Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fusilli With Spinach, Ricotta, and Raisins

Inspired by Jen's account of pasta with golden raisins, I went off searching for recipes. This was awesome, and the whole thing (including thawing spinach) only took as long as cooking the pasta.
  • 12 ounces fusilli pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 10-ounce box box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed of excess moisture
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup whole or part-skim ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain and return to the pot.
Add the olive oil, spinach, scallions, raisins, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Toss to combine.
Fold in the ricotta, balsamic vinegar, Parmesan, and pine nuts.

Notes: I was working with what I had, and subbed a healthy splash (for one serving) of cream for the ricotta, and cashews for the pignoli. I also forgot to drain the spinach, and it didn't seem to hurt anything. I used a kitchen scissor to slice the basil and scallions right into the bowl, which saved on effort and dishes. A seriously simple Friday meal!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, rum or brandy
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

In a medium saucepan mix the milk, cream, granulated sugar, ginger, ground cinnamon, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and salt; warm until the edges begin to bubble and foam. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl and gradually whisk in about half of the warm spiced milk mixture, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back in to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Immediately pour the mixture through a strainer. Mix in the brown sugar, then chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

Whisk in the vanilla, liquor (if using), and pumpkin puree. Press the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

FIg Cinnamon Preserves

3 lbs fresh figs, the riper the better
2-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 cup water
3 tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon

Stem and quarter the figs.  Combine the water and sugar in a small kettle and heat until the sugar dissolves.  Add the lemon juice, cinnamon and figs; simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally and breaking up the figs.  Fill sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

Makes ~3 pints.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

German Pancakes

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp melted butter

Blend eggs, milk, flour, and salt until smooth.  Pour the melted butter into a 9x13 pan and add the batter.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  Serve with Buttermilk Syrup.

Source: Donna Shogren

Buttermilk Syrup

1-1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla

In a saucepan combine the first five ingredients and boil for 7 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

Keeps well in a jar in the fridge.

Source: Donna Shogren

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies

This is becoming my go-to way of dressing up plain brownies. Adapted from this recipe, I just add the peanut butter filling to a 9 x 13 batch of brownies. A couple notes: 1) Making the PB filling as written gives you brownies that are at least half PB. If you don't want that much, use scant measurements or half it. 2) These seem to keep better than regular brownies, no doubt due to all the extra fat. They'd probably mail well.

Peanut butter mixture:
  • ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Mix brownies as directed, pour into prepared pan.
  2. Mix all peanut butter filling ingredients, then spoon it out on top of brownie batter.
  3. Using a knife or spoon (or finger if you want, I guess), swirl them together.
  4. Bake as directed on brownie mix.