Cranberry Pumpkin Butter and a website makeover … coming soon!

cranberry pumpkin butterCranberry Pumpkin Butter. For you and the lucky folks you share a batch with.

cranberry pumpkin butterPumpkin butter is one of my favorite fall treats. I love it as a topping or stir-in for so many things: added to oatmeal, as a topping for pumpkin muffins, overtop baked brie, on whole grain toast layered with peanut butter or cream cheese, on sliced apples, layered with yogurt … the list goes on. Many times though, pumpkin butter is packed with sugar and artificial flavorings and colorings – so just needed to see if I could whip up a batch from scratch. This pumpkin butter turned out just right. And it’s extra special because it stars two of the best fall fruits and flavors – pumpkin and cranberry for a cranberry pumpkin butter that you’ll be eating by the spoonful. The tartness of the cranberries and the creamy and earthiness of the pumpkin make for a spread that’s slightly sweet and tart – a perfect addition to many of your favorite fall foods.

We made a large batch, as we knew we’d be giving some to the neighbors in these adorable little mason jars and freezing some for future months. The recipe makes about 8 cups. Half or quarter the recipe if you want to make a smaller amount, but, trust me, you’ll want extras.

Package them up for pretty little gifts if you’d like.

cranberry pumpkin butter in mason jarHow gorgeous is the color? The cranberries give this “butter” a nice rouge hue.

Here’s how to make it:

Pumpkin Cranberry Butter

Makes: 8 cups

Time: 45 minutes plus overnight chilling

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs fresh cranberries (2 bags), sorted and washed
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 ½  cups brown sugar (you can cut back even further to 1 cup for a less sweet, more tart version)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp vanilla powder
  • 2 12 oz can 100% pure pumpkin
  • Pinch of salt
  • Juice of ½ lime or lemon

Directions:

Combine cranberries, water, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in a large pot over medium heat. Cover and bring to a light boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for ~25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally – the cranberries will burst. Stir in 2 cans pumpkin, salt and lime juice.  Simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate overnight. Add cranberry pumpkin butter to a blender in batches. Blend until smooth. Spoon into mason jars or other storage containers or freeze. Refrigerate. Enjoy within 2 weeks.

If you’ve made it this far into this post, you’re in for quite a surprise! This will be one of the last posts for 30 Seconds with A & J. We’ve been working hard for the past 4 months or so on a makeover and will  soon be back better than ever. So stay tuned for a new and improved site … coming soon!

Disclosure: Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., is one of my clients at my full time employer, Weber Shandwick. This post and my comments and my opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post.

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Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins with Cream Cheese and Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin muffins. Early fall isn’t complete without them. These pumpkin cornbread muffins are just slightly sweet, moist and packed with all sorts of pumpkin goodness. The layered cream cheese and pumpkin butter topping sends them over the edge.

pumpkin muffins with cream cheese and pumpkin butterYou know the cream cheese pumpkin muffins you see at Starbucks? These are a better-for-you (and tastier) version of those. They’re more dense than bakery style muffins because they’re packed with more Vitamin A rich pumpkin. You can skip the cream cheese and pumpkin butter topping if you like, but that wouldn’t be as much fun or nearly as tasty. Adrian prefers his sans topping, but not me. And if you prefer your pumpkin muffins topped with streusel, try these Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel Topping.

pumpkin muffins topped with cream cheese and pumpkin butterHere’s how to make these little muffins:

Pumpkin Corn Bread Muffins with Cream cheese and Pumpkin Butter

Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 16 muffins

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 15oz can 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1.5 cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ cup light cream cheese
  • ½ cup pumpkin butter

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners and spray each with nonstick spray. Combine dry ingredients then add wet ingredients and mix until combined.  By heaping tablespoon, add batter to muffin tins (this makes about 16 muffins, so, if you have them use 2 muffin tins), filling each ¾ full. Bake 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Top each with a smear of cream cheese and a drizzle of pumpkin butter.

pumpkin muffins with cream cheese and topped with pumpkin butter

 

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Pan-Fried Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Pecorino

Polenta (cornmeal boiled and whisked into a porridge) is a warming and hearty dish that can be made sweet or savory. This Pan-Fried Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano Cheese and herbs is a great early fall dish to enjoy on these cool nights we’ve been having.

polenta with sundried tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese and herbsThis month’s Recipe ReDux theme is: Get Your Dehydrator On. Whether it’s extra garden bounty or a sale at the supermarket – dehydrating food is a budget-friendly way to stock up for later. You can use a food dehydrator, a low slow oven, or natural sunshine to preserve natural healthfulness. Show us how you like to dehydrate, or a healthy recipe for how you enjoy using dehydrated fruits, veggies or other bounty.

Since I have been snacking on sun-dried tomatoes like they’re going out of style and have not tried dehydrating anything besides sweet potatoes (for chips), sun-dried tomatoes are the star in this dish. And since fall has already arrived on the cape, and we’ve been craving warmer foods like chili, soups and polenta, I wanted to try the sun-dried tomatoes stirred into the polenta.  With cheese, naturally. And to make up for the fact that we didn’t have any fresh herbs on hand,  I tried this Litehouse Salad Blend in the polenta:

litehouse salad blendIt’s a nice blend of parsley, red onion, chives, shallots, garlic and dill and worked really well with the tomatoes and polenta. You just add water and these little herb clippings come back to life. They actually taste almost fresh, probably because they’re freeze dried. Great in a pinch.

We added the herbs to the water with the polenta as it was cooking to infuse the flavors.

cooking polenta

After the polenta is cooked on the stovetop and you add in the sun-dried tomatoes and cheese, you can eat it as is, out of a bowl. But we love it polenta pan-fried, so we rolled it into a tube (like below), refrigerated it to let it set, sliced it into rounds and fried it up.

Making polentaPairs perfectly with a side salad and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.

polenta with sun-dried tomatoes and pecorino romano cheesePan-Fried Polenta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pecorino Romano Cheese and dried herbs

Time: 2 hours, including refridgeration time

Serves: 6 as a side dish

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp Litehouse Salad Herb Blend (parsley, red onion, chives, shallots, garlic, dill)
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus more for topping (you can also use Parmesan)
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray
  • Balsamic vinegar for drizzling (optional)

Directions: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Combine 4th cup of water, cornmeal, herbs, and salt together and pour slowly into the boiling water, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and stir 8-10 more minutes until the mixture is creamy and free of lumps. Remove from heat. Stir in sundried tomatoes and cheese. Let cool, slightly, but don’t let completely gel. Spread a long piece of plastic wrap on your working surface. Pour the polenta onto the plastic wrap into a long tube shape. With one hand on each end of the plastic wrap, roll the polenta into a tube and twist the ends. Or pour into a parchment paper lined loave pan. Refrigerate for at least an hour until polenta sets. Remove from fridge and unwrap from plastic wrap. Slice the polenta into rounds of about ½ inch thick. If polenta isn’t firm enough to cut, freeze for 10 minutes. Heat a small amount of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add polenta slices in batches. Fry a few minutes on each side. Serve sprinkled with remaining cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar, if desired.

polenta with sun-dried tomatoes and pecorino cheese

Check out these Recipe ReDuxer sites for more dehydrated and dehydrator inspiration: 

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Salted Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

In honor of the upcoming Blog Brûlée weekend in Vermont, I share with you Salted Pumpkin Crème Brûlée.

Salted pumpkin creme brulee

Fall is in the air, days are noticeably shorter and that means it’s time for pumpkins, apples and squash. So, even though I am trying to hold onto everything summer here on the Cape, it’s time to embrace the slight chill in the air.

I didn’t think I was quite ready for pumpkin anything (yet), until I made these little Salted Pumpkin Crème Brûlées over the weekend. If you love pumpkin, these won’t disapoint. They’re creamy, pumpkin-y, slightly sweet and slightly salty (I love sweet/salty combos). Greek yogurt replaces the cream and we’ve topped the Brûlées with pumpkin seeds for some added crunch and earthy goodness. These brûlées sound and look quite fancy, but they’re really not. They are very simple to make, they just take time because you need to let them chill for 5+ hours. But the wait is worth it. The perfect harvest dessert.

Salted pumpkin creme brulee

Salted pumpkin creme brulee with pumpkin seeds

Go ahead, dig in.

Salted pumpkin creme brulee with cinnamon sugar pumpkin seedsSalted Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Time: 30 minutes (prep and cooking) + 5+ hours chilling time + 15 min broil/chill time

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla powder
  • 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 dashes sea salt, divided
  • 3/4 cup Cabot low-fat vanilla bean Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, divided in half
  • ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon pumpkin seeds (we used Super Seedz)

Directions: Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, ¼ cup brown sugar, egg yolks, pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla in medium mixing bowl. Divide mixture among two 3.5 oz ramekins. Place ramekins in a roasting pan. Add hot water to the pan so it hits halfway up the ramekins. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until just set in the center. Remove from oven and let cool. Cover with plastic wrap tightly and chill at least 5 hours. When ready to serve, preheat the broiler. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and a dash of salt and put on a baking sheet. Then put under the broiler until tops are caramelized. Refrigerate 10 minutes or until sugar hardens. Serve topped with salted pumpkin seeds or sugar and cinnamon pumpkin seeds. You can also make these a couple days ahead of time and add the brown sugar topping and broil just before serving.

 

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