Thursday, October 30, 2008

Braided Apple Cider Pumpkin Bread

This is a wonderful fall bread that tastes amazing with some apple butter or just toasted and topped with a touch of butter and some Jarlsberg cheese. The recipe comes from the Pillsbury Best of the Holidays mini cookbook #285 from November 2004. I saw this one in a checkout lane and bought it for this bread recipe, it sounded delicious and looked so pretty and I love the flavor combination. Apple cider and pumpkin? Can't go wrong with that :)

This recipe makes two braided wreaths, perfect for sharing!


5 3/4 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 6 cups bread flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast (or 3 teaspoons bread machine yeast if you go that route)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups apple cider


1 egg
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1. In a large bowl, stir together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In 2 quart saucepan heat pumpkin, butter, and cider over medium heat, until 120 to 130 F. Add to flour mixture, beat on medium speed 3 minutes (dough hook) scraping bowl occasionally.

2. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. On floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap and cloth towel; let rise in warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.

3. Grease large cookie sheet. Punch down dough. Divide in half; divide each half into three pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each piece into 24 inch long rope. On cookie sheet, place 3 ropes close together. Braid loosely; pinch ends together, forming a circle. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover, let rise in warm place until almost doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Heat oven to 375 F. In small bowl, beat egg and water until well blended, brush over braids. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

5. Bake 18 to 24 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire racks. Cool about 1 hour.

*** I like to bake at 350 for 30 minutes, if your bread is browning to quickly cover with tin foil halfway through.


Put all ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by manufacturer and set on dough cycle. Skip to step 3 and finish from there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Halloween Veggie Pizza

Another savory challenge for the Daring Bakers -- pizza! We are huge pizza fans in our house and home made pizza is on the menu at least once a week. I love to get creative with toppings, and sometimes we have clean out the fridge pizza night. This month the challenge was chosen by Rosa at Rosa's Yummy Yums. This challenge is dedicated and a tribute to food blogger Sher.

The recipe for the dough is ~ "Basic Pizza Dough" ~ Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart. This dough requires an overnight in the fridge and is the perfect dough to practice tossing in the air like a true 'pizzaiola' -- I did try but was not able to get a photo, sorry! Hubby was at work the night I made pizza and I couldn't get the right angle and setting to do an automatic shot and the kiddos are not really old enough to use our camera. I'm sure there will be many smiles as food bloggers across the globe get to sneak a peak at everyone in their own kitchen trying to toss this pizza dough, I promise that I will have hubby get a shot at some point when we are having our pizza nights :) What a fun idea that I'm really sorry I missed participating in, the Daring Bakers all tossing dough!
Since Halloween is fast approaching I decided to top this pizza with orange peppers, mushrooms, and black olives, going for a happy jack 'o lantern look -- see? I think it turned out pretty cute! I used roasted garlic red sauce and freshly shredded monterey jack cheese, and all the flavors went together so well! Even though we make pizza all the time, the overnight in the fridge gave this crust a completely different texture. It was crispy and light on the outside, while soft and airy on the inside. We loved this pizza and the super yummy crust, what a perfect challenge.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever -- Tuesdays with Dorie

A huge thank you to the oh so sweet Clara at I Heart Food4Thought who picked Dorie's Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes for the TWD sweet treat of the week! You can visit her website for the complete recipe as written in Dorie's book Baking From My Home To Yours.

It has been way too long since I've made any kind of cupcakes, and I'm not a huge chocolate fan so I would probably never have made these if it wasn't for Clara and TWD. Thank you again, Clara! I did make a couple small changes to the recipe, noting that some people had trouble with dry cupcakes -- and I hate dry baked goods -- I added an extra 1/4 cup of buttermilk, so instead of using 1/2 cup I used 3/4. I also weighed my one cup of all purpose flour, which was suggested at the TWD site regarding dry Dorie recipes, I ended up with 131 grams of flour. My other changes were to use two whole eggs, not the one whole egg and one yolk, probably just because I was too lazy to seperate the egg and figured than an extra egg white wasn't going to make or break this recipe.
My third change was to use one ounce of Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, and one ounce of Baker's s brand semisweet chocolate -- Dorie's recipe called for two ounces of bittersweet, and I'm not a huge bittersweet fan, so went half and half with semisweet -- PERFECTO!

The baking time of about 23 minutes was right on, and the oven temperature, 350, was also just perfect! I think the fact that I baked these in silicone muffin cups on an insulated cookie sheet just added to the super moist crumb and no dry edges or bottoms, this will be my new standard for baking cupcakes from now on, no more dry bottoms from cupcakes in muffin tins.

I did not use the chocolate glaze, instead going for a simple buttercream frosting with cocoa powder mixed in, and the kids had a blast decorating these for Halloween :) I really can't say enough about how perfect these turned out, they were the best chocolate cupcake I've ever had in my entire life, seriously, and I am not a chocolate cupcake fan, I'd rather have a carrot cake cupcake, vanilla cupcake, even a pumpkin cupcake would beat out chocolate in my book, but man oh man, these are some converting cupcakes! If you've read any of my other TWD posts you will know that I'm usually honest and have been a touch picky with Dorie's recipes as of late, but these have taken away any doubt I had. These are amazing (with my minor adjustments)! I can see me making the whenever I might need a chocolate cupcake, especially when birthday season in our family rolls around. I think these would also be superb with a coconut pecan frosting, like a German Chocolate Cupcake -- YUM!
Please excuse the following picture overload of my oldest kiddos...they had SO much fun :)

This was a wonderful TWD experience - from the decorating with the kids to having amazing tasting finished cupcakes, just what good baking is all about :) Oh, just had to add, my two year old gave an unsolicited big smile "mmm, SO NUMMY" when he took a bite of these little gems!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Caramel Apple Dipper -- Maker Monday

This is going to be a short Maker Monday because I'm seriously lacking in the picture department. We made caramel apples with the Chocomaker Caramel Apple Dipper last weekend but I didn't get a chance to snap any pictures of the finished apples before they dissapeared (hubby and kids ate them) -- of course you probably know what caramel apples look like but I still wanted to share some pictures. Oh-well. We are planning to make them again this week so I will add some photos of those later on.

This is one of those super silly specialty small kitchen appliances that I saw and just knew I needed. How fun would it be to have this adorable caramel apple filled with caramel for family night making caramel apples? Yeah, it might be a little too over the top, but it's only for the brief season of fall, and the kids absolutely love it.

Pretty much the contraption is a mini slow cooker inside of the apple shape, you plug it in with your caramels (like Kraft) or homemade caramel, and it has two settings, Melt, and Keep Warm. You can also just remove the liner bowl and microwave your caramels in that before setting it back in the Dipper to keep warm at the table for apple dipping. Another use is to have this out at fall or Halloween parties, filled with warm caramel fondue, with apple slices and pretzles and whatever else your heart desires to dip in caramel at a buffet table. It's a fun conversation piece and is a lot easier than melting the caramels on a pot or microwave, then having the caramel get too hard, reheating, etc. this just keeps it at the perfect temperature so you don't have to hurry through making your caramel apples.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jamaican Carrot Soup with Coco Bread

This is such a delicious soup! I first found the recipe when looking up Jamaican foods and knew I had to try it, this is my adapted version, the original I found on I decided to serve it with
Jamaican Coco Breads which have become a favorite around here. I finally figured out that they are called Coco Breads, even though they do not contain cocoa or coconut, because you split them open to serve like you break open a coconut. Pretty neat, huh?

Jamaican Carrot Soup

4 cups vegetable broth
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or powdered ginger)
1 teaspoon roasted garlic

2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (World Harbors is my favorite brand)
1 teaspoon red curry powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of Tabasco
Salt and pepper to taste

Diced red-skinned apples for garnish

Place broth, carrots, onion powder, ginger, garlic, peanut butter, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder in a large saucepan. Bring to boil. Lower heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes, or until carrots are very tender. Cool slightly.

Blend with immersion blender until very smooth or to desired consistency. Add nutmeg, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Garnish with diced or fanned apple slices.

I really love the flavors and ease of preparing this soup. You can make it spicy or mild depending on who you are serving. I wanted to post this today for Deb at Kahakai Kitchen and her Souper Sundays event which is such a perfect idea for these fall and approaching winter months. And in this house, if you are going to have soup, you'd better make some bread to go with it :) Happy Soup Season!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My Kitchen My World -- Cambodia

First a little apology to all of my wonderful blogging friends, I've had a super busy week and feel like I've been neglecting Nummy Kitchen and all of the blogs I love to read and comment on. I do appreciate every visitor to my little home on the web and love sharing about cooking and food (and everything else) with you all! Hopefully this week will give me some more time with Nummy Kitchen, I've really been wanting to 'challenge' myself to blog every night. There are so many fun little foodie things or recipes that I come across through out the week and I always think to myself, "hey, I should post about that," but lately we've been busy with out never ending house remodel (more like never ending repairs) and I have to wait until all the kiddos are fast asleep before bloggin' time. I hope you guys can understand :)

A big thank you to Lauren at I'll Eat You, who took over at My Kitchen My World this past week and picked Cambodia for the country of the week! What an intriguing choice! I googled away, not knowing anything about Cambodian cuisine, and found many amazing sounding recipes. The problem I had was finding ingredients, with no Asian grocers in the area and no time to order online I did the best with what I was able to get to try to make these dishes authentic but I'm sure they barely compare to 'real' Cambodian food. I have book marked many recipes that I will try when I can find the proper ingredients. A lot of the time if I see a recipe that sounds interesting but no photos I google image search the recipe title and then try to base my recipe on the 'looks' of something authentic. That's what I did with this Khmer Noodle Soup I made, pictured above. Lots of thin noodles and veggies in a flavorful broth made from homemade mushroom stock. The soup is based on a few recipes I found this website which is a great resource for Cambodian recipes.

The dish I was most excited to try was Manor Kho To Hu -- caramelized pineapple and tofu. Now some of you might not be too interested in that dish but I absolutely love tofu and pineapple and had never thought of them together (although it seems like I have tried them both with just about everything else). The recipe I found here, a great website that I've just started exploring with Cambodian recipes and recipes from many other countries as well. The recipe calls for fried tofu which I have been able to find on rare occasions at the nearest Meijer, but I didn't have any and decided to make my own. It's really easy to do and gives the tofu a great texture that even non-tofu-fans *usually* enjoy.

First take a regular block of extra firm tofu, slice it and press it between paper towels under a heavy plate for an hour or so. At that point you can marinate it as desired or just go straight to dredging it in corn starch. Marinating it gives it extra flavor but is not needed if you plan to use it with a saucy dish.

Deep fry it in hot oil (I mainly use canola) -- if you don't have a deep fryer you can just do it in a heavy bottomed deep pot on the stove, put in about 2 inches of oil. You want the temperature between 350-375 but to be completely honest I didn't even bother with the thermometer today. My deep fryer is on the fritz and I haven't gotten around to buying a new one yet since we don't fry that often. Fry the tofu until golden brown and very crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels or a cooling rack -- I usually use paper towels but according to Alton Brown that is the wrong way, it just keeps the food close to the oil and makes it greasy (which I've never really had a problem with). On his show he recommends just removing the fried items to a cooling rack, works for me :)

I know in the actual recipe you are supposed to caramelize the tofu with the pineapple but I left if off and just made the pineapple and sauce and the tofu on the side for picky eaters. Serve this with sticky jasmine rice -- a favorite here! I will make this again for sure and add the tofu in. Also if you try the recipe on the site I recommend doubling the pineapple and sauce. I really enjoyed my little culinary trip to Cambodia this week, and can't wait to get some imported ingredients and try more Khmer cuisine!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vegetable Pot Pie -- Barefoot Bloggers

A big thanks to the wonderful and sweet Deb at Kahakai Kitchen for chosing this vegetable pot pie for Barefoot Bloggers! First I have to apologize for the pictures, I know, they are sad. This was not the prettiest pot pie I've ever made, sorry. But I really had a fun time with this recipe, the veggie prep was a lot of work, once again with the peeling of the butternut squash, peeling the potatoes, peeling carrots, etc. I changed around the veggies a bit and did not use asparagus but used peas and left out the onions. I love asparagus, and I have some that I bought for this recipe, but for some reason I decided to go with peas instead, maybe hoping that the kids would go for this since they love peas.
I was nervous about the fennel, I've never cooked with fennel before and by the looks of it was a little scared it may be onionish. Thank goodness it was not! I had a piece raw, and the texture reminded me of a cross between a potato and celery, of course the flavor was licorice which was wonderful! I'm not a huge gotta have it licorice fan (like my mom and husband, who search out and eat all the black jelly beans before you can say Easter basket) but I do like licorice, so I did enjoy the fennel. I am excited about having a new veggie to cook with and look for in recipes! I had always shyed away from fennel, but not anymore!

The saffron added a nice little something extra to this dish, I bet the Pernod did too, but I couldn't find it anywhere so left it out. Now I'm interested to find some just to try it. This recipe was really easy except for all of the prep work. I only used 4 tablespoons of butter to sautee the fennel in, 1 1/2 sticks just sounded way too over the top even for someone who is a butter fan. I did notice a bit of a floury taste so would decrease the flour if I made this again, but maybe that was my fault for not using all the butter. Oh-well. Sorry to say the kids weren't too keen on this. My one year old liked it, but my older two were not impressed. They did have fun making cookie cutouts of the pie crust scraps :)

Speaking of the crust I really liked it, it came together so easily in the food processor and was a sinch to roll out. I do not have a 'go to' pie crust but have been using Dorie's "good for almost anything pie crust" lately, but think this one is easier to work with.

Here is the link if you would like to try this wonderful fall dish Ina's Vegetable Pot Pie.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Magical Pumpkin Muffins Two Ways -- Tuesdays with Dorie

It's not every day that you replace your 'old standby' recipe, especially for a special seasonal treat like pumpkin muffins. We love pumpkin muffins here so I was really excited when Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp chose Dorie's Pumpkin Muffins, you can visit her page for the recipe. I do have a favorite pumpkin muffin recipe, from an old Polish cookbook, that I usually use, but I am always willing to try another. Thanks for a great choice Kelly, these are my new favorite pumpkin muffins! Do you want to know the best part? Everyone in my family liked these, yes, even my super picky husband, he requested I make a second batch tomorrow 'plain' (he doesn't like add ins), and I'll be happy to oblige. I'm just happy that out of the past almost 20 weeks of TWD recipes I've tried he finally really really likes one. My kids loved them too, and come on, you know I loved them :)
I decided to skip the suggested add-ins, pecans, golden raisins, and sunflower seeds, they sound wonderful and I will be sure to try them at some point, but making these I knew I needed to do something chocolate -- in the pantry I had some mini M&Ms baking bits, perfect! I made these mostly for the kiddos. I usually make mini pumpkin chocolate chip loafies around Halloween, I call them mini Halloween breads, chocolate and pumpkin, is there anything more Halloween? I also did a 'grown-up' version with dried Michigan cherries (yum!) and honey roasted sliced almonds (Almond Accents.)

I had enough batter to fill my new silicone itty bitty bundt pan, and with the left over bit of batter I used my baby bundt pan (bigger than the itty bitty) and made two giant baby bundt pumpkin muffins, did you catch all that? I did use a whole teaspoon of cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon, really? That's just silly. Spice is nice. Also, I baked at 350 for 20 minutes. I feel really bad for anyone who tried these at 400 for 25 minutes and ended up with burned bottoms. Not your fault! We bake a lot of muffins (usually every Monday we have muffin Mondays and bake a batch for the week) and after making tons and tons of muffins I never bake at anything higher that 375, and 99% of the time I do 350, just to be safe. You can always keep them in the oven a little longer, but you can't really salvage burned muffins :(

My husband called this one a psychedelic pumpkin muffin...

"Magical Pumpkin Muffin Forest"

Please welcome these delicious muffins to Nummy Kitchen's TWD Top Five!

Tuesdays with Dorie Top Five

1. Dimply Plum Cake
2. Pumpkin Muffins
3. Apple Cheddar Scones
4. Black and White Banana Loafies
5. Lenox Almond Biscotti

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Kitchen My World -- Argentina

The country of the week is Argentina, chosen by Teresa of I'm Running to Eat -- thanks Teresa! I made Argentine Lentil Stew, which was amazing, corn and cheese empanadas, and Argentine Easter bread! I didn't know too much about the foods of Argentina before starting to research my meal for this week.

I had heard of empanadas and thought they were mainly Mexican but I guess they are popular all over South America, especially Argentina, and I found a variety with corn and cheese which is popular in Argentina! I called them 'corn pockets' and hoped the kids would like them, as usual my one year old was the only eater adventerous eough to give them a try, oh-well. They were tasty and fun to make.

The lentil stew has apples, carrots, and organic red lentils, really really delicious stuff, even though the pictures of it aren't too flattering. The Argentine Easter bread is an egg bread that reminds me of a challah (which I LOVE) and it has dried lemon and orange zest, and also raisins, can't go wrong with raisin bread :)

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