Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween! Here's my little PumpKona!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fall Menu

This weekend we were finally home, all weekend. That is a HUGE deal considering we have either been gone or had people stay with us pretty much every weekend since we've lived here. So we decided to dig up some of our roots that we left in NC. We tailgated for the UNC Football game with one of my sorority sisters and her boyfriend. It was so nice to see someone familiar and reconnect after probably three years! That evening we had one of Chris' friends from undergrad over and I took the opportunity to make something I have been thinking about for probably four years...I will never forget it. I was a California Roll, yes; I was a sushi for Halloween.

My sister, brother-in-law and I were invited to a party and there was a pot of liquid gold awaiting our arrival. Our Avatar hostess made this wonderful pumpkin soup that is topped with jewels. It is creamy, spicy, tangy, warm and tiny bit sweet. So many things! It was a pretty debaucherous night but the memory of the pumpkin soup was seared in my brain. I don't remember what else was served so I had to make up my own sides. But what else is really needed when you literally have a pot of gold at the center of it? I found the recipe here. But here they are typed out just for you:
Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Chutney - Serves 8; Prep time: 15 min; Total time: 45 min
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 fresh bay leaf
3 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
6 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 big can (29 oz.) pumpkin puree {or 2 small cans (15 oz.)}
2 cup heavy cream
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Spicy Chutney
1 chopped green apple
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. chopped red onion
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
DIRECTIONS
Heat butter in oil in large pot on medium heat. Add onion, celery, red pepper, salt, and bay leaf. Cook until veggies are tender. Stir in flour, hot sauce, and seasoning and cook for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, whisk in pumpkin, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cream and nutmeg. Remove bay leaf. Cool soup slightly and puree. Mix the relish ingredients together and garnish soup.

For my sides I made 2:

Roasted Artichokes – Serves 2; Prep time: 15 min; Total Time: 1 hour 15 min
1 whole artichoke, trimmed and cut in half
1 whole lemon, juiced
1 cup chicken stock
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup panko crumbs
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter (separated)
2 tablespoons Parmesan, grated
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim the outer bottom leaves of the artichoke and peel the stem. Cut artichoke in half and use a spoon to scrape out the fuzz and little artichoke leaves. In a baking dish add the lemon juice, chicken stock and garlic. Add the artichoke halves cut side down and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover dish with foil and place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. Remove and turn artichoke halves over so cut side are up. Sprinkle with panko and season with salt and pepper. Divide butter and Parmesan between the cut artichokes. Cover with foil and place back in the oven for another 30 minutes. In the last 15 minutes remove the foil and roast the artichokes uncovered. Place artichokes on a plate and melt in 2 tablespoons of butter into the chicken stock garlic mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Serve the sauce with the artichokes and enjoy!

I also bought a rotisserie chicken because I know Mr. Chris needs his meat-based protein! It was all delicious; unfortunately our guests think I'm a gourmet chef now! Far from it! We ended the night with some classic milk and cookies. I made "The last chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need". They were a hit! Our friend literally uttered "This is the best cookie I've ever eaten". So it looks like that is a keeper recipe as well! I found it through Cupcakes and Cashmere and I followed ALL of the suggestions. My ingredients sat out for a while waiting to get to room temp! Mr. Chris kept asking when I was going to start! (ALSO! I did a test run the day before because I like to make cookies a lot and I usually bake them around 12 minutes on 350F. Thank goodness I did because 15 minutes on 400F was way too much!) All in all it was a great weekend! Please let me know if you try out any of these recipes! x

Overhaulin'

As you may be able to tell there has been a bit of an overhaul. It's about time! We moved in May and I just haven't been able to catch up since then. We got a puppy! Little Kona, we love him to death!
I found a NEW job. Chris started school, and I'm trying to get used to small town living. It's all been quite an adjustment. I never thought I would miss Baltimore but we went back for a friends wedding and I was sad to leave that grungy little city behind. Even though we had to fight Ravens traffic all the way out. x
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