So, in the past two weeks, I've made (at least) a few noteworthy foods, and I'm just going to quickly mention them and throw down the recipes for reference. Don't be misguided by my short blog, though, if this turns out to be short. You definitely need to try these.
First, I made fresh halibut on the grill with this wonderful tomato cream sauce...definitely the best I've ever done, and it wasn't even my recipe. It was Emeril's. Shocking, I know. I used my garden tomatoes, Brandywines (the last of the season, which finished ripening in the house). I'm sure that helped, but I think the recipe was very well done. You can find it here. Well, it's a recipe for more than the sauce, but the sauce is what I made. Except I used chicken broth instead of fish stock. And I didn't add the tomato paste or parsley. And I probably threw in more thyme than it called for, since my garden has produced abundant amounts of thyme. So delicious!
Next, I made pesto with the last of my basil before we had a hard frost. My brother Dan had sent an email out to the family about his pesto recipe, which was strikingly similar to mine, with a couple of exceptions, so it got me thinking along pesto lines, and I quickly (because pesto is very fast to make) threw together a batch. My favorite way of eating pesto, by the way, is on roasted, cubed red potatoes. You'll need to add a little extra olive oil and perhaps salt to the potatoes along with the pesto, but I personally find it way better than on any pasta. Following is my recipe, but I should preface it by saying Dan's called for half the pine nuts and 2/3 the cheese, but I like the pine nuts and cheese, even if it dispells the basil a bit. His also calls for twice the garlic, which I only recomment if you've got tiny cloves of garlic or like a really strong bite, as it doesn't get cooked and will hit you pretty fast. Sometimes I do like mine that way, but usually I like a more subtle blend.
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts (toast in a dry skillet over low, they burn very easily)
pinch or so of Kosher salt, to taste
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c. grated fresh parmigiano reggiano
about 1/2 c. olive oil
Blend the first four ingredients in a food processor, then quickly blend in the cheese. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil to desired consistency, no more than 1/2 cup.
Don't forget to try it with potatoes!
And I finally reached my 4-year goal of finding a pumpkin bread recipe that I really like. I wanted something a little creamy, reminiscent of the smooth custard feel you get when you eat a pumpkin pie, not so much like zucchini bread that feels dried out after a day. When I was little, we used to spread butter or cream cheese on our zucchini bread or pumpkin bread - I wanted a bread that didn't need that and preferred to be left toppingless. My 7-year old Emily and I at last achieved that just yesterday. The recipe makes two loaves. I froze one, and this is all that was left of the other for a measly, low-light picture. Since I took the picture 20 minutes ago, even less is left. So here it is, a combination of recipes, of course, so it's mine now:
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 c. white sugar
4 large eggs
2 c. pumpkin (canned works great)
1 t. vanilla
2/3 c. cream (oh, come on! that's 1/3 c. per loaf, and how much of that are you eating?)
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 T. cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Spray two 9" x 5" loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, about 2 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Mix in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Separately, stir together the pumpkin and cream. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin batter in 3 additions, adding half the pumpkin and cream between each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.
Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and bake 60-70 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean, or at least without really moist crumbs attached to it. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of pans and cool completely (or at least another 20 minutes) before slicing. Wrap any leftovers tightly to keep moist.
You better try this one while it's still the season for pumpkin. Of course, once you have it, you'll be making it throughout the winter.
I better go finish off that last piece.