Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Home made pumpkin pie!

Well, I made my very first home made pumpkin pie! No, I did not use the puree from a can. I bought pie pumpkins and did it all myself! And it was very easy at that! So here you are! I hope you enjoy!

        a pie pumpkin (see step 1; you can use different types of pumpkin or even a butternut squash)
        1 cup sugar
        1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        1 teaspoon ground cloves
        1 teaspoon ground allspice
        1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
        Optional: 1/2 teaspoon mace (which you'll find in the very old pumpkin pie recipes)
        1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
        1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I don't use any)
        4 large eggs -
        3 cups pumpkin glop
        1.5 cans (12oz each) of evaporated milk

Step 2 - Prepare the pumpkin for cooking

Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap.
Cut the pumpkin in half.  A serrated knife and a sawing motion works best - a smooth knife is more likely to slip and hurt you! A visitor suggests using a hand saw.

Step 3 - Scoop out the seeds...

And scrape the insides.  You want to get out that stringy, dangly stuff that coats the inside surface.  I find a heavy ice cream scoop works great for this.

Step 4 - Cooking the pumpkin

There are several ways to cook the pumpkin;  just choose use your preferred method.  Most people have microwaves and a stove, so I'll describe both of those methods here. But others make good arguments in favor of using a pressure cooker or baking in the oven. At the end of this document, I’ve included alternative instructions to replace step 4, if you’d rather use a different method.

Method 1 - Bake in the oven

You can also bake the prepared pumpkin in the oven, just like a butternut squash.  This method takes the longest. Basically, you cut and scoop out the pumpkin as for the other methods, place it cut side down into a covered oven container. Cover the ovenproof container (with a lid or aluminum foil), and pop it in an 350 F (165 C) oven. It normally takes about 45 minutes to 90 minutes (it can vary a lot!); just test it periodically by sticking it with a fork to see if it is soft!

Step 5 - Scoop out the cooked pumpkin

Watery pumpkin?

If your pumpkin puree has standing, free water, you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any free water.  That will help prevent you pie from being too watery! Beyond, that, I have not found that the water makes a difference - I wouldn't be TOO concerned about it! The recipe accounts for the liquid!
Again, don't go to great lengths to remove water; the recipe accounts for the fact that fresh pumpkin is more watery than canned!

Step 6 - Puree the pumpkin

In the blender  or in a mixer. Whatever is available.

Step 7 - Done with the pumpkin!

The pumpkin is now cooked and ready for the pie recipe. 
Note: You may freeze the puree or pie filling to use it later! Just use a freezer bag or other container to exclude as much air as possible.  It should last a year or more in a deep freezer On the other hand, you may

Step 8 - Make the pie crust

Yes, I know there are ready-made pie crusts in the frozen section at the store, but they really are bland and doughy.  A flaky crust is easy to make! Again, note that unless you use large, deep dish pie plates, you may have enough for 2 pies.
It is also time to start preheating the oven.  Turn it on and set it to 425 F (210 C, for those in Europe)

Step 9 - Mix the pie contents

All the hard work is behind you! Here's where it gets really easy. If you start with a fresh 8" pie pumpkin, you will get about 3 cups of cooked, mashed pumpkin. The right amount of ingredients for this is as follows:
Mix well using a hand blender or mixer.
Note: You may substitute 4 teaspoons of "pumpkin pie spice" instead of the cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger.  But I think you get better results with the separate spices.

Step 10 - Pour into the pie crust

Don't be surprised if the mixture is very runny!  It may start as a soupy liquid, but it will firm up nicely in the oven! Note: the pie crust is brown because I used whole wheat flour! Tastes the same, but is healthier.
TIP: You may want to cover the exposed edges of the crust with strips of aluminum foil to prevent them from burning! Some people make their own crust cover by cutting the rim off of a disposable aluminum pie pan!
I had lots of leftover pie filling even after using it for two pies. So I took my Aunt's advice and poured the rest into another oven safe dish and baked it. So it is like a crust-less pie! 

Step 11 - Bake the pie

Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Here is the finished pie, right out of the oven:
I use a blunt table knife to test the pie.  The one at left has already been stuck in the pie, and you see it comes out pretty clean, when the pie is done.

Step 12 - Cool the pie

And enjoy! Warm or chilled, with whipped cream, ice cream or nothing at all - it's great!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hawaiian Thai Chicken in a crock pot

These were really good. They don't have a name so I kinda made it up haha...

Check it out!

Awesome crock pot chicken recipe :)

Hawaiian Thai chicken

1 cup pineapple juice (add some the pineapples from the can)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light soy sauce
And chicken. I used 2 chicken breasts. If making more chicken, I definitely suggest upping the 3 ingredients so that all the chicken can be covered.

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours and they should just fall apart.

Homemade Artisan Bread

These turned out really good. We cut them up and used them as sandwhich bread :)

Homemade Artisan Bread
Makes 3-4 loaves ( depending on the size you want)

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp kosher or other course salt (I used regular table salt and the bread was really really salty. I recommend if using table salt that you lower the amount.)
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • cornmeal    for pizza peel (opt.)
1. In a very large bowl, add the flour, yeast and salt.
2. Pour in your water an stir until combined, just a few minutes.
3. Cover the bowl with foil or greased plastic wrap for 2 to 5 hours. 
4. Then, divide the dough into 3-4 loaves with a knife. cover each loaf with flour and form it into a ball.
5. Lay onto a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or onto a pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. let this dough rest for about 30 or so minutes.
6. With a sharp knife, slash the top of each loaf into 3 lines or a criss cross pattern. this helps let out some steam in the dough. If you don't slash your bread, the bread will most likely make its own tear somewhere during cooking.
7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and add a small pan filled with 1 cup of water on a lower rack for a water bath. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
8. Place your baked bread on a baking rack to cool.


Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Chops

Found the recipe on Pinterest <3 but used Pork Chops instead of chicken and upped the ingredients a little bit.
Here ya go!

 Baked Garlic Brown Sugar Pork Chops

5 Garlic cloves
5 tablespoons of brown sugar
Olive oil (or any kind of oil) ( I probably used about 2-3 tablespoons of of oil)

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
2. In a small pan, saute garlic and oil until tender.
3.  Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Should be a crumbly mixture.
4. Place chicken breasts in a prepared baking dish and cover with the garlic and brown sugar mixture.
5. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. 

(If using chicken, bake at same degree but for 15-30 minutes.)

This was a very yummy recipe :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Nepali Milk Tea

Well, first of all, this picture is not of any milk tea that I have made but it is the original tea that I drank in Nepal. I have yet to find a recipe that 'transports' me back to Nepal so to speak. Although the recipes are good, it just isn't the same as authentic milk tea.

Anywho, for our church's mission banquet, I made some spring rolls and milk tea. So here is the recipe for the milk tea.

I'll try and have the spring rolls up soon.

Nepali Spiced Tea OR as I and other Nepalese like to call it ~ Milk Tea.

3 tablespoons black tea leaves (or 3 tea bags)     (I used Masala tea leaves that I bought in Nepal. I might have used a little more than 3 (well I did make a double batch so maybe I used 7 tbsp in total)
5 cups boiling water
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
1/3-2/3 cup sugar
4 whole cloves
2 -3 cardamom pods, cracked open (or 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom)
1 cinnamon stick  (or 1tsp of ground cinnamon)


Steep tea in boiling water.
Add milk, sugar, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon stick.
Simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.
Strain and serve hot.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mini banana pudding pies

James and a baby of my moms friend had a play date yesterday. So for us grown ups, I made some little mini banana pudding pies.

First I made the crust out of keebler pre crumbed graham cracker crumbs. I melted a few tablespoons of butter, added a tbsp of sugar and then enough crumbs for a good consistency  I made like 2 or 3 little batches of this for the crusts. I used a muffin pan (12 muffins) and paper cups. Once the crust was ready, I placed a slice of banana in each cup. Then I added the banana cream pudding mix that had been whisking in my mixer. Then I left it in the fridge for over an hour.

This was so deliciously yummy!!!