Thursday, October 11, 2012

This busted shelf holds some lovely recipes.

I opened one of my kitchen cabinets on Tuesday to find this scene:

So.  Either I have a few too many cookbooks, or our shelving is not made of the highest quality wood product.

I'm going to guess that both of those things are true.

Anyway, to observe the occasion of my broken cookbook shelf (and since all of those books are sitting piled up in my dining room staring at me until the shelf situation is rectified) I'll offer a few recipes today that make me feel all happy and autumnal!

Ham, Cheddar, and Vegetable Chowder

[This is definitely a comfort food soup, what with all the milk and cheese.  It's hearty and delicious and perfect for a chilly fall evening.]

4 cups water
4 cups diced potatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped onions
salt & pepper to taste

6 T. butter
6 T. flour
4 cups milk
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 lb. deli ham, chopped
1 can cream-style corn

Bring water to a boil and add vegetables and salt & pepper.  Boil 20-30 minutes, or until veggies are soft.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large saucepan and stir in flour until smooth.  Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until simmering and thickened.  Gradually add cheese, stirring to melt and combine.

Add cheese mixture to veggie mixture and stir.  Add ham and cream-style corn and heat through.

Cinnamon-Swirl Bread

[This one is from the cookbook that - with it's 1027 page - likely did that shelf in:  The New Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated.  One of my very favorite places to find fantastic recipes!]

1/3 cup whole milk
4 T. unsalted butter, cubed
1 envelope instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/4 - 3 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar
5 tsp. ground cinnamon
milk for brushing

1 large egg
2 tsp. milk

Heat the milk and butter in small saucepan (or in microwave) until butter is melted.  Cool until lukewarm.

Meanwhile, sprinkle yeast over the warm water.  Add sugar and eggs and beat at low speed to blend.  Add the salt, lukewarm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour; mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended.  Switch to dough hook and add 1 1/4 - 1 3/4 cups additional flour gradually, kneading until dough is smooth and comes away from the side of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Turn dough onto a work surface, kneading in additional flour to form a smooth, soft, elastic dough.  Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled.  Mix cinnamon and sugar in small bowl and set aside.

After the rise, punch dough down and turn carefully onto work surface.  Press into an 8 x 6 inch rectangle and roll with a rolling pin into an 18 x 8 inch rectangle.  Brush dough liberally with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Beginning with short end, roll up tightly, pinching ends and seam to seal.  Place seam-side down in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until dough is 1-inch above the top of the pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together egg and milk and gently brush top of loaf with egg mixture.  Bake bread until golden brown, 30-35 minutes.  Remove bread from pan and cool on its side.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

[I just came up with this recipe today, and oh my word.  Think Dairy Queen's pumpkin pie blizzard ... only better!]

1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups half-and-half

Combine ingredients in saucepan and heat over medium to 160 degrees, stirring constantly.  Set pan in a bowl filled with ice water and stir to cool slightly.  Chill thoroughly.

Bake a pumpkin pie using your favorite recipe (or buy one, I guess), and coarsely chop about 1/3 of the pie, including crust.

Freeze ice cream according to freezer directions.  Five minutes before the end of the freezing cycle, add the chopped pie.  Continue to mix/freeze until pie is incorporated.

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