Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Roasting a Pumpkin

Let me be straight – it is much easier to just go to the store and buy yourself a can of pumpkin.  However, it’s pretty badass awesome to roast your own pumpkin and puree it.  Personally, I think homemade pumpkin puree tastes more pumpkiny, if that’s even a word.  Canned pumpkin has a bit of a weird aftertaste that homemade pumpkin puree doesn’t have.

Here it goes!  First, cut the pumpkin in half and cut off the stem.

Second, scoop out the seeds and the orange stuff in the middle.  If you want, separate the seeds from the orange stuff and look at the bottom for directions on how to roast the seeds.

Third, spritz the pumpkin and the foil lined baking sheet with olive oil so nothing sticks.  Turn the pumpkins cut side down and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the pumpkin is browned and soft.

Fourth, let cool until you can handle the pumpkin.

Fifth, peel the skin off the pumpkin and place the insides in a bowl.  Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

Sixth, (this is important) place 2 sheets of paper towel inside of a fine sieve, and pour the pumpkin inside.  Let this drain for about 2 hours.  This will drain about 1/2 cup of extra liquid out of the pumpkin puree. 

Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Finally, make something delicious with freshly pureed pumpkin!!!  Here are some ideas:

Here is the bottom!  To roast pumpkin seeds:

  1. Clean all the orange goop around the pumpkin seeds and rinse well under water.
  2. Let dry over night on a cookie sheet. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F and spritz the seeds with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You can adjust flavors here to your liking.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until they start to brown.
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Fruit Curd

Let me start by saying I know this is lame post.  Fruit curd?  Who cares?  The reason fruit curd receives its own post is two-fold: one, this is an easy post to write, edit, photograph, and two, it’s a critical step for Friday’s post.  Blogging is a lot more work/time than I anticipated.  The hardest part is not the baking or thinking about what I’m going to make next.  The hardest part is not the photos or the photo editing, I’m actually starting to enjoy and appreciate the process.  The hardest part is not typing the recipes or writing the blurbs to say.  The hardest part is finding the time to complete the six previous steps!  When I started this baby, and this blog is my baby – my friends are starting to have actual human babies, so naturally I had a blog baby – I was coasting at work.  It was my fifth year of teaching the same grade/subject, I was done with grad school, my life had purpose and direction, and I wanted to show off my baking, naturally starting a blog was the next step in my life!

Here’s the problem; I still want to show off my baking but my life has too many directions.  I’m teaching a new grade with two new curriculums with a new classroom and a new principal.  Giving 90% at work isn’t going to cut it this year.  Don’t judge me, I know I’m never going to be teacher of the year.  After only working for two weeks, I’m struggling to find balance between the job I love that pays my bills and the hobby I love that costs me a buttload of money.  What I’m trying to say, rather ineloquently is, I may have to reduce my posts per week to two.  The saddest part of this situation is I’m not cutting back my baking, just the time for writing about it.

Doing this, this blogging thing, has made me incredibly satisfied.  I have improved in my baking and writing skills and learned new skills like food photography and photo editing.  I have gone from being a lurker to someone who is participating in social media.  I have direction and I have purpose.  I have found an engaging and time consuming hobby, I have finally been able to put my passion into the literal world.  It kind of stinks when work gets in the way of life.

So anyway, lets talk about fruit curd.  Why make just lemon curd when you can make lemon, lime, AND orange curd!  I promise you there is a purpose behind the excess of making three different fruit curds.  These curds are all rich and creamy and are flavored with their respective juice/color.  It’s not difficult making three different fruit curds, it’s just time consuming.  You can totally do what you want, but if you’re going to (I was about to type “when you go through and do it,” but only a few of my college chemistry friends would get the inside joke!) go through the effort of making your own fruit curd, you might as well make three different flavors.  Trust me, you’ll see why Friday! And, this can totally be done weeks ahead of time!

Print the Recipe!

Fruit Curd
Adapted from Baking Illustrated, page 394
Yield – 1 cup each

1/3 cup lemon juice (or lime or orange)
2 eggs + 1 yolk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
yellow, green, orange food coloring if desired

  1. Heat the juice in a small saucepan until hot but not boiling.
  2. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale yellow. Slowly add the hot juice into the eggs to temper them.  Add the egg/sugar/juice mixture back to the saucepan.
  3. Cook and stir until the mixture reaches 170 F and is thick enough to cling to the back of a spoon.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, cream, vanilla, and salt.  Stir until the butter is melted.  Stir in the appropriate color of food coloring at this point.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve and cover with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap rests directly on top of the curd.
  6. Refrigerate until cool.
  7. Repeat the process for each different juice.

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Coffee Marshmallows

I don’t know if you ever watch Chuck’s Day Off, but you definitely should!  It’s a great hour of food porn starting with Jamie Oliver and ending with Chuck Hughes.  There is something so satisfying about watching two men cook with such passion and love for the ingredients.  When my roommates and I saw Chuck make these marshmallows with hot chocolate, we were smitten!  The hot chocolate is a little too calorie laden, but the marshmallows are fantastic on their own or in your own version of hot chocolate.

Homemade marshmallows have been on my mental to-do list for awhile and I added them to the New Foods list because of the gelatin.  I have never worked with straight up, powdered gelatin before.  These are pretty easy, they just take a bit of time to whip up in the mixer.  The coffee flavor really comes through creating a mocha like flavor in hot cocoa.  I’m sure you could substitute any flavoring you like for the coffee. These marshmallows are soft and tasty.  As an added bonus you feel pretty bad-a$$ making your own marshmallows!  Hello, that’s some hard core baking!*  I cut the marshmallows in squares and circle to have variety and see what each would look like.  I like the circles better, even though there is more waste.

*There is not actual baking in marshmallow making, just a little stove top action!

Print the recipe!

Coffee Marshmallows
Yield – 30 1” marshmallows
Adapted from Chuck’s Day Off

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 teaspoons powdered gelatin (each packet has about 2 1/2 teaspoons)
2/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • Soak the gelatin in the cold water, set aside to bloom.
  • In medium saucepan, heat the coffee, sugar, and vanilla.  Add in the bloomed gelatin and water.  Stir and cook until all the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Beat on slow speed to start and then on high speed until soft peaks.  This took me about 15 minutes.
  • Prepare a 9”x13” pan by covering with several sheets of plastic wrap.  Pour in the oil and spread around.
  • Pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
  • Sift together the corn starch and powdered sugar.
  • Dust the marshmallows with the corn starch and powdered sugar mixture and turn out on a large cutting board.  Dust the knife/round cookie cutter (1 1/2 inch) and slice the marshmallows.
  • Dip all of the cut marshmallows into the dusting mixture to make the marshmallows not sticky.  Store in an airtight container

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