Wednesday, November 30, 2016

i happen to love pumpkins

But not always as pie, so this is my take on a stuffed pumpkin for dessert

Pumpkins for dessert

·        1 medium sugar pumpkin
·        2 apples (or 1 apple and one pear), cored and diced
·        1/2 cup walnuts
·        1/2 cup raisins
·        1/2 cup cranberries
·        1/2 stick butter
·        1/4 cup brown sugar
·        1/4 cup apple juice
·        2 teaspoons cinnamon
·        1 teaspoon cloves, ground
·        1 teaspoon allspice, ground
·        1 teaspoon nutmeg
·        1/2 teaspoon ginger

hollow out the pumpkin, removing stringy interior
save seeds for roasting
hydrate the raisins in hot apple juice with butter
just pop the cranberries in the hot liquid
mix all the ingredients together and stuff the pumpkin
bake @ 325 F for  hour in a baking pan to catch any liquid
serve warn with vanilla ice cream

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

the analytical cook?

Whenever i try to do something,
i think about it,
research it
and try to remember my mom's or a restaraunts way...
when i eat out -
 i try to figure out
 some of the things that made a particular,
"something" so good...

here are some examples:
A bowl of chili at a restaurant, where the chopped meat was tender!
There were other difference, but i never had a bowl of chili where the meat tasted "medium rare" tender...
what did they do?
They cooked the chili "base separately, then added the beef uncooked into the hot bowl and let the chili cook it.

I was cooking dry beans and remembered some thing vaguely and tried to look it up...
No food site had anything i wanted, but several chemistry sites did...
i remembered my mom adding baking soda to the water she soaked the beans in and there was some mention in a food site of it being an old time method, but did not answer the question: Why?
The chemistry sites all pointed out that beans are neutral in pH (acidity) and that acid makes the outer shell tough!

Put these 2 thoughts together and when i make  vegetarian chili with beans and some other vegetables...
I have a method!

Beans are soaked in slightly basic (using baking soda) water.
they are then cooked in all the elements of my chili that is not acidic - this means any tomatoes,
onions, vinegar, beer sugar or chili peppers are cooked separately.
dry spice, water, salt, butter and other vegetables are cooked with the beans.

they are blended after the beans are cooked, usually just before serving...
the result is a vegetarian chili which was described by one meat only chili person eating it at a cook-off as surprisingly wonderful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


My mom's side of the family is from Greece - Cyprus and crete specifically and i love the flavors -
garlic, oregano, mint, cinnamon and others and Moussaka embodies many of those -
the Greek Cookbook that i adapted this from is one that my mom had more markers and notes than any other cookbook she owned - The complete Greek cookbook, but she added her own spin on some of do i. I just made it and so this recipe is "tweaked".


·       2 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2" cubes
·       1/2 cup butter, melted
·       1 lb ground meat (traditionally lamb, but beef or pork my be used)
·       2 onions, diced
·       2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced fine
·       1 tablespoon Oregano, dry
·       1 teaspoon black pepper
·       1/2 teaspoon allspice, ground
·       1/2 cut parsley, chopped
·       1/2 cup tomato sauce
·       1/2 cup red wine
·       1 cup grated cheese, Kefalotyri or Parmesan

White sauce - traditional (3000 years old) way
·       1/2 cup water
·       2 cups milk
·       2 tablespoons corn starch dissolved in cold water
·       1 tablespoon butter
·       1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt
·       1 egg, whipped
·       1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

          bring milk, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat
          thicken with corn starch and remove from heat
          slowly mix 3 tablespoons warm milk to the egg and blend it
          add egg and cinnamon to milk and mix well

wash and salt eggplant and leave for 10 min.
rinse and blot dry
brush with oil and butter mix and baked @ 350 F for 30 min
cook onion, garlic, meat, wine, tomato sauce and spices mixing in order
reduce to near dryness or strain
layer eggplant, meat, eggplant, add white sauce
top with cheese, parsley and cinnamon
bake @ 325 for 45 min.