleasa-ism is my love for bananas (with all the fruit i love, you’d think i’d have a smaller waist!). they are sweet and soft and delicious. but even the best banana can’t compete with a nice loaf of banana bread. (thaaat would explain the waistline!) and ain’t no diet-friendly banana bread up in this house. no, sir. this is the cheatin’ kind. i gave it the sports center theme because john actually likes it too, so i consider it man-pleasin’.
as with most of my recipes, i research many variations and combine elements of several to make one that pleases. the first-time successes are few and far between, but my neighbor said this one tastes like the kind you’d pick up in a bakery back home. so you can just start calling me a professional.
#note: bananas for banana bread should be VERY ripe. that means soft, most likely with the black spots we tend to avoid. cut out any bruised areas of the banana before smashing it. the more bananas, the more moist the bread. most recipes call for about 2 bananas, i ALWAYS use 3-4.
obnoxiously good banana bread
makes one loaf
10 tbsp. + 1 tsp. butter (yes, t-e-n.) at room temperature
3-4 medium ripe bananas (about 1.5-2 cups mashed)
1/2 c. sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. white sugar (6 tbsp.)
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
(Optional) 1/2 c. toasted walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 bread pan with butter. (You can also spray it with butter-flavored or plain non-stick cooking spray.)
2. Mash the bananas and combine them with sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.
3. Sift together or thoroughly combine flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Using a handheld mixer, or a whisk like the old folks, mix in the butter.
4. When the butter mixture is well combined, fold in the banana mixture… just enough to moisten. Fold in the nuts, if using.
5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If the edges are getting too brown, cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack for at least 10 more minutes before cutting.
This recipe freezes well! Just let it thaw for a few minutes. I pack them in John’s lunch 🙂
October 1, 2010 § 2 Comments
there is definitely a place in my head that is reserved for the most shameless of indulgences… one of those happens to be the combination of brown sugar and butter. i’m afraid that if i weren’t so self-critical, i could eat it alone. in the south, mix that delectable substance with some fresh, sweet, juicy peaches and you’ve got the base for a yummy peach cobbler. i didn’t have time for all that, so i turned my latest serving of dairy into a warm, slightly less guilty pleasure.
this is one of the few concoctions i didn’t learn about elsewhere and alter. this one is from my own sick love of food. not to say that there isn’t a better way or an existing recipe out there, but i may alter it as i prepare it more and more. so congrats, this is the raw version. it makes two breakfast or lunch sized portions or several small ones. i imagine this is VERY easily doubled or tripled for large group. i picture it making a pretty presentation in a large glass bowl. let me know how you use it and how yours turn out!
peach cobbler parfait
2 peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar, or (1 tbsp. each white and brown sugar)
2 c. vanilla or plain non-fat yogurt
(Optional) pinch of cinnamon
1. Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-bottomed skillet or pan. Stir in the sugar and peaches. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until peaches are soft liquid has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let sit for two or three minutes to cool for handling.
2. Layer Warm. Begin with a few tablespoons of yogurt. With a slotted spoon, add a layer of peaches. Top with a generous layer of granola. Repeat. Top with any remaining caramel sauce. To refrigerate, skip the granola cover your serving dish with plastic wrap. Add granola before serving.
September 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
i think i mentioned once before that i love peaches.
but there are many ways i could never picture myself using them. one of these ways i never considered is as a part of a main dish — i generally like to keep the sweets sweet and the savory, well… savory. the other is paired with anything spicy. friends, i am here to tell you not to fear. adventure into the great unknown!
the story behind this dish is typical: i was going into the commissary (the base-only grocery store) to get a few items and ended up doing a not-so-mini shopping spree. i can’t enter that place without spending $50. they may as well charge me an admission fee. at any rate, i was doing really well today. i am making enchiladas for dinner and i needed some cream cheese, and tomorrow i’m taking lasagna to my friend’s house and needed two or three items. easy, right?
well… no. they had the commissary food dome or whatever catchy name they had for it right at the entrance. things like this are made specifically for impulsive people like myself. however, i have 26 years of self-control practice and a mom who rehearsed the word “no” in the mirror for at least 24 of those years. i am good at steering past these things. which i did. i was headed to pick up some basil when one of the ladies, returning to duty, offered me some peach salsa. i took it to be nice. and i asked for the recipe to be nice. and.. i went back to the table to try the peach parfait to be nice. and.. well, you get the picture.
so here i sit, munching on some peach salsa. you will like it. this is also a recipe that seems that it would do well with other fruit: nectarines, of course; strawberries; mangoes; even possibly pears! i suppose the old addage “you learn something new every day” could also be “you learn you like something new every day”. if you’ll try things! like this:
fresh peach salsa
adapted by aleasa
2 ripe (but firm) peaches, chopped
1/4 c. red onion, finely chopped
1/2 c. red bell pepper,
1 moderate handful cilantro, coarsely chopped — a couple tablespoons
1 small jalapeño or serrano pepper, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil, a quick drizzle
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine first six ingredients in a bowl (all but the olive oil). Drizzle olive oil, once around the bowl, and mix. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more oil if needed to coat all ingredients. (You don’t need much! Trust me!)
2. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally. Serve fresh with tortilla or pita chips, or over grilled fish or chicken.
** note: i like to give credit where credit is due. the only thing that my little recipe card says is “Coast” with a little sun rising over it. does anyone happen to know what that company is?