Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread

Hey guess what. It's like 36 hours until Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone's concerned with the big meal right? Well what the heck do you eat beforehand? Like breakfast-wise? You don't have the time or the real estate in your belly to do a big, hot breakfast. 

You need a quick bread that's spiced and sweet with tart cranberries (It's fruit! It's good for you!) to wake you up. It's the kind of thing you can keep going back for because despite its short stature, it's really a light bread.

You don't have to sprinkle powdered sugar over it, but it sure makes it look pretty.


Let's get it together: Pumpkin puree, vanilla, brown butter, eggs, flour, sour cream, fresh cranberries, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Whew.

Brown butter and both sugars. Nothing is lovelier.

Adding in sour cream and pumpkin. Nothing is silkier.

It's the brightest of fall oranges.

Let's distribute our spices and our leavening agents evenly with a quick whisking.

It's a fluffy batter just begging for the weight of a tart cranberry.

Gently fold the cranberries in so the batter retains some lightness.

I do my best to make everything smooth-like. Invariably some always ends up on the side. I consider that my crunchies for later.

No lie, I love me some Pam + flour. My breads slide out like a dream. 

Powdered sugar is like fairy dust. 

Little bursts of cranberry red.

I can't have bread without butter. Butter sweetened with maple syrup and spiced with ginger and cinnamon makes the best topping for this pumpkin bread.


Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread (makes one 9-inch loaf)
Adapted from this bread

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c brown butter, cooled
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree 
3/4 c sour cream (yogurt may be substituted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 c fresh cranberries, rinsed
  • Preheat oven to 350º. Thoroughly grease a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together brown and granulated sugar with the brown butter. It will be fluffy and make you want to eat it straight from the bowl. Add the pumpkin puree and yogurt and stir until well-blended and smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to combine. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves). Add to the wet ingredients and gently stir until just combined. Fold in cranberries and spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake 55 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the bread and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • Eat it whenever the spirit moves you, which for me is any time I walk by it. Just sayin.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, & Ham Pizza

Pizza is a dinner food to me. Like, I don't ever think about eating pizza for lunch. It's something I want with a beer or a glass of wine (which doesn't necessarily preclude lunch) and my programs. 
The programs are kind of essential. Of course it's a brilliant away-game food. Pizza and football? So done. Of course, I probably couldn't get away with serving a harvest-y pizza with a side of sprouts as a game-watching dinner. It's more for when I'm either watching a game by myself or my lady shows (Scandal, Nashville, you know the drill). 

I like to make pizza as uncomplicated as possible. HAH. Just kidding. Here we've got cubed butternut squash, pizza dough from Publix (that's the uncomplicated part), fresh mozzarella, jamon iberico (y'know, ham), cubed bleu cheese, and sage.

You can use prosciutto or another thinly sliced ham, but I had this Iberian ham on me. Y'know, as one does.

My blue cheese was the opposite of crumbly. I mean, when's the last time I was able to cube blue cheese? It melted nicely though. The most important part is that you like it!

You also need an underripe butternut squash. Just kidding. Try to get a ripe one. Cube it, toss it with olive oil, and roast in the oven just to get nice and soft.

DSC_1236_edited-1 I couldn't decide if I wanted red sauce or just olive oil, so I did both! I like to tear the mozzarella into pieces and artfully arrange them across the dough.

DSC_1240_edited-1 Toss on the par-cooked squash and blue cheese for more flavor layers.

DSC_1245_edited-1 Bake until it's mostly cooked. I love the way the squash gets brown around the edges and supersoft. 

DSC_1251_edited-1 Full shot man. Add the sage and ham and bake until it's fully cooked. 

DSC_1256_edited-1 It's a doggone playground of sweet butternut squash, salty ham, herby sage (because sage is in herb of course), and gooey cheese. It's a winner. It's pizza, man. 

Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese, & Ham Pizza (makes 1 pizza, serves 3+)

(You can adjust these measurements to your liking - less blue cheese, more squash, etc)
1 1/2 - 2 c cubed butternut squash
Olive oil for drizzling
Salt & pepper to taste
1 (8 oz) ball of pizza dough
4 oz fresh mozzarella
1 c (ish) cubed blue cheese
2 oz thinly sliced ham, torn
2 sage leaves, thinly sliced
Red sauce (optional)
  • Preheat the oven to 425º. Spread the squash on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Roast 10-15 minutes or until the squash have softened up but aren't brown. Remove and turn the oven up to 500º.
  • Spread your dough on a sheet pan to your desired thickness and size. If using the red sauce, spread on the dough. Otherwise, drizzle with more olive oil. 
  • Tear the mozzarella pieces and spread across the pizza. Add the blue cheese and bake 25-30 minutes or until almost completely done. The cheese should be melty and the crust should be lightly browned. 
  • Sprinkle the ham and sage over the pizza and bake an addition 5 minutes to crisp up the ham and brown the crust. Season with flaky salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potato with Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Butter

 We should probably talk about this potato here. It won't go down as the prettiest potato because it's hard to mush something up and it still look nice. Although pretty much all you'd have to tell me is there are goat cheese and caramelized onions up in this piece and I'll devour it.