‘Tis The Season For New Recipes! What We’re Lovin’ Now From Cultured Cook!

pumpkin-pudding‘Tis the Season for No-Cook Pumpkin Pudding

Pumpkin Yogurt Pudding

Now that Halloween has passed, it’s time to eat those pumpkins! (Or it’s time to buy canned pumpkin, which is nearly tumbling off pumpkin-populated grocery store shelves.) Pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream, even pumpkin beer. During autumn, pumpkin goes with everything.

So how about some no-cook pumpkin pudding? It’s a simple seasonal dessert or breakfast. And since it’s made with plain whole-milk Greek yogurt, it’s a probiotically delicious dessert or breakfast. It’s also customizable — you can craft your own spice blend as well as stir in your choice of extract. Vanilla, almond, hazelnut, it’s your call. And if you’re in a garnishing mood, you can opt for toasted coconut, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. As you can see, I went with toasted coconut.

The consistency of the pudding will depend on whether or not you let the Greek yogurt drain in the fridge overnight. If you give the whey a chance to drip out, you’ll have an ultra-thick yogurt base that will still be luxuriously thick even after you’ve stirred in the pumpkin and maple syrup. If you don’t have time to let the yogurt drain, the pudding will be equally delicious, albeit thinner. You could still layer it into a parfait glass with dollops of freshly whipped cream for a truly knockout (but simple) seasonal treat!

Pumpkin Yogurt Pudding

1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (low-fat and no-fat yogurt will not work, plus they’re not nearly as nutritious)

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup cooked or canned pumpkin

1 to 2 T. maple syrup (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. cloves OR ginger OR allspice (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp. vanilla OR hazelnut OR 1/4 tsp. almond extract

Optional garnishes such as toasted unsweetened coconut flakes*, chopped nuts, chopped dried fruit, or freshly whipped cream

Place the yogurt in a colander suspended in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for 6 hours to give the whey a chance to drip out. You’ll be left with a very thick yogurt that’s basically the consistency of cream cheese. (In fact, this is what I use as cream cheese when I make cheesecakes. So much fresher and tasty than the commercial plastic brick variety!)

Stir in 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1 T. maple, and the spices and vanilla. Taste and see if you’d like to add more maple syrup. If the pudding is still very thick, go ahead and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup pumpkin. Scoop into pretty serving bowls or cups and garnish if desired. Leftover pudding can be refrigerated for 5 days.

Enjoy!

* To toast the coconut, heat it in a dry skillet over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes or until it’s fragrant and turning light brown. (No need to stir, although you might want to shake the skillet once or twice.) Don’t walk away from toasting coconut! It can go from perfectly toasted to slag-burnt in a matter of seconds. As soon as it’s fragrant, faintly sizzling, and a gentle brown, remove it to a cool plate to halt the toasting.

kohlrabi-saladCrisp & Quick Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Salad with Pine Nuts & Olives

When it’s good, go with it! In this case, I’m talking about kohlrabi. The first time I tried it, I roasted it and for a riff on French fries. This time, I did the opposite: I cut the raw bulb into thin slivers and tossed it with Romaine, olives, and pine nuts to make a simple salad. So easy! Plus, since kohlrabi doesn’t brown when cut, you could prep several bulbs in advance and then use them in a variety of ways: roasted, raw, sauteed, you name it. Its crisp, light texture makes kohlrabi idea for a variety of settings, including eat-on-the-spot snacking.

Since kohlrabi has a neutral taste — its texture stands out more than its flavor does — slivered raw kohlrabi is a welcome addition to any salad. And because kohlrabi doesn’t have a strong flavor of its own, you can toss it with anything you like. In this case, I opted for a culinary palette of contrasts: savory olives, creamy pine nuts, sweet-tart tomatoes, and crunchy Romaine. Feel free to toss in additional veggies or cooked chopped chicken or seafood if you’d like.

Kohlrabi Salad with Pine Nuts & Olives

Serves 2 as a refreshingly light lunch. If you’d like a heartier meal, toss in cooked chicken or shrimp or add a generous grating of an aged cheese like Parmesan, Gouda, or Manchego.

Half a bulb of peeled kohlrabi, cut into slivers (see previous kohlrabi post for prepping instructions)

At least 4 large Romaine leaves, chopped

Handful cherry tomatoes, halved

Handful pitted olives, chopped (I opted for buttery Castelvetrano olives; green Niçoise also have a smooth flavor and would work well in this salad)

Handful pine nuts, raw or toasted

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 T. balsamic vinegar

Dash of sea salt

Several grinds of freshly cracked peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. If you’d like to use the entire bulb of kohlrabi, go ahead, or wrap the unused half tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days to use in another dish.

Enjoy!

potato-and-beet-omeletteThe Endlessly Optional Omelette

Beet, Potato & Ham Omelette

When you think of omelettes, you probably don’t think of roasted beets or cherry tomatoes. But why not? An omelette is the perfect excuse to use whatever ingredients you have on hand to come up with a brand-new creation. In my case, I had leftover roasted beets and potatoes, cherry tomatoes from the garden, and a few slices of ham I had gotten at the farmer’s market. Oh, and an avocado. And guess what? Everything melded into a delicious omelette. (Although I did keep the avocado on the side to use as a creamy garnish.)

You can use whatever ingredients you like in your omelette, from sauteed onions to chopped peppers. Just be sure to cut your add-in ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Not only do bite-sized pieces make for a more pleasant dining experience, the omelette will be easier to flip if it doesn’t contain unwieldy chunks. And if you’re not an avocado fan, feel free to serve your omelettes with a side of whatever you’d like: fresh fruit, cooked whole grains, a wedge of cheese. Your options are endless!

Beet, Potato & Ham Omelette

Serves 2.

4 eggs, preferably from free-range hens

1 roasted beet, chopped*

Handful roasted baby potatoes OR 2 already-cooked redskin potatoes, chopped**

1 or 2 slices ham, chopped, preferably from pastured hogs

Handful cherry tomatoes, quartered

Avocado slices as garnish, optional

Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk until well-blended. Whisk in beets, potatoes, ham, and tomatoes.

Melt a knob of butter in a 9″ skillet over medium heat. Pour/scoop in eggs and cook for 2 minutes or until bottom is set. Lift up an edge of the omelette with a slim spatula, tilt the skillet, and let the raw eggs on top flow underneath the cooked bottom. Repeat on opposite side. Your goal is to have very little raw egg left on top. Cook for another minute or until bottom is set and it looks golden brown when you lift up an edge with the spatula and peek underneath.

Here’s the slightly tricky part: flipping! I’m not brave enough to do a pan-flip, so I use two spatulas — one slid underneath the center and the other resting on top — to lift up the omelette and turn it over gently. You could also cut the omelette in half and flip each side separately, which is much easier. The halves will cook back together, and you’ll be left with a handy seam to use when you cut the omelette in half to serve it. Cook flipped omelette 1 minute or until the bottom is golden brown.

If you’d like the serve the omelette tableside, slide it into a large plate; otherwise, you can cut in while still in the skillet. Serve with avocado wedges if you’d like. This makes a hearty breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

Enjoy!

* To roast beets, peel raw fresh beets with a vegetable peeler. Cut away and discard ends. On a non-wooden cutting board (the wood would be stained pink by the beet juice!), cut the beets into slices about 1/4″ thick. Toss well with unrefined peanut oil, spread out on a parchment- or aluminum-lined baking sheet, and bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until beets are shriveled and shrunken. I like to roast beets on their own baking sheet so that they don’t turn anything else pink.

** To roast potatoes, scrub raw potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss well with unrefined peanut oil, spread out on a parchment- or aluminum-lined baking sheet, and bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until potatoes are turning golden brown.

mascarpone-alfredoSavory, Creamy Mascarpone Meets Whole-Grain Pasta

Instant Mascarpone Alfredo

There’s a lot to be said for a meal you can make in 10 minutes, not to mention a meal you can make in one pot. Should that meal happen to include whole-grain pasta and an instant creamy sauce made with a single simple ingredient, so much the better! No need to dump a mysterious powdery substance out of a pouch or squeeze nuclear-orange goop onto refined pasta when it’s so easy to toss some fresh-cooked whole-grain pasta with luscious mascarpone cheese.

Yep, mascarpone cheese. You’ve probably only come across this ultra-creamy Italian cheese in tiramisu, but mascarpone is far too tasty (and versatile) to be relegated to the dessert rack. It works beautifully in savory dishes, too! Made of thickened milk and cream (the thickening effect is achieved by stirring citric acid into the milk and cream; the acid causes the cream to clump together), mascarpone creates an instant roux-style sauce when tossed with hot, starchy foods like just-cooked cubed potatoes and whole-grain pasta. It’s a quick shortcut to the same velvety texture you get when you melt butter and stir in flour. And for this dish, I tossed in some blue cheese, too, giving the instant sauce an extra kick of savory flavor. If you’re not a fan of blue cheese, herbed soft goat cheese would be equally splendid.

Instant Mascarpone Alfredo

Serves 2. Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

2 servings of whole-grain pasta of your choice (I opted for gluten-free quinoa “pagodas,” which are sauce-catching, cute squared-off spirals)

1 medium head of broccoli, florets only

Generous dollop (about 2 T.) mascarpone cheese

Similar-sized wedge/dollop of blue cheese OR herbed soft goat cheese (I went with Cashel Blue cheese from Kerrygold; it’s hands-down my favorite blue cheese)

Handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Sweet paprika for garnish

Prepare the pasta according to package instructions, being sure to have extra water boiling in the pot so that you can add the broccoli. (This is where the one-pot idea comes in.) When you have 3 minutes of cooking time left, add the broccoli florets. Quickly drain the pasta and broccoli and put them back into the still-warm pot.

Immediately stir in the mascarpone and blue cheeses. I usually heap my hot ingredients on top of the cheeses and let them sit for a minute unstirred to hasten the melting effect. Stir in the tomatoes. (If the cheese isn’t melting, put the pot on the lowest heat setting and constantly stir until the cheese is melted. That should take less than a minute if you need to do it at all.)

Serve immediately, garnishing with sweet paprika if desired. This is definitely served best piping-fresh, although you can reheat it on the stove should you have leftovers. Leftovers can be refrigerated for 4 days.

Enjoy!

Courtesy of The Cultured Cook.

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Comments

  1. Gasp; thank you so much; this is a keeper.

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