Monday, November 22, 2010

Mama's Comin'...

and I can't bake.


She does have a taste for ice cream, though.

What if I combined Punk'n Pie with ice cream...



Punk'n Pie Ice Cream

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 Tbl maple syrup

Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix reeeeeeaallly well.  I recommend using a food processor or an immersion blender.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker and mix that goodness up for 25 minutes (or according to the manufacturers instructions).  Spoon into a separate container and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with ginger snaps.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Aneeda Baker

I am very susceptible to suggestion.

Once I see something, I have a tendency to glom onto it and not let go until I have either obtained, mastered, or exhausted it.  For two solid weeks I have been whipping my hair back and forth thanks to Willow Smith.  When I saw Iron Man, I flew around the hallways at school "shooting" students with imaginary blasters.

And anything Ina Garten makes, I must make as soon as possible.

I can roast a chicken with the volume turned up.  I can whip up a fabulous pavlova.  I can even make an elegantly simple floral arrangement grouping like colored flowers of varying sizes suitable for the entire gay population of the Hamptons.

But for some reason, I cannot bake.

I have tried to make Ina's friggin Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Frosting, and each time they turned out like delicious little undigestible hockey pucks guaranteed to stove you up for at least a three days.   I have used the paddle attachment as the Ina has instructed.  I have used an electric mixer. I have even mixed the entire concoction by hand to ensure I don't over mix the damn things.  And still, tiny little ginger scented doorstops.
Gastroterrorism in cupcake form.

I have decided that the improviser in me refuses to bow to the rigid constraints of the baker's regime and have abandoned all hope of ever winning the dessert round on Chopped.

If you have any tips on how to make these things edible, I would love to hear 'em.

Please note that I would never besmirch the name of Ina Garten and take full responsibility for my failure.  I am not worthy.

But I would love to live in her barn.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back to life


Earlier I stated that in my "other life" I am a high school theatre teacher.  Given my two month absence from my haven of cooking on the interweb, it has become painfully clear that my other life has taken over my other, other life.

Tonight, I walked in from work, journals to grade, scenes to evaluate, end of term comments to write, a (gulp) middle school play to cast, and said, "Screw it."

And I decided to cook.

So I made a bee line for my Gourmet Today cookbook to find my fave fall recipe, Chicken with Black Pepper-Maple Sauce (p. 409), and I dove right in to spatchcoking the $#!* out of that chicken.  Shoulders fell as autumn aromas filled my tiny kitchen.  Anxiety left as I roasted potatoes with fresh rosemary, garlic and lemon wedges.  And, spirits lifted as I finally perfected a squash soup recipe (all previous attempts looking like something akin to gravy).

And I remembered that my soul is always brighter when I'm dancing around a soup pot.

Curried Acorn Squash Soup

This soup is a fantastic combo of sweet and savory.  If you've got it, top off each bowl with a bit of black salt. It cuts through the sweetness of the apples and makes it look real purty like.

2 cups onion, chopped
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium acorn squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
3 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl curry powder
1 tsp galangal
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp groung corriander
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup apple cider
salt 'n pepper

In a large stock pot, heat oil and curry powder for about 1 minute.  Add onions, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and stir until coated.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add carrots,garlic, and remaining spices, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in squash and apples, cover, and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, until squash begins to become tender.  Add stock and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, add cider, and simmer for ten minutes.  Off the heat, puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth.