The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


I Can’t Believe This Actually Worked: Pumpkin Pie
November 5, 2012, 12:18 am
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yay! It is pumpkin pie season again! My husband is a big pumpkin pie fan as I have mentioned here before.  The way to his heart is through his stomach, and so pumpkin pie he shall have.   I like it too.  I usually like to keep my pumpkin pie simple.

Yesterday, though, I had no choice put to keep my pie simple.  I decided to make a pumpkin pie since I made a chicken pot pie and had an extra crust.  In a large bowl, I poured a can of pumpkin.  Then, I started looking for the other usual ingredients like evaporated milk and eggs.

I found none.

I love it when I do this to myself, and I do it often.  I will think I have everything I need, and then when I look for my ingredients, I have half of what my recipe calls for.  It is just sooo much fun to sabotage myself by not preparing ahead of time.

I’m kidding, of course.

There was no going back yesterday; the pumpkin was in the bowl, so to speak.  To it, I added one can of sweetened condensed milk, half a cup of sugar, a smidge of cinnamon, and a smidge of salt.  I had no eggs, milk, or cream to add, so it was anyone’s guess as to how this was going to turn out.

I baked it at 350 for one hour.

Believe it or not, the pie was actually very good.  The pie looked fine even though it was a little sticky since it was full of sugar.  It had a nice thick consistency, a pretty shiny color, and it baked through nicely.  I sliced a piece and topped it with some whipped cream.   When we tasted it, it was very, very sweet, but it was a caramelly type of sweet not a sugary type of sweet.  I believe with a nice caramel decoration on top, this could pass as a caramel pumpkin pie and be believable as a recipe done on purpose.

I can not believe this actually worked.  Of course, next time I try to make it, I won’t have all the ingredients.  Sigh….



Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

My husband is a big fan of pumpkin pie.  Being the good wife and mother that I try to be-emphasis on the word try-I make two kinds, and he really likes them both. 

The first kind is a very plain and simple traditional pumpkin pie with very few spices.  It is easy to make and eat with a dollop of whipped cream on top.  Simple.

The second kind is a little more intense.  Well, as intense as a pumpkin pie can get.  I don’t remember how this recipe came to be, but I do know that he likes it every time I make it. 

The recipe for my “intense” pumpkin pie:

1 pre-made graham cracker crust

¼ cup butterscotch or caramel topping from the ice cream section of the grocery store

½ cup pecans, toasted with butter and sugar

1 package of turtle instant pudding if you can find it.  I haven’t seen it in a few years. If you do not find it, use chocolate fudge instant pudding or any other chocolate favored instant pudding

1 package of vanilla or French vanilla instant pudding

1 can of pureed pumpkin

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. nutmeg

1 cup milk

1 large tub of thawed whipped cream like Cool Whip.  You can make your own to go on top, but I like to use the pre-made kind in recipes.  I think it holds up better.

On the bottom of your pie crust, sprinkle the pecans and the caramel/butterscotch.  In a large bowl, combine the two puddings.  Add to that the pumpkin and the two spices.  Mix in the milk and blend well working quickly.  Fold in 1 ½ cups of the whipped cream.  Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.  To serve, top with the extra whipped cream or with fresh whipped cream. 



Hits, Misses, and Houseguests: My Adventurous Culinary Weekend
September 26, 2011, 1:41 pm
Filed under: Food I Make | Tags: , , , , , ,

It was a hit and miss weekend. 

First was a hit that was almost a miss but that depends on who you ask-cookies.  It all started with the announcement that we would be having houseguests over the weekend.  They called Thursday to let us know they were coming on Friday.  Yikes.  

I decided to make cookies even though our houseguests don’t eat sweets or anything fun.   They only drink water and eat no red meat, fried foods, pasta, sugar, or bread.  They will eat salads and plain grilled or baked chicken breasts.  Like I said, they don’t eat anything fun. 

I prepared a batch of chocolate chip for Mr. Picky who loves, loves, loves chocolate chip cookies.  While the cookies were in the oven, I took the remaining chocolate chip batter and kicked it up by adding toasted walnuts, peanut butter, and extra chocolate chips.  The dinger on the oven dinged, but the chocolate chip cookies came out looking sad, flat, and too wet in the middle.  What to do?

Improvise.

I mashed up the flat cookies and stirred them back into the cookie with walnut/peanut butter/chocolate chip batter.  I reshaped them and baked them again. 

 

Wal-lah! Mr. Picky wouldn’t eat them, and neither would the no-fun houseguests, but everyone else liked them. 

Hit/Miss #2 was breakfast on Saturday.  I made breakfast burritos for the houseguests and the regular folks too. I browned a pound of sausage with an onion.  Then, I microwaved two potatoes for seven minutes.   I let them cool, cut them up, tossed them with flour and salt, and deep fried them until they were crispy.  I then wisked five eggs with milk, pepper, and salt and added that to the sausage and onion mixture.  I cooked that until the eggs were done.  In six warm flour tortillas, I layered the potatoes, Cheddar cheese, and the egg/sausage/onions.  I folded the tortillas and wrapped the burritos in aluminum foil.  

It was supposed to be an informal breakfast-grab a burrito, a cup of coffee, and find a place to relax and enjoy.  Awkwardly, no one understood how to do that, so we sat at the table.

Mr. Houseguest, who does not get to eat whatever he wants, loved them!  He could not say enough about the crunchy potatoes, the warm cheese, or the meaty sausage.   “Boy, this is really good!” he said over and over as he devoured his burrito and drank his coffee.

Mrs. Houseguest was not amused.  She barely managed to choke down any of hers but did drink a full glass of tap water. 

Saturday night, while the houseguests visited with the kids, I put together a squash casserole for Sunday lunch.  The squash came from some plants that my momma grew in her flower bed, for some reason.  My sister’s mother-in-law makes the best ever squash casserole, and I thought I had a copy.  However, I couldn’t find it, so I made do with another recipe.  I boiled the squash, and then combined it with an onion, can of mushroom soup, cheese, butter, and panko bread crumbs on the top. After church on Sunday, I baked it for thirty minutes at 350.

It was gross.  The onions did not cook well, and the breadcrumbs were soggy.  Bleh. It was a miss. 

Finally, on the hit and miss weekend, I made a pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin pie is one of my husband’s favorites, and they just set out the special seasonal cooking section at the grocery store featuring pumpkin in a can.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  

If you tried to describe my pumpkin pie in one word, it would be plain.  We like it as plain as possible.  The plainer the pumpkin pie, the better we always say.  I combined ¾ of a cup of sugar with a dash of salt and a teaspoon of cinnamon, and that’s it for seasonings.  No nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves, pie spice, tobasco-nothing.  I only use salt, sugar, and cinnamon.    

To that, I added the can of pumpkin, two eggs, and a can of evaporated milk.  I poured it to the very top of a regular pie shell.  Deep dish would have been better because I had some left over, but it still worked.  I put the unbaked pie on a cookie sheet and then poured water around the pie plate to create a water bath.

I don’t know why, but I bake everything these days in a water bath.  I think things just turn out better and more custardy.  I like it. 

Anyway, I oh so carefully slid it into the oven.  I remembered to shut the door, but I forgot to set the timer.  After goofing off online and watching part of an episode of Victorious, I walked into the kitchen and remembered.  Luckily, the pie wasn’t in too bad of a shape.  Luckily.

It turned out okay.  A hit!

After a weekend like this, I think it is definitely time for me to go back to work on Monday morning.  I need the rest.




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