Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Great Early Pumpkin

We were graced with an early pumpkin in the garden. A medium in size cutie. There are a few other pumpkins left to mature, a bigger one and a smaller one. With the leaves turning on the trees , the plant is still producing flowers (fritters anyone?) and I looked yesterday and saw a few tiny pumpkins starting as well. I wonder if those babies will make it before the first frost, not likely. I made puree out of the early one. I had some to use right away and I canned some. Unfortunely, my first ever mis-hap in canning happened with my precious puree, the jars didn't seal properly. I was told that the larder smelled of not so nice cheese! Upon inspection I found the jars leaking- Bugger! Well, at least I had some fresh to use in a recipe right away and we snacked on the roasted seeds.

This is the cheesecake I made with the puree. For this particular cheesecake I used gelatin sheets to gain the firmness needed in the cake and the pumpkin topping (no bake in other words, besides the crust). The cheese filling has cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. For the topping I sweetened the pumpkin puree slightly and added spices- cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mostly importantly for me was cardamom. The crust is pecan shortbread crunched up and a little sugar and butter added. I also chucked in a bit more chopped pecans. I baked this crust and let it cool. Layer the fillings and chill for many hours in a refrigerator. Like most cheesecakes the next day is best, as all the ingredients meld and mellow together.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

After-School Snack with a Kick

Here is another way to eat lobster.

I tried my hand at re-creating Sean's favourite sushi at Je Ju in downtown Fort Collins- High Stroll Roll. I can report that he highly approved and he is a tough customer. Sean, my youngest strolled in from school to a special treat. This roll has lobster in the centre of the roll, a piece of tuna (I seared mine this time), and a nice slice of garden jalapeno on top. The jalapenos are still tumbling out of the garden, with probably a short time left for them with autumn knocking at the door. This roll is finished with a very gingery, garlicy sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. How is that for a after-school snack?

Ryan my middle child loves fishing and brought us some fish to use for dinner recently. He is trying to get in as much fishing as he can until the season is over. If he isn't at college, work or playing his guitar, he is fishing. I made Ryan's fish into a sort of Fish Almondine. The almonds however were honey/chipotle coated. So, I crushed the almonds and added them to panko and flour. I prepared some brown butter and lemon and had it ready to pour over the top of the fried fish. Sprinkle more crushed almonds to finish. If you are wondering what sort of fish it is, it was Crappie. I wouldn't dare put that name in the title of my dish, some may not know how to pronounce it. ;-)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spaetzle 101

Now playing: Frank Fischer - Swabian Heroes
via FoxyTunes

Let us sing the praises of spaetzle!

My friend Lucie has a really cute spaetzle book that I have long admired.

This book is in the shape of a spaetzle board. One of the methods of making the dumpling, with the board one can push the dough off the edge into boiling water. The illustrations below show some other methods and styles of making spaetzle.

The best method for me is the press in the first illustration. I invested in a press like that and haven't looked back. It gets a work-out and so do I as I push them through the press!

The book has many adorable illustrations, as well.

This illustration shows a chappy running for an outhouse and the caption says that it burns a second time with the paprika version.

Here are just some of the different kinds and ways to serve spaetzle. With paprika in the dough, in a mushroom sauce and with cabbage. This is just the start!

I made a tomato spaetzle with a paste I made from my garden Roma tomatoes. There was a good harvest and they were cooked down and added to the dough.

Here is my precious blue spaetzle press doing it's magic.

Press the dough into boiling water and wait for the dumplings to float to the top. I then strained them and put in a skillet. I add butter when I have the full batch and toast them in the skillet.

The tomato spaetzle was delicious with brats and more of the tomato sauce on the side. Don't forget to grate some cheese over the top.

....not to mention a nice local beer.

This is the spaetzle I would like to try next with autumn around the corner. Hey, maybe a pumpkin version they are coming out of the garden now....