Food for Thought
Autumn Recipes 2011

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Festive pumpkin cookies



Never-Fail Pie Crust
(makes 2 crusts)

1 cup chilled shortening
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/4 cup milk

  1. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until it looks like coarse crumbs.
  2. Mix vinegar into milk. Combine all at once into flour mixture.
  3. This can be rolled into crusts immediately, or flattened into disks and placed between sheets of plastic wrap and chilled first in the refrigerator. You can also just press the dough mixture into a pan without rolling it out, but you won't get the pretty edge.

Note: If you only need one crust, freeze the other. Or brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, cut into small pieces, and bake at 400 F until lightly browned. Yum.



Sour Cream Apple Pie

2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced (I like to use Granny Smith apples)
1 prepared pie crust

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. For filling: mix flour, sugar, salt, and nutmeg in large bowl.
  2. Mix together egg, sour cream, vanilla, and apples. Stir into flour mixture and spoon into pie shell. Mix together ingredients for crumb topping and set aside.
  3. Bake pie at 400 F for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F for 30 minutes. Remove pie from oven and sprinkle with all the prepared crumb topping. Return to oven for 15 minutes.

Delicious warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!



Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin (solid pack, not pie mix)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins (or chopped dates)
1 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg and pumpkin, mix well. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add raisins and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons on very lightly greased cookie sheets.
  2. Bake at 350 F 10–12 minutes. Cool on racks, then frost.

Makes 36 cookies.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar*

Boil together brown sugar, milk, and butter for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat well to avoid lumps. This hardens fast; either keep the icing on the stove on the lowest setting or re-heat with a little milk, if necessary.

*Experiment with the amount of powdered sugar. Half a cup makes a thinner, glaze-like frosting. One cup makes it very thick. Protect from invaders!



Caramel Corn

6 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup (2 cubes) butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Nuts of choice (peanuts or almonds are great)*

  1. Put popcorn and nuts in very large bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, honey, and salt. Bring to boil, stirring constantly, then boil on medium heat without stirring for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over popcorn and nuts, mixing well. Turn mixture into 2 large, shallow baking or roasting pans coated with cooking spray and spread as evenly as possible.
  4. Bake at 250 F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.

Makes about 5 quarts.

Tastes like Cracker Jack!

*I recommend raw almonds, but not peanuts. The cooking time is not long enough to cook raw peanuts. Lightly salted peanuts would be good, or even the unsalted dry-roasted type.



Chicken Noodle Soup

2 eggs
Sprinkle of salt

1 whole chicken
2 medium onions, one quartered, one chopped
6 large cloves of fresh garlic
3 stalks celery
Peppercorns (optional)
Red pepper flakes to taste
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 large potato, in small cubes
1/2 teaspoon hot chili sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

  1. Make noodles and set aside to dry.
  2. In medium bowl, lightly mix 2 eggs. Add a sprinkle of salt, and then add flour until you can no longer stir it in. Put on floured surface and roll out to about 1/8" thickness. This will be hard to do—it's very tough dough. Consider it a good workout for your abs! Cut into thin (about 1/4") strips. I like to keep them short so they're easy to pick up with a spoon. Allow to dry for a couple of hours on a cookie rack or a pizza screen.
  3. Rinse chicken and remove giblets. Put chicken in large stockpot (do what you will with the giblets . . . blech) and cover with water. Add one onion, quartered, and all the garlic, peeled and smashed . . . or chopped coarsely, if you prefer. Wash celery. If there are leaves on the stalks, leave them. Chop celery into small pieces. Add to pot along with peppercorns and red pepper flakes.
  4. Boil gently until chicken is tender. Pour into a fine sieve over a bowl. (If you have time, put the bowl of broth in a cold-water bath to cool it down; refrigerate for several hours so you can remove the hardened fat.) Discard all but the chicken. Put broth into a pot, bring to a boil and add carrots. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the potatoes, onion, and noodles. De-bone and remove any skin and fat from the reserved chicken. Add to soup along with sesame oil, salt, pepper, and ground ginger.
  5. Add chicken bouillon or canned chicken broth if you want a richer flavor. You can also add peas or mushrooms if desired. This soup is great on the first day, and even better on the second!



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