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Yeasted Pumpkin Bread
1/4 cup warm water

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (or 1 teaspoon, see *)

1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I used canned)

2 T oil (I used olive)

1/2 cup apple sauce

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 t salt

1 1/2 t ginger (or whatever spice combination you like)

3 cups whole-wheat flour

3-4 cups  flour

Optional mix-ins:

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water and let stand for a few minutes. Mix pumpkin, apple sauce, oil, eggs, brown sugar, salt, spice(s), and 2 cups of the whole wheat flour into yeast mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon to make a thick batter. Add remaining flour, one cup at a time, stopping when the dough forms a soft mass. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 minutes, sprinkling with flour as you go. It will be very sticky to start. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a large oiled bowl with a towel over it or a lidded container.  Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, at least two hours. I made mine in the early evening and let it go overnight, * so I only used 1 teaspoon yeast. The longer the rise, the less yeast you need.

If you want nuts, seeds, or dried fruit in your bread, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle. Sprinkle with goodies. Roll up the dough and knead it until everything is evenly distributed. Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a round. Place on a floured or greased baking sheet and allow to rise for another hour or so, until doubled in size.

Heat your oven during the last half hour or so of the rise, with an empty rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack. Slash a pattern on top of your loaves with a sharp razor blade (optional). Pull out the rack on the bottom and carefully put 1/2 cup water in it, slide back in (steam makes for a better rise!). Quickly put the pumpkin loaves on the middle rack and close the door. Bake for 30-35 minutes until well browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Cool on wire racks.

This tastes great toasted or plain. Gild the lily by mixing equal amounts of softened butter and olive or sunflower oil together and adding a little honey to sweeten it. Spread it over and smile.





A quick and easy cake for summer, with raspberries from our own patch!


Raspberry Sponge Cake

2 eggs

1 cup flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2/3 cup fresh or frozen raspberries


1 cup powdered sugar


1/4 t almond extract


Sift flour and baking powder; set aside. Beat eggs in a medium bowl until thick, 3-4 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating another 4-5 minutes, until very fluffy. Add the almond extract and flour mixture; beat on low until combined.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter melts. Add to batter, beating until combined. Pour into a greased 8″ or 9″ square pan. Scatter the berries over the top. I think blueberries would work, too, something light, as they will sink to the bottom, so be sure your pan is greased really well. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan.


Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add almond extract. Add milk until glaze is thin enough to spread in a layer over the top of the cake, 1-2 tablespoons.


Oh, and maybe watch the latest from Jim Gaffigan while you eat, because sweet and hilarious are a terrific combination.

Happy Birthday, Jef!

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How-dee-do to you this fine Tuesday, with chocolate on top, Guinness Chocolate Cake, to be ever more precise. This was part of our St. Patrick’s Day feast. Normally, I do not pull out the big guns for this holiday, but we were having our friends Matt & Kelly over, so I dove right in.

I corned some beef, which turned out dee-licious, despite not being in its marinade for ten days (I thought I was pretty on top of things with four), roasted potatoes, made red cabbage with apples, and the aforementioned cake. We were stuffed to the gills and that doesn’t even count the lovely conversation and my wild peals of laughter, of which there were many. I was on a roll, to say the very least.

Now to the cake because my Grammy asked. I adapted this from Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Stout Cake, which tastes nothing like beer, just chocolate heaven. The reason for the post name is that I bought half and half instead of the whipping cream she calls for, so a ganache was turned into a sauce, and I gilded the lily by adding Bailey’s. I could not have been happier with the result!


1 cup Guinness

1 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream


6 ounces milk chocolate chips

5 tablespoons half & half

1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream


Preheat oven to 350. Butter a bundt pan really well. Bring the Guinness and the butter to simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and yogurt together in another bowl until combined. Add this, along with the Guinness mixture to the flour until completely combined. Pour batter into the bundt pan. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool completely in the pan before turning onto a pretty plate.


Melt the chocolate, half & half, and Bailey’s over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Drizzle over individual slices of cake.


Me, Matt, and Kelly about a year ago. We need a new photo, one with the hubster. Love you guys!

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Good morning and welcome to our Saturday night!  A bit of a tomato fest, it was.  We were meant to have friends over (though they couldn’t make it), and when I was trying to think of what to serve, I got this picture in my head of a glass of red wine, pasta with red sauce and sausage, garlic bread, and Caesar salad.

Does your mind work this way?  When I have ideas, I see a lot of pictures and then try to make the world match what I see.  Sometimes it is hard, as I do not know where to find the picture or how to make it, but most times, I am lucky, and it all works out.  For this, I picked all of our remaining ripe tomatoes off the vine and made, quite literally, the best sauce the hubster and I have ever tasted. It was simple, just a little bit of olive oil, five cloves pressed garlic, one pound spicy Italian sausage (via Afton Field Farm), red wine, a pinch of herbs and salt, the tomatoes, and a whole day to bubble over the lowest possible heat.

As for the cake, I had a ton of green tomatoes, and I remembered my friend Lori posted a recipe for a cake last year, so I adapted hers.  If you have any green tomatoes still clinging to the vine, I highly recommend making it and put the recipe below.  You will never ever know there are tomatoes in it, and, at times, it seems almost banana-y, crazy pinkie swear!  Dang, I think that’s my first ever pinkie swear, so you know I mean business.

In response to my absence last week, we were busy, busy, busy.  We got a new fence to replace the one nearly blown over in a windstorm and are finishing our basement (the house is eighty years old– it’s about time) and had to get ready, which meant cleaning out the garage so we could shift former basement items there, then clear the basement of about ninety percent of its contents, which was an awful lot of crap, truth be told.  The process took three whole days, one of which I was on my own, which was kind of a drag, but I managed.  Thankfully we were able to recycle, sell, or donate most of what we had.  To let you know the sad state of accumulation, we still took a whopping 520 pounds (!) to the dump, most of which was leftover from the previous owners, a large roll of carpet and some “I made them myself!” cabinets of the heaviest and ugliest variety.  We are glad to be rid of them.

Since I remain a silver lining type person, I must say that despite the exhaustion from all the work and the steady stream of people at the house, it was an awful lot of fun to drive our neighbor’s big F150 (Thanks, Kelly) hither and yon to get rid of stuff.  It is the one vehicle the hubster absolutely does not like to drive and I absolutely relish.  Slovakian farmer roots, maybe?

Lori’s Green Tomato Cake

4 cups green tomatoes, small dice

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon nocino (I know – not something most have, but since I made some, and I love it, it’s a good use for it.  Use vanilla if you don’t have it.)

1 cup flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Brown Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter

4 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons nocino (What can I say? The stuff is awesome.  Use milk if you don’t have it.)

1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Place chopped tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt.  Let stand ten minutes.  Place in colander, rinse with cold water, and drain.

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour two 8″ or 9″ round pans or simply grease a 13×9.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs, nocino or vanilla, and beat until creamy.  Sift dry ingredients together, add walnuts.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.  Dough will be very stiff.  Add drained tomatoes and mix well.  Spread into prepared pan(s).  Bake the round pans for 20-25 minutes, the 13×9 for 40-45.  Test with a toothpick for doneness.  Allow round pans to cool 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.  Cool 13×9 in the pan.

For the frosting, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat until it is lightly browned.  This takes 10-15 minutes.  Place sifted powdered sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, add melted butter, and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Add nocino or milk, the optional vanilla, and whip until spreading consistency.  You may need more nocino/milk.  Spread over the cake, as desired.




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Happy Friday and happy first official weekend of SUMMER 2011.  With that, I offer a recipe that is just right for this weather.  I made this last week, on one of those nights when I was determined to use the half empty containers of food, rinds of cheese, and produce drawer remnants in my refrigerator to make something super yum.  It worked!

Spicy Tomato Tart

1 9″ tart shell, prebaked – I made mine, but do whatever suits your fancy

16 ounces diced tomatoes (my last half of a quart jar that I canned last summer!  Grow tomatoes, grow!)

1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo (I whirl the contents of a can in the food processor and keep in a jar in the fridge)

1 clove garlic, diced or pressed fine

salt, to taste

1/2 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and diced

1 cooked chicken breast, diced

1/4 cup fresh cheese (I used Black Sheep Creamery, but ricotta or cream cheese would be great, too)

1/4 cup white cheese, grated or in small pieces (I used Ancient Heritage Hannah, but jack, cheddar, or a low-moisture mozzarella would be good)

smoked paprika (optional)

Cook the diced tomatoes, chipotle, and garlic in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Let it get a good boil going and reduce until thick and just a tad watery (5-10 minutes) before adding salt, to your taste.  I should note that this is kind of spicy, so use less chipotle if you don’t want a warm mouth.  Spread the tomato mixture over the tart bottom.  It will look a little chintzy, but I assure you that it is just right.  Spread the bell pepper, chicken, and cheeses evenly over the surface.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika, if desired.  It looks pretty and adds a little flavor.  Bake at 400 until cheese starts to melt (5 minutes?).  Put under the broiler for a minute or two for nice color.

This is delicious served straight from the oven, at room temperature (picnic anyone?), or cold for breakfast the next morning.  It tastes really good with red wine, too.  I’m not normally a fan of reds (oh the headaches!) but we had this bottle of Sokol Blosser Meditrina (I’m a sucker for pretty packaging), and it was just right. Luscious, just like the label said.  Goldilocks was happy.


Happy Birthday Alan and Chaz…

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