Nov 28, 2007

Penne with Pumpkin and Sausage

I've held onto this recipe for awhile, as I'm always looking for new squash/pumpkin recipes, and this one intrigued me. Maybe because it's savory instead of sweet. It's from a magazine about Italian cooking, so that was intriguing too. Plus the picture looked delicious!

I used a smallish pumpkin I'd purchased around Halloween. I'd done some reading on the internet, and it seems that pumpkin and squash are very close. (Read the comments. There are some good ideas for using pumpkin in there!) In fact, it seems that Dickinson Squash is currently packaged and sold as Libby's canned pumpkin.

My own pumpkin, however, tasted nothing like the canned variety. It didn't have much flavor of it's own, but it picked up the savory flavors of this dish quite nicely. It was a bit of work skinning and dicing the pumpkin, but it was well worth the effort!

Don't leave out the pepper - I think it's an important ingredient here. Also, it was good garnished with parmesean cheese!

1 lb penne (or ziti, mastacholi, or trenne)
8 oz pork sausage (Jimmy Dean's Hot sausage)
1 tsp chopped rosemary, plus extra sprigs for garnish
1 onion, diced small
10 oz. pumpkin, peeled and seeds removed
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, remove the sausage from it's casing (if necessary), and put it into a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped rosemary, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage starts to brown, about 7 minutes. Thinly slice/dice the onion. Add to the skillet, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Dice the squash, add to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until it evaporates. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 7 minutes.

Add salt and pasta to the pot of water, and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta, and add to the skillet. Toss well, and transfer to a serving bowl. To serve, finish with a grinding of pepper, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Serves 4-6.

Adapted from La Cucina Italiana - Quick and Easy, edition unknown
Note: The original recipe, called "Trenne with Squash and Sausage" called for Trenne pasta, winter squash instead of pumpkin, and 1 leek - white and light green parts only, instead of onion.

Oct 12, 2007

Tabasco Popcorn

The truth is that I love popcorn ALL the time, but something about Fall brings out the part of me that loves variations on the basic popcorn pop. I don't remember where I got this idea - probably from a Tabasco bottle!

unpopped corn kernels

vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
salt to taste

Pour oil into a pan until the bottom of the pan is completely covered in oil. Add popcorn until the oil is completely covered. Add Tobasco and turn heat to high. When corn begins to pop, shake the pot constantly. When popping slows, remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

Sweet Sesame Five-Spice Popcorn

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Show: 30 Minute Meals
Episode: Food Fight

1/2 cup unpopped corn kernels
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Place popcorn, sugar, oil, five spice powder and salt in a large kettle or pot with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When corn begins to pop, shake the pot constantly. When popping slows, remove from heat, sprinkle with sesame seeds and transfer popped kettle corn to a bowl.

Aug 3, 2007

Sugar Cookies with Pistachio and Dried Cherries

1 (8-ounce) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/2 cup pistachios, lightly chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 (11-ounce) bag white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Open sugar cookie log and press into a rectangle on cutting board. Add pistachios and cherries, press into dough and then re-shape into a log. Slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Transfer cookies to a baking sheet.

Bake 7 to 11 minutes, until golden around the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While cookies are baking, melt white chocolate chips in a double boiler or bowl over simmering water.

When cookies are cool, dip bottom half of cookies into melted white chocolate and place on waxed or parchment paper to cool.

Copyright, 2006, Robin Miller, All rights reserved

Aug 2, 2007

Dried Sour Cherry Nut Clusters

8 ounceshigh quality white, milk, or bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 cup toasted almonds
1 cup dried sour cherries
Line a sheet tray with parchment or wax paper.

Temper the chocolate:

Melt about 2/3 of the chocolate in the microwave on low power, checking and stirring occasionally to be sure it does not burn. It will take about 1 1/2 minutes. Alternatively, place

2/3 of the chopped chocolate in a bowl set over a pot of simmering water until it melts. Be sure no water touches the chocolate at any point. Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate and continue to stir until completely melted. Touch the skin just below your lower lip with a dab of chocolate: it should feel cool to the touch. If not, stir in a large chunk of chocolate to cool it down further, and then remove it.

Stir in 2/3 cup of almonds and 2/3 cup of dried cherries.

Using 2 teaspoons, drop clusters of the chocolate mixture onto the prepared sheet tray. Put an almond and one or two dried cherries on top of each cluster. You may not use all of the remaining 1/3 cup of each. Place the tray in the refrigerator until the chocolates are set, at least 15 minutes. Release them from the paper by slipping a small flexible knife under each.

Store in a cool dry place.

Recipe courtesy of Peggy Cullen

Aug 1, 2007


This looks like a good way to use leftovers at Thanksgiving!

Yield: 4 servings

1 c. orange juice
1 c. sugar
1 bag (12 oz.) cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 c. currants or raisins
1/2 c. onion, diced
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1 T. jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 t. garlic, fresh or jarred, minced
3/4 t. cumin, ground
1/2 t. cinnamon, ground
1 lb. turkey breast cutlets
1/2 c. spreadable goat cheese
or cream cheese
4 flour tortillas, low fat, 10-inch
4 large lettuce leaves, romaine or leaf
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 apple, thinly sliced

To make spicy cranberry sauce, place first 10 ingredients in medium saucepan. Boil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst and sauce is thickened; refrigerate. Sauté cutlets in lightly oiled skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes per side until turkey is no longer pink in center and reaches internal temperature of 170°F. Cool and cut into strips. Spread 2 T. cheese over tortilla to 1/2-inch from edge. Layer lettuce, 1/2 c. turkey, 1/4 c. cranberry sauce, 1/2 t. cilantro and several apple slices. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fold tortilla bottom and top over filling. Fold one side to center. Fold last side overlapping center and roll tight.

Nutritional analysis per serving: calories 510 (26% calories from fat), protein 35g, carbohydrate 67g, fiber 5g, fat 12g, sat. fat 6g, cholesterol 105mg, sodium 430mg.

Recipe and photo credit: Cranberry Marketing Committee,