Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Goblin's Pumpkin Chip Cookies

It's that time of year again, when all the goblins, witches, tricksters and treaters come out to celebrate Halloween spirits, and Pumpkin Festivals abound. Once October rolls around I'm always enamoured with anything pumpkin.. pies, squares, fudge, whoopie pies and pumpkin chip cookies. I figured now would be the perfect time to share these yummy cookies! If you make them, you'll see how they got their name, because you too will be gobblin' them up! Happy Halloween everyone! Enjoy!

2 cup flour
1 cup quick cooking oats or old-fashioned oats
1 tsp baking soada
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup semi-sweet morsel chips ( I usually add in a bit more)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts *opt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Set aside. Cream butter, gradually adding in both sugars, egg, vanilla extract and cream until light and fluffy. Add canned pumpkin, mixing it in well. Alternate blending of dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture, stirring well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
Drop the batter by heaping tablespoon onto parchment paper lined cookie sheet, an inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and golden. Don't overbake them. Remove from baking sheet & cool on wire racks. Yield: approx 36- 2 inch cookies.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta

1 pound fresh tomatoes
3 TBLS olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
1/3 cup basil leaves, torn
sea salt & ground pepper to taste
1 cup light cream
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 pound pasta
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 oz gorgonzola cheese

·Cook your pasta of choice… while it cooks..

·Cut tomatoes into large chunks and toss with olive oil, garlic, basil and a bit
of salt & ground pepper.
·Warm the cream in a large skillet. Reducing to about half cup. Lower the heat
and add tomato mixture and cook together for 20 minutes … gently
·Toss in parmesan and crumbled gorgonzola & nutmeg and continue warming until it
just begins to melt.. stir well.

·Drain cooked pasta and pour over your creamy tomato basil sauce and toss well.

Serve steaming hot with some extra gorgonzola crumbles on top, grated cheese and a nice crusty bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Little Italy found

Ever since we moved to Maine I've been hunting for a good Italian grocer. You know.. the kind of old fashioned neighborhood market you went into as a child, the ones with creaky floorboards and row after row of imported goodies? Well I finally found one!
I recently sold an enormous cookbook collection to a dealer in Portland. When they came to pick them up we began talking about the area, our mutual love of cooking and their background. She.. a retired pastry arts chef couldn't have been more than please to recommend local international grocers & eateries that I might find interesting to visit. On my newly found long list of grocers was 'Micucci's Market'.
So one early summer morning we headed up to Portland to the farmer's market in the park and spend some time exploring. After getting lost twice we finally turned down the right street. On one side of the street sits an old meat market, closed up years ago with grass growing so high behind the locked gate that it covered the entrance. On the other side a stately brick building with weathered sign that read: Micucci's Grocery Co.,Est 1949. At first glance I had to wonder if this was remnant of days gone by. But spotting a small faintly lit sign and the marvelous yeasty aroma that was filling the air around us.. I knew this wasn't a figment of my imagination.
Inside was like a throwback in time, and I felt like I had been transformed back to our old neighborhood grocer. Rows and rows of specialty items, along with an old fashioned deli counter, all imported from Italy - dried Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta, Frantonia extra virgin olive oil, so many cheeses, fresh baked breads, white anchioves, sardines, olives, peppers, and many other essentials of the Italian table. I was in seventh heaven :o)

But then that aroma grabbed me again and I was drawn up to the back of the shop..

after walking through an extensive selection of wines.. and up a few steps, and just around the corner I found a small brick lined spot serving piping hot slabs of Sicilian pizza, warm luna bread and sfogliatelles! No wonder I was drawn in! They had so many patrons lined up for the next hot slices to be served, we happily got in line.

A family run business for over 50 years.. very friendly atmosphere along with a very fine selection imported goods. A market that I will be frequenting often!

Here's a few of my purchases :) Mangia!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Leeky Onion Soup

Sadly, this week my two farmers markets came to a close and I'll be missing all of my vendor buddies, fresh produce and even though it is a lot of work I really enjoy each week at them both. I've been busy these weeks doing our Autumn festivals.. Chili Festival, Pumpkin Fiddle Festival, Harvest Moon Festival, Apple Festival and this long holiday weekend yet another one. But that's it! Well, at least until Xmas :o)
So here was my chance to pick up some of my favorite Fall veggies.. carrots, kales, parsnips, spuds, winter squash and some leeks. They just looked too tempting to pass on by. I bought 8 of them and they sat in the fridge until last night. We're seeing some chillier nights here lately, so I decided to make a pot of my Leeky onion soup. It's a pretty simple concoction, but oh so yummy. Use whatever veggies you have on hand.. the more that's added, the better the pot.
What I like about leeks is that there is very little waste and they are just so tasty from tip to tail. For this soup I use almost the whole leek and save the darker tips to add to another dish.

6-8 mid size leeks, cleaned thoroughly & chopped
2 large onions, sliced
2 shallots, diced fine
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 zucchini, cubed
1/2 bunch Italian kale, chopped
3 carrots, cleand & cut
4 scallions, diced
1 summer squash, cubed
7-8 potatoes, peeled & cubed ( I used red & white New potatoes and Yukons)
1/4 stick unsalted butter
2 cans low salt chicken or vegetable stock
low fat milk or light cream
sea saltm ground pepper to taste

Saute cut leeks, onions, shallots, & garlic in butter about 5-6 minutes. Rinse and cut up all your vegetables. Add to the pot with 2 cans chicken stock. Cover, and bring to a low boil and cook until vegetables are just tender. Remove cover and cool for 10 minutes. Pour vegetable mixture into Cuisinart or blender & give it a whirl until just smooth. Return it to your pot & add low fat milk (not much) or if you must.. light cream! Season to taste. Serve with Syrian bread triangles, or nice crusty bread, Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!