Sunday, October 27, 2019

ChezCindy: Pumpkin French Toast with Baked Apple Slices

Pumpkin French toast is perfectly paired with baked spiced apples slices.  This dish can be thought of as a sweet breakfast treat or as dessert.

In France this dish would be called "Pain Perdue", meaning lost bread.  French toast is usually made from bread that might be a bit stale, thus the bread has "lost" its best freshness.  Being resourceful, the stale bread is soaked in a creamy custard and griddled to golden brown perfection.

I have fond childhood memories of my father making French toast for us, often times for dinner.  We thought it was great fun to have this decadent sweet treat for dinner.  After watching my dad make French toast, this was one of the first dishes I made on my own as a young child.  It was more of a process than following a recipe.  Eggs, milk and spices, usually cinnamon, stirred together with a fork, dipping in the bread to soak up the custard, and placed in a buttered hot pan.  Easy success and gratification.

In this picture you can see the pretty orange hue of the pumpkin.  I used pumpkin pie spice in the custard to bring out the seasonal goodness, as used when making pumpkin pie.  The baked apple slices are tossed with traditional apple pie spices, butter and cider, baked until tender and coated with the resulting apple syrup.  A great compliment to the pumpkin toast.  This would also be delicious with pumpkin butter and maple syrup.

Pumpkin French Toast
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk, cream or half/half
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Butter for the pan
Thickly sliced bread, Brioche or Hawaiian style

In a shallow baking dish, a 9x13-inch Pyrex works well, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix well until fully combined.  Place the sliced bread into the custard, soaking each side for 30 seconds.

Working with a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter swirling to coat the pan.  Place the soaked bread slices into the hot skillet, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes until each side is golden brown.  Keep warm, while cooking the remaining slices of bread.  Serve with maple syrup and fruit.

Monday, October 14, 2019

ChezCindy: Roasted Acorn Squash with Soy-honey Glaze

This squash dish is a surprising twist on using typical Asian ingredients for an interesting seasonal meal.  Add steamed rice or roasted chicken for a full dinner.  I used acorn squash, but butternut squash would make a great choice too.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Soy-honey Glaze
2 pounds acorn squash
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Halve and remove the seeds from the squash, cut into wedges about 1/2 thick, using the ribs on the acorn squash as an easy guide.  Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper for easy clean up.  Place the squash slices onto the tray.

Combine the remaining ingredients into a small bowl, whisking to combine.  Brush the squash slices with the sauce, turning over to coat both sides.  Place the tray into the hot oven, roasting for 15 minutes.  Remove the tray from the oven.  Using tongs, turn the slices over, brush with additional sauce.  Place the tray back into the oven, continue roasting for 10-15 more minutes until the squash slices are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Remove from the oven and serve.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

ChezCindy: Homemade Pumpkin Butter

Pumpkin butter is less well known than its cousin apple butter yet similar in style and use.  But unlike apple butter, pumpkin butter can be made in less than 30 minutes.  Whereas apple butter takes hours to make.  Each are a combination of fruit, or vegetable in the case of pumpkin, cooked down with spices to form a silky-smooth spread for toast and muffins or as a condiment for a cheese tray.  You can also stir pumpkin butter into cooked oatmeal or blend into smoothies.  I recommend spreading it on waffles and then adding syrup.  And let's not forget spooning over vanilla ice cream topped with chopped walnuts for a simple Autumn treat.

Homemade Pumpkin Butter
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup cider, apple juice or water

Measure each ingredient and add to a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring the ingredients to combine.  Stir frequently, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is thick and smooth.  Allow the pumpkin butter to cool completely.  Transfer to a jar with a lid such as a glass canning jar.  Label and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.

Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

Measure each ingredient and add to a small bowl to combine.  Transfer to an airtight jar with a lid such as a small glass canning or jelly jar.  Label and store in your pantry for 6-9 months.

*If you have not made your own pumpkin pie spice, use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.