Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie.  All my childhood memories of Pumpkin Pie are from Thanksgiving. My Mom loved to bake.  Today, that is easy to say, I mean I have the help of my Kitchenaid mixer, my Breadmaker which I use mostly to mix the doughs.  Back to my Mom, she made bread and baked and it was an all day affair.  First off, she only had one oven.  It was a big oven and two pies would fit on one rack.  Our table consisted of a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood.  For you non-construction types, that would be 4 feet by 8 feet.  All eleven of us would sit down daily to dinner.  One that same table, a few days before a holiday my Mom would start baking bread and pies and such.     I remember my eyes were just above table height and looking over all the goodies.  It felt like they would go out past my horizon!   Mom made things by two’s; she must have liked the story of the ark.  We had two apple, two cherry, two lemon meringue.  And yes, back to Pumpkin.  That is what you want to know about.  Mom was a better than average baker, and she could  combine the right amount of flavors to make the tastes pop.  I always hoped I would inherit her taste buds.

But, if you know me, I like to adjust things to my liking and keep them easy as well.

While you can look at the back of a can of pumpkin and make the pie, I do believe you can do better.  Within the last couple of years I have been playing with Indian spices and one of my favorite spices is Garam Masala.  Many pies are over loaded with cloves and nutmeg – stop already.  Pumpkin pie has to have balance.  This pie has a perfect blend of spice, just right!

1 1/2 c white sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp garam masala

4 large eggs

1 can (29 oz) Libby’s Pure Pumpkin

2 cans (12 oz) Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 unbaked 9 inch pie shells.  I used two tart dishes and filled them to their rims with pumpkin. But you can also use deep dish pie pans.  I also took the left over pie crust and made leaves to decorate the top -this is my Mother in me.  Make it taste good, and make it pretty.  Use egg wash and brush the leaves before baking in the oven for about 15 minutes.  You can also sprinkle with white sugar to make them sparkle. Like adding a diamond to a ring!

Mix all together and pour into the unbaked pie shells.

Preheat oven at 425, then reduce heat to 350 , bake for 40-50 minutes until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

Cool on rack and serve. 

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Pumpkin, Butternut Squash, Carrot Soup


It is nearing Halloween and with all the great pumpkins and squash and carrots, it has to be the beginning of soup!

I love soup and give me bread and I am happy. I blame it all on my mother and at the same time thank my mother for being a wonderfully awesome soup chef! When she worked as a Chef/Cook for the San Joaquin County Hospital, all the doctors and nurses would seek her out to find out what kind of soup was going to be available that day.

It tickled her to have her very own fan club and an equivalent of a facebook thumbs up would be their return in the line the next day!

While I am making this soup for my office to feed 25-30 people, my mother would make soup for 300 people!

Olive oil 1/4 cup
Carrot 1 Quart
Pumpkin 1 Quart
Butternut squash 1Quart
1 head of Roasted Garlic
Cayenne 1 tsp
Ginger 2 tsp
Coriander 2 tsp
Ham bone with ham bits
Salt and pepper to taste
Chicken stock 3 Quarts
add water as needed

Roast garlic(wrap in foil), pumpkin, carrots and squash for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Chop onions into a rough dice and saute in the bottom of a large soup pot with a little oil. Add Roasted vegetables, and 3 Quarts of Chicken Stock and ham bone to pot. Bring to boil and add spices. Let simmer slowly for 1 hour.

Shut off and allow to cool so you can remove the ham bone. Shred the meat and set aside. Using a handblender to the soup until you get a creamy consistency, add water as needed to maintain consistency you like. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust your spices to your liking. Careful with the Cayenne Pepper. Add the ham back into the creamy mixture.

Serve with a drizzle of Pure Maple Syrup, or a spoon of sour cream, or cinnamon croutons for some fun!
Serve with freshly made bread!

Another awesome bite.

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Chicken Avocado Jalapeno Taquitos

Chicken Avocado Jalapeno Taquitos

¼ Cup Jalapeno Jelly (You may want to add small amounts slowly until you have the taste you want.)
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
¼ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
2 Cups Roasted Chicken Breast – Chop into medium bite size pieces
1 Avocado cut in cubes
24 Corn Tortillas – the smallest ones you can find.
Grapeseed or Olive oil to fry tortillas

Mix the sauce Mayonnaise, Yogurt and Jalapeno Jelly together. Add to chicken until it is lightly coated. You may not need it all.
Pre fry the corn tortillas just until they are soft and you can roll them. Place on paper towel and spoon filling into tortillas. Roll and refry until lightly brown on each side.
Keep warm in 225 degree oven until all are completed.
Serve with extra Sauce for dipping and also straight Jalapeno Jelly. Two great sauces.

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Tomato, Sweet Pepper and Garbanzo Soup with Rosemary

Roasted Tomato and Sweet Peppers with Garbanzo Beans and Rosemary
32 oz of Clamato Juice
4 cups of chicken broth – may need to add more as you go
4 12.5-ounce can of garbanzo beans, drained
3 Tablespoons Cumin
1 Tablespoon Paprika
2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
4 chopped celery stems
6 cups fresh tomatoes, oven roasted, roughly chopped
3 cups sweet red peppers, oven roasted
Drizzle of olive oil, enough to coat the tomatoes and peppers
Salt and Pepper to taste
7 sprigs of Rosemary for garnish, fried in olive oil

Serving suggestion: Side of Pita Bread, or French bread
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes and peppers on a baking sheet. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
2. In a large-sized soup pot or Dutch oven sauté chopped onions and celery until tender. Add Clamato juice and chicken broth and all ingredients except the garbanzo beans and rosemary and bring to simmer.
3. After 30 minutes add the tomatoes and peppers that are roasted.
4. Process the hot soup in a blender to smooth consistency and put back into soup pot.

5. Add garbanzo beans to the soup pot, sea salt and pepper to taste and ½ the rosemary. Cover and let simmer 20 minutes. minutes.

To serve: Ladle into bowls and top with fried rosemary sprigs for garnish.

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Fettuccini with Cilantro Lime Shrimp in Ginger Cream Sauce

Fettuccini with Cilantro Lime Shrimp in Ginger Cream Sauce
16 oz heavy cream serves 4
2 T powdered ginger 30-45 minutes to prepare
2 eggplant – 1 cut in batonetts using the outside aubergine edges.
1 eggplant cut diagonally into ¼ inch diagonal slices (To be used as garnish).
2 zucchini cut in batonettes using the outside peel edges.
4 T Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 pound of fettuccini noodles
1 ½ pounds of shrimp Approximately 24 Shrimp shelled and de-veined, with tails on.
2 T butter
2 T Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
¼ cup finely chopped sweet onion
¼ cup cilantro chopped and 10 whole leaves for garnish
1 Can – 12 ounces of Canada Dry Ginger Ale
4 limes – juice 3 and serve the last as garnish on each plate.

Add 6 quarts of water and salt to stock pot and bring to boil. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until just al dente.
In heavy small sauce pan, add cream and ginger. Bring to boil then reduce heat to simmer and allow to reduce to 1/3.
Lightly coat eggplant and zucchini with oil and salt and pepper, bake eggplant and zucchini batonetts for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Top eggplant slices with cilantro leaf using oil to stick the two together. Bake until just slightly browned. Set aside.
Your pasta should be in the pot cooking before this next step of cooking the shrimp.
Heat a sauté pan on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter melts, add the garlic. Sauté for a minute and add onion and sauté for another couple of minutes. Add Shrimp. Then add ginger ale and stir to combine and coat the shrimp with the butter. Spread shrimp in even layer in the pan. As soon as the shrimp are almost all pink, add ginger cream sauce and lime juice and cilantro. Add fettuccini to pan, stir allowing to absorb the cream sauce.
Add zucchini and eggplant batonetts: plate pasta, divide shrimp equally among 4 plates, garnish zucchini and eggplant batonetts, cilantro, lime, and zucchini and eggplant slices.
Variations: Serve with linguini, rice or crusty bread. If you want to heat it up, you can add diced jalapenos while sautéing the onions for the shrimp.

Cilantro Lime Shrimp, Ginger Cream Sauce - Aubergines and Zucchinis

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Scones – Best Ever!

I am a about to take a professional cooking class and so you probably are going to not like what I am going to say, but I have to say it.
The best scones in the whole wide world are made with two pre-made mixes.
Don’t get all uppity, I love baking from scratch. Just try these and you’ll know I am right!

Krusteaz Sugar Cookie Mix
Bisquick Biscuits
2 tsp of vanilla extract or black walnut extract
1 cup diced black walnuts
1/2 cup rolled oats
Optional – Choose one: Raisins, Dried Cranberries or nothing at all!
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 T water or milk

Prepare as you would according to the directions, although in this case mix the dry ingredients together of both mixes and then the wet ingredients include the extracts and then combine. Then add chopped black walnuts and optional raisins or cranberries.
Divide into two parts and then with your hands pat into rounds on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with Pam.
While patting down pour 1/4 cup of rolled oats on top of each round.

With a long knife, cut into 8 pieces as you would a pizza.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown at 375 degrees.

After you take the scones out of the oven, combine the confectioners sugar and 1 T water or milk and combine until the mixture resembles heavy cream.
Drizzle the topping over the golden scone. Hurry and eat before they are gone!

Awesome Scones!

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Spaghetti Carbonara

Your family is going to lick their plates clean! This is so very good and rich that after eating it I racked my brain on ways to make it healthier.
My big decisions? Add vegetables to it! I am thinking one of my favorites like peas, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, broccoli, mushrooms, or califlower!

In a pot of hot salted water boil your spaghetti. Get it started, then dice your ham or bacon, I like ham for this dish. Set it aside. Finely dice garlic or if you have roasted garlic like I do in my refrigerator, use that. Set it aside. If you are going to use vegetables that are fresh, then you should blanch them or steam in the microwave until fork tender. Careful not to turn them into mush. Then grate the cheese. I used 1/2 parmesan and 1/2 white cheddar.

When you add the spaghetti to the boiling water, get your frying pan out and through in the diced ham. You want it to look like it has been fried and it will release some of its water. Remove from the heat and wait for the spaghetti to be ready.

Wisk the eggs, grated cheese and sour cream together with the spice you have choosen.
Drain the spaghetti when it is al dente and pour into a large enough pan that you can stir additional ingredients into. I use a casserole pan.
Add ham, and your while the spaghetti is still hot, pour the eggs and cheese mixture into the spaghetti. You want it hot because it will cook the eggs in your sauce. You need to stir it to avoid scrambling the eggs – not what you want! Add a little of the hot water from the cooked spaghetti if you need more moisture. Stir and then add your veggies.
If dinner time is a few minutes away, put the casserole pan in the oven at 200 degrees to keep warm.
You can easily double this recipe for a large gathering!

2 eggs
1 cup cheese
1 cup sour cream

1 pkg spaghetti
1 cup diced ham fried
2 tsp fresh basil or oregano
Salt and pepper
Roasted garlic or 4 cloves diced
Optional: Veggies
My favorite combinations: peas and carrots, zucchini and yellow squash, broccoli and califlower, mushrooms and green beans
If you want to spice this dish up, you can either add a tsp of red pepper flakes, or sliced jalapeno peppers!

Serve with freshly grated cheese.

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Eggs Portugal a Savory Bread Pudding

Eggs Portugal

Jackie made this breakfast dish for us a few times. I asked her for the recipe. As she got a little older Jon took over the kitchen and always made great scrambled eggs and of course, lots of bacon. I don’t know how Portugal got into it…who know. We have great memories of our visit to Via Marina. The girls were almost always with us and they too have wonderful memories of Gramma Jackie. From Carol

Eggs Portugal

8 slices bread
3/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 lbs. sausage
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
3/4 t. mustard
1 can mushroom soup
1/4 cup vermouth (think I would use something else….more milk, cream, dash of sherry)
1 can sliced mushrooms

Brown sausage and crumble up
Cube bread and put into a 9 x 13 casserole
Mix eggs, milk, mustard and a dash of salt.
Pour mixture over casserole
Let stand over night in the frig

Pour soup, mushrooms and vermouth over all
Bake 1 1/2 hours at 300′

Posted in Brunch, Carol's Cupboard, Grandma Jacque's Favorites | Leave a comment

Gazpacho Avocado & Cucumber

Hmmm Hmm Good!

1 small onion roughly chopped
4 cucumbers
2 avocados
Juice from 2 limes
1 clove garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
Tabasco or Jalapeno to your taste.
Chopped Cilantro – for garnish

Take all the ingredients and using a blender, cream them.
Add the salt and pepper to taste.
Place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight. Allow the flavors to blend. Re-season as needed.

Serve with Cheese Pizza or Garlic Bread

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Kiwi Mandarin Jam

Daughter Denny Lauren and I made several jams for James and Christine’s wedding reception for gifts. Kiwi Mandarin is definitely good and it looks so pretty also. I love the seeds swimming in the jam.

2 cups kiwi fruit peeled and chopped
2 cups mandarin orange peeled and chopped
1 tsp of salt
2 cups mandarin orange juice
1 box of pectin
4 cups of sugar

Bring to a simmer and allow the fruit to cook and thicken about 20 minutes.
Pour the hot liquid through a food strainer. Use the largest if you want to keep the seeds. Put back onto the stove and bring back to simmer boil that you can not stir down. Add your pectin and stir. Bring back to roaring boil for 1 minute. Once the jam is back to a roaring boil, add 4 cups of sugar and let boil for 1 more minute. Working quickly, process into your jars. It should look pretty!
Process your jam in a water bath.

Label and they should be lookin’ pretty! Awesome Bites!

Here is the lucky couple, James & Christine! The flowers were done by my friend Abby and me and a few of the bridesmaids. Great fun to create pretty things.

Bride and Groom

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