Wednesday, October 22, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Twenty-one: Crockpot Pumpkin Oatmeal

This was the first time I'd ever cooked using a Bain-marie method in the crockpot.  I had seen lots of recipes for steel cut oats in the crockpot using this method but never thought to use it.  Then I discovered that my souffle dish fits nicely inside my large oval crockpot.

I thought if I could make steel cut oats in the crockpot, surely I could make a pumpkin version.  A google search yielded 4 recipes that caught my eye ( Carrie This Home, Closet Cooking, Kitchen Treaty, and Crockpot Ladies.)  So I took the bits I liked from each one and came up with this recipe.

Mrblocko and Blockette really liked this oatmeal.  I didn't particularly care for it, but I think that it's because most food makes my stomach churn in the morning.  I'm sure if I had a bowl of this for lunch I would have thought it was the bee's knees.

Pumpkin Crockpot Oatmeal
1c steel cut oats
2c water
2c milk
1c pumpkin
1/4c molasses
1/2c brown sugar
1/2 t ginger
1t cinnamon
1t apple pie spice
pinch of salt
1t vanilla

combine all ingredients in a heat proof dish that will fit inside your crockpot.  place dish inside crockpot.  Fill slow cooker with water one inch below the top of the dish that contains the food.  Cover and cook for 9 hours (or overnight) on low.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Twenty: Savory Pumpkin Dip Fail

We're two thirds of the way through pumpkin month!  Can you believe it?  And because not every recipe turns out the way you want it, I'm writing about this Savory Pumpkin Dip from My Whole Food Life.

No one in the house liked this recipe.  No matter how much seasoning I added to the mixture, it still tasted like canned pumpkin.  While we all really enjoy pumpkin in this house, we don't like it enough to just eat it straight from the can all by it's onsie.

Here is the recipe I used:

1  1/2 white beans ( 1/2 c more than the original recipe)
1 c canned pumpkin 
1/4 c water
1 1/2 t smoked paprika (orig 1t)
1/2 t onion powder
1 t chili powder(orig 1/2t)
1/2 t kosher salt

In food processor combine all ingred til smooth. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later.  makes about 1 1/2 cups dip.

 It even looks just like the stuff straight out of the can.

Sadly, as much as I hate tossing out food, I had to pitch this dip.  I'm thinking that if it contained 1/4-1/2 c pumpkin it might have been better? Maybe you just have to be a bigger fan of pumpkin than we are in the Blocko house?  

Do you have any ideas how I might have salvaged this dip?

Monday, October 20, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Nineteen: Small Pumpkin Cobbler

I've made two variations of this Pumpkin Cobbler before.  Both recipes called for condensed milk and cake mix.  The first recipe of this type of dish I used a yellow cake mix and eggs.  The second time I made this dish the recipe didn't call for eggs, and I used a caramel cake mix.

This time around I used the eggless version of the recipe.  The recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe also stated that you could use regular milk in place of the condensed milk so I thought I'd give that a try as well.

I had 1 1/2 c of a boxed white cake mix so I halved the recipe and made it in an 8x8 pan.  I also opted to swap out the white sugar for brown sugar.  I think the flavors of molasses in the brown sugar married nicely with the pumpkin and cinnamon in the recipe.

I think I prefer the slightly less sweet version with regular milk.  The sweet that you lose from the condensed milk you can replace with yummy yummy ice or whipped cream!

Small Pumpkin Cobbler adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
3/4 c pumpkin
1/2 c milk
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 c boxed white cake mix
1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 c melted salted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 8x8 pan. In med bowl, mix pumpkin thru cinnamon til well combined. Pour mix into prepared pan.  Sprinkle cake mix and pecans evenly over top. Drizzle spoonfuls of melted butter over top of cake mix, trying to cover the entire surface with melted butter.  Bake 1 hr, til top golden brown.  Let stand 15 min before serving. Serve warm or cold with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Eighteen: Pumpkin Indian Pudding

I'd never made Indian pudding before.  As far as I can tell, it's called Indian pudding because it was a colonial variation on the British version of Hasty Pudding.  Hasty Pudding was traditionally made with wheat, but as corn was more readily available in the new world, the settlers used that instead.

Sadly, something went terribly wrong with my hasty pudding.  It got a nice pudding skin on it, but it never ever set up.

Oh sure it looks like it set up in the above photo...alas it did not.  It was a great big ole soupy mess.  I even tried baking it for longer.  After an hour in the oven, the top started to get too dark for my liking.

The recipe says to let it sit for 15 min.  I let mine sit for 2 hours.

No dice.

It was still as soupy as ever.

Not ever having Indian or Hasty pudding before, I'm not sure if that was how it was supposed to look.  I'm going to guess from pictures on the blog "Kelly Bakes" that it was supposed to be much less soupy than my version.  In her pictures, the dish looks like a soft, slightly under baked version of cornbread.

Luckily Blockette did not see this disaster.  She would have likened it to something the cat leaves behind after it makes a hurky noise. 

The dish tasted OK.  Mrblocko wouldn't even try it.  The consistency of the dish just threw him.  It was a bit much for me as well, so the dessert met an untimely end with the garbage can.

I can't figure out where I went wrong.  The original dish looks and sounds great.  If you'd like to attempt the dish, head on over to Kelly Bakes for the recipe.  Let me know if you have better luck than I did!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Seventeen: Pumpkin Choc Chip Granola Bars

I don't know what it is with granola bars.  I seem to have the worst luck.  They never want to cook properly, or they just plain fall apart.

These Pumpkin Granola Bars from In Katrina's Kitchen were no exception to the rule.  It took 40 min for the bars to set up, when the original recipe calls for a bake time of a mere 25 min. 

The strange thing about this is that the one substitution I made should have aided in the setting up process of these bars.  Instead of honey I used homemade maple flavored pancake syrup.  This syrup was made with mostly corn syrup, something that sets up much better than honey. 

Go figure.

Once I baked the bars for 40 min I thought if I let them cool completely they would set up how I wanted them to.  When they reached room temp I cut them into 12 bars.  12 very floppy bars that barely held together.


So back into the oven these little guys went. I placed them, spread out on a cookie sheet. They stayed in the oven for another 30 min, flipping them once at the halfway point. 

This extra bake time made them crispy on the outside.  I was afraid they would be hard all the way through like a biscotti.  Nope!  They were quite soft in the center.  Yay!  No one was going to break a tooth on them.

Sadly, by this point I was so frustrated with the bars that I no longer wanted to eat them.  Luckily my family were happy to oblige.  They made a great treat for Mrblocko and Blockette's lunches.

I'm posting the recipe as is from the site and you can decide if you need/want to add any additional bake times.

Pumpkin Granola Bars from In Katrina's Kitchen
2 c old fashioned oats
1/2 c chopped walnuts (I used toasted pecans and almond pieces)
1/2 c ground flax seed
1 t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t cloves
1/2 c pumpkin
1/2 c applesauce
1/2 c honey or maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Pre-heat 350F and spray 8x8 pan. In large bowl, mix dry ingred: oats thru cloves. In med bowl, mix wet ingred: pumpkin thru vanilla. Slowly add wet to the ingredients til combined. Add chips and pour into prepared pan. Bake 25 min til lt brown. Let cool completely before slicing into 12 or 16 pieces

Friday, October 17, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Sixteen: Cheater Pumpkin Cider

I got the idea for this cider over at She Knows.  I think I did an excellent job of completely butchering the recipe!  The original recipe calls for real apple cider and a whole cinnamon stick, two things of which I had neither of.

Occasionally, I'll add a bit of butter and brown sugar to apple cider for a caramel-y twist.  I thought it'd be a great addition to this drink as well.

Finally, the last change I made to this recipe was omitting the rum.  The only kind of Rum we have is Malibu.  That's not exactly the type of flavor combination I was striving for!

If you're into a caramel-y pumpkin-y apple cider, but are short on time, this is the drink for you!

Cheater Pumpkin Spice Cider for One adapted loosely from She Knows
1 packet of Alpine Spiced Apple Cider
1/4 c pumpkin puree
1 1/2 c water
1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
3/4 t pumpkin pie spice

Place all ingredients in small pan and heat until all ingredients are combined and warmed.  Top with Whipped cream if you're feelin' fancy.  Makes two small coffee cups or one giant mega mug.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

30 Days of Pumpkin-Day Fifteen: Pumpkin Polenta

I've made grits or polenta once before in my life.  They were just ok.  I thought they were much better chilled, diced and fried the next day.

This Pumpkin Sage Polenta from Kitchen Confidante has made a grits convert out of me. 

Ew.  I'm such a messy cook.  Look at that burner pan.  Yikes!

I made a half batch because I wasn't sure I'd like the flavor combinations along with the texture of the grits. These grits were nothing like the grits I made before.  The combination of the pumpkin, sage and Parmesan cheese takes a simple dish like grits to a whole new level.

The amazing thing was that the grits tasted better the first day than they did reheated/fried the second day!

I'm pretty sure this was because they never set up like normal polenta does. This was probably due to the extra moisture from the pumpkin.  Instead of sticks they were more like flat pancakes.  Ok, but not nearly as good as right from the pot that first day.

As I made a half batch, I ate the whole thing myself.  It was the perfect light lunch for me.  I was surprised at how filling the dish was.  I'll be making this dish again, but whether I'll share it with the rest of my family is up for debate!

Pumpkin Grits for Two from Kitchen Confidante
1.5 c water
1/2 c polenta (I used a medium coarse grind)
1.5 t kosher salt (I omitted because I thought the Parmesan would add enough salt)
1/4 c pumpkin puree
heaping 1/2 t sage-dried
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 T butter, cubed
In med pan, whisk water, polenta and salt, if using. Bring to boil over med heat, whisking periodically. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Add pumpkin and sage, and continue stirring 15-20 min, til polenta begins to pull away from sides of pan. Stir in parmesan cheese and butter. Serve immediately while hot and creamy. (You can place in a small pan and chill instead so you can slice it and fry it up.  Mine never really solidified properly though.)