There Are Some Things You Just Have To Do Yourself

There are some things you just have to do yourself.  You know, like when the cheapest hardscaping bid comes in three times over budget.  It’s in that moment that you and your husband look at each other,  shrug, and say, “Well, I guess we’re gonna do this.”  This is my apology and excuse for the blog-neglect.  We have been spending the last two weeks turning our backyard from a sandpit into a hardscaped wonder.  {See exhibits A and B, C, D}

20151029_112946 20151109_171314 20151113_173925 20151116_101440I’ve pretty much neglected everything.  {Except the dishes.  And throwing fruit snacks at my kids.  I have standards.}  We aren’t done yet…but we are thinking maybe one more weekend of hitting it hard.  And then we can go back to our normal routine.  {And I will cook again, instead of pulling frozen leftovers from the deep corners of the freezer.}

So back to other things you should do yourself…

I can count on one hand the number of times my mom bought pizza growing up.  Or bought any “store-bought” foodstuff, for that matter.  I remember once begging for chicken nuggets from a fast food place, and she went ahead and made her own batter-covered chicken breast chunks and fried them up for us for dinner.  “Store-bought” cookies and 2% milk were a treat only at a friend’s house–“Cookies?!  We can make those at home!”  My mom would always announce, walking us straight past the cookie aisle in the grocery store, and over to the 10 cent fruit roll-ups we were allowed as our treat.  And as far as milk was concerned, “Whisking milk” was on the monthly chore list…we grew up making and drinking the more cost-effective powder milk.

Is it any surprise that I have culinarily turned into my mom.  {Is it any daughter’s surprise, really?!}  Today, I would only go near a fast food place by necessity–and by necessity, I mean we’ve been hardscaping for hours on end and my boys are melting down; when my boys ask to buy a treat at the store, I turn my nose up and say, “Nah…we can make that at home!”  One difference is we drink almond milk, not powdered milk.

And pizza?  Pizza is best homemade.  Unless you are in Italy, of course.  Then always go out.  If you’re staying in, do my mom’s favorite toppings–she calls it Cupboard Pizza.  Unload whatever leftovers or cupboard surprises you have, throw on some cheese, and you’ve got a good dinner.  I don’t think I’m even going to post a recipe here, to be honest.  Use your fav pizza dough recipe, and fav red sauce, and top with your cupboard surprises…{I’ll post my fav pizza dough and red sauce recipes as other posts later.}

My leftovers?  Why, pumpkin, of course.  I had some leftover roasted pumpkin from pasta, and some leftover maple-roasted pumpkin from the salad.  I love these colors–very deep and autumn-ish.

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Before the bake

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After the bake

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Apple Pumpkin Custard Pie with Pecan Streusel Topping

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{Recipe + Photos featured in LDS Living Sept/Oct 2016 Issue}

It’s a rule in my house that if something has fruit in it, you can eat it for breakfast.  And as this pie has a fruit (apple) AND a vegetable (pumpkin), it’s definitely a breakfast food, and as I have a “Breakfast For Dinner” category, I’d say this pie definitely makes the cut for the blog.

This has all the Thanksgiving favorites put together:  Apple Pie, a light and mousse-like Pumpkin pie, and a Pecan Streusel topping.  It’s perfect for breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, second lunch, dinner, second dinner…and anytime in between.  I am speaking from experience.

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APPLE PUMPKIN CUSTARD PIE WITH PECAN STREUSEL TOPPING

  • Servings: makes one 9-inch pie
  • Difficulty: medium to hard, for the three different components and time
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INGREDIENTS FOR THE PIE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons very cold vegetable shortening
  • 5-8 tablespoons ice water

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PIE FILLING

  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 15oz can pureed pumpkin (WITHOUT pumpkin pie spices)
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 cups peeled, diced apples (about 4 medium apples, Gala is my preferred–just sweet enough)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE TOPPING (Prepare at the end while the pie is baking)

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup very finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start with the Pie dough.  Place flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and mix well.  Dice the cold butter and place in the flour mixture, as well as the shortening.  Cut in with a pastry cutter until the flour and fats result in pea-sized lumps.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of ice water to the dough and stir with a spoon until it starts to stick together.  Add 2-3 more tablespoons of ice water until most of the dough roughly forms into a ball.  You may need to add 2-3 more tablespoons of ice water until you get a mostly-formed ball of dough; don’t add more than 8 tablespoons of water, or your pie dough will be too dense and not flaky.  Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead just 4-5 times until the dough comes together.  Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 20-30 minutes.
  2. While the dough is resting in the fridge, prepare the pie filling.  Combine the first six ingredients (the flour through the cloves) in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk the eggs, pumpkin, and greek yogurt together.  Add the flour spice mix and stir well until fully combined.  The mixture should be like a thin pudding in consistency.  Gently stir in the diced apples and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Prepare the pie crust.  Roll out your pie dough on a well-floured surface, rotating and turning over as needed to make an evenly rolled out crust.  Add flour as needed so it doesn’t stick to your work surface.  Your dough should be about 1/4-inch thick, and about 2 inches wider in diameter than your pie pan.  Gently fold the dough in half, then in half again, so it looks like a triangle, and gently center the corner of your “pie dough triangle” in your pie pan.  Open the dough and gently fit the dough into the bottom and sides of your pan.  You want about 1 1/2 inches of “dough overhang” all the way around the perimeter of the pan; trim any excess dough.  Gently roll the overhang dough under itself and crimp in your desired style.
  6. Pour filling into the prepared pie shell.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes.
  7. While the pie is baking, prepare the topping.  Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and chopped pecans.  Cut in the butter until pea-sized lumps form, similar to the pie dough.
  8. After the 30 minute bake, pull the pie out of the oven.  increase the oven temperature back to 400.  Sprinkle the pecan streusel topping evenly over the top of the pie and bake for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top.

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You Are What You Eat

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{Recipes + Photos featured in LDS Living Sept/Oct 2016 Issue}

Dip anyone?  Two different pumpkin dips + homemade spinach feta bread = a pretty satisfying {vegetarian, not vegan} dinner.  Even the hubby, who normally complains he feels “suckered out of dinner” if I serve soup and biscuits, thought dip and bread was a score.  Now that I know that…

Dips are so easy–just fold together all the ingredients, pour into a baking dish, bake until golden and bubbly, and serve with crackers or toasty bread!  Your kitchen is going to thank you, your dinner table buddies are going to thank you, and you are going to thank you.

The first is a really creamy and briny Pumpkin Artichoke Dip, using a Zucca Rotondo Pumpkin, dicing it up and pan-roasting it for deeper flavor, then mixing it with the cream cheese mixture, marinated artichoke hearts, and sliced green onions.  Top with fresh green parsley, and you’re ready to dig in.

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pumpkin artichoke dip with parsley

The second is a warm and hearty Savory Pumpkin Bake, using regular orange Sweet Pumpkin, pan-roasting it, mashing it, and mixing it with garlic and ginger then topping it with crispy crunchy melty bread crumbs and cheese.

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Two Pumpkin Dips, fresh crusty bread–easiest dinner ever.

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CREAMY PUMPKIN ARTICHOKE DIP

  • Servings: makes one 9-inch (1-quart) baking dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Christmas Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups diced pumpkin
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 14oz can marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • fresh parsley, chopped, for garnishing

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium/medium-high. Pan-roast diced pumpkin with salt and pepper to taste until golden brown.  Turn off heat and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, greek yogurt, half-and-half, and salt and pepper to taste.  Beat with a hand mixer until well combined and creamy.
  4. Add the cheese, artichoke hearts, green onions, and pan-roasted pumpkin.  Gently fold together and pour into a greased 9-inch (1-quart) baking dish.
  5. Bake uncovered 10-15 minutes and the top is golden and bubbly.  Sprinkle with parsley.

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SAVORY PUMPKIN BAKE

  • Servings: makes 1 9-inch (1-quart) baking dish
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups diced pumpkin
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup dry milk powder
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated gouda cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat the oven to 350.
  2. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat to medium.  Saute diced pumpkin and onion with salt and pepper to taste until the pumpkin has a little bit of color.  Add 1 cup of water and let the pumpkin cook down until just softened,not mushy.  Put in a large bowl and mash the pumpkin–don’t let it get pureed or completely mashed, you want some texture and lumps to your dip.
  3. To the mashed pumpkin, add the ginger, garlic, melted butter, beaten eggs, and milk powder.  Mix well and pour into a greased 9-inch (1-quart) baking dish.
  4. Mix the breadcrumbs and gouda cheese in a medium bowl, and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until well combined and spoon overtop the pumpkin mixture.
  5. Bake 20-30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the cheese is melty.

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SPINACH FETA BREAD

  • Servings: makes 4 1-pound loaves
  • Difficulty: medium to hard, if you're new to bread making
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Adapted from Jeff Hertzberg’s Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day; I am treating this like “normal” bread dough and taking the time to let it rise twice before baking.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup packed cooked spinach, chopped
  • 2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3-5 more cups of all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

  1. Spoon the yeast into a very large bowl (I use a 32-cup Tupperware bowl), pour the lukewarm water overtop, and sprinkle the sugar over the yeast/water mixture.  Let is proof for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and salt, and stir into a tick paste.  Add the spinach and feta cheese and stir.  Add at least 2 more cups of flour and turn the dough out on to a floured surface.  Knead for 8-10 minutes, adding up to 2-3 more cups of flour, until you have a soft and elastic dough.  Set back in your large mixing bowl, greased with olive oil, drizzling a bit more olive oil on top, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down and divide into four equal balls.  You can free-form bread balls, roll up and fit into a bread pan, or even roll into long french bread-type loaves.  Cover and let rise again, about 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 450.  Sprinkle bread with flour and using a serrated knife, make slices across the top of your loaves, if desired.  Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until crispy and golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Sweet Spot Salad

After all that pasta, I figure it’s time for a salad, right?  Crunchy greens, zingy red onion, red fall pears, sweet orange slices, and maple-glazed roasted pumpkin slices…YUM.  Oh wait, it’s also topped with roasted/salted pistachios.  Yum Yum.

You can prepare all your ingredients the day of, but if you’re strapped for time, roast the pumpkin over the weekend and pull it out when you’re putting together your salad during the week.  Slice up your pumpkin, mix up equal amounts of maple syrup and olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, let the pumpkin slices swim around for a bit, and arrange on a pan.

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After arranging the slices on the pan, pour a little of the magic overtop for optimum caramelization {otherwise known as yummylization}.  Roast for about 20 minutes, flip, pour the rest of the magic overtop, and roast for another 20 minutes.

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Throw everything else in a bowl, gently toss, whisk up the orange vinaigrette, and serve with the roasted pumpkin slices.  Oh so satisfying.

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MAPLE ROASTED PUMPKIN AND ORANGE SALAD

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS FOR THE SALAD

  • 12 slices pumpkin (between 1/4 and 1/2 inch in thickness)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 good handfuls of mixed greens
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, sectioned, zested, and juiced.
  • handful of roasted/salted pistachios

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

  • Zest and juice from the orange
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • just enough olive oil to bring the vinaigrette together, maybe 1-2 tablespoons

DIRECTIONS

  1. Start with roasting the pumpkin slices.  Preheat oven to 400.  Slice 12 1/4- to 1/2-inch pumpkin slices and put in a large bowl.  Whisk together 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/2 cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, then pour over the pumpkin slices.  Arrange on a roasting pan, pour half of the remaining maple syrup mixture  over the slices and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Turn the slices over, pour the remaining maple syrup mixture over the slices, and roast for another 20-30 minutes, until golden and caramelized.
  2. Put the rest of the ingredients, the mixed greens through the pistachios, in another large bowl.  When working with the orange, first zest it in another smaller bowl, then peel and section it, putting the sections in with the salad ingredients, then squeeze the rest of the juice out in the smaller bowl with the zest.  Orange slices with the salad; zest and juice with the vinaigrette.
  3. To finish the vinaigrette, add salt and pepper to taste with the orange zest and juice, then whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until it comes together.  Pour over the salad mixture and toss gently.
  4. To serve, evenly divide the salad between 2-4 plates and serve with 2-3 slices each of the maple roasted pumpkin slices.

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Thai-Inspired Pumpkin and Soba Noodles

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If you know me by now, you know I love flavor.  Heat.  Spice.  Crunch.  This meal could be made with just the pumpkin noodles, but I had a box of soba noodles, so I decided to combine them.  Grating the pumpkin into noodles is definitely a workout and you will use way more muscle than grating a carrot…But what can I say?  It’s worth it.  The pumpkin noodles and soba noodles are perfectly paired–they play off each other’s nuttiness and the pumpkin adds a hint of sweetness to the spicy heat.  No, I was not just describing my relationship with my husband; I was in fact describing dinner.

I used a whole box of soba noodles and about 2 cups of grated pumpkin.  For the written recipe, I am cutting all the ingredients in half.  Don’t worry, there will still be plenty to share.


THAI-INSPIRED PUMPKIN AND SOBA NOODLES

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: pretty easy, except for that workout grating the pumpkin...
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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 box soba noodles
  • 1 cup grated pumpkin in long strips
  • 1/2 cup snow peas, julienned
  • 1/2 carrot, outer peel removed and continue grating into long, thin strips
  • 1/2 jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed, and finely diced (you can use more or less, depending on your heat preference)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 3-4 scallions, sliced thinly on a large diagonal
  • 2 teaspoons Szechwan seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sambal Oelek (depending on your heat preference)
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil (for sautéing the pumpkin noodles)
  • lime slices on the side

DIRECTIONS

  1. Take on the task of grating your pumpkin first.  If you don’t have a handheld Julienne peeler to make your noodles, a “spiralizer” would also work.
  2. Mix the ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sambal Oelek, and set aside.
  3. Boil water in a large pot to cook the soba noodles.  Add salt and cook noodles according to package instructions.
  4. While the soba noodles are cooking, pour the sesame oil in a large skillet and heat over medium to medium high heat.  Add the pumpkin noodles, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Saute until the noodles are crisp tender.  Add the snow peas, carrot, jalapeño, and Szechwan seasoning, and continue sautéing for 2-4 more minutes.  You want the veggies to retain fresh crispness.
  5. When the soba noodles are done, drain, and return to the pot.  Add the cilantro, scallions, soy sauce mixture and the sautéed vegetables and pumpkin noodles.  Stir gently to completely mix.  Serve with lime slices and fresh cilantro.

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Pumpkin Angel Hair Pasta with Kale Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Putting pesto on pasta is like pulling on a warm wool sweater in the fall.  Warm, thick, comforting.  Traditional Italian basil pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.  There are so many different kinds of pestos out there, though–nearly every culture has a pesto-like sauce {Chimichurri?  Romesco?}  Just take a veggie (leafy greens, roasted peppers, herbs), add nuts or seeds (walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.), any other flavor booster (parmesan cheese, garlic, acid, etc.), and blend.  Voila.  You have a gourmet fall time pasta at your fingertips.

In the summer, my favorite pasta meal is angel hair pasta with sautéed zucchini and lemon zest.  It is so, so fresh and bright.  I decided to fall-i-fy that dish with pumpkin angel hair pasta topped with a kale pumpkin seed pesto.  That’s right, topping pumpkin with more pumpkin.  This dish is perfectly warm, perfectly nutty, perfectly fall, perfectly pumpkin.

I used the same batch of pumpkin pasta dough as my pumpkin fettuccine.  Remember–just roast the pumpkin and add to your pasta flour mix.  If you make the full batch of pasta dough, you will end up with a couple meals–but hey, you’ve spent time and effort making homemade pasta, may as well get more than one meal out of it, right?  With these pastas, we ate the fettuccine the night I made the pasta, and I let the angel hair pasta sit on the counter (it dried and hardened), and made it for dinner two days later.

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If you’d rather use store bought pasta for a quick weeknight meal, the pesto will still carry lots of pumpkin flavor!  Seriously, for a weeknight all you’d have to do is take 8-10 minutes to boil the pasta, and spend 60-90 seconds blending the ingredients, and you’re ready to eat.  BUT if you made that full batch of pasta dough, and let one of your pastas rest for a couple days, your gourmet homemade pasta weeknight dinner will take you the same amount of time.  Less, even, because fresh pasta cooks faster than dried store bought pasta.

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Voila.  Oh, and as a side note, there are 12 grams of protein in 1 cup of pumpkin seeds.  Just in case you were wondering.

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PUMPKIN ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH KALE PUMPKIN SEED PESTO

  • Servings: 4-6, depending on how hungry you are
  • Difficulty: super easy for the pesto, a little on the harder end for homemade pasta
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I followed Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour Basic Pasta Recipe, and added Roasted Pumpkin.  You can definitely break up the labor over a couple of days–roast the pumpkin one day, store in the fridge, and add it to your pasta mix within 2-4 days from roasting.  Also, I used this amount of dough to make two different pasta dinners that served two hungry adults and had a small container of leftovers the next day.  If you wish to have less, cut the ingredients in half.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTA

  • 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced thinly

INGREDIENTS FOR THE KALE PUMPKIN SEED PESTO

  • 2 cups packed kale
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and toasted 60-90 seconds in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast flakes, if you wish to keep it vegan
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a couple shakes of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 to 1 cup olive oil
  • salt just to taste (there will be saltiness from your pasta, your salted boiling water to cook the pasta, and the parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast flakes, as well as on your sautéed zucchini–taste your pesto before adding more salt!)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, skin on, cleaned of seeds, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a cookie sheet and roast on the middle rack in the oven for at least one hour.  The pumpkin should be soft when poked with a knife or fork.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Mix semolina flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center.  In the blender, mix the roasted pumpkin, eggs, water, and olive oil until blended to a smooth consistency.  Add to the semolina flour and stir together until a rough dough forms.
  3. Use all-purpose flour to cover the work surface and to add to the dough while kneading.  Dump the dough out onto the floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and soft, not sticky.  You will add up to 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour while kneading.  Once a smooth ball forms from kneading, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Press the dough through your pasta maker–a thinner pasta like angel hair or thin spaghetti will work best for this recipe.  Let the pasta dough rest on parchment paper and fill a large pot with water to boil.  The fresh pasta will take just 3-4 minutes to cook.  Drain and put back in the large pot.
  5. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Add the zucchini slices, salt and pepper to taste, and saute until soft and slightly golden.
  6. Add the first 6 pesto ingredients (kale through red pepper flakes) in a blender.  Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to help with the blending, and pulse until the kale starts to break down and blend.  Continue to push the ingredients down with a spatula and pulse, adding olive oil in a continuous stream until you get the desired smooth consistency.  You will add between 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil.
  7. Add the sautéed zucchini to the pasta in the pot and at least 1/4 cup pesto to start.  Stir gently and add more pesto as desired.  Serve topped with more pumpkin seeds and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes.

*The pesto recipe will yield at least 1 cup of pesto.  Any extra freezes well in ice cube trays, just pour in the trays, top with a little olive oil, freeze, and pop the cubes out in a freezer bag when done.  Lasts about 4-6 months in the deep freeze.

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Pumpkin. It’s What’s For Dinner.

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On with our pumpkin-y pumpkin-ness.  This beauty of a pumpkin was in a bin at the grocery store labeled “Autumn Color Pumpkins”.  I looked it up when I got home and discovered its official name is Jarrahdale.  I thought I would be confronting a pale or even white flesh, but imagine my surprise–and delight–when I cut into this pumpkin and found a glowing orange beauty of a pumpkin.

I used this medium-sized pumpkin for four separate meals, two different pastas, a pumpkin noodle dish, and a salad, so stay tuned!  I’m starting with the pastas, because wouldn’t you?!

Making your own pasta isn’t as difficult as you think.  And the results are well worth your time and effort.  I’ve tried a couple different pasta recipes, but my favorite is simply following the directions on the back of the bag from Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour.  When you’re adding flavors (i.e. veggies) to your pastas, the most important thing is to make sure you aren’t adding extra liquid.  Roasting is a good way to do that with the heartier vegetables–it adds a ton of flavor while slowly evaporating liquid, resulting in a sweet, creamy, flavorful, ready to eat squash.

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Only don’t dig in yet, we’re going to take it one step further!  Just blend your roasted pumpkin with eggs, water, and olive oil, and add it to your semolina mix.  Stir until it starts to form into a lumpy mass, dump it out on a floured surface, then call in your cutest sous chef to help knead your dough.

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I have dibs on mine.  When I’m making bread or pasta, he always comes running, drags his stool to the counter, and says, “Mama, I can help you mush mush mush!”  We use very technical terms in my kitchen.

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After kneading it and forming it into a ball, let it rest for 20-30 minutes, wrapped in a towel or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.  About the time it takes to unload the dishwasher.  Or load it.  Or both.  There always seems to be an abundance of dishes in my sink.  {Except for when my mom visits and she graciously takes on dish duty.  I actually see the bottom of my sink for more than a few hours in the afternoon.}

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I normally use my KitchenAid pasta maker, but I got a new gadget I had to try out!  I cut the ball of dough in half and made both Fettuccine and Angel Hair, with the Pumpkin Fettuccine getting gourmet treatment in an Asiago Cream Sauce and topped with toasted walnuts.  Ummmm, yeah.  I’m drooling just typing this out.  Admittedly, this is vegetarian and not plant-based/vegan with the Asiago Cream Sauce, but it’s definitely worth the splurge.  {Or, if you aren’t into splurging, you could always make my Cauliflower Corn Cream Sauce, omitting the half and half.}

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PUMPKIN FETTUCCINE WITH ASIAGO CREAM SAUCE AND TOASTED WALNUTS

  • Servings: 4-6, depending on how hungry you are
  • Difficulty: on the harder end, since everything is from scratch--but well worth your Saturday afternoon
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I followed Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Flour Basic Pasta Recipe, and added Roasted Pumpkin.  You can definitely break up the labor over a couple of days–roast the pumpkin one day, store in the fridge, and add it to your pasta mix within 2-4 days from roasting.  Also, I used this amount of dough to make two different pasta dinners that served 2 hungry adults and had a small container of leftovers the next day.  If you wish to have less, cut the ingredients in half.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PASTA

  • 1 1/2 cups semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup roasted pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR THE ASIAGO CREAM SAUCE

  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups asiago cheese, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, skin on, cleaned of seeds, and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on a cookie sheet and roast on the middle rack in the oven for at least one hour.  The pumpkin should be soft when poked with a knife or fork.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. Mix semolina flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the center.  In the blender, mix the roasted pumpkin, eggs, water, and olive oil until blended to a smooth consistency.  Add to the semolina flour and stir together until a rough dough forms.
  3. Use all-purpose flour to cover the work surface and to add to the dough while kneading.  Dump the dough out onto the floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is elastic and soft, not sticky.  You will add up to 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour while kneading.  Once a smooth ball forms from kneading, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Press the dough through your pasta maker–a fettuccine or linguine will work best for this recipe.  Let the pasta dough rest on parchment paper and fill a large pot with water to boil.
  5. While waiting for water to boil, scald the half and half over low heat; do not let come to a boil.  When you see tiny bubbles forming around the edge of the pot, turn off the heat and add the asiago cheese and stir until smooth.  The sauce will be thin, but the noodles will  slurp up the sauce and help thicken it.  Keep the cream sauce covered and warm until you add the pasta to it.
  6. When the water comes to a boil, season the water with salt and cook the pasta for 4-5 minutes {Fresh pasta cooks much faster than store-bought dry pasta}.  After 4-5 minutes, transfer the pasta to the pot with the cream sauce and let rest, uncovered.  The pasta will continue to cook with the warmth from the cream sauce and thicken.  Serve topped with toasted walnuts.

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