Arman's stuff
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Autumn Recipes

(Mon Oct 27 12:05:39 2008)

Ah, Fall...

It's that time of year (finally!) - the grass doesn't need mowed, leaves are dropping off the trees, and the air doesn't scorch your skin as you walk to your car. And north of Texas, the leaves are changing colors, the air is turning cool, and there's that crisp Fall smell.

I love Fall. I love Winter more, but as an end to the heat of summer, Fall is awesome. The best part about Fall is that it's finally cool enough to eat stew, sip hot chocolate, and dream about Thanksgiving and Christmas. Speaking of Fall food, here's two of my absolutely favorite recipes:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large (27 oz) can whole, diced, or stewed peeled tomatoes
14 oz (1 can) unsweetened coconut milk
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 c. dehydrated (or 1 lb fresh) portobello and shitaki mushrooms
~3-4 c. pumpkin, cooked
~2 Tbsp dry red wine or cooking sherry (optional)

Seasonings:
sea salt
pepper
tarragon
Italian seasoning

Slow Cooker Directions:
Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks and place it and the mushrooms in the bottom of the cooker. Add the tomatoes with juice, coconut milk, sherry/wine, and seasonings.

Chop, slice, or mash the cooked pumpkin and add it to the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high 4-5 hours until the chicken is nice and tender. Serve hot with rice, greens, or drained black beans.

The original recipe called for butternut squash, but it's a whole lot better with pumpkin. The pumpkin adds a deep, rich flavor to the light, sweet flavor of the tomatoes. The best part of this recipe is that not only is it fairly healthy, it's also pretty cheap. My wife and I found this recipe when we were still in school; a $3, 10-pound pumpkin was a great deal. And as it says, serve it piping hot; this is a sit-in-a-porch-swing-sipping-steaming-stew-while-watching-the-leaves-fall kind of meal.

And what's a meal without a desert? When I was a kid, I went to the library a lot, probably a few times a week. Our library always had season-themed stuff to take home, and one year (I think I was 7 or 8), they had a recipe for "Indian Corn Pudding". My mom still has that recipe, stained and well-used by now. After having some of the above stew, I realized that pudding would be a perfect complement. After some time of fruitless searching, I finally came across this recipe. It may not be the orginal, but it's close enough that I couldn't tell the difference. Also, there's two ways to make this; I have never actually cooked the pudding in the oven, so I've included two different directions with it:

3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (white works too)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Without oven:
In a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat, scald the milk. While the milk is heating, pour the cream into a medium sized bowl and stir in the cornmeal, sugar, molasses, salt, and spices.
Add the cornmeal mixture to the scalded milk and cook, whisking constantly over medium-low heat until the pudding has thickened to the consistency of syrup (about 5 minutes).
Beat the eggs in a small bowl with a whisk.
Add 1/2 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs while whisking rapidly, then vigorously whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining cornmeal mixture. Add the butter and stir until it melts.
Continue heating for about 1/2 an hour, until the pudding has thickened, then remove from heat and cool slightly.

Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream spooned over the top.

Directions including oven:
*Preheat the oven to 325 F, and lightly grease a 6 or 8 cup souffle dish with butter.
In a medium-size saucepan over medium-low heat, scald the milk.
While the milk is heating, pour the cream into a medium sized bowl and stir in the cornmeal, sugar, molasses, salt, and spices.
Add the cornmeal mixture to the scalded milk and cook, whisking constantly over medium-low heat until the pudding has thickened to the consistency of syrup (about 5 minutes).
Remove it from the heat.
In a small bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs.
Add 1/2 cup of the hot cornmeal mixture to the eggs while whisking rapidly, then vigorously whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining cornmeal mixture.
Add the butter and stir until it melts.
*Pour the pudding into the prepared baking dish, and place the dish in a shallow baking pan on the center oven rack.
*Pour enough hot water into the larger pan to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the pudding baking dish.
*Bake the pudding until it is set and a tester inserted close to but not in the center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours.
*Remove the pudding from the water bath and cool slightly.
Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or heavy cream spooned over the top.


It may not look like much - a bowl of brownish mush, really - but it is absolutely delicious. For a lighter flavor, replace some of the molasses with honey; add raisins for a bit of a different flavor.

That's it for now; maybe I'll post some more recipes on here later. Hmm...
Blagwish: a blag-type selector; normal blag, recipe-blag, music-lyrics-blag, poetry-blag, art-blag, and so on. Oh, and also leaves that change colors. Come on, Texas, is it so hard? Even NEBRASKA can do it! Sheesh!

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