Monday, October 14, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake

There is a lot more to pumpkins than Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween and pie for Thanksgiving!

First let's make Pumpkin Puree that will keep a week in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.  So all you have to do is pop your puree into baggies, I like to do one cup measures, freeze and it will be on hand for Thanksgiving!  

OK back to the puree; cut your pumpkins in half.  Clean out the seeds with an ice cream scoop; this makes cleaning fast and easy.  Sprinkle with salt and place flesh side down on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a 400F oven for 35-45 minutes.  Cool and then spoon the flesh into your blender and blend on high for 3's done!NOW, what to do with some of that pumpkin puree you just made?  How about something sweet this time!  

This just happens to be my all time favorite fall cake; Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake!

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake Recipe:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla 1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree

Whisk together flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
In mixer bowl beat together sugar and butter for 3 minutes.
Add the 3 eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute with each addition.
Add 1/2 of the flour and 1/2 of the pumpkin, mix well then add the remainder of the pumpkin and flour. beat on medium for 3 minutes.
Pour batter into a bundt pan that has been coated with butter & flour or non stick spray. Smooth top and tap pan on counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 40 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.
Drizzle with glaze made of 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and about 2 tablespoons buttermilk while cake is still slightly warm.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It's Pumpkin Season!!!

There are so many dishes to make with the fresh pumpkins that are really cheap and readily available right now I had a hard time choosing which one to start off with.......
But something unique is always super fun so here goes......Pumpkin Lasagna!!!! An unusual lasagna that is absolute delicious!  Don’t be put off by the addition of pumpkin puree, it adds a depth of flavor to the lasagna that is amazing!
Doesn't this look delicious?  Here's a little secret....I didn't tell my kids or their friends that there was pumpkin in it!  Did they notice?  No and they polished off the entire pan....everyone had seconds, so I guess it was a hit!
Here's how it's made:
1 cup pumpkin puree I roasted fresh pumpkin for about 30 minutes in a 425 oven then mashed with a fork
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
4 cloves garlic finely chopped
8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms sliced
2 Italian sausages casing removed (you can use up to 1 pound of sausage)
½ cup red wine
26 ounces tomato sauce
¼ cup fresh basil chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano chopped
½ teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper
6 ready to use lasagna sheets
1 egg
2 ½ cups ricotta
2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella divided
½ cup pecorino Romano
2 medium zucchini sliced
Preheat oven to 350
Heat olive oil in large sauté pan and add onion. Sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the sausage, breaking into small pieces and sauté until just cooked through, then add the mushrooms and garlic.  Cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half. Stir in the herbs and tomato sauce and simmer over medium low for 15 minutes.
Mix together the pumpkin and egg, set aside.
Mix together the ricotta, 1 cup mozzarella and Romano.
Spread a ladle of sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan.  Top with lasagna noodles, ½ of the pumpkin mixture, ½ of the sliced zucchini, ½ of the cheese and then repeat.  Top with remaining 1 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese and bake for 40 minutes.  Let rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vegetarian Lasagna Silvianne

My dear friend Silvianne has been a vegetarian her entire life. She admits to being in her fifties and has never tasted meat, fish or chicken!  Whenever Silvianne and her husband were invited to dinner I made something special befitting her dietary requirements and named every dish after her; hence the name Lasagna Silvia.  But the uniqueness of this lasagna does not end there!  The ‘lasagna noodles’ are actually strips of thinly sliced zucchini and tomato sauce has been replaced with  Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
The delicate flavors of lightly sautéed portabella mushrooms, zucchini noodles and chopped spinach are complimented and enhanced by the refined natural flavor of the Creamy Tomato Soup.  Together they create a little bit of heaven called Lasagna Silvia.

1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
4 tablespoons virgin olive oil
8 ounces portabella mushroom sliced
2 tablespoons butter
16 ounces frozen spinach thawed and drained well
3 zucchini
30 ounces ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 cups mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan
1 quart Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup
1.       Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
2.       Coat a 9X12 Lasagna pan with non stick spray
3.       Drain ricotta cheese in a sieve while preparing onions and mushrooms.
4.       On medium heat, sauté onion on  in 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil until translucent; about 10 minutes. Transfer to large mixing bowl.
5.       In a large frying pan over medium/high heat sauté portabella mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil until softened; about 5 minutes.  Add to the onions.
6.       Beat the two eggs and mix with the ricotta cheese.
7.       Mix the ricotta egg mixture into, onions and mushrooms and then the well drained spinach.
8.       Thinly slice 3 zucchini lengthwise to create noodles.
9.       Cover the bottom of the lasagna pan with 1/4th of the Pacific Natural Foods Organic Creamy Tomato Soup.
10.   Place a layer of zucchini noodles in the lasagna pan, slightly overlapping them.
11.   Spread 1/3 of the ricotta, mushroom, spinach mixture across the zucchini.
12.   Sprinkle with 1/4 of the mozzarella cheese.
13.   Repeat the layers two more times.
14.   Top with the tomato soup and sprinkle the last of the mozzarella across the lasagna.  
15.   Finish by topping the lasagna with the parmesan cheese; you will have a 2 cheese top.
16.   Coat aluminum foil with non stick spray and cover the lasagna to keep the cheese from getting too dark.
17.   Bake for 1 hour, then uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.

18.   Let lasagna rest for 15 to 20 minutes prior to serving.