Butternut Squash Soup

I can’t believe it’s the end of August; I love the summer so much! The older I get the faster the seasons seem to pass. I heard the crickets loud as ever last week and before I know it they will be sneaking out of the cracks and greeting me in the wee hours of the morning, just before I’m off to work. In the next few weeks my husband and I will try to visit the Jersey shore as many times as we can fit into our schedules. But the time will pass quickly and fall will be upon us. Aside from summer, I love fall almost as much. I love the baking, our trip to Pittsburg to try and catch the fall foliage and visit my husband’s childhood home town. Pulling out the sweaters and lighting the fireplace for the first time on a chilly night. It’s so much fun Spotting the first pumpkins and gourds at the local farm market. Going on a hay ride with your family and pulling out recipes for favorite soups and stews. With all of these things to look forward to I can open my mind and embrace the upcoming season. Sundays are good days for me to be in the kitchen. After church I love to come home and make something special for my family. Today with the realization that the end of summer is about a month away, I thought I’d try making butternut squash soup. I’ve never made butternut squash soup so it will be a time of testing for me. I have had it at restaurants and last year at a friend’s house. I really enjoyed it each time I tasted it. I knew I would love to make it for my family homemade. I scouted the internet for recipes. There are many! I saw recipes that boiled the squash and vegetables and others that roasted them. I’m a big fan of roasted vegetables. Roasting just seems to bring so much flavor out of any vegetable. The other ingredient I wanted in the soup was apple. This is sure sounding like a fall soup now! I consulted my flavor bible book and decided to use bay leaf, nutmeg and cinnamon to add flavor. I also added an over flowing tablespoon of pure maple syrup to add a little more sweetness. To finish the soup I added a good dash of light cream and fresh grated nutmeg, just a dash. For a garnish on my soup I toasted some pumpkin seeds and sprinkled them on top. My house smelled amazing during this process I must say. My husband was kindly yelling out smells good in here! I just love that. Cooking and baking is such a blessing to me when I can share it with others. That’s what makes it a joyous task. Well, after about an hour and a half I brought my soup out to my husband for tasting. He really enjoyed it, as did I. All the flavors and ratios worked well together. I would definitely serve this to company. I would however like to make this soup a few more times and try a few different recipes before I give it a place of honor in my recipe box. As much as I will miss summer I’m looking forward to fall and all the fun and yummy things that come with it. God Bless and enjoy your day!

DSCF6887DSCF6888DSCF6891DSCF6895DSCF6892DSCF6897

Butternut Squash Soup

2 lbs. butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 large granny smith apple, peeled and cored, cut into 1 inch cube

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1 inch cube

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Dash of cream

Fresh grated nutmeg, optional

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

On a baking tray evenly spread out the prepared squash, apple, and onion. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Pour olive oil over the vegetables and apple. Bake 30-35 minutes until the squash is very tender. When done roasting the vegetables pour them into a saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth, the bay leaf, and the nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle boil and heat through and let the spices marry. About 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup and add the remaining broth until you have a nice consistency to the soup. Finish the soup with a good dash of cream stirring to combine. Grate a little fresh nutmeg over top. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

DSCF6896

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

Au gratin Potatoes

I remember the first time I tasted Au gratin potatoes. My friend Deby told me about a little home turned into a restaurant. It was a few towns over from where I lived in Washington State.  I remember it was very small and crowded. Deby told me that she loved the Au gratin potatoes and said that’s was her favorite dish when she went there. I decided to order it as well. Just one bite and I knew I would be baking them at home. They were so creamy and buttery. I tasted a good bit of garlic as well. I know there was cheese on top too, but I chose to forgo the extra richness. I sprinkle a little fresh thyme on top of mine. These potatoes make a great side dish at any special meal.

100_1197

100_1198

100_1202

100_1203

100_1204

100_1208

100_1213

Au gratin potatoes

6 russet potatoes, (I have used Yukon gold as well)

3 large garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, diced, extra to butter your dishes

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

Salt and pepper

Fresh thyme leaves

Preheat oven 375 degrees

4 round baking dishes, 4 x 1 1/2, or 1 large baking dish

Rub these dishes with some of the extra butter

Measure the cream and milk out in a liquid measuring cup, stir together

Peel and rinse the potatoes, slice the potatoes about 1/8 inch of thickness

Put a layer of potatoes in the bottom of each dish, top with some of the minced garlic, then some pieces of the butter, and salt and pepper

Repeat this process 2 more times, you want 3 layers

Sprinkle the fresh thyme leaves over the last layer

Fill each baking dish with ½ cup of the cream and milk mixture, pour on the side of the dish so you don’t disturb the top

Place baking dishes on a baking sheet, cover with foil and bake 40 minutes

Remove the foil and bake, 20 minutes more the liquid will be thick and bubbly and the top will be brown and crusty looking

Let stand 5 minutes, and serve.

Enjoy!

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie

I work with a really sweet lady named Joyce. We have become really good friends over the last seven years; her birthday was a little over a week ago. Joyce had passed a comment at work that she didn’t want birthday cake this year she just wanted a pumpkin pie. I instantly was dreaming of that yummy creamy, spicy pumpkin pie I love to bake for Thanksgiving. Joyce and our dear friend Danny, and I always get together and celebrate each others birthdays. I would have no problem surprising our birthday girl with the pie. While I’m at it I thought I’ll make two, I have to have one to taste to make sure it’s just right!  I met Joyce in the parking lot before we went in and surprised her with the pie. I loved seeing the smile on her face. It’s so fun to surprise people! I’m sure she never thought her wish for pie instead of cake would come true. We all had a lovely dinner and gave Joyce gifts to celebrate her birthday. When I saw Joyce at work that week she told me she really loved the pie. Well so did my husband, son, and I. Our pie was gone in 24 hours I guess we love pumpkin pie! This will be one of the creamiest pumpkin pies you’ve ever had and the spices put it over the top.

Assemble the pie crust ingredients.
Assemble the pie crust ingredients.
Whisk the flour,and salt together.
Whisk the flour,and salt together.
Add the butter and shortening. Cut in with a pastry blender.
Add the butter and shortening. Cut in with a pastry blender.
It should look like this. Now with a fork slowly add water and the dough will start to stick together and form a ball. You may not need all the water.
It should look like this. Now with a fork slowly add water and the dough will start to stick together and form a ball. You may not need all the water.
Wrap the dough and refrigerate 1-1 1/2 hours.
Wrap the dough and refrigerate 1-1 1/2 hours.
Roll out the dough on a floured board.
Roll out the dough on a floured board.
Put the crust in the pie plate and crimp the edges.
Put the crust in the pie plate and crimp the edges.

Pie crust

Yields double crust

12 oz. Flour, 1 ½ cups

½ Teaspoon salt

4oz. Ice cold butter in cubes, 1 stick butter

4oz. Ice cold solid shortening, ½ cup, I use Crisco

2-4oz. Ice cold water

In a medium size bowl add the flour and the salt. Whisk together with a wire whisk to incorporate the flour and the salt. Add the ice cold butter, and shortening. Cut in with a pastry blender till pea size pieces appear. Add 1 tablespoon of the water at a time into the flour butter mixture. Only use enough water to bring the dough together into a ball. Shape the dough into 2 discs. I used the entire dough for my pie. I have a large pie plate and I like to have lots of dough to work with. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-1 1/2hours. Remove from plastic, flour a large cutting board or your counter top. Dust the rolling pin and roll out the dough it should fit your pie pan with at least 2 inches hanging over. Trim up the dough around the pie plate tuck it under all the way around and crimp the edges. Place the pie crust in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to get it cold again. This will help you get a flaky crust. Add your filling.

 

Assemble your ingredients for the filling.
Assemble your ingredients for the filling.
Beat egg with a whisk.
Beat egg with a whisk.
Add the evaporated milk, milk or cream which ever your using. Whisk together.
Add the evaporated milk, milk or cream which ever your using. Whisk together.
Add the spices and salt. whisk again.
Add the spices and salt. whisk again.
Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine all ingredients.
Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine all ingredients.
Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake 50-55 minutes longer.
Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake 50-55 minutes longer.
Serve the pie with fresh whipped cream and just a little sifting of ground cinnamon.
Serve the pie with fresh whipped cream and just a little sifting of ground cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie filling

2 Extra-large eggs

1 1/3 Evaporated milk, 1  12 oz can

½ Cup whole milk, or heavy cream

2/3 Cup granulated sugar

1/3 Cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 ½ Teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 Teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 Teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg

 1/8 Teaspoon ground cardamom

½ Teaspoon salt

2 Cups solid packed pumpkin, I use Libby’s

In a large bowl beat eggs with a wire whisk. Add the evaporated milk and the milk, or heavy cream whisk gently together. Add the sugar, spices, and salt whisk gently. Add the pumpkin and whisk again to combine all ingredients together. Pour into your prepared pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for the first 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40-55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack completely. Refrigerate the pie for 3-4 hours before serving. I serve the pie with whipped cream with a sprinkle of sifted cinnamon.

Thanks for stopping By!

 

Cream Scones with Currents

Cream scone with lemon curd and whipped cream
Cream scone with lemon curd and whipped cream

Scones are such a pleasure to make. I love that you can change up the liquid to get the taste and richness you would like. I have used whole milk, heavy cream, and butter milk depending on the scone I am making. The different flavors you can add are endless. Who wouldn’t love a moist and delicious  scone? I serve scones at all my tea parties not just because it traditional, but because I love them. At my recent fall tea party I made cream scones with currents and flavored them with vanilla. They were served with homemade lemon curd, strawberry jam, and freshly whipped cream. My favorite topping is the lemon curd with just a dollop of whipped cream on top. It’s so delicious. I always start with ice cold butter and I am careful not to handle the dough to much so I don’t make them tough. Scones need to be moist and tender. I add and egg wash and a sprinkling of sugar to dress them up.

I first assemble all my ingredients.
I first assemble all my ingredients.
I put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
I put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
I used a whisk to sift the dry ingredients together.
I used a whisk to sift the dry ingredients together.
I add the butter to the flour mixture.
I add the butter to the flour mixture.
Using a pastry blender I cut the butter into the flour mixture.
Using a pastry blender I cut the butter into the flour mixture.
I then add the currents
I then add the currents.
Toss them in the flour and butter mixture with my clean hands.
Toss them in the flour and butter mixture with my clean hands.
I add the cream and vanilla and gently stir till combine.
I add the cream and vanilla and gently stir till combine.
The dough will come together.
The dough will come together.
Turn the dough out onto floured board.Knead gently for just a few times.
Turn the dough out onto floured board.Knead gently for just a few times.
Form dough into a disk.
Form dough into a disk.
Roll out into a rectangle.
Roll out into a rectangle.
Turn the dough and fold over.
Turn the dough and fold over.
Roll the dough again into a rectangle.
Roll the dough again into a rectangle.
Cut scones with a biscuit cutter.
Cut scones with a biscuit cutter.
Bake at 400 degrees. Cool and serve.
Bake at 400 degrees. Cool and serve.
Scone topped with lemon curd and whipped cream.
Scone topped with lemon curd and whipped cream.
Enjoy!
Enjoy!

Cream Scones with Currents

2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ Cup granulated sugar

2 ½ Teaspoons baking powder

¼ Teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ Cup (12 tablespoons) ice cold unsalted butter, diced

¾ up to 1 Cup very cold heavy cream

1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ Cup currents

1 Egg for egg wash

1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar, to sprinkle on tops of scones

In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Use a wire whisk to sift the ingredients together. Add the ice cold butter chunks to the flour mixture and using a pastry knife cut the butter into the flour mixture till it looks like little peas. Add the currents; toss them into the flour mixture with your clean hands. Add the milk and vanilla extract. Stir with a wooden spoon just till combine. Turn dough out on a flour board. Knead just a few times to make a disk. Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough into a 12 inch rectangle shape. Then fold the dough turn it and roll it again you’re looking for a thickness of a ¼   inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the scones. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 17-20 minutes.

Thanks for stopping!