October 28, 2013

Stuffed Carnival Sqaush Recipe

I am very excited to share this recipe with you today. I haven't enjoyed anything ad much as I enjoyed this in quite some time. At the pumpkin patch last weekend, I picked up a lovely carnival squash. They're similar to the acorn squash in size, with a slightly sweeter flesh.

They also look lovely!
I didn't know what to do with it at first. I looked around for recipes, but ultimately decided I had to make it stuffed. Many of the recipes were stuffed with sausage, which I just don't care for. Then I remembered a Lean Cuisine I had for lunch recently. They make a very tasty, very fall dish called Apple Cranberry Chicken. I like it a lot, and knew something similar would be the perfect mate for this squash.

I looked it up on their website, to see what they put in it, and sort of extrapolated from there. The only part I really had to guess on was the sauce, and it was simple enough to make with just a little guessing. The wheat berries are delicious, but I had a hard time finding them. I didn't even know the existed before I bought that lunch. I got mine at Whole Foods. You could definitely skip them if you can't find any, but I would recommend you try them if you can.

This is a little complicated to do all at once, so it'll definitely give your kitchen a work out. I would recommend cooking the wheat berries and pasta beforehand, but it's perfectly do-able all at once. You'll just be a little bit busy.

Stuffed Carnival Squash
Makes 4 servings

What You'll Need:
4 carnival squash (acorn squash works, too)
1 apple, any variety
2 carrots
2 cups green beans
1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups apple cider
1 cup dry orzo pasta
1 cup dry wheat berries
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbs lemon juice

The Process:
     Put on a pot to boil 3 cups of water, add the wheat berries, cover, and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 1 hour, until tender.
     Carefully slice each squash in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds and pulp. Place face down in a baking sheet with 1/4 of water and bake at 375° for 45-60 minutes, until tender.
     Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook as directed, then drain. Simmer cider, lemon, and spices together and let reduce.
Meanwhile, slice vegetables and apple in to bite sized pieces. 
     20 minutes before the squash is finished, add vegetables, apple, and cranberries to sauce pot. Let cook on low heat until squash is ready.
     Toss pasta, wheat berries, and vegetable mixture together. Spoon into hot squash halves and serve immediately.

I want to make this every day.

October 19, 2013

Basic Bread Pudding Recipe

Been a little while, hasn't it? Sorry about that, life has just gotten in the way the last few months. Long story short, I'm a full time student again in addition to working full time. But I think I'm in a good position to get back to blogging (and crafting) regularly again. To kick things off, I have a delightful recipe that I love to make in the fall: bread pudding.

For me, bread pudding is always a fall dish, I rarely make it any other time of the year. My first experience with them was when I made a pumpkin bread pudding, but sometimes you really crave the basics. This recipe is easy to do and you don't need anything special to do it. You probably have all the necessary ingredients on hand already.

What You'll Need:

5-6 cups stale bread, cubed
4 cups milk
3 eggs, beaten in a small bowl
1/2 a stick of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla (yes, tablespoons, it's most of the flavor)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg

The Process:
Preheat your oven to 375°F. In medium heat in a large pot, combine the milk, butter, sugars, vanilla, and spices. Heat until sugar is dissolved, butter is melted, and spices are well incorporated about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Take a 1/2 cup of your pudding mixture and slowly pour it into the bowl with the beaten eggs, whisking the entire time. Repeat once more. Then add the whole mixture back into the pot and mix well. This tempers the eggs so you can add them into the hot liquid without ruining the texture. It's a cool biology thing involving denaturing proteins, but basically you just don't want the heat from the liquid to cook the eggs. Same principle applies when making custards, too.

Put your cubed bread into a 9x13 or equivalent baking dish. Pour the whole pot over the bread, letting it soak in for a few minutes. Then put into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until set. The top should be a little brown.

It's best to eat it the same day or the day after you make it. Bread pudding doesn't keep too well. You can refrigerate leftovers overnight and heat them up in the microwave.

Now, if you have fresh bread that you'd like to turn into bread pudding, you absolutely can. I like to cube it up, put it on a baking sheet, and bake it on a low heat, 200-250 degrees, for 15 minutes, checking it and stirring halfway through. Dry but not hard is the key here. Let it cool a few minutes and then it's ready to use.
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