Peanut Butter Sriracha Toast

Easy, fast snack!

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Peanut-Butter-Sriracha-Toast-51214450

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Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

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Another one handed recipe! Just two, maybe three, things to do before you pick up that baby: crack the eggs, grease the loaf pan, and unless you are very adept open the can of pumpkin puree.  Feel free to play around with the spices in the recipe, I suggest 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon but you could use pumpkin pie spice, or your own mixture of ginger, nutmeg, cardamom…I’ve also mixed up the flours a bit too, occasionally I’ll replace 1/2C of regular flour with almond meal for a nice nutty flavor or replace up to 1C flour for the whole wheat pastry flour, when I feel like being healthier.

2 1/4 C flour

1 1/2tsp Baking powder

1tsp Baking soda

1tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1 Egg

1 Egg white

1 C Brown sugar

1 1/2 C Pumpkin puree

1/4 C Oil

1/2 C Dried cranberries (soaked in warm water or cider for at least 5 minutes and up to 1 hour)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x5in loaf pan. Soak the cranberries and set aside. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl stir together the wet ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, drain the cranberries and stir into the batter. Pour everything into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean.

Sweet Potato Pizza with Tomato Chutney

I don’t usually think of sweet potatoes in the spring but I heard of 2 recipe contests that require the use of this tuber. I wanted to develop something easy, healthy and of course tasty.

This pizza can made in about 15  minutes, and it only bakes for about 30 minutes. You could even make it faster by replacing my ketchup based sauce with a store bought tomato chutney. It’s an easy appetizer, snack or even a meal. Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A and C, and fiber. When thinking of a recipe I wanted to create something nearly everyone could enjoy, so there is no meat or dairy in this recipe. Almost vegan, but not quite because of the yeast.

Wish me luck on the recipe contests, but more importantly I hope enjoy the pizza!

1/2tsp Ginger, minced

1 clove of Garlic, minced

1 1/4 tsp Curry powder

1/4C Ketchup

1/2 Sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 pound of Pizza dough *

1/2 tsp Olive oil, plus some for greasing the pan

1 T Thyme fresh leaves

salt

Preheat the oven to 375 and lightly grease a 9in round cake pan. Stir together ginger, garlic, 1 tsp curry powder and ketchup; set aside. Place the sliced sweet potatoes on a microwave safe dish and precook for 2 minutes on high in the microwave. Stretch the pizza dough to fit the prepared pan, and place on the greased pan (you could use a pizza stone if you have one) spread the ketchup sauce evenly over the dough. Arrange the par-cooked sweet potato slices on top of the sauce. (I gently press on the potatoes so that they stretch the dough to the edges of the pan.) Sprinkle the top of the pizza with the remaining curry powder, 1/2 tsp olive oil and a little salt. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Sprinkle with thyme before serving.

*Most pre-made dough is sold in 1# packages

Want to see some of the other sweet potato recipe entries? Check out http://www.shesimmers.com

and

http://www.gourmetfury.com

Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin butter

This is an easy recipe that tastes fantastic and makes your house smell like you have a pumpkin pie in the oven. I love this on toast, graham crackers, apples or pears and I bet it would taste good with a little Gorgonzola on a cracker.

2 Cans pumpkin puree

3/4C Brown sugar (if you like it sweeter add an extra 1/4C)

2 T Honey

1tsp Cinnamon

1tsp Vanilla extract

1/2tsp Nutmeg

1/2tsp Freshly grated ginger

1/2tsp Ground ginger

A little orange zest

Pinch salt

Stir all the ingredients together in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours, stirring about every  30 minutes. You could also cook this on low for about 6 hours stirring less frequently. Eat warm or cold.

No Knead Pizza Dough

Since I do not own a stand mixer or a food processor I rarely make homemade bread or yeast type doughs. Kneading takes a lot of work! I’m not saying it can’t be done, but once you’ve tried it you will understand the luxury of a machine that does that work for you. Also counter space,which is lacking in many small kitchens, is very helpful when kneading.

At the end of this post I try and explain how I shape pizza dough, I hope that it is helpful and not confusing! Some cooking methods are so much easier to demonstrate than to explain.

3/4 Cups warm water

1 Package of yeast

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Cups flour*

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Pour the warm water into a small dish and stir in the yeast; let it sit for 3 minutes. In a large bowl stir together flour, salt and sugar. Add the oil to the yeast and stir into the flour mixture. Mix this together until it’s all combined. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Divide the dough in 2, use your hands to shape the dough and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Top the pizza with whatever you like, just don’t go overboard the crust is thin and if you overload it, it will be too soggy. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden brown.

Makes 2 12in pizza crusts

*you can use half whole wheat flour if you would like, just don’t substitute it completely or you will get a hard, thick cracker crust

A few random pizza related notes:

-a little cornmeal sprinkled on the cookie sheet before you place the raw pizza dough would add great flavor and a subtle crunch

-this dough can be made a day or two in advance of when you want to use it. After the dough has doubled in size, wrap the dough in plastic and place in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before shaping

-I like to add a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs to the flour mixture, if you don’t have fresh herbs you could use 2 teaspoons of dried herbs

-when I’m shaping pizza dough I slightly flatten a ball of dough between my palms, then if you think of the dough as a steering wheel place your hands at 11 and 1 and pretend that you are making a left hand turn while keeping your hands at those same places, so the edges of the dough are moving and the dough is stretching down. As the dough stretches larger move your hands to 10 and 2. When it is almost at the desired size place it on the cookie sheet and stretch it with your hands to the desired size. I find that the steering wheel method, helps the dough keep a circular shape. But if the dough isn’t a perfect circle it just looks more “rustic” and everyone knows that you made it by hand especially for them!

Granola Bars

This recipe makes soft chewy granola bars, that you can customize to your tastes, or to what you have in the pantry. Instead of 1 cup of dried fruit, a 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and a 1/2 cup of dried cherries would be a good combo. Ooh and maybe a little candied ginger… I may have to start another batch.

(I used almonds, almond butter and dried orange zest in the picture of the granola bar)

2 Cups old fashioned oats
3/4 Cup wheat germ
3/4 Cup sunflower seeds
1 Cup almonds (or any nut you like), chopped
3/4 Cup coconut flakes (or shredded)
2/3 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup honey
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons peanut or almond butter
1/4 teaspoon seasoning (dried orange zest, cinnamon, or nutmeg etc)
1 Cup dried fruit (diced if it’s not already small pieces)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place a large pot over medium heat, add the oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, nuts and coconut to the pan to toast. Stir the mixture occasionally, when the oats are lightly toasted pour them into a 9×13 pan and set aside. In that same pot that you just used add the sugar, honey, butter, peanut butter and spice; bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves, maybe 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla. Add the oat mixture and the dried fruit to the pot and mix it all together. Line the 9×13 pan with wax paper and pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place another piece of wax paper on top, press down hard to fully compress everything together. Let it sit for an hour before cutting into bars. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap or layer them between wax paper in an airtight container.
granola bars

Caramelized Onion and White Bean Spread

Every time I make this recipe people always ask for the recipe. I usually serve it with a toasted baguette, but it’s also good on crackers or vegetables. The hardest thing about this recipe is not stirring the onions to frequently. The more you stir the longer it will take for the onions to caramelize, and the longer you will have to wait for a yummy snack!

3 White onions, thinly sliced
3-4 Sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 Cans white beans (cannelini or navy beans) rinsed and drained
1 Lemon zested
1 Tablespoons lemon juice

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat, add the oil, onions, thyme and salt. Gently stir and spread into an even layer in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are golden brown-about 15-20 minutes. Stir about every 5 minutes. Place the onions and all of the remaining ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning; depending on the beans you may need to add a little more oil.

You can also make this in a blender: pour 1/4C water in the blender and then add all of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. You may need to add a little more water or oil to keep the mixture moving.