Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkin Soup, Spiderade & Lemon Espresso Martinis

Welcome to Fall and Happy Halloween!!!
Here's the perfect Halloween Dinner!  Just organize your soup, toss it in the oven and go trick or treating!  Then, when you get home dinner will be ready.
I know your kids will love the spiderade and you'll be ready for a pick-me-up Lemon Espresso Martini after taking the kids all around the neighborhood!

Just follow along with the video recipe and you are all set for a night of fun!

Here are the recipes; to print out just copy and paste!

Nothing says fall like pumpkins and nothing says fun like individual pumpkin soups serve with spiderade for the kids and Lemon Espresso Martinis for the grown-ups!

Ingredients for the soup:
4 individual pumpkins cleaned
8 slices bread cut into cubes
4 tablespoons butter divided
2 cloves garlic
½ pound bacon
4 Tablespoons Pepper Jelly
4 onions thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil divided
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup grated parmesan

Caramelize onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter
Divide onions between the 4 pumpkins
Fill pumpkins with hot chicken stock and replace tops.
Bake in 375 oven for 45 minutes
Place bacon on cookie sheet covered  with non stick foil
Spread pepper jelly on each slice
Place bacon into cold oven and turn set heat to 400
Bake for 20 minutes
Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoon olive oil and add garlic
When butter begins to bubble and brown remove garlic and add bread
Sauté bread turning constantly until toasted
Slice bacon very thin
Serve the soup topped with the croutons,  Parmesan and bacon

Ingredients for the Lemon Espresso Martinis 2 martinis
2 tablespoons lemon syrup
2 shots vodka
2 shots cold strong espresso
2 slices lemon rind
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup ice

Rub rim of martini glass with lemon rind and dip in sugar
Combine ice, vodka, lemon syrup and espresso in martini shaker
Shake vigorously
Pour into martini glasses and serve with lemon rind
Lemon Syrup:
2 lemons cut in half around the center
3 cups water
1 cup sugar

In a medium sauce pan cover lemon with water and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 45 minutes then remove lemons from water and cool
Scrape out fruit, pulp and pith; toss away
Combine water, sugar and lemons in sauce pan and simmer until translucent, about 35-40 minutes
Use the rind for martinis and vinaigrette dressing and the syrup for iced tea and martinis

Plastic spiders
Ice cube tray
Place one spider in each ice cube compartment
Fill with water and freeze
Fill glasses with lemonade and drop in one or two spider cubes

Sunday, October 5, 2014

It's October Let's Talk Pumpkins! Lasagna & Spice Cake

There is a lot more to pumpkins than Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween and pie for Thanksgiving! Follow me while I show you how to take advantage of the pumpkins that are so cheap and readily available right now!

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 sees 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!

Pumpkin Lasagna Recipe:

1 cup pumpkin puree  
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.

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 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 warm.