Whew, this took me too long to post. Too many long days last week and not enough pouring over recipes. Before we start, next month we’ll be gathering at Cherry Tree Quilts.
This time it will be on a Wednesday night, November 13. The “Free from” theme will give us all a chance to try out some healthy alternatives. Whether it’s wheat free (try baking with spelt or kamut, available at True Grain), gluten free, or sugar free, get creative! Hope to see you there!
And now, the recipes and more good memories from our evening at Grape Escape Guest House.
Dorthea’s Spider Web Florentines
These were so rich and delicate and absolutely lovely. Click here for the recipe from Martha Stewart.
Sophia’s Mahoosive Pumpkin Cake
First of all, glance at how it was supposed to look. Instead, mine resembled an upright orange brick with a brown lump on top. Cake designer I am not. Perhaps I made a mistake using the recipe for a chocolate orange marble cake, instead of a sponge cake. And perhaps something a little less sickly sweet that the over-the-top cream cheese icing.
Needless to say there were a lot of leftovers. However, I have learned that the crew at Big O Tire is more than happy to see a plate of cake on a Friday morning.
Blue Cheese Crackers
While my cake was somewhat of a disaster, the Halloween blue cheese crackers were scrummy. They are so rich but because they were tiny it made them easier to nibble. The recipe is also from Martha Stewart. Go, Martha!
Gerri’s Smoked Butternut Squash Soup
I never thought I would want a smoker, but after tasting this soup it is on my wish list of cookery gadgets. This soup was perfect with Gerri’s herbed scones (see below)
4 lbs. butternut squash (Pulp and seeds from squash)
3 strips bacon
1 onion, diced
2 firm apples, diced
1/2 c. apple juice
1/8 c. white wine vinegar – good quality (see Kim)
6 cups water stock with veggie stock flavouring Or 6 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 c. heavy cream
8 springs fresh thyme
1 cinnamon stick
Take pulp out of squash and reserve for rest of recipe and cut in half – smoke butternut squash in smoker until soft. Or if you don’t want too intense a smoked flavour, smoke and then finish cooking in an oven until soft.
Dice and sauté bacon, add apples and onions. Sauté until translucent. Add apple juice and white vinegar and reduce until almost dry. Add chicken stock, squash pulp, and cinnamon.
Simmer for 40 minutes. Add heavy cream and strain through a fine sieve. Add thyme and steep for 30 minutes. Strain again and serve.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Gerri’s Herbed Corn Scones
Recipe from “Brunch” by Marc Meyer and Peter Meehan
Makes twelve – three inch square scones – a sweet/savory scone
Finely chop 1.5 cups cold butter and pit in the freezer for up to ½ hour while you measure out the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 400 deg.
Combine in a large bowl and mix well together – chill for 15 minutes after mixing
- 3 cups all – purpose flour
- ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 ¾ cups cornmeal
- 1 tables.
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ cup fresh finely chopped FRESH herbs such as rosemary or sage or thyme (or all if you like)
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
Combine in a small bowl:
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 3 tablesp. Honey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ to ½ cup buttermilk
NOW: cut frozen butter pieces into flour mixture until it looks like pebbles in the flour
Add the egg, honey and milk mixture as quickly as possible – don’t overwork dough.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and very gently bring it together and roll our 1 inch thick with a lightly floured rolling pin or pat gently with hands.
Cut scones out with a cutter or into 3” inch squares with a knife and put on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Brush tops of scones with a bit of melted butter, dust with turbinado sugar and gently press some fresh chopped herbs (whatever you used) onto top of each one. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes – watch so they don’t get overdone.
Jan’s Candy Corn with Fennel
2. Pumpkin seeds* – 1 cup (green, hull-less) Roasted
3. Salt – 1 ½ teaspoon
Baking soda – ½ teaspoon
Fennel seed** – 2 teaspoons
Grind together slightly with mortar and pestle.
4. Butter – ½ cup
White sugar – 1 cup
Golden sugar – ½ cup
Light corn syrup – ½ cup
Boil together, stirring gently, in large sauce pan til 300 degrees F ***
Add pumpkin seeds and spice mix to sugar solution in saucepan.
Using greased silicone spatula, add 1/3 of the popcorn. Mix well.
Add remaining popcorn. Avoid unpopped kernels. Stir. Coat.
Place on parchment to cool. Store in an airtight container.
*Kakai pumpkin produces hull-less, green seeds; try pistachios if you don’t have pumpkin seeds
**Fennel seed is similar to anise; try anise if you don’t have fennel
Lisa’s Wacky Cake
Let’s all take a moment to recognize the awesomeness that Lisa showed by spending all that time cutting liquorice individual legs for all those tiny spiders.
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup cold water
Preparation: 5 minutes!
In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened. Pour into muffin tins. Bake at 350°F. oven for 15 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.
Ice with your favourite icing! I used a chocolate and a vanilla icing, but you can use anything you like.
For the eyes, I used smarties. For the legs I used licorice (RJ’s Soft Raspberry licorice, which I bought at Summerland IGA) I cut the licorice into thin strips, and then pinched each “leg” in the middle to bend it. Please refer to the photo for finishing. Remember, each spider has 8 legs! But I couldn’t fit 8 eyes on the body 😉
Kim’s Pumpkin Pumpkin Bread (Valentine Farm October 2013)
This was so tasty and pretty, not to mention a great way to use up a glut of autumn squash.
- 1 ½ cups cooked pumpkin or squash
- 2 teaspoons dried active yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups unbleached white flour (more or less)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small egg beaten with
- 2 teaspoons water
Preheat oven to 425°and grease a cookie sheet.
Place yeast and sugar in bowl of mixer, add warm water and stir. Leave to stand for 10 minutes or until froth has formed on top.
Stir in pumpkin.
Add two cups whole wheat flour and mix.
Add salt and start adding white flour half a cup at a time. Mix to a dough. If too sticky, add more flour. Depending on the type of flour you may not need all of it.
Knead by hand (or if using using dough hook) for 10 minutes. Place completed dough in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel until doubled in size (about one hour – depends on how cold your kitchen is –
mine is freezing.)
Uncover bowl and turn over leaving the dough resting underneath for a further 10 minutes.
Remove bowl and twist off a large walnut sized piece of dough to form the stem of the pumpkin, leaves and tendril. Form the remainder into a round ball pinching the seam together well on the under side.
Place dough ball on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten dough ball slightly and cut eight or nine slashes around the sides. This is tricky as you don’t want to cut too deeply as the dough will open too much; slash too shallow and the pumpkin effect is lost.
Take half of the small piece of dough to form the stem.
***This next step is not necessary but looks charming. Roll out the other half and free hand the shape of a leaf or leaves. Cut out. Take the remaining scraps and roll together then twist several times to make tendril. With your thumb make an indentation in the centre of the pumpkin and place the leaves, stem and tendril.***
Cover and let rise for about an hour until doubled.
Glaze pumpkin with egg and water mixture being careful not to glaze the exposed slashes.
Bake for 25 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped.
I’m missing some of recipes, including the peanut butter “dead man’s treats,” Janice’s rich orange cheesecake (which was delightfully decorated with mice for our Halloween theme), Cheryl’s ghoulish chocolate cake with meringue bones, Vanora’s chocolate tomb Tiffin, and Belinda’s beautiful brownies and also her gorgeous spider web sugar cookies which were so wonderfully decorated.
Thanks so much to everyone who attended and I hope you’ll be able to come along next month!
I leave you with this poem, “I like to bake,” sent to me by Gerri. When are those calories going to start dissolving?