20 October 2009

Pumpkin Rumaki Recipe

From a recent Iron Chef style dinner party (Secret Ingredient: Pumpkin)

Pumpkin Rumaki

1 small pumpkin (2-3 pounds)
1 can water chestnuts
1 pound thin sliced bacon, slices cut in half crosswise.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch freshly ground nutmeg
sturdy toothpicks

Preheat oven to 375º F.
Begin by cutting the pumpkin in half and scraping out the seeds. Separate the seeds from the pulp and reserve the seeds for a tasty snack later. Microwave the pumpkin halves for 8-10 minutes, just to begin the cooking process.* You could also boil them for slightly less time. After the pumpkin is par-cooked (and cooled, if you don't have asbestos hands) peel the pieces with a paring knife and cut into 3/4"x3/4"x3/4" chunks. Take one pumpkin chunk and one water chestnut and while holding them together, wrap with one half strip of bacon, securing each bundle with a toothpick. Lay packages out on a cookie sheet with about a 1/2" space separating them. Mix the brown sugar and spices together and sprinkle about a teaspoon of the sugar mixture on each of the rumaki. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake until pumpkin is tender (check with an extra toothpick, if you don't feel resistance to the pick, it is done) and the bacon is browned and sugar is bubbly. If the pumpkin is done before the bacon, just slide the whole pan under the broiler for a few seconds to crisp up the bacon. Place finished rumaki on a cooling rack set over paper towels to drain, and serve either warm or at room temperature.

*Remember that tasty snack? See that leftover spiced sugar? You think they might want to be friends with each other? I do.

19 June 2009

One less thing

In the past 365 days, I have done quite a few things. I have moved across country. I have had 3 different jobs. I have gotten engaged. I have lost 15-20 pounds. I have learned to crochet and also how to make my own yarn. But there's one thing, one oh so small, yet massively huge thing that I have not done. I have not smoked a cigarette. And I have many people to thank for that. Sarah, my family, my friends.... I could not have done it without every single one of you. You nagged, you poked, you facebooked, you texted, you supported, and you loved... and I can't begin to express how much that meant and still means to me. So, thanks. Thanks for making sure I have one less thing on my list.

10 June 2009

One step closer to living in a cave

I'm the type of person who, when it comes to a new hobby or interest, can't leave well enough alone. A friend of mine starts me drinking coffee, so now I roast, grind and brew my own beans. If I thought I could supply my habit with a backyard coffee tree, I'd be doing that too. So when I decided I wanted to learn to crochet, I knew I was in for trouble. I could imagine stacks of yarn in corners, drawers full of the newest and latest in hook design, and possibly some sort of homemade, Mcguyver-ed up sort of automatic crocheting machine. What I did not envision was this:

That's right, kids. Home spinning. Turns out my boss is into it, I expressed an interest, and all of a sudden I'm going home with brushes, a spindle,a whole lot of instructions, and wool from 7 or so different animals. So I washed, carefully sudsing the raw wool in extremely hot water to remove any vegetable matter and all of the lanolin, being sure not to overagitate (I wasn't making felt after all)

I carded after the wool had dried, straightening out the fibers, removing snarls and any sticks that had made it through the wash.

I spun (after making a drop spindle of my own), lining up the fibers and twisting them together to form a cohesive thread.

I washed again, this time agitating a bit more to "lock" the fibers together

I dried, blocked and set the spin, using a rack to stretch the fibers and take out any extra twist the yarn had picked up during the spinning process.

And finally, after 2 or so days of work, I had 3.5 ounces of prime handspun yarn:

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Keith's alpaca/shetland/merino (maybe a few more) hat.

07 May 2009

The Holy Grail

I've found it, people. Courtesy of Family Circle magazine. Recipes for homemade Twinkies and Hostess Cupcakes, complete with "creme" filling and swirl on top. Updates soon.

17 April 2009

Gobi Masala Soup

Made this today at work out of some leftover Gobi Masala and it was ridiculously tasty, so here's a version for you.
Just a note, I wouldn't call this authentic in any way, it is just what occurrd to me to put in. There are many delicious and authentic Gobi Masala recipes out there if you're a stickler for tradition.

Gobi Masala Soup

1 large head cauliflower, chopped
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic
1 med potato, diced
1 med carrot, diced
3 tbsp oil, butter or ghee
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
Water, vegetable or chicken stock
1 can coconut milk or some heavy cream

In a 6 qt. pan, heat your fat of choice until shimmery and add the veggies. Sautee vegetables until lightly colored. Add the spices and sautee until nice and aromatic. Add enough liquid to cover the veggies, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Purée the soup with a stick blender, food mill, regular blender... Whatever you have. If using a regular blender, be sure to remember to remove the little cap in the lid and cover with a towel to avoid the hot soup explosion. Add the purred soup back to the pot, and stir in coconut milk or heavy cream. Serve with naan

Spice is Nice

Recently published in Arizona Gourmet Magazine


For Crust

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs, finely ground
1/3 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted

For Topping

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 jalapeño, seeded and cut into strips
Peel of one orange

For Filling

5, 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 ¾ cups sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 ½ tsp each of grated orange and lemon rind
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
¼ tsp vanilla
¼ cup heavy cream

For the cheesecake, combine the sugar, cracker crumbs, and butter
together. Press mixture into the bottom and partially up the sides of
a 9-inch springform pan. Bake crust at 375 degrees for 7 minutes,
then allow to cool completely. Then turn oven up to 550 degrees.
While crust is cooling, combine the cream cheese, sugar,
flour, and orange and lemon rind in an electric mixer. Add eggs,
egg yolks, vanilla, and beat well. Add heavy cream and blend
thoroughly. Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 550
degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down oven to 200 degrees for
1 hour. Allow cheesecake to cool completely to room
temperature, and then refrigerate at least 6 hours before
removing from springform pan and serving.

For the topping, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in
small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low simmer
and add orange peel and jalapeños. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain out the jalapeño strips and orange peel and allow the
syrup to cool. Take the candied zest and peppers, and toss in
granulated sugar to use as a garnish.

Cut chilled cheesecake into 8-12 pieces and top each slice
with 2 Tbsp of syrup and a few pieces of candied orange peel and
jalapeño. Serves 8 to 12.

08 April 2009

40 cloves and a chicken

on the menu tonight:

40 clove garlic chicken
(Recipe from Alton Brown)


* 1 whole chicken (broiler/fryer) cut into 8 pieces
* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 10 sprigs fresh thyme
* 40 peeled cloves garlic
* Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss with a 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown on both sides in a wide fry pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add oil, thyme, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove chicken from the oven, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, carve, and serve.

Sides: Green Beans sauteed in olive oil with lemon and pepperoncini
Rosemary New Potatoes roasted in chicken schmaltz.

07 April 2009

Velvet Elvis

Sometimes, in thinking about a song or a recipe or a new drink, the title is what comes to me first. Back in my lots of shots days, I would make drinks for friends using their name as inspiration,. For example, the Lauren is hot coffee, vodka, and Baileys. "Chicken To Ride", "All My Exes Have New Sexes" and "Feta Cheese" all started out as song titles.

Here's todays inspiration... the Velvet Elvis Cake. There are versions out on the internets, but they lack the important banana quotient.

Velvet Elvis Cake

• Vegetable oil for the pans
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
• 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
• 2 large eggs, at room temperature
• 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
• 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
• Sliced Fresh Banana.
• Banana Chips for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the peanut butter cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Lay out evenly spaced banana slices on the frosting. Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Garnish top of cake with banana chips and crumb coat sides of cake with chopped banana chips.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Makes about 2-1/2 cups, enough for 1 two-layer cake or 18 cupcakes
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1-1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Cream the peanut butter and cream cheese in a mixer with the paddle attachment, scraping the sides once or twice, until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar gradually. When completely incorporated, add the vanilla.

Now I just have to get over my lifelong hatred of the banana long enough to make one... :)

does this make me famous?

Does this make me famous?
I think so.

02 April 2009

No internet and no laptop make keith something something

So, obviously, I have done a pretty crappy job with keeping my new years resolution. I've posted a grand total of what, 3 recipes so far? I blame it on my current lack of Internet at home. Either that or my inherent laziness.... One of the two. To help make up for it, here's a few things I've made recently.

9 veggie soup with barley
Chipotle roasted pork loin with smoky mango salsa
Shrimp ceviche salad with lime cilantro vinaigrette
Satay style chicken skewers with peanut chile sauce
Veggie burgers
Fully Loaded baked potato soup
PBJSTC sandwich
Fried Chicken
Bouef bourgignon
Campfire Filet mignon with red wine reduction sauce
Cheesecake with balsamic black pepper strawberries
Cheesecake with jalapeño orange glaze and candied peels

If you want recipes for any of those, just let me know. I'll try to do better in the future, ok?