Judi

“Pumpkin” Ravioli Soup

“Pumpkin” Ravioli Soup

Fall is the time for cooking with pumpkin and other winter squash. I make plenty of pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin soup, and so on.  I often am actually using butternut or Hubbard squash in place of the pumpkin.

This was the case with this soup. I have made it with pumpkin before, but this time I had a butternut squash, so that is what I used. Many winter squash can be used in place of pumpkin in cooking.

After cooking up one of my butternut squash, I was looking for a way to use some of it in a soup. I decided to use the squash as a filling for ravioli, then just put the ravioli in the soup.

I played with the spices and added some butter to the filling, too. It needed that extra bit of fat for flavor. It worked well. I just cooked the ravioli right in the soup, but you could cook and eat the ravioli without soup at all.

You would cook the ravioli in water. Once they are tender, drain and top with the sauce of your choice. I like brown butter with a little sage, but even a red sauce would be nice with these ravioli. Here is the recipe- for both the ravioli and the soup.

“Pumpkin” Ravioli Soup

Ravioli:
24 round won ton/dumpling wrappers
Filling:
1 cup cooked pumpkin or winter squash
2 T. softened butter
1 T. chopped parsley
1 t. paprika
1 t. nutmeg
½ t. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne

Soup:
2 T. oil or butter
2 onions, peeled and sliced
6 c. stock- chicken or veggie
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 c. thinly sliced collard greens
Salt and pepper
Dash of hot sauce
Fresh chopped parsley

Combine ravioli filling. Adjust seasonings. Place a rounded tablespoonful of filling on one of the wrappers. Dampen edges with water and place another wrapper on top. Seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Continue with remaining filling and wrappers- you should have 12 raviolis in all. Set aside while making the soup.
Heat oil or butter in a pot and add the onions. Cook until onions are tender. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add carrots and collards and cook until veggies are tender. Add seasonings and bring soup to a boil. Add the raviolis and let the soup simmer gently until they are cooked- about 4 minutes. Stir a little to keep them from sticking, but gently. They get a lot bigger and are sort of delicate. Transfer gently with a large spoon to soup bowls and ladle over the soup. Serves 4- 6.

Coconut Cracker Snacks

Coconut Cracker Snacks

If you are craving something sweet and pressed for time these are really a fun snack to make. Super easy, they are also a great recipe for kids to make.

The base is saltine crackers topped with butter, brown sugar, coconut and cinnamon. They are ready in just a few minutes.  Sweet and just a little salty, too. You could use chopped nuts in place of the coconut if you prefer.

They are super crunchy, too.

They are great served alone, or with ice cream.

Store in a cool, dry place to keep them crunchy.

 

  Coconut Cracker Snacks

36 saltine crackers
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 c. coconut
1 t. cinnamon
Cover a baking sheet with foil. Place the crackers, touching, side by side in a single layer. Melt butter in microwave, then add sugar and heat together 1 minute on high. Stir butter and sugar mixture together until smooth and drizzle this over the crackers. Combine coconut and cinnamon and then sprinkle the coconut over the crackers. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until coconut is toasted. Cool on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Crackers will easily break apart from each other. Makes 36.

Arrange crackers on a baking sheet

Arrange crackers on a baking sheet

Drizzle crackers with the butter/brown sugar mixture

Drizzle crackers with the butter/brown sugar mixture

Sprinkle on the coconut and bake until coconut is toasted

Sprinkle on the coconut and bake until coconut is toasted

My Favorite Apple Cake

My Favorite Apple Cake

I have posted this cake recipe in the past. It truly is my favorite apple cake ever.  I had a request for this recipe yesterday, so here it is. Seemed like a nice recipe to publish on the first day of Autumn.

I’ve had this recipe since I was a kid. My Aunt Josie gave it to my mom. Not sure where she got, it but it has been a family favorite since we first made it. She called it Jewish Apple Cake. Not sure why. It’s just what we all called it.

It’s a simple recipe that comes out moist and flavorful. I normally bake it in a 13×9- inch pan but it can be baked in a Bundt pan. While the recipe calls for cinnamon sugar- I sometimes add a little fresh ground nutmeg, too. I also like to use olive oil or even avocado oil in this cake. It gives it a really nice flavor.

Almost any apple works in this recipe- except maybe Red Delicious. Perfect for dessert or even served with brunch.  Who am I kidding? I would eat this cake for breakfast.

Note: The batter is really thick. Don’t think you’ve done something wrong.

 

Jewish Apple Cake

1 c. oil, I use olive oil or avocado oil
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/3 c. orange or lemon juice
Combine above ingredients and set aside.
Mix together the following dry ingredients. Make a well and stir in egg mixture to make a stiff batter.

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
¼ t. salt

Mix ½ c. sugar and 2 t. cinnamon and set aside

Peel, core and slice 4 medium apples.
Grease a 9×13 inch pan or a Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Place ½ of batter in prepared pan. Arrange apple slices on batter and sprinkle on ½ of the cinnamon mixture. Pour on remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.

Bake 1-1 ½ hours. One hour for 13×9-inch pan and 1 1/2 hours for Bundt. I find that sometimes it takes less than an hour- check at 50 minutes.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

I make broccoli salad pretty often. It is one of my favorites. Sometimes, I like to switch it up a little by adding cauliflower. The result is  a salad that has a great mixed of flavors, colors and textures.

The addition of bacon also adds a wonderful smoky flavor. Certainly, feel free to omit the bacon for a vegetarian salad. With or without the bacon, this is a great salad.

Unseasonably warm weather put me in the mood for a salad, over perhaps soup, for dinner last night.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into bite- sized pieces

2 broccoli crowns, cut into bite- sized pieces

1 sweet pepper, seeded and chopped

1 c. shredded cheese- I used a sharp cheddar

8- 10 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

1/2 cup of mayo – or more according to your taste

salt and pepper to taste

Steam the cauliflower and broccoli until just tender/crisp. About 5 minutes in a microwave steamer, 6 minutes in a conventional steamer. Place in a bowl to cool down then combine with remaining ingredients and stir to combine well. Adjust seasonings, if needed. Serves 6-8.

Classic Apple Galette

Apple Galette

If you like apple pie,  you should like apple galette. A galette is made by rolling out your crust, adding filling and folding up the edges. No pie pan involved.

I actually find a galette easier to make than pie. You don’t have to try to roll out your dough to fit into the pie pan. Nor does you dough have to be rolled into a perfect circle.

That takes a lot of pressure off, if rolling a perfect circle of dough is not your best talent. I must confess to liking its rustic charm. I make my own crust, but you can used purchased crusts, if you prefer.

You can serve your galette with ice cream, whipped cream or dusted with powdered sugar. You can make it with other fruits, as well. Any fruit pie can become a galette.

 

 

Apple Galette

Flaky Pie Crust

2 c. flour

1 t. salt

3/4 c. butter, chilled

1 T. cider vinegar

4-5 T. cold water

Combine flour and salt and cut in butter. Toss in vinegar and water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough holds together. Use a fork to toss the ingredients together and as soon as the mixture holds together stop adding water. Makes 2. Chill well before using.

Filling:

5-6 medium apples- I used Jonathan, Gala and Macintosh

2/3 c. sugar- plus extra for sprinkling

3 T. cornstarch

1 T. cinnamon

1 T. Lemon juice, plus extra for treating the apples

1 t. nutmeg

1 t. vanilla

1/2 t. salt

Prepare dough. Roll half the dough into a 10-inch circle- repeat with remaining dough. Keep covered with plastic wrap until ready to use. Peel and core apples and slice thin. Place apples in water with lemon juice added to prevent browning. Drain apple slices well and place in a bowl. Toss with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and seasonings. Place one of the crusts on a baking sheet. Pile half of the prepared apples on the center of the crust. You should have about a 2-inch circle of dough around the edges that is uncovered. Fold edges of the crust up over the apples pressing lightly to hold in place. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Repeat with the remaining crust and apples. You will have a little liquid in the bowl from the apple mixture- save that for now. Place the galettes in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down heat to 350 and bake for another 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. While galettes are baking take the liquid left from the apples and cook in a small saucepan until thickened- it will take a minute or two. This will be used to glaze the galettes. When galettes come out of the oven brush the apples with the thickened  glaze.  Cool on wire rack. Makes 2.

Fruit Tarts in Hudson

Fruit Tarts

I started teaching after school cooking classes in Hudson. I’ll be working with the same 20 kids for the next month, or so. They are great. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Since it was warm yesterday, I thought it would be fun to cook with fruit.

The kids made fruit smoothies, fruit fondue- with yogurt- and fruit kebobs. BTW, kids really like putting fruit on sticks.

The highlight was when I let them know we were making miniature fruit tarts. We don’t have an oven in the room we use for class, so I baked the tarts shells at home. The kids filled them with pudding and then assorted fruits. They really enjoyed making them. Some didn’t want to eat them, so they could show their families what they had made.

Here are some of the pictures. The fruit tart recipe follows.

 

Eva’s Fruit Tarts

3 c. flour

1 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 c. butter

3 eggs

2 pkts. Yeast

½ c. warm milk

Filling:

Pudding or lemon curd plus assorted fruits for topping the tarts.

 

In mixing bowl, combine flour with baking powder and salt. Cut butter into flour until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.  Place eggs in a small bowl and beat until smooth. In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add to egg mixture and stir to combine. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined. If mixture is sticky, add a small amount of flour. Roll dough out on floured board. Thinner the better, as this dough will puff some when baked. Cut into circles to fit small tart pans. Press into tart pans. Bake tart shells at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Thinner crusts and smaller tarts shells will bake quicker.  Remove tart shells from the oven and cool before filling. Spoon a little pudding or lemon curd in each tart, then top with assorted fresh fruits. I like berries and grapes. Makes about 4-5 dozen tiny tart shells.

 

Cabbage with Apples

Cabbage with Apples

 I think cabbage is underrated. It is such a versatile vegetable. Cabbage is good in both hot and cold dishes, it isn’t expensive, and cabbage is good for you. Big heads of cabbage are at all the local farm stands this time of year.

So are apples.

I was looking for a side dish for a chicken dinner the other night and I decided to start with cabbage. Since I had a pretty good sized head of green cabbage, and just a small piece of red cabbage, I mixed the two together. I added cider vinegar, sugar and seasonings. Then I added apples to round out the dish. It had a sweet and sour flavor that went well with the meal. In many ways, cabbage,  with its earthy “greenness”, pairs perfectly with sweet/tart apples.

I would also serve this as a side dish with duck, beef,  pork or even a lamb roast. It would go well with any of them. You could use any color cabbage for this dish- or combine colors, as I did. Perfect for a Fall dinner.

  Cabbage with Apples

2-3 T. oil

2-3 onions, sliced thin

8 c. chopped cabbage, any color

1 c. stock- chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. sugar

1 t. celery seeds

3 apples, peeled , cored and diced

salt and hot pepper sauce to taste

Heat oil in skillet and cook onion until tender and a little wilted. Add cabbage, stock, vinegar, sugar and celery seeds and cook until cabbage is tender. Most of the liquid will evaporate. Add the apples and cook until apples are just heated through. Season with salt and hot sauce and serve. Serves 5-6.

Butternut Squash Saute

Butternut Squash Saute

Winter squash season is here, and I could not be happier. I love the variety of squash (and pumpkin) at the markets this time of year. They are both beautiful and tasty.

This dish is a saute of butternut squash with onions, garlic, carrots and finished off with black sesame seeds. It makes a great, seasonal side dish.

I used butternut squash, but you could use any number of hard squashes, or even pumpkin. If you are looking for a different way to cook some of those squash- try this dish. I think you might be surprised at just how good it is.

When cutting up hard squashes, you have to be careful not to cut yourself. A round, hard  squash, with a tough outer skin can be a recipe for disaster. I trim a small slice off one end of my squash, creating a flat side. Then I lay it down on that side, to make it more stable for cutting. With the butternut, once it was sliced on one side, I was able to cut in in half pretty easily.

To peel a hard squash, so you can cut it into cubes, and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. You will need to run the peeler over the skin a few times to get off all of it. Then cut into cubes.

 

Butternut Squash Sauté

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 cups cubed fresh butternut, acorn or Hubbard squash or pumpkin

1/2 cup grated carrot

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons black sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onions begin to brown. Stir in the squash, carrot, soy sauce, salt, and pepper; cook, covered, another 5 to 7 minutes, until squash is tender. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Apple Cider Sorbet

Apple Cider Sorbet

I’ve had my share of warm apple cider, but I never froze it before. This sorbet is such a nice dessert option. Light and naturally sweet, it is the perfect finish for any meal.

The cider is boiled down, to concentrate the sweetness. Then fresh apples are added and pureed. The mixture gets frozen, then pureed one more time- to really smooth out the texture. Cinnamon sticks impart their flavor when boiled in the cider. You could certainly used ground cinnamon, if you don’t have cinnamon sticks. Feel free to add other spices, too, like allspice, cloves or ginger.

Over the years, I have made all sorts of sorbets. I love the light, creamy texture. I am not sure why I never tried to make an apple sorbet before. I am so glad I finally did. So many holiday meals are heavy. This is a nice, lighter option for dessert. It is also a nice dairy-free option, for those who can’t have ice cream.

 

Apple Cider Sorbet

 

6 c. apple cider

2 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks

3 apples, peeled, cored and diced

 

In saucepan place cider and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium high heat, uncovered, until cider has cooked down to 2 cups. Remove cinnamon sticks and discard them. Cool cider and combine in food processor with the apples. Puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a container with a lid. Freeze until solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften for a few minutes. Break into chunks and puree in processor, until smooth and creamy in texture. You can serve it right away, or return to freezer to enjoy later. Makes 1 quart of sorbet.

Cheesy Butternut Squash Bake

Cheesy Butternut Squash Bake

This butternut squash  dish was a big hit at dinner last night. Creamy, cheesy and naturally a little sweet from the squash, it came out even better than I had hoped. When I started making it, I had no idea what I was going to end up with.

I had some leftover cooked squash in the fridge.  I needed a side dish for dinner and wanted to use up the squash. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go savory or sweet. I mashed up the squash, then rummaged in my fridge. I had some sharp white cheddar cheese and shredded it up, adding it to the squash. I also had an open carton of whipping cream- so I added that, too. I was worried it would be too runny, so in went a little cornstarch. Then I added a generous amount of salt and fresh ground pepper.

I put the mixture in a baking dish and popped it in the oven. I took it out when it was all bubbly and hot. In hindsight, I could have given it a few more minutes to brown a little on the top.

Sometimes the hardest part about cooking is coming up with a name for a new dish. I wasn’t quite sure what to call this one. I thought about calling it a mash or maybe a casserole. I ended up with the innocuous name bake. Well, whatever you call it, I think you will love it as much as I did.

Feel free to play around with the cheese you use. Anything that melts will work. You can also use different winter squashes or pumpkin, too.

So here is the recipe.

 

 

Cheesy Butternut Squash Bake

 

4 c. cubed butternut squash

8 oz. shredded cheese- I used a sharp cheddar

½ c. heavy whipping cream- or half and half

2 T. cornstarch

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Cook the cubed squash until tender. You can steam, boil or roast. If boiling, be sure to drain well. Place cooked squash in a bowl and mash. It is ok if there are still some small lumps. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Place in a baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly. Serves 4-6.