Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Snippet #11/15/2015

Fall has arrived in SoCal!  With the promise of El Nino to take the edge off our drought worries, I found myself baking with several items available at local farmers' markets, or if you live in a rain rich region, you make have these vegetables and fruits in your backyard.

My featured novel this month, "Brede", is set in New Mexico.  To honor the bounty of this diverse state, I have posted two delicious recipes that you may wish to try this winter.  Both are simple, filling, a good for you.  As you know, Brede's mystery woman isn't know for her culinary skills.  However, sandwiched between her dramatic failures, she does manage to turn out a tasty meal or two!  

Pull out your slow cooker (I know you have one somewhere in your cupboard) and prepare these Fall treats!

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Root vegetable, such as carrots, are great for slow cooker soups.  Their earthy flavor becomes rich and sweet when cooked slowly over a gentle heat and goes perfectly with robust herbs and spices, and their texture becomes beautifully smooth when pureed.

Serves 4
1 lb carrots, preferably young and tender
1 tablespoon. sunflower oil
3 tablespoon butter / low fat margarine
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, plus 2 -3 leafy tops
2 small potatoes, peeled
1 1/2 pints/ 3 1/4 cups boiling vegetable stock
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1/4 pint/ 2/3 cup milk
salt and ground black pepper

Trim and peel carrots and cut into chunks.  Heat oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan and fry onion over a gentle heat for 3 - 4 minutes until slightly cooked. Do not let it brown.

Slice the celery and chop the potatoes, and add them to the onion in the pan.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the carrots and cook for an additional minute.  Transfer the fried vegetables to the ceramic cooking pot.

Pour the boiling vegetable stock over the vegetables, then season with salt and pepper.  Cover the pot and cook on low for 4 - 5 hours until the vegetable as tender.

Reserve 6 - 8 tiny celery leaves from the leafy tops for the garnish, then finely chop the remaining celery tops.  Melt the remaining in a large pan and add the ground coriander.  Fry for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, until the aromas are released.

Reduce the heat under the pan and add the chopped celery tops and fresh coriander. Fry 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.  Ladle the soup into a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender (or a potato masher if you wish like a few veggie pieces).  Using the same pan, stir in milk and heat until piping hot.  

Check the seasoning, then serve garnished with the reserved celery leaves.

Pumpkin and Banana Cake

Rather like a cross between a carrot cake and banana bread, the luscious cake is an excellent  way of using some of the scooped-out pumpkin fresh after making Halloween pumpkin lanterns.  A cream cheese topping provides a delicious contrast with the dense moist cake. 

Serves 12

2 cups of self-rising flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of salt
10 tablespoons/ 5 oz. of light brown sugar
3/4 cup/3 oz. pecans or walnuts, chopped
4 oz. pumpkin flesh, coarsely grated
2 small bananas, peeled and mashed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup/1/4 pint sunflower oil

For the topping

1/4 cup/2 oz. 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup/ 2 oz. soft cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup/ 4 oz. confectioners' sugar.
pecan halves, to decorate

Line the base and sides of a deep 8 inch round bake tin or souffle dish with baking parchment.  Place an upturned saucer or metal pastry ring in the base of the ceramic cooking pot, then pour in about 1 inch of very hot water.  Switch the slow cooker to high.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt (or just dump it all in a bowl like I do).  Stir in the sugar, chopped nuts and grated pumpkin until thoroughly mixed.  Make a slight hollow in the middle of the dry ingredients. 

In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, eggs, and sunflower oil, then stir into the dry ingredients.  Turn into the prepared tin and level the surface. 

Cover the tin with a pieced of buttered foil and place into the slow cooker.  Pour sufficient boiling water to come just over halfway up the sides of the tin.

Cover the pot with the lid and cook on high for 4 - 4.5 hours, or until the cake is firm and skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Carefully remove the cake from the slow cooker and stand the tin on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.  Turn out and leave to cool completely, then peel off the lining paper.

To make the topping, put the butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until blended and smooth.   Sift in the confectioner's sugar (I do sift here) and beat again until smooth and creamy.  Thickly spread the topping over the top of the cake and decorate with pecan halves.  Chill in the refrigerator for a least 1 hour before serving to allow the topping to harden.

I hope you try and enjoy these delicious recipes.  Remember "Brede" Rodeo Romance, Book 2 is 99 cents during the month of November.

Stop by and see what everyone else is talking about this week's Sunday Snippets!

Happy Reading,

Connie       Ginger Simpson


Tricia McGill said...

Mm, now my mouth is watering and I have another hour to go till lunchtime.

Connie Vines said...

Thank you. I