Potato Leek Soup

S1Hearty potatoes, earthy leeks, rich butter, and savory broth combine perfectly in this recipe to offer a lush, warm autumn meal. You’ll be impressed with how simple this soup is to prepare, leaving you plenty of time for carving pumpkins, jumping in piles of leaves, or enjoying an evening fire.

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These leeks from my garden are about 1 inch in diameter, but leeks can easily grow to 2 inches in diameter.

If you haven’t cooked with leeks Continue reading

Pumpkin Pudding

Pudding1Pumpkin is one of the healthiest veggies around! It’s low in calories but chock full of fiber and vitamins. This quick and easy recipe allows you to serve up veggies as a delicious (and healthy) dessert! Your secret is safe with me. Continue reading

Peanut Pumpkin Soup

Soup1Rich and earthy, warm and savory, this is a perfect soup for a crisp autumn evening. You can use canned pumpkin to make a pot of Peanut Pumpkin Soup quickly, or roast a pie pumpkin and puree the flesh for added depth of flavor. It’s entirely up to you. Let’s get started! Continue reading

Cherry Tomato Cheddar Muffins

M1This week, the cherry tomatoes in my garden are sweet and delicious. While they make a flavorful addition to a variety of sauces, cherry tomatoes are so darn cute that it’s fun to cook with them in ways that show off their shape! This recipe combines garden fresh cherry tomatoes with cheddar cheese in a delightful cornbread muffin recipe guaranteed to make you smile. Let’s get started!  Continue reading

Sweet ‘n Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

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If you’ve been a Crowded Earth Kitchen friend for a while, you already know of our love for pumpkin seeds. These tiny little powerhouses of nutrition are a free “bonus” snack after turning pumpkins into all sorts of delightful goodies. What’s not to love about that?  Continue reading

Signature Dish: Savory Stuffed Pumpkin

p3Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we don’t toss around the Signature Dish moniker lightly. If we label a recipe as a Signature Dish, you can rest assured that the recipe is a guaranteed, crowd pleasing success. Savory Stuffed Pumpkin fits the bill! Continue reading

Simple Bread

picture346Simple Bread is a Crowded Earth Kitchen favorite. We first shared this recipe a few years ago, and it has been wildly popular! As the name implies, baking this bread is simple.  It is also economical, costing far, far less to prepare than any nutritionally equivalent bread available at your local market.  Simple Bread freezes well, as does the dough itself.  Over the next few days, we will use Simple Bread dough as the foundation for several healthy, low cost meals.  Let’s go play with flour!

Ingredients (makes 2 standard sized loaves, approximately 9×5 inches each)

2 cups lukewarm (not boiling) water

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons yeast

1/4 cup dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup canola oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

4 cups white flour

picture330Directions

Step 1)  Combine sugar and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in yeast, and allow to sit for a minute or two until the surface of the water appears a bit creamy.

Step 2) Add dry milk, salt, and oil to the picture331yeast mixture.  Stir in flours, one cup at a time, and transfer dough to a floured tabletop.

Step 3) Knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms.  Add a bit more flour as needed, to prevent sticking.  Transfer dough to a large bowl which has been greased with canola oil.

picture334Step 4) Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size.  This will take about an hour in a warm location, such as an oven that has been warmed to 100 degrees and then turned off.

Step 5) Punch the bowl of risen dough a few times to release air bubbles (this is picture332fun!).   Knead on a floured tabletop for a few minutes.  Divide dough in half, and shape into loaves.

Step 6) If you are making freezer dough, stop here!  Simply wrap your dough in plastic wrap and freeze.  When you wish to bake fresh Simple Bread, thaw your dough in greased, floured pans, and let rise until picture336double (this will take several hours from frozen).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Step 7) If you are baking bread right now, place your loaves of dough in greased, floured pans, and let rise for one hour or until dough is slightly higher than the pans.

picture345Step 8) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy your Simple Bread!

Steak ‘n Beer Cornbread

win_20161003_185148Cornbread doesn’t have to be boring, and it sure doesn’t need to be bland. This super simple recipe merges traditional cornbread with a bottle of beer and savory steak seasoning. The result is absolutely delicious!

Ingredients (Makes 1 bread loaf or 1 casserole dish)

2 cups white flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon steak seasoning (such as Penzeys Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning)

12 ounces of your favorite beer

Directions

Step 1) Grease a bread pan or casserole dish; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2) Mix all dry ingredients with a fork. Stir in beer and transfer batter to greased pan.

Step 3) Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Yummy Frozen Pumpkin Torte

win_20160928_190824Question: What’s better than a delicious frozen pumpkin torte?

Answer: A delicious frozen pumpkin torte which is super easy to prepare!

This torte fits the bill. Yummy Frozen Pumpkin Torte offers the perfect flavor profile for autumn, has a beautiful presentation, and is simple enough for a beginner to tackle with confidence. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Serves 12 – 16)

3 cups finely crushed gingersnaps

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened

Whole gingersnaps (for garnish)

Toffee candy bar (for garnish)

Directions

Step 1) Combine gingersnap crumbs and butter. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of a 10 inch Springform pan. Place the pan with the crust in the freezer, to help the crust set.

Note: If you don’t have a Springform pan, you can use a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. You may need an additional (4th) cup of gingersnap crumbs and an extra 2 tablespoons of melted butter to coat the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

Step 2) In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Gently fold in softened ice cream. Remove the pan with the crust from the freezer, and spread the ice cream mixture over the crust. Cover with foil and return the torte to the freezer for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Step 3) Just before serving, garnish the top of your Yummy Frozen Pumpkin Torte with gingersnaps and toffee candy bar pieces. Remove side of Springform pan for presentation.

To store leftover torte in freezer, simply reattach the side of the Springform pan and cover with foil.

 

Autumn Plum Cake

easy-plum-cakeEvery autumn, the New York Times publishes the same plum torte recipe. It has something of a cult following. My friend Denise, a scratch cook who is rather particular about the recipes she endorses, raves about this torte. So, I gave it a try.

It’s good. Really good! The recipe is included here. I had larger plums on hand, so I used slices rather than halves. Whether this recipe is a “torte” or a “cake” is in the eye of the beholder. I’m going with “cake,” as for me the word “torte” conjures up images of complicated, many-layered German desserts. This recipe is blessedly simple. It is quite similar to Rustic Apple Cake, with different fruit. Enjoy this cake (torte?) with a cup of coffee as you watch the leaves fall.

Corn and Bacon Chowder

WIN_20160812_220110In my neck of the woods, sweet corn is in season. Hooray! The problem is, the season for fresh sweet corn seems to last about 5 minutes (OK, maybe 2 or 3 weeks) and then it’s all gone.  😦  Corn and Bacon Chowder freezes well, and is a great recipe for preserving the awesome flavor of fresh sweet corn to enjoy all winter long. I make BIG batches of this soup, based upon a recipe found in an old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, to stock my freezer. The recipe below makes a smaller quantity, but can be easily doubled. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Makes 8 servings)

8 ears of corn (or 4 cups corn kernels) Continue reading

Apple Cider Bread

WIN_20150929_185548We’re using a bread machine today, folks, because November is a BUSY month! Between launching the Global Recipe Project cookbook and keeping up other projects, the convenience of my bread machine is alluring. If you prefer to go old school, this recipe will work just as well if you knead the dough by hand as we’ve done with many other bread recipes.

This bread is earthy and spicy, not too sweet – the perfect accompaniment to a hearty meal of beef stew or perhaps pumpkin soup. Enjoy!

WIN_20150929_151711Ingredients (Makes 1 loaf)

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup lukewarm apple cider

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

3 1/2 cups flour

1/4 ounce packet of active dry yeast

WIN_20150929_184640Directions

This is the marvel of bread machines… simply add the ingredients to a bread machine in the order listed above (wet ingredients in first, yeast in last), and turn on your machine! I used a “sweet bread” setting with “medium crust.” A “white bread” setting would work just as well.

My bread was ready in just over three hours; times will vary depending upon the machine.

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Simple Beef Stew

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A bubbling pot of beef stew on the stove has a way of settling people at the end of a busy day. November’s cold air and brisk wind can feel refreshing in small doses, but can make a person feel like hibernating by the end of the day! I start beef stew in mid-afternoon, so that the earthy aroma fills the house by the time others arrive from work and school. I enjoy watching my loved ones peel off coats and scarves, rub cold hands together, and sniff the air with wind-nipped noses. Invariably, they smile. That’s well worth a few minutes of prep time!

WIN_20150923_164751Ingredients (Makes 3 quarts)

3 pounds chopped beef (often labeled “Beef Stew” at the market)

1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup oil

6 cups vegetable juice (such as V8)

3 cups water

1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence

1 tablespoon finely diced fresh rosemary

8 cups “root and tuber” vegetables, peeled and cut into chunks (any combination of potatoes, yams, carrots, onions, etc.)

WIN_20150923_170041Directions

Step 1) Combine flour, nutmeg, paprika, and black pepper. Add to a plastic bag (such as a disposable grocery bag) with the beef, and shake gently to coat the beef.

Step 2) Working in two batches, add half of the oil to a large stockpot on medium-high heat. Add half of the beef and brown with WIN_20150923_171521stirring for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove beef with a slotted spoon and set aside. Prepare the other half of the beef in the same way. Remove all of the beef and set aside, but don’t wash the stockpot!

Step 3) To the same stockpot, add vegetable juice, water, and Herbes de Provence. Bring to a boil. Add beef, stir, and reduce heat to simmer (covered) for one hour.

Step 4) After one hour, add 8 cups of vegetables as well as the fresh rosemary. Simmer, uncovered, for approximately 1 hour or until vegetables are fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pot. If mixture becomes too thick, add water or vegetable juice 1/4 cup at a time.

Step 5) Serve hot with crusty bread or wide noodles. Enjoy!