Thursday, October 30, 2008

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Someone needs to tell the tomatoes that it's almost November. My dad's 4 tomato plants are still producing even though they are far from pretty. But they're still edible. And if you just can't imagine dining on bruschetta or fresh tomato and mozzarella salad in October then go ahead and freeze up a batch of homemade tomato sauce before you pull up those tomato plants for good.

10 large tomatoes
olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

Score with an X and drop into boiling water. When the skins start to peel back, place tomatoes into an ice bath. Remove tomatoes from ice bath and peel off the skins.
Squeeze out the juice and seeds.
Put into a blender and add sauteed garlic. Blend till smooth. Pour into a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. After 1 hour, add salt, sugar and Italian seasoning. Simmer for another hour uncovered. Makes about 3 cups of sauce.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

There's a drawer in the refrigerator that's full of nothing but Newcastles. That's WD's drawer. Then there's another drawer in the refrigerator that holds my treats: cheese sticks, cheese slices, parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella, feta and cream cheese. I like cheese. Cheese just makes everything...better.

So instead of the usual pumpkin pie this holiday season, try this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese pie from Betty Crocker.

Pecan Shortbread Cookie Crust
1 1/2 cups lightly packed crushed shortbread cookies with pecans (16 cookies)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened (I used a total of 12 oz)
1 package (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (didn't have 'em, didn't use 'em)
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients until crumbly. Press firmly on bottom and side of ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Bake about 12 minutes or until light golden brown.

2. In large bowl, beat sugar, 3 tablespoons flour and both packages of cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth; reserve 1/2 cup. Add all remaining filling ingredients except milk to cream cheese mixture. Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.

3. In small bowl, mix reserved 1/2 cup cream cheese mixture and the milk. Spoon over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion. Turn pie plate one-fourth turn and repeat. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.

VERDICT: Mmmmmm! This is how I'm going to make pumpkin pies from now on! I would recommend storing it for at least 24 hours though--not just 4. The extra time hanging out in the fridge took away the overpowering pumpkin taste and made it taste more like a pumpkin cheesecake, which was the taste I was hoping for.