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Eclecticisms: November 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tickled Tuesday

It's almost Christmas! That means that I should have lots of holiday cookie recipes coming up, assuming all goes as planned. I have a craft day scheduled for this weekend, and will post pictures of the goodies we make.

For now, here's a quick TT video for you guys of two singers I love. George Harrison died 9 years ago yesterday, so I listed to quite a bit of him last night.



Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baked Winter Squash and Apples

Just because we aren't having much of a fall does not mean that I'm going to skip out on fall baking! We grow squash every year, one kind being winter squash (Long Island Cheese and Australian Butter). Almost every winter squash recipe I could find called for Butternut, but I'm assuming that most squashes are comparable and can be substitued for one another. I used the Long Island Cheese for this recipe. In fact, I made a few alterations, but you can find the original recipe here.

My next squash-goal is to make some soup or chili. I've already started looking up recipes, and hopefully will find time over Thanksgiving weekend to try them out. Last year, I wasn't into baking yet and was pretty wasteful. I used a squash as decoration for awhile, then left it on my back porch for a month or two too long. When I finally went to pick it up and throw it away, the stem came off and it pretty much imploded. Not this year!

*Depending onthe size of your squash, you might want to tweak these measurements a bit. I'm guessing the squash I used was about 3 pounds.

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 Tbs salted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
2 pounds butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 or 3 large apples - cored, and cut into medium pieces
Cinnamon (enough to sprinkle on the top)


Remove the stem, then wash and cut your squash in half. (The original recipe called for peeling the squash, but that doesn't work too well with this kind.) It is easiest to only cut in a quarter inch or so at first, going all the way around. Once done, you can go back and fully cut it in half. This helps to keep the two halves even sized.

Once cut, scoop out all the guts thoroughly, so the inside of the squash is "clean". Using a regular metal spoon works best.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, butter, flour, salt, and mace.

Absolutely delicious!

Arrange squash in an ungreased 9x13 inch baking dish (Or whichever size it fits in, really; I needed to use two dishes). Pour about 1/4 cup water into the dish to help keep the squash moist when baking. Top with slices of apple, then pour on the sugar mixture, tossing the apples until they are coated.

Sprinkle with cinnamon (to taste). Cover dish(es) with a lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until squash is tender.

Serve with a side dish (I sauteed some fresh spinach) and enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Return of Tickled Tuesday!

I can't promise that I'll be able to blog each Tuesday as planned, but I definitely want to get back to TT at least every other week.

This week's tickle:

banana dogs

I have no idea why, but I couldn't help but laugh until I cried the first 50 times I saw this. It's from a great comic site. (Link)

Check out all of their comics!

P.S. I actually really, really hate bananas. I'm not just allergic, but the smell makes me completely sick. This is why you will never, EVER, see a banana reciope on my blog!



Monday, November 15, 2010

Rosemary Butter Cookies (AKA Burnt Poker Chips)

One herb I love is rosemary, especially on potatoes or in tea. It's aromatic, healing, and delicious. Rosemary is rich in Vitamin E and is good for the skin, senses, digestion, circulation and headaches. I have a bottle of rosemary essential oil that combines beautifully with lavendar, chamomille, or bergamont, to name only a few. It's also very easy to grow, both indoors and out. I've had the same plant for at least a couple of years now; In the spring I bring it outside to the garden (I keep it potted though) and bring it in once it starts to get chilly. It smells wonderful (of course) is a great choice when making saches. (Hopefully I'll blog about making those, soon!) I recently read that you should mist the leaves of the plant with water on a regular basis, but I never have. I'm going to start and see if I notice any difference.

When I came across this recipe in my Martha Stewart "cookie of the day" e-mail (I know, I know...) I knew I had to make it. I had the rosemary and it sounded fantastic! Here is the link to the recipe that I followed. I can't imagine there wasn't a typo in this recipe though. At 375 degrees, the dough rolled in egg whites, the cookies burned terriblely. The ones that did turn out are heavenly. Next time I'll read up more on egg white coatings, parchment paper, and will probably just use a bit of spray on the pans, or even nothing at all.

Makes about 5 dozen (Assuming you don't burn 3/4 of them!)


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon ground sea salt salt
1/2 cup raw sugar

Mix butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low.

Add flour, rosemary, and salt, and mix until combined.

Split the dough in half and roll each into a log shape.

Place each log on a 12-by-16-inch sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to 1 1/2 inches in diameter and transfer to paper-towel tubes to hold shape. This was easier than I expected. If the log gets stuck, gently work it in. Don't try to force it, or it will just start to bunch up where you are pushing. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350. Brush each log with egg white (I got to use the silicon brush I FINALLY bought!). At this point, it looks a little like a loaf of raw garlic bread.

 Roll in raw sugar. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.

Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment.

Bake until edges are golden (or charcoal black, in my case), 18 to 20 minutes. After my experience with them burning (parchment paper seems to give me more trouble than it's worth sometimes), I'd recommend you keep a close eye on these while they bake. 

Not quite what I expected...

But they weren't all bad!

The ones that didn't burn were really good. Even the slightly burned ones can be enjoyed, just not as much as they should be.

Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

*Martha calls for 18-20 minutes at 375, but this burnt mine. About 18 minutes at 350 should be good; Just keep an eye on them.

Happy Monday!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds! (And Halloween!)

I know. I'm way behind on blogging! There's been so much going on that I haven't done much baking at all and blogging is something I've neglected. I actually feel really bad about it, because it's something that has become extremely important to me.

I know this post is a little late as I'm sure you've all finished carving your pumpkins, but carved pumpkins aren't the only way to get pumpkin seeds. Go get a winter squash to bake and try those seeds! (Or, carve a pumpkin after the fact. Just for me!)

Making pumkin seeds is simple really, and they are a good source of magnesium, iron, vitamin K and protein. with the oil and salt, I wouldn't exactly call them a health food, but they do have some health benefits to go along with the delicious taste. The trick to them is to perfect the amount of oil to use. I didn't measure anything out - perhaps one day I will. I made these only once before and they were TERRIBLE. I'm guessing I had used way too much oil, but I'm happy to say that these turned out better. Not perfect, but there's always next year.

Here are some fuzzy pictures of our pumpkins. (My camera pooped out, AGH, so I had to use my phone.) Brian's is the crying pumpkin (oh, Brian...), mine is the angry one, and Sarah's is the well... the special one.

Pumpkin Seeds
Vegetable oil
Popcorn salt

If,  by rare chance, you aren't sure how to carve a pumpkin, there are tons of instructions online. Make sure to line your work area with newspaper. Pumpkin "guts" are slimy and not fun to clean up on a bare table. I always keep mine simple, and start by lining out the face with a sharpie marker. Then you cut and gut, then carve.

After carving your pumpkin (the best part until you get to the actual eating stage), seperate the seeds from the pulp and fiberous insides. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a colander, rinse thoroughly with cold water. Shake dry- use a paper towel to blot out excess moisture if necessary.

 Thinly coat a baking pan with the oil.

Spread out the seeds on the baking sheet, stirring to coat them in the oil. Do NOT use anymore oil than is neccessary to thinly coat the seeds or the taste will be ruined. Salt to taste. Popcorn salt has a finer grain and really works much better than regular table salt for these. You can find it at most grocery stores. If your local store doesn't carry it, demand that they start. (This is my dear love for homemade popcorn talking.) What to look for.

Bake for 25 minutes, give or take (start checking after about 20 minutes). I also blotted some oil off of them after they'd cooled, which helped a lot with the flavor.

Do you have any tips on how to get the perfect pumpkin seeds? Let me know!

I'll leave you off with a picture of my dog, Footloose, in his adorable dino costume.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It's been one month to the day since my last blog. I feel terrible! All of the baking I've done has been repeat recipes, I haven't crafted or done any art work, and my camera broke. Those are my excuses, but I feel like I've really let myself down here. I have a pumpkin seed recipe to post (a little late...) but I've been having issues with getting the pictures I took off of my phone.

Anyways. I hope you are all still checking in, and I promise, I will have a new post soon!

*I also have a request. If anyone has a challenge for me- art or food- please let me know, either by commenting or e-mail! A challenge is always a good kick in the pants for me.