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All About Pumpkin, Soup And Doughnuts

Recently I ordered 2 cans of pumpkin from my online grocer, I simply added to my cart without looking at the size of the cans, thinking it is the usual small cans of pumpkin puree. What arrived were the big cans, a whole lotta pumpkin and once opened it has to be used. I don’t really like freezing it because it becomes watery. I made 3 mini loaves of pumpkin spice bread, some chickpea pumpkin soup and pumpkin spice donuts and there is still enough leftover for a few pumpkin spice latte’s.

The pumpkin loaves I can practically make with my eyes closed, I use my recipe for banana bread and adapt to pumpkin adding spices.  The soup was my own creation and turned out quite well and is super easy to make. Now Doughnuts are another thing entirely. I have only made doughnuts once I think,  they were less than stellar so I abandoned  making those delicious little fried cakes and opted to buy them (the best doughnuts EVER are in my neighborhood).  We had a brief (2 days) of cool weather, back to warmer temps for the rest of the week but the soup on a cool day was just perfect. I used what I had in the pantry and refrigerator, threw everything in my oval roaster and slow cooked for about 6 hours. I didn’t pre soak the chick peas, just threw them in with some vegetable broth, carrot, onion, celery and everything cooked up beautifully. At the end I pureed some of the chickpeas, added pumpkin, Sri Lankan curry powder and some creme fraiche. So easy really, and no recipe required. You can add whatever you like or have on hand. I think that next I will try making yeast doughnuts now that I have cake doughnuts down.

curried pumpkin chickpea soup

Curried Pumpkin Chickpea Soup

2 cups dried chick peas

1 onion quartered

2 stalks celery

1 large or 2 small carrot

8 cups vegetable broth (you can also use water or chicken broth)

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp curry powder (I used Sri Lankan)

Optional 1/2 cup creme fraiche

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 325 degree’s. Put everything in the pot, put it in the oven and let it cook slow and long. I cooked it for 6 hours. When done, scoop out about 2/3 of the chick peas and a little of the broth along with the celery and onion. Puree in the blender until smooth, add the pumpkin, curry powder and optional creme fraiche. Add back to the pot, cut the carrots into bite size pieces and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning and if you like at the end add some spinach. I had some that needed to be used and it was nice in the soup.

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

Makes 12 doughnuts and holes

Recipe from Good Housekeeping

2 tbs softened butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

dash of ground nutmeg or about 1/8 tsp

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

vegetable oil for frying

Cream butter until fluffy, it’s only 2 tbs so it won’t be that fluffy. Add the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat until combined scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the pumpkin, buttermilk, egg and egg yolk and vanilla until combined. Using a wooden spoon stir in flour until well combined. Cover bowl and chill for at least 3 hours or over night.

Heat the oil to 365 degrees. On work surface dusted with flour roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Using doughnut cutter or biscuit cutter cut the doughnuts and place on parchment lined baking sheet. When oil is at the right temperature drop 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time and turn once browned making sure they are evenly brown and cooked through. It takes about 3 – 4 minutest per doughnut. When done place on rack lined with paper bag or paper towels. Prepare some sugar and cinnamon and roll each doughnut while still warm in the sugar mixture. Let cool and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Corn Chowder

Summer doesn’t want to let go. It’s been hot, well really warm out and I long for crisp cool Autumn weather. My last hoorah for summer produce,( the only thing I will miss about summer is the produce) is corn chowder. I can’t believe I’ve never made it before and honestly have never even tasted it either, and now I know what I have been missing out on all these years. It’s so simple to make, sweet and savory at the same time, loaded with vegetables and a fitting tribute to delicious sweet corn. After removing the kernels from the cobs I used them to make a corn cob vegetable stock which I used to make this soup. Note: I used sweet bi color corn, if you want a soup that is a little less sweet use yellow corn, it is slightly less sweet IMHO, or mix the two types of corn.

I am bringing this soup to Fiesta Friday # 193, I am honored to be co hosting this week with the amazing Ginger and Bread.

Corn Chowder

Serves 6-8

The stock

6 ears of corn, kernels removed and set aside (see video)

3 stalks celery

3 carrots

1 large onion

10 cups water (or vegetable broth)

salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a large pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn heat to medium and cook for approximately 2 hours. It will reduce to about 6-8 cups. Remove the vegetables and strain if necessary.

Making the chowder

1 onion chopped

1 stalk celery chopped

1 large carrot chopped

1 red bell pepper chopped

Corn

2 potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces

6-8 cups corn stock

pinch of turmeric

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tbs flour + 2 tbs water to make a slurry

2 tbs butter

salt and pepper to taste

Add a little olive oil to a dutch oven or soup pot, heat on medium high and add the celery, onion, carrot and bell pepper. Sauté until soft. Add the stock and cook for approximately 45 minutes to an hour.  Stir in the slurry and turmeric and continue to cook until it thickens a little, add the corn and potatoes and cook for another 20-30 minutes (until potato is tender). Scoop out about 3 cups of the corn and vegetables and puree in the blender until smooth. Add back to the pot along with the cream and butter, salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot or room temperature.

Watch this video on how to strip corn from Food52, I hate it when the kernels fly, this helps and there is very little flying kernels.

 

 

Pumpkin Pecan Spiced Waffles And Pumpkin Spice Compound Butter

It’s pumpkin season, this is my absolute favorite time of year and I want to celebrate by focusing on some recipes using pumpkin. Now, I am not the adventurous type that buys a whole pumpkin and goes through the arm breaking task of cutting and cleaning, Libby’s pumpkin puree is just fine by me.

These waffles are light, soft and delicious. I saw the recipe on Martha Stewarts site and adapted it substituting part of the all purpose flour for toasted pecan flour. The gentle warm spicing and pumpkin flavor of these waffles is like having Fall on a fork.  It literally takes only minutes to put these waffles together and it makes a hearty and delicious meal. I like to think that with the nut flour and pumpkin it’s health food. The compound butter is also nice because in reality you are using less butter since you have added pumpkin pureé. Win win!

pumpkins lined up at the local markets

Pumpkin Pecan Spiced Waffles

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup +2 tbs toasted pecan flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp kosher salt

scant 1/4 cup sugar

1 3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup pumpkin pureé

3 eggs

1 stick (1/2 cup melted butter

Pre heat your waffle maker. To toast the pecans heat oven to 350 place 1 cup pecans on baking sheet and toast in the oven for approximately 15 minutes or just until you can smell the nuts. Let cool and then grind in the food processor or vitamin, it will resemble course flour. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pecan flour

In medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, salt, baking soda and powder. In large bowl whisk together the milk, egg, pumpkin, eggs and melted butter add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes and follow manufacturers directions for your waffle maker. Keep them warm in the oven after you make each batch. They freeze beautifully also, I usually put in a zip lock bag with each waffle separated by parchment.

pumpkin spice butter

Pumpkin Compound Butter

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter

1/4 cup pumpkin pureé

2 tsp brown sugar

Pumpkin pie spice blend (You can use the same spices in the waffles)

Mix it all together until thoroughly blended. Serve on top of waffles

Basic Hummus And A Vegan Apple Tart

This recipe is from Ottolenghi’s cookbook “Jerusalem” it calls for dried chickpeas rather than canned. I always stayed away from recipes where you have to cook the beans/peas and rather opt for canned because it’s easy and I guess I am a bit lazy. Well, have to say there is a difference, a big difference in flavor and texture when you use freshly made chick peas. I love just about anything from any of the cookbooks by Ottolenghi or the team of Ottolenghi and Tamimi. The books are beautiful to look at, the ingredients they use are always fresh and the recipes are simple but creative and everything so far that I have made has been absolutely delicious. Like chocolate chip cookies there are thousands of recipes out there for hummus. It’s not rocket science and is made easily and quickly and has always been welcome as an appetizer or part of the main meal. It’s a wonderful recipe and if you are hesitant to use dried chickpeas, it takes a little more time and effort but the results are well worth the effort. The only change I made when making this recipe is that I use half the garlic indicated, I am not a big fan of raw garlic, the garlic is flavor is definitely there but is more subtle with 2 cloves, of course if your garlic cloves are very small use more.

I am bringing the hummus and tart to Fiesta Friday #191, this week, the co cohosts are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju.com and Antonia@ Zoale.com thank you ladies for co hosting and as always a big thank you to Angie for putting this party together every week!

Basic Hummus

Serves 6 or more

1 1/4 cup dried chickpeas

1 tsp baking soda

6 1/2 cups water

1 cup plus 2 tbs light tahini

4 tbs lemon juice freshly squeezed

4 cloves garlic crushed (I used 2 cloves)

6 1/2 tbs ice cold water

The night before put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight.

The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the chickpeas and baking soda, cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook between 20-40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy.

Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups. Place the chickpeas in the food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then with the machine still running, add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to process for 5 minutes until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes before serving, you can also refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. I drizzle the hummus with olive oil and sprinkle some sumac.

Delicious with fresh veggies and pita

I recently heard from friend I used to work with, it had been years since we have seen each other and I invited him over the other day to catch up, he is vegan and specifically requested pastry.  This tart is vegan,  has very little sugar, only about 2 tbs and is drizzled with apple cider cinnamon reduction. It couldn’t be simpler and it’s so beautiful. The pie crust is from the Crisco package and is one my Mother used for her pies, she didn’t even know her pie crust was vegan, I sliced the apples hasselback style, sprinkled with a little sugar, flour, cinnamon mixture, dotted a little earth balance and baked.

Simple, beautiful and delicious and it’s vegan

Flaky Pie Crust (Vegan)

Recipe on Crisco Shortening- makes single 9 inch pie crust

1 1/3 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

6-8 tbs ice cold water

Whisk flour and salt together, add the shortening and with a pastry cutter combine until it resembles moist crumbs. Add water and stir with a fork. Gather together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and flatten into a disk and refrigerate for at least an hour. Roll the dough on floured work surface and line your tart pan. Refrigerate.

While dough is chilling, cut the apples in half, skin on, core and slice thinly keeping each half together, it’s easier to lift the sliced apples and place in pie shell. Heat oven to 400 degree’s. Mix 2 tbs sugar, 1 tbs flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a small ramekin and set aside. Arrange the apples in the cold pie shell and sprinkle with the sugar, flour, cinnamon mixture. Dot with butter or vegan butter. Line a baking sheet with parchment and bake the tart until golden brown approximately 40-45 minutes.

Apple Cider Reduction

1 cup apple cider

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tbs sugar

Place everything in a non reactive heavy bottom saucepan and boil on medium high until it reduces to a syrup. Approximately 30-40 minutes.

Served with Vegan salted caramel ice cream.

 

Block Party, Judging At Community Garden, A Bowl Of Vegetables And A One Bowl Chocolate Cake

It has been an exhausting few weeks. It was crunch time as our annual block party was coming up quicker than I would have liked it to. Organizing is not my strong suite but as the block association president much of the planning and prep work falls on me and I have to step outside my comfort zone and try to be the party planner. There is always so much to do, not enough time to do it and invariably something goes wrong. I have had torrential rain and had to cancel because of it, this year it was sunny and hot (way too hot for me) almost 90 degree’s. Something I have planned on for a year was cancelled, the rock climbing wall that our brave policeman bring to events, the kids love it and it’s so much fun for all. Last year my reservation for the wall got lost when the Officer retired and we only got it for an hour, I reserved it this year, almost a year ahead and 2 days before the event the police contacted me with bad news, the rock wall had broken and needs to be repaired. The children were all disappointed but the block party went off almost without a hitch and everyone had a good time.

Vegetables from the community garden

I live across the street from a Community Garden and they asked me if I would be a judge for a food event at their annual Harvest Festival, I was more than happy to do so. We tasted fresh vegetables grown in the garden which were judged on beauty and taste. Other things we tried were homemade pickles and desserts made with apples from the tree in the garden. It was a lot of fun, everything was delicious and some of the other judges were a food stylist, food photographer and cookbook publisher.

The block party is something everyone looks forward to all year, our block along with people from the neighborhood come together to eat, drink, talk, we all love watching the children have fun in the bouncy castle and ride their bicycles and skateboards in the street without fear of traffic. I usually have a bake sale but have been so incredibly busy I only made cookies which sold out very quickly. We grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, had pizza, drinks, music from a fantastic DJ and an amazing Ukelele group.

The day after I was completely exhausted and wanted a light simple meal. A bowl of roasted vegetables with cheesy cauliflower mash was exactly what I needed. I used an assortment of vegetables and mashed cauliflower with gruyere. Simple, healthful and delicious.  Had some green beans, zucchini, tomato and shallot drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven at 400 degree’s. Cauliflower mash is so easy, simply boil the cauliflower, let it dry in the oven on 200 for about 20 minutes then put in the food processor with some butter, sour cream and season with salt and pepper.  I added some grated gruyere and popped into the oven at 200 for a few minutes to heat and melt the cheese.

This super easy one bowl no measure chocolate cake is awesome. It’s a recipe on Food52. The fact that it’s quick and no measure immediately prompted me to give this recipe a try. The cake uses full fat plain Greek yogurt, I used Fage and you use the yogurt container as the means of measuring. Pretty cool right?

The cake will have cracks thats ok

Simple One Bowl Chocolate Cake

Recipe on food52

1  container (7 oz) plain Greek yogurt

1 container neutral flavored oil (I used canola)

2 large eggs

2 containers self rising flour

1 container unsweetened cocoa powder

1 container sugar

1 container warm water or coffee

Heat Oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare a 10 inch spring form pan by greasing or spraying the bottom, add a parchment round and then grease and flour the pan.

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix on low until the flour is incorporated, then increase to medium high and beat for approximately 2 minutes. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cake Tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pan, release the pan and remove the cake. Sprinkle with some powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

London Fog Cake

I have been wanting to make a cake for a while now but lacked inspiration to try something a little different. There is a tendency to stick with the tried and true in both flavors and recipes, not that there is anything wrong with that but sometimes I feel the need to do something different. Since I got the tea from Adagio I have wanted to make another recipe using it that isn’t a cup of hot or iced tea. Yesterday an email appeared in my inbox from Pinterest and I saw this cake and immediately was struck by how utterly delicious it looked but then when I clicked on the link the frosting is flavors with Earl Grey Tea. The cake itself is pretty simple chocolate cake with a earl grey buttercream and then it’s drizzled with caramel. Sounds great right? I thought so too!! I decided to take it a step further and infuse the caramel with tea as well. The recipe is from The Cake Blog and it’s beautifully decorated and photographed. Decorating cakes is not my strong suite nor is photography but irregardless this cake sounds too good not to make. My recommendations are in bold print, I found the earl grey flavor overpowering and would recommend reducing the amount of tea used to infuse the butter. I love earl grey tea but feel that the buttercream needed to be a little more subtle in flavor.

This is my favorite chocolate cake, a recipe from Hershey’s which is on the can of unsweetened cocoa powder, the recipe has also been posted here on the blog many times click here to see it. I’ve made other cake recipes and nothing IMHO even compares. It’s simple, moist and delicious and never fails.

I am going to bring this cake with me to Fiesta Friday #188 and this weeks co hosts are Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Nimmi @ Adorable Life

Earl Grey Buttercream

Recipe from Theresa Huff for The Cake Blog

Frosts 2 layer 9 inch cake or 3 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups unsalted butter

1/4 cup loose earl grey tea (Recommend to reduce to 1-2 tbs)

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs egg whites ( 150 grams) the whites from 4-5 large eggs

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or seeds from half a vanilla bean

Place one cup of the butter in a saucepan with the loose tea. Heat over medium heat until the butter melts, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let tea steep for another 5 minutes. Strain the butter into a bowl and refrigerate until the butter is the consistency of softened butter approximate 20-30 minutes or longer it took over an hour before my butter hardened.

Place egg whites and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and hand whisk until foamy and mixed. Place an inch or two of water in a saucepan on medium heat, place the bowl with the egg whites and sugar on top of it being careful not to let the bowl touch the water. Whisk frequently until the sugar melts it should register 155-160 on the candy thermometer or until it’s hot to the touch. Fit the bowl onto your stand mixer.

Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment and beat on high for 8-10 minutes until the mixture holds medium stiff peaks. When done the outside of the bowl should be room temperature and there should be no residual heat, you also should hold your hand over the bowl and you should not feel any heat at all.  Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and replace with a paddle.

With the mixer on low speed add the vanilla, the tea infused butter and the other butter a few tablespoons at a time. Once the butter is incorporated turn the mixer to medium high and beat for another 3-5 minutes. The buttercream will be thick and silky.

Earl Grey caramel sauce

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbs light corn syrup

2 tbs strong earl grey tea

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbs butter,diced

generous pinch sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place sugar, corn syrup and water in a deep heavy bottom saucepan, stir to combine. Heat over high heat swirling occasionally for 8-10 minutes. The sugar mixture will start to rapidly boil before slowing down and darkening in color. Remove the saucepan from the heat once it has reached the desired color, I like a deep amber. Note: my caramel got a bit over done, almost burnt. I cooked on high and all of a sudden it started rising almost to the top of the pot after I removed from the heat. I didn’t want to add the cream and butter until it settled but that was a mistake, I should have added it to cool it down and stop the cooking process. So my caramel is a bit bitter. My advise is to remove from the heat right when it turns a light amber and add the butter and cream. Because it was so bitter I threw away half and replaced that half with a chocolate ganache. The pot I used was too small and it almost boiled over hence the over cooking, the caramel continues to cook even after removed from the heat and what stops that is adding the butter and cream. Because my pot was not big enough I had to wait until the bubbles went down a bit. 

Slowly and carefully whisk in the cream being careful to stand back because it will sputter and foam so stand clear.

Add the butter and continue to stir until melted. Now add the salt and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour into a heat proof container and let cool, it will thicken as it cools.

Assembling the cake

Place one of the layers on your cake stand or serving plate. Spread some of the butter cream to cover the layer and continue until all layers are place. Frost top and sides of cake and refrigerate until cooled at least 20 minutes.

Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the cooled cake letting it drip down the sides.

I made this cake yesterday and wasn’t in love with the flavor, today it tastes better maybe the tea flavor has mellowed but I still recommend reducing the amount of tea used in the buttercream. I love the buttercream recipe it is silky and just the perfect consistency and will definitely be using it again.

Wild Yeast, Fruit Water Yeast Bread

 

I follow Elaine@foodbod’  both her blog and other social media outlets like Instagram, lately she has been cultivating her own wild yeast and making the most amazing bread, I have been so intrigued and inspired to try her recipe. You make wild yeast simply by putting fruit, in water and let it sit until it ferments it only takes a week sometimes less.  My first attempt I used raisins which for some reason didn’t work so I tried apple and that worked perfectly.

The bread did not have a tremendous rise, it was modest. When making the semolina bread I did add a very small amount 1/4 tsp of instant yeast, I did that because I felt the semolina is pretty heavy and it might need a little bit of a boost, I’m sure it would be fine without it, so that is optional of course. Elaine’s bread is beautiful and the crust is amazing, I’ve made this a number of times and my crust just doesn’t have the same look as hers, it’s still good mind you, but her crust is crusty looking for lack of a better word and meant in a really good way! I have asked her about this and she thinks it could be the difference in flour or some other factor, she is in England and I must say has this down pat. Check Elaine out both on her blog and Instagram.

The first loaf turned out beautifully and you can find the recipe on her blog by clicking on the link in the first paragraph, I was so pleased at the rise and the flavor was delicious.

fruit water bread

The second loaf I made was from date water, I saw Elaine’s beautiful loaves on Instagram and wanted to give that a go. I deviated a bit on the bread recipe using semolina and adapting a recipe I found on King Arthur Flour site. The biga/preferment or poolish is Elaine’s recipe.

Dates after a week see the bubbles

Date water semolina bread

adapted from a recipe by Elaine at Food Bod and King Arthur Flour

Biga or Poolish

10 oz fermented date water (150 grams)

1 1/2 cup bread flour (150 grams) (add more if the dough is too wet, by the spoonful) It should be soft but not runny. Use equal parts flour and water pretty much.

Mix together and let sit overnight covered in plastic wrap and a tea towel. In the morning it should be bubbly.

Bubbly biga

The Bread

1 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup semolina flour

1/4 tsp instant yeast

1 scant tbs salt

1 cup cool water

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes, it will become a cohesive dough. Turn the mixer off, cover with plastic and let sit for 30 minutes. Turn the mixer back on medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes. Remove dough to a clean lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and put in the refrigerator overnight.

The following morning take it out of the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Shape into desired shape (I made a boule), place on parchment lined baking sheet.nCover with oiled plastic wrap loosely and a tea towel and let rise for approximately one hour. When you press your finger in the dough it should leave an indent.

Heat oven to 475 degree’s. Slash the dough with a razor, knife or lame, dust with some flour and place in the oven, throw a few ice cubes at the bottom of the oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 425 degree’s and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes. Bread when tapped will sound hollow and it will be a golden brown. You can also place a parchment round in a dutch oven and bake covered in the pot. You will need to bake a little longer using this method. Elaine gives instructions in her recipe.

King Arthur’s recipe offers a great idea for keeping the bread, place cut side down on counter or cutting board, don’t cover it with anything. The crust will stay pretty crisp and the inside of the bread stays soft. It works.

Stand the bread on a counter cut side down the bread stays soft the crust fairly crisp. This loaf was made with a little more yeast than the one below. You can see the difference.

I did experiment with the semolina bread the first loaf I added a half tsp of instant yeast, the second loaf 1/4 tsp. There is a marked difference in the texture of the bread and I think both are good.

Caponata

I posted this recipe for Caponata years ago and I am afraid it’s been a long time since I have made it. This came about partly because I had gone a little overboard during my last visit to the farmers market, I tend to do that every time I go and I think I have mentioned this before but I hate to waste food. My Mom used to serve Caponata from time to time, usually it was purchased from the Italian supermarket commercially prepared. I liked it but thought it was too sweet, the basic idea is wonderful and it makes a delicious condiment slathered on some good bread. It really is so delicious. I think of Caponata as the Italian ratatouille. Its very easy to make, you can add what you like and subtract what you don’t.

I am going to bring this along with a loaf of homemade bread to Fiesta Friday #186 and this weeks co hosts are  Colleen @ Faith, Hope, Love & Luck and Alex @ Turks Who Eat

Farmers market haul

Caponata

Makes 1 quart

2 medium size eggplant stem end cut and sliced in half

2 cups chopped tomato or cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 small onion chopped

1 shallot chopped

2 stalks celery

3 cloves garlic minced

2 bell peppers medium size (I used a purple and red)

1/4 cup capers

pinch (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

pitted olives – didn’t measure but a generous handful cut in half if large

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tsp sugar

Heat oven to 425 degree’s. Line baking sheet with parchment. Brush the eggplant with olive oil on both sides. Place on baking sheet cut side down and roast for 15 minutes. They should be browned on the cut side but not mushy.  Cut the eggplant into bite size pieces and set aside.

Nicely browned

Heat some olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, cook until softened, add the celery and pepper and cook until soft and fully cooked. Add the tomatoes, capers, olives, crushed red pepper and continue cooking until the tomatoes are cooked through, add the eggplant, vinegar and sugar and cook until thick and most of the liquid from the tomatoes is reduced. Spoon into storage containers let come to room temperature and then refrigerate. I find it’s always better served the next day and served at room temperature.

caponata and a egg fried in olive oil on homemade bread

 

Chai Latté, Iced Tea And An Amazing Tea Find

Samplers

I love tea, hot, iced, spiced, black, herbal, blended, you name it I love it. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties and trying to pick tea especially if you are unfamiliar with it can be intimidating. Full disclosure the tea that I used in this post was provided to me at no cost by Adagio Tea Company, I only received the products, there was no monetary compensation at all, I don’t do that, and honestly there are very few companies that I will even accept products from, I only write posts for products I believe to be good or that peak my interest and my opinion is my own. When I was contacted by Adagio I jumped at the chance after seeing their beautiful website and extensive selection of tea. In the summer I drink iced tea all the time, pretty much every day. Included in my box was two different teas that you can cold brew there is a pre measured sachet which you place in a jar with 32 oz of fresh water and refrigerate overnight. I made white peach iced tea and honestly the aroma of peaches is just beautiful, the tea is smooth made from white tea and with every sip it’s like biting into a fresh ripe juicy peach. Delicious and refreshing and so simple to make.

Now for the Chai, first let me say it has been hot out and as a general rule I only drink iced coffee or tea when it’s this hot, even my morning cup of coffee has ice in it. I saw that there is a short window this week where the temps are lower, in the mid 70’s and a cup of hot tea will be fine especially at night when it is getting down in the low 60’s.  Adagio has this really cool feature where you can create your own blend of tea it arrives in a tin which you customize with a photo or logo. I created a chai tea that is of my own design and geared to my taste, no cloves, I seriously dislike cloves and don’t even have any in my spice cabinet. See below the teas and spices that I chose.

Look at this adorable tin that I customized with my logo.  During the holidays I make gift baskets and plan on adding this to my baskets, how nice would it be to receive a custom tea blend. I love it,  it’s a brilliant idea.

Suzanne’s custom Chai blend

I brewed the chai in tea sachets when making one cup it’s easy to just spoon some into the paper packet, fold it over and brew right in the cup.

Chai Latté

For one cup (approx 8 oz)

2  tsp chai blend

1/2 cup whole milk or half and half (I mix whole milk and half and half)

organic sugar or honey (sweeten to your taste) I used a scant tbs

Brew the tea by placing the tea in your teapot or in a sachet directly in your mug or cup, heat the milk and sugar until almost scalding, the sugar should have dissolved. I like a 50/50 ratio of tea and milk but make it to suit your personal taste and make the tea as strong as you like adjusting the amount of tea and brewing time. Last year I got this cool portable milk frother, which made this even better.

Review: Well I have to admit I am pretty smitten with Adagio tea, it’s delicious full bodied tea and their site is easy to use and has so many cool features. There is all manner of tea paraphernalia, pots, accessories and of course an extensive assortment of delicious tea. A big thank you to the good people of Adagio for sending me this lovely gift.

Murder At The Bijou- Teagan’s Book Launch

This is an exciting day I am so pleased to bring you the launch of Teagan’s book”Murder at the Bijou”.  Teagan is one of my absolute favorite writers, her books and serials are amazing, I’ve already ordered my copy hope you all head over and get yours too!! To celebrate the launch of Teagan’s book I wanted to post this on the day of the monumental total solar eclipse. It will be a partial eclipse in Brooklyn but everyone is geared up for it. As a prelude to this book read this snipett from Teagan that I posted along with a recipe for Mac and Cheese. I do love our collaborations and look forward to many many more. Congratulations Teagan, your writing brings happiness to so many and I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of your new book. I also posted a sort of recipe for tea at the end of this post to celebrate the eclipse. Hope you all have a great day and head over to grab your copy of Teagan’s book.

Announcing the Launch of
Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Introducing the second “three things” serial, in novel form Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

Bijou front only 2

Yes, that’s the cover.  (I love making covers!)  I kept it similar to the one for the first serial, The Three Things Serial Story, but with different 1920s photos.

For those of you who are not familiar with my blog serials…

Ages ago I developed a writing exercise.  I asked friends to give me three completely random things.  Then I would write until I had mentioned all the things.  I brought that exercise to my blog (Teagan’s Books), but I had the readers send me their things.  I let the random things drive every detail of a serial story, setting, plot, and characters.  That resulted in The Three Things Serial Story, which gave birth to this culinary mystery.  However, this time the “things” are food related — or ingredients.

About the Book

As with the first serial, Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I is a spontaneously written, pantser story.  I wrote by the seat of my pants and let the “ingredients” readers sent each week drive a new serial story.  This is the “bookized” version of that serial.

This time the Jazz Age setting is Savannah, Georgia where our flapper, Pip, is “sentenced” to live with her grandmother and learn to cook.  Pip gets caught up in a layered mystery that includes bootleggers, G-men, and the varied challenges of being a young woman in changing times.  She meets new friends, including some animal characters.

If you have not read The Three Things Serial Story, be warned.  This adventure contains a bit of a spoiler, but does not go into detail about it.

Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I is available through and Amazon and Create Space.  If you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon also offers a free app that will let you read Kindle books on your computer or other device.  The purchase links are below.  But first, here’s a snippet.

Blue Lucille Ball Stage Door Trailer

In my imagination, a young Lucille Ball would play Pip.

Excerpt

Rutabaga Limbo

Either I woke up feeling horribly nauseated, or the queasiness woke me.  I’m not sure which.  I opened my eyes to complete darkness.  There was no light, no sound.  The way my stomach tossed reminded me of a small boat on the ocean.  It was as if I sailed in a lightless limbo.

Oh… that was a bad train of thought to have with an unsettled belly.

Think of something else!  Anything else, I told myself.

I stood unsteadily.  The sound of a cricket came to me.  Good.  The utter silence had been very disturbing.  I became aware of the cool moist earth beneath my palms.

Where the Sam Hill was I?

I sat back on my heels, focusing all my senses.  My eyes might as well have been closed — it was that dark.  Bare ground was beneath me.  The air had a musty odor.  A sickly sweet scent clung to my bobbed hair.

The cricket’s chirping was the only sound.  Still sitting, I turned.  My eyes widened and strained, trying to see in that heavy darkness.  When I looked up I was rewarded with the sight of a thin line of pink light.

The faint glow allowed me to see vague outlines a few feet away.  I stumbled over something and stooped down to let my hands figure out what it was.  I felt a burlap bag and round lumps.  Rutabagas?  I felt around and found another bag.  That one felt like potatoes.  I moved closer to the wall and a tall shape.  Yes, a ladder, my questing hands confirmed for my still foggy brain.

Gazing up at the line of pinkish light I realized I was in a root cellar. 

But how did I get there?

***

Purchase Links

Amazon USA

Paperback:  https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1974544273/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806322&sr=1-4

Kindle:  https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/ref=la_B00HHDXHVM_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806322&sr=1-3

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806519&sr=1-1&keywords=murder+at+the+bijou

And https://www.amazon.co.uk/Murder-Bijou-Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/dp/1974544273/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1502806519&sr=1-2&keywords=murder+at+the+bijou

Amazon Japan https://www.amazon.co.jp/Murder-Bijou-Three-Ingredients-English-ebook/dp/B074S5ZK7L/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1502806623&sr=8-1&keywords=teagan+geneviene

Author Bio

Visual for Teagan_2017 Chris

Image by Chris Graham

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, a southerner by birth, was “enchanted” by the desert southwest of the USA when she moved there.  Now a resident of a major east coast city, she longs to return to those enchanting lands.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type.  Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one.  And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences in both the southern states and the southwest.  Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes 1920s stories and Steampunk.  Her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers.

You can also visit me at:

Amazon:    https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM
Twitter:     https://twitter.com/teagangeneviene
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/TeagansBooks
Pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/teagangeneviene/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoM-z7_iH5t2_7aNpy3vG-Q
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/teagangeneviene

Here is a non recipe really for some tea I like to call Sun and Moon Tea. You all have heard of sun tea I’m sure. Putting some tea in a glass jar and setting it outside in the sun, well I decided with all the amazing energy and as a prelude to the eclipse I put the jars out in the morning and kept them out all night as well soaking in the sun rays and moon’s energy.

Sun and Moon Tea

Use equal parts, chamomile, rose hips, red clover and fresh mint. Pour fresh spring or filtered water in the jar put the lid on and let it sit all day and overnight.