30 September 2010

Pumpkin Fondue

One of my all time favorite vegetables is pumpkin. Sweet or spicy, baked, sauteed or pureed, I anticipate many pie pumpkins each autumn. I'm always looking for something a little different to do and this Pumpkin Fondue happens to be a fantastic recipe to make for yourself or share. {The fact that it is filled with CHEESE is a bonus in my book!} I originally made the recipe out of Gourmet magazine, but have tweaked things a bit to be more to our liking.

I adore a one-dish wonder and this is it! It can be served as an appetizer or a side to your feast. The idea that the cooking vessel is the pumpkin itself is quite trendy if you see this month's cover of Food Network magazine (or maybe it was Rachel Ray?) and shouldn't intimidate you! I use an old fashioned enamel roasting pan with perfect results and shallow enough to get the sucker out and onto a serving platter! (I made the mistake of putting it into a higher edged casserole dish the first time and it was a challenge to lift it out of the baking dish.)

The recipe calls for Swiss cheeses, but if you're a cheddar person, feel free to substitute! I have also successfully added blue cheese to my Swiss blend and it was fab! Cheese dishes taste a little bit better when you use a blend of cheeses; Gruyere and Emmentaler, Cheddar and Asiago, Butterkase and Manchego...it gives the finished dish more dimension. Some cheeses tend to be on the drier side and need a complimentary cheese to give it some goo (technical cheese term!). Shredded cheese from the grocery works well on pizza, but is not up to snuff flavor-wise for this recipe. If you want to use a squash, feel free! I made this in a butterCUP squash, a squatty, ridiculously tough skinned, dark green squash and it was delicious! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Fondue

1 5lb-ish PIE pumpkin (do not use jack o lantern type pumpkin)
1 lb. Cheese- 1/2 lb. Gruyere and 1/2 lb. Emmentaler or read above
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups stock, vegetable, chicken or veal
a generous pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
10 1/4 inch thick baguette slices, toasted until dry and crispy
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
a pinch of Salt
Remainder of Baguette sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices for eating

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut top off pumpkin and clean out seeds. Sprinkle salt onto inside flesh of pumpkin.

Chop or grate cheeses and set aside. Bake baguette slices until crunchy and golden brown. Mix heavy cream, stock and nutmeg together.

Place pumpkin into shallow roasting dish and layer baguette slices, then cheese, then cream mixture into 2 layers inside pumpkin. You may have baguette left over.

Put pumpkin top back on. Rub exterior of pumpkin with olive oil. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and pumpkin is golden brown. Using 2 spatulas, remove from baking dish carefully and place on platter. Serve with additional baguette slices or as a side dish. You'll want to scoop up the roasted pumpkin flesh with all the cheese as you are serving or eating!

24 September 2010

A week of different...

So much I've meant to tell you, but our internet has been down for the last 6 days! I had to access a recipe via my blackberry (the horror of mini-type) and send all emails from my phone. "Ugh" would be the best description! So I thought I'd run a re-cap of the 10+ days I've been gone, with photos. Here's the highlights...

We said "Good-bye" to our Max. Eleven years of loyalty, mice catching, gardening companionship and master snuggler. It was a sad day.

We met a lovely woman, Monique, who owns Al Dente Pasta Company, here in Michigan at Silvio's Organic Pizza. She was kind enough to participate in The Market's Food Show! Her "Monique's Olive & Caper Sauce" is so fantastic! Silvio's Truffle Pizza is absolutely amazing! We also had the fresh grape, potato pizza, egg and pea pizza and a Sicilian style with anchovies! Paired with Green Hills Cab and Chardonnay and great company, it was all fantastic!

I made the nastiest recipe of rice pudding with fresh lychee fruit. I'm not sure what happened....it should have been so easy and wonderful. Instead I got glue with slimy globs of mauve fruit.

Tuesday mornings are better with wine! Giancarlo paid us a 10am visit at The Boulevard Market and brought his lovely Chianti, Chianti Classico (one of my favorite wines), his Super Tuscan and Vin Santo. Lovely Tuscan wines made my morning! They will be available at The Market soon!

I'm getting this bacon/pork wrapped meat down to a science! A turkey breast, rubbed with fennel pollen, sage and garlic and topped with Pancetta...autumn dining at home! I am harvesting the rest of the fennel pollen from my garden and drying it as we speak! Our family has become addicted to the stuff! It adds a lovely delicate flavor to soups, salads and more! The Market sells it as well, and it comes from California.

We visited an industry Food Show in Southfield and came away with some new fun ideas and products that you will see at The Market soon. My favorite was these new flavored Panko Crumbs...it's like shake n bake!!! I was given the "Pommery Mustard" flavor and it was great! We just put them on some EVOO brushed chicken breasts. So easy, so yummy, so 20 minutes and it's finished!

The good with the bad...it's what living is all about! The internet is back up and functioning, I'm catching up on emails without throwing my blackberry out the window. We are anticipating our first Culinary Book Club with Food meeting tonight and will post more on that tomorrow!

14 September 2010

Farmers Market Jackpot

Today's visit to the Main Street Farmers Market in Blissfield yielded such a beautiful supper and still life I had to share it here! I like nothing better than to purchase beautiful things and if I can eat them...all the better!

John and Jamie are a bit under the weather, so some Local Chicken Noodle Soup was on the menu for tonight. Everything that went into my pot came from Lenawee County Michigan, the place we call home.

The concept that my " neighbors"
hard work, made my supper possible is always a bit awe inspiring to me.

You've already made the best chicken soup for your family, you don't need my recipe.

Feel free to send a comment if you really want the recipe!

11 September 2010

A whole lotta pork!

Just the two of us last night for supper...Jamie and I! We enjoy a little something different when John isn't home. Jamie and I eat, talk and laugh together, enjoy a new recipe and limit distractions. We find out something new about the other, find a different perspective, share secrets and what we are reading, share dreams and fears. Daughters are really something special!

We decided on pork tenderloin wrapped with basil and guanciale a pork cheek bacon that has been rubbed with black and red pepper and cured for 3 weeks. Guanciale has a stronger pork flavor, but a more delicate texture than traditional bacon.

I chose a tenderloin that was about 1 1/2 lbs. (perfect for 3 people) so I didn't have too much leftover and it cooks quickly to avoid blackened bacon. You could put this in the oven, but I grilled mine. A side of rice pilaf with olive oil and a green salad with goat cheese rounded out the meal!

1 1/2 lb pork Tenderloin {remove silver tendon}
25 Fresh Basil Leaves
6 pieces Guanciale
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat grill to high.

Salt and pepper tenderloin on all sides and cover with basil leaves. I covered half with basil leaves then strips of guanciale, then flipped it over, covered the remaining half and wrapped the guanciale tightly.

I put the tenderloin on the hot grill with the guanciale ends on the grill first so it would sear the bacon and have it hold together when I flipped it over. It WORKED! I then turned heat to medium on grill and cooked about 9 minutes per side until nearly well done. I love pork juicy, so be careful not to overcook! The bacon was perfect too! Enjoy...

06 September 2010

College students moving out, wisdom teeth being removed and a holiday weekend have kept me busy this week and we have been eating accordingly! I think all are on the mend-moved in-ready for school-at least as of 4pm today!

But it has all ended (for now) and the 3 remaining Aylward's, John, Jamie and I spent the day together poking around food shops, picking up essential back to school "jeggings" and napping. It was fabulous!

We didn't eat lunch until around 2pm, so supper was simple and light, using whatever was hanging around. I used to make these "pizzas" for the kids and their friends all the time, but like some recipes...I forgot about it!

Start to finish 20minutes, I use whatever "leftover" meats we have around the fridge and like any pizza, everyone can have what they want on it! I have used a variety of crusty breads, and they all taste great. They also warm up great and are perfect with a soup or salad. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Pizzas

1 loaf crusty bread (I used Ciabatta from The Boulevard Market, 1/2 cut in 4 slices)

1 stick salted butter, softened
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh herbs, chopped
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (YES, I purchased it at the grocery store! Can you believe it?)

2 grilled chicken breasts or meat of your choice

Caramelized onions, Black olives and fresh spinach leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
Cut 1/2 loaf of ciabatta bread in half then each piece in half lengthwise to separate top crust from bottom crust?!?!!?! (You want each piece to have lots of crust!)

Mix soft butter, garlic, herbs and 1 cup cheese together and spread on each slice of bread. Top with desired meats and veggies. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of pizzas.

Bake about 12 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly golden brown.

01 September 2010

FOOD SHOW; September 22, 2010

2nd Annual Food Show is here! September 22, 2010 6-9pm Open House style at The Boulevard Market

If you didn't make it to last year's Food Show, no worries...it's BACK! We came up with this idea last year to bring our customers and local producers together for an evening of sampling and discussing production of foods. It's designed much like the food shows we attend all over the country! I love the idea of bringing producers and buyers together to give each better understanding. Who better than to talk about passions and production, concerns and obstacles, sustainability and future, than the producer themselves?

We also open our upper floor, Inn On Evans, for the evening. Our importers fill it up with imported delicacies like cheese, olive oil, chocolate, wine and more! These folks are all experts in their own rights and know their producers and farmers too!

All this for the bargain price of $5 per person! You'll get a nifty list of all our producers and their goods that you sampled, for future reference too! Hope you can make it!