Saturday, December 13, 2008

Adventures in Pumpkin II

So this year we found ourselves with three smallish pumpkins that had not been carved. Seemed wasteful to not do something with them. And our oldest had gotten one of the pumpkins from a pumpkin farm on a class field trip. He really wanted a pie from that pumpkin. So we cracked open the pumpkins (with a rubber mallet and knife for one of them) emptied out the seeds (saving them for toasted pumpkin seeds) and steamed them in the skin. Once the pumpkin was soft, I scooped the pumpkin from the skin and pureed it in the food processor (do not overfill or it won't all get pureed). Then I lined a large strainer with paper towels and put the pumpkin puree in it to drain for an hour or more. I then used two cups of the puree with the recipe from the Libby's pumpkin can to make pie. The consistency was nice and had a mild, fruity flavor that you just don't get with canned pumpkin. I put the remaining pumpkin in the freezer in two cup portions for later use. The pies made from the frozen pumpkin were just as good.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Rinse pumpkin seeds and remove any attached pulp. Simmer in salted water (about 1 tbsp. salt per 2 cups water) for 15-20 minutes. Drain. Put on a cookie sheet in an single layer. Toast at 425 for 15-25 minutes, stirring once or twice. (I did this while a pie was cooking, so 15 min. at 425 then turned down to 350 for another 10 to 15 minutes.)

Turkey & Noodles

So I learned this evening that my husband really didn't like the way I made turkey and noodles. I would usually cook the noodles in broth then add the turkey and maybe some veggies. It was more of a thick turkey noodle soup. Today I cooked the noodles in water and basically made turkey gravy instead of a can of creamed soup to do more of a tuna and noodles kind of thing. Other than the carrots being under done it was pretty good. Although I think next time I should start with some onion at the beginning of the sauce. If you have leftover gravy (about 2 cups or so), by all means use it instead of the butter, flour and broth. Cook the carrots and peas with the pasta instead of in sauce.

Turkey & Noodles

4 tbsp. butter (or use half butter half oil)
1/4 cup (or so) finely diced onion
1/4-1/2 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded turkey
2 cups turkey (or chicken) broth
1/4-1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 lb. cooked egg noodles

Melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute onion and carrots for a few minutes to soften onion. Add flour, salt and pepper. Cook until bubbly, 2 minutes. Stir in turkey. Add broth and peas. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened, stirring often. Stir in noodles. Season to taste and serve.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chocolate Chip Pie

If you're from Louisville, Kentucky you'll know what this pie is really called. But due to copyright laws we'll go with Chocolate Chip Pie. But if you go to the Kentucky Derby you can find the restaurant that started this one.

Update: We tried adding bourbon to the pie for flavor and it went over well. I'd suggest using 1 tbsp. bourbon instead of the vanilla. (3/14/12)

Chocolate Chip Pie

1 stick melted butter, cooled
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cups walnuts, chopped

Mix all together and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Serve warm or at room temp.

Bourbon Balls

This is a favorite of my husband's family. They store nicely at room temperature, so they're easy to have around.

Bourbon Balls

2 1/2 cups crushed Vanilla Wafers (about half a bag)
1 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for rolling
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup bourbon
3 tbsp. white corn syrup

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Kneed together with hands until well blended. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar until well coated. Chill at least 5 hours before storing at room temperature. Let set 24 hours before eating. May be stored in an airtight container for 3 weeks.


These go fast, if you have a big crowd you may need a double batch. My first batch is nearly gone (we already did one Christmas party) so I'll need to make another. The chocolate used for dipping can be saved for the next time. I just put mine in a container in the back of the fridge and save it for next time.


1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
2 sticks butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar (approx. 4 3/4 cups)

Mix and shape into balls. Chill.

12 oz. chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 bar paraphine

Melt over water. Dip ball in leaving a small circle at the top to resemble buckeyes. (I usually use a toothpick to to dip them.) Put on a cookie sheet to firm up. (I usually put them in the fridge.) Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Old Fashion Cream Pie

This recipe is from my husband's family. My mother-in-law recreated this recipe from a restaurant she used to work in. You need to use a heavy pie plate. A Pyrex plate may work, but I would avoid any metal pie plates. We use Louisville Stoneware pie plates for best results. This pie can make a mess of your oven though. Mine always bubble over, but my sister-in-law doesn't have that problem. Not sure why. If it does bubble over, run a knife around between the pie plate and pie crust to keep it from sticking to the pan when it cools. For easier cleanup, put a rimmed baking sheet on the shelf beneath the pie to catch any overrun.

Old Fashion Cream Pie

unbaked, single pie crust in heavy pie pan

4 tbsp. flour
1 cup sugar
pinch of butter (I use 1 tsp. cut into small pieces)
pinch of salt

Mix above ingredients in the pie pan.

Fill with 1 pint Half & Half (I have used whipping cream with good results.)

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 300 and bake for another 2 hours.

Grandma's Pie Crust

This is an old family recipe credited to my Great-Grandmother, Genevieve Girard. My mom has been using this recipe forever. And I have never found another recipe that works without a lot of fuss. It tends to roll best if it sets for a while before rolling it out. This makes enough for 3 single crust pies. Any extra crust feezes nicely for later use. Just thaw in the refrigerator.

Grandma's Pie Crust

4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups shortening (I use butter flavored)
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water
1 tbsp. vinegar

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add egg, water, and vinegar. Mix well. Makes 3 pie crusts.