Butterscotch Pudding

One of my favorite food blogs, The Bitten Word, held an October challenge that I joined. Zack and Clay’s blog focuses on the recipes in food magazines- the good, the bad and the ugly; and sharing what they tried with their readers. For their challenge, they wanted to try cooking through EVERY recipe in EVERY food magazine in October. The ‘Super Awesome Cover-to-Cover Recipe Challenge’ and my recipe came from Saveur- who in October, had a collection of the 150 best recipes. Mine was Butterscotch Pudding.

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When I think of butterscotch pudding, all I think of are butterscotch chips, and all I can hope for, is for it to taste like something caramelly with bourbon. Unfortunately, this recipe has nothing like that. I will say that it is incredibly easy- you heat the cream and flavorings together, add gelatin and pour over butterscotch chips, then blender it into a smooth pudding that sets in the fridge. The downsides: the butterscotch flavor is based on butterscotch chips, that make the back of my throat feel scratchy with sugar. Also, the amount of gelatin in the recipe should be halved at least; the final texture was akin to hard Jello. It also calls for a caramel sauce to be poured over the top, which I skipped as the pudding is certainly sweet enough. The one thing I definitely wouldn’t change? The sea salt on top.

Butterscotch Pudding
Serves 8

2 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. powdered gelatin
10 oz. high-quality butterscotch chips, such as Guittard
2 tbsp. bourbon
4 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved

FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
⅔ cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tsp. kosher salt
Flaked sea salt, to taste

1. Make the pudding: Combine milk, gelatin, and 1 tbsp. water in a bowl; let sit to soften gelatin, about 5 minutes. Place butterscotch and bourbon in a blender; set aside.

2. Boil cream, both sugars, salt, and vanilla seeds in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin dissolves.

3. Pour into blender, let sit for 5 minutes, and purée until smooth. Divide among eight 6-oz. serving glasses. Chill until set, about 4 hours.

4. Make the caramel sauce: Heat sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber. Meanwhile, boil cream and kosher salt in a 2-qt. saucepan. Pour into caramel; cook, stirring, until smooth. Let cool; divide sauce among set pudding cups. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt before serving.

Pumpkin Bread, round 1

I came across this Bon Appetit article on their brilliant blog, 11 Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin. Pumpkin is how some people judge the changing of the seasons, usually with a Starbucks pumpkin latte. My season change litmus test is pumpkin bread, and I picked up a few cans one weekend to start experimenting.

The first part of experimentation was to figure out how to open a can without a can opener…..because I recently moved into my first apartment with no roommates.  And that means no sharing kitchen supplies, which is both a blessing and a curse in moments like this. But the most desperate persistent always wins, right?

This was a good first try for the season, very lightly sweetened with honey and used only whole wheat pastry flour, which meant that it was on the healthy side. It had a decent flavor, though was a bit flat. I’d make it again, though I do question the odd baking soda and hot water at the end….I don’t think it had any leavening action.

 

 

Honey Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Cookie and Kate

 

Ingredients
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and beat well.
3. Stir in pumpkin purée and vanilla, then the salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in flour, just until combined.
4. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then mix briefly into batter until it is evenly distributed. Spread batter into the greased loaf pan.
5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Be sure to check that the bread is done baking by inserting a toothpick in the top. It should come out clean. If the top of the bread jiggles when you pull it out of the oven, it’s NOT done! Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 5 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Roasted Sausages and Grapes

Its been a while.

That is probably the biggest understatement I’ve made since my last birthday, which coincidentally was the same time I quit writing. We quit writing. Some big live changes have happened- a new job, new places to live, new friends, new experiences, new recipes.

I love Sunday dinners. To me, they are a last chance to soak up the weekend, put as much or as little as you need into it, one last chance to get it all out in the open before starting a new week. Sometimes I prefer to spend them alone, eating a cheese plate all by myself in front of some weird Netflix obsession (Felicity, lately).

Sometimes I like to go all out though- set the table, fill water glasses, cut flowers, and spend extra time on delicious food to share with friends or family. This Sunday was one of those, those this meal was incredibly simple. Start cooking polenta a little before everyone arrives, sear sausages while the wine breathes, and then while everything roasts in the oven, take a seat for a catch up session.

Pull out one of your pretty white platters that rarely gets used, because its nice to spoil your friends a little. Eat and linger over the last bits of a salad. Then pull out the last of your birthday cake to share, and welcome Monday.

 

 

Roasted Sausages and Grapes
Serves 4

 

2 pounds of sausage- I used Roasted Garlic Chicken sausage from Trader Joes, 2 packages for a total of 10 links
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of grapes- I used red grapes
olive oil
1/3 cup white wine

 

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Heat a cast iron skillet or oven safe skillet over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to coat.

3. Sear sausages until brown on 2 sides- this is to begin cooking and give them some color.

4. Once browned, add grapes, turn to coat everything in oil and add a sprinkle of salt.

5. Roast for 15-20 minutes until grapes begin to burst, and sausages are cooked through.

6. Remove skillet from oven, and set sausages and grapes on serving platter.

7. Deglaze pan with wine wine- pour it in, scrape up the browned bits on the bottom and simmer until thickened and reduced. Pour over the meat.

Pour over polenta, rice, grits, etc

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans

 

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Cafe Jonah

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Recipe Short: 5 Minute (Raspberry Chocolate) Cheesecake

Srsly. Just five minutes to throw together this incredibly rich and beautiful dessert. No baking, no chilling, just fix, mix and eat.

5 Minute Cheesecake
Makes two servings

1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese (no need to let it soften)
1 tablespoon of powdered sugar
Vanilla extract
Half a bar of good quality dark chocolate
Assorted berries

1. In a mixing bowl, smush together mascarpone, sugar and vanilla.

2. Divide cheese mixture into individual dishes or ramekins, spreading it into a cup-like shape.

3. Chop chocolate into thin shards. Drop into the cheese cup, and add berries to finish it off.

Savory Watermelon Salad

Summer fruits shine so brightly, they deserve to take the main stage. To not be dismissed as sweets or snacks. To be eaten at every possible opportunity, because before you know it, we’ll be back to cold storage apples.

Peaches have made the successful transition, just pair a Georgia beauty with tomatoes, goat cheese, or caramelized onions. But that other southern summer hallmark, the watermelon, is a bit more unexpected. Last summer, we put it to the grill. Now, salty cheese balances the delicate sweetness.

Savory Watermelon Salad

Half a watermelon
2 ounces of crumbled feta
Handful of mint or basil (or herb of choice)

1. Chunk the watermelon. Silver the mint or basil.

2. Mix. Serve!

 

Variations on the theme:

– Drizzle with olive oil (not necessary, but adds a nice flavor)
– Add carmelized onions & sauteed garlic
– Add green onions
– Add chunks of tomato

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