Sunday, November 22, 2009

pumpkin manacotti

I ordered this at a restaurant sometime in September and was quite impressed. Luckily the flavors were simple enough that I could reproduce fairly easily.


Pasta Shells Manacotti or Shells or anything that can be stuffed
1 squash (I used butternut, but you could use pumpkin or any other similar orange squash)
1/2 cube butter
1 container marscapone cheese
1/2 cup (approx.) pecorino romano cheese (or some other similar cheese), grated (freshly grated is best)
sage (dried worked fine)


1. Bake squash/pumpkin. Cut in half and remove seeds, place both halves in baking dish flat side down with about 1 inch of water. Bake at 350-375 for 45 minutes or until completely soft.

2. Once squash has cooled a bit, remove peel. If the squash is stringy, process in food processor. Add the butter, sage, salt, and pepper while it is still warm. This can be done ahead of time, since the mixture doesn't need to be warm when the shells are stuffed.

3. If you are using dried pasta, cook it. If you're using fresh pasta, make it. I made GF pasta and rolled it out into rectangle shapes to stuff.

4. Stuff pasta shells or manacotti with pumpkin mixture. Put in lightly buttered baking pan. Bake covered for 30-35 minutes at 350. You want it to be basically done at this point. Remove from oven and spread marscapone on top. The marscapone melts almost like butter. Add grated cheese on top and bake until cheese is melted and it looks done.

Monday, November 16, 2009

small victories

A few months ago, I exclaimed to my co-workers that I had made pizza at home. I don't think they understood how amazing it is to have pizza that was actually good.

The recipe comes from the Betty Hagman book, but I'm a firm believer in the buckwheat flour (which is not what the recipe in her book calls for):

Thin Pizza Crust

Let sit until bubbly (about 10 minutes):

1 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar


2/3 c. rice flour
1/3 c. tapioca starch
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp salt

The consistency will be similar to frosting. Spread on a buttered pan. Bake at 425 for about 10 minutes, then add toppings and bake another half hour or so until browned.

Part of the victorious feeling that came from this recipe is the discovery that rice flour and tapioca starch can be purchased in the asian section of the grocery store for about 15% of what the bob's red mill costs. So wonderful.

Another flour that is amazing is millet flour, although I have a harder time finding millet flour in the store so I've been using buckwheat more often.

Another victory: rice noodles. These are about the same price as regular gluten free pastas, which is nice. They taste fantastic and are delicious when made into Pad Thai.

This summer we made strawberry, raspberry, raspberry-lime, and amber raspberry jam, all of which were amazing. It's so nice to have a stock of jam that didn't come from the store. The raspberry-lime is by far my favorite.

Another summer discovery: half pecks of basil at the farmer's market. All summer we would go and buy a huge bag of basil (for only $8!!). I would make a huge batch of pesto, so we had fresh pesto all summer long. We kept a big container in the refrigerator... great for sandwiches, eggs, and pasta (of course).

So those are the victories of the summer: buckwheat flour, delicious crispy crust pizza, raspberry jam, pesto. Wonderful.

fall is here!

It's been a while. My exam was last week, so up until then I was buried in loss models. Now that it's over, I can focus on really important things, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We're making Limoncello to give as Christmas gifts this year. Here are the lemon rinds soaking in the alcohol. Hopefully you can see from the photo how the alcohol has started to turn yellow.

I've never made this before, so who knows how it'll turn out. Here's hoping that it turns out delicious. One of the results of this paticular project is that I now have about 6 cups of lemon juice in the freezer. Any suggestions for the juice that don't involve zesting more lemons?
My next project, though not food related, is certainly Christmas related. I'm working on an advent calendar. Here are the first ten numbers that I've made:
Hopefully I'll have the other 15 done in time for Advent! I'm going to make a tree to put them on eventually.
That's all for now. Looking forward to Thanksgiving. There's so much to be thankful for.