Pumpkin bread pudding

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, October 2007, from

I made a few of my own adaptations to this, using only milk and no cream (to me, it makes no difference in dishes like this, so I figure I’ll save the calories), and doubling almost all of the spices. Oh, and I added bourbon, but you probably anticipated that.

1½ cups whole milk (Or 1 cup heavy cream plus ½ cup whole milk)
¾ cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
¾ stick unsalted butter, melted* (can skip this step if using the second set of instructions)

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Gourmet’s Instructions: Whisk together pumpkin, cream, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, spices and bourbon, if using, in a bowl.

Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Alternate, Come On, Be Lazy With Me, instructions: While preheating oven to 350°F with rack in middle, melt butter in bottom of a 8-inch square baking dish. Once it is melted, take it out of the oven and toss bread cubes with butter, coating thoroughly. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the remaining ingredients. Pour them over buttered bread cubes in baking dish, stirring to make sure all pieces are evenly coated. Bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.

Shirley peanut butter cookies

Shirley's peanut butter cookies


    * 1 cup butter, softened
    * 1 cup white sugar
    * 1 cup packed brown sugar
    * 2 egg
    * 1 egg yolk
    * 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    * 1 (18 ounce) jar peanut butter
    * 2 cups all-purpose flour
    * 1 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt
    * 1 cup chopped peanuts


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Stir in peanut butter. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Finally, stir in the peanuts.

    Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

  3. Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven.

    Cookies should look dry on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to cool completely on a rack. These cookies taste great when slightly undercooked.

Megan's chocolate chip cookies

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These truly chewy chocolate chip cookies are delicious served warm from
the oven or cooled. To ensure a chewy texture, leave the cookies on the
cookie sheet to cool. You can substitute white, milk chocolate, or peanut
butter chips for the semi- or bittersweet chips called for in the recipe.
In addition to chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts,
raisins, or shredded coconut.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen 3-inch cookies 2 1/8 cups bleached all-purpose flour
(about 10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 - 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle
positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until
thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients;
mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. Form scant 1/4 cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips
of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees
and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base,
again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven
surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined
20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet.
Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one
time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated
up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month—shaped or not.)

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until
cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers
are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes).
(Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies
on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Cranberry/Orange scones

Email from Self mag.

Cranberry-Orange Scones
Miraval Spa, Catalina, Arizona
Makes 12 scones

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup plus 2 tsp raw cane sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with 
cooking spray. Combine flours, 2/3 cup sugar, baking
powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry
blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture
resembles a coarse meal. Add cranberries and zest; 
toss well. In another bowl, mix yogurt and milk. Add 
yogurt mixture to dry ingredients, stirring until just
moistened (dough will be sticky). Turn dough out onto 
a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, 
knead 4 or 5 times. Pat dough into an 8-inch circle 
on prepared baking sheet. Cut dough into 12 wedges. 
(Do not separate the wedges.) Sprinkle the remaining 2
tsp sugar over dough. Bake 12 minutes or until golden.

The skinny: 173 calories per scone, 3.4 g fat (1.6 g
saturated), 32.5 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 3.8 g protein


Ariel's family tortilla recipe

So that I can stop asking Ariel each time I want to make tortillas, allow me to finally (finally) put it somewhere I'll find it again.

Hi, all!

Here's the recipe for the tortillas I made at taco night last
week.  The recipe is from Ariel's mom - she said I could share
it with you.  :)


First I will give you the original recipe for flour tortillas that my
mother and mother-in-law used since they first began making them.  It
is higher in fat than the recipe we now use, but they are sooooo good.

4 cups unbleached flour (I like King Arthur)
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup shortening
about 1 1/2 cups warm water (my mother-in-law uses boiling water and so
  do I)

Mix flour and salt in a bowl; cut in shortening using a pastry blender
(my mother and I) or your fingers (my mother-in-law).  Add enough water
to make a soft dough; at this point the dough isn't particularly smooth.
It is better to have a dough that is too soft than one that is hard.  
If you are using boiling water, mix with a fork or wooden spoon until
the dough cools off.  

Let dough rest in the bowl, covered with a dish towel or plate for about
15 minutes or more.  This allows the gluten to relax and the flour to
absorb the water.   [Kitt: if you let it sit too long, however, it'll
start to form a crust as the fats start to harden.  Learned that the
hard way the first time.]

Knead the dough until it is smooth.  Take about two tablespoons of dough
and work it so that you have a flattened ball whose top is smooth.  This
will take longer to explain than to do.  You put the ball of dough in
your left palm and with the fingers of your right hand you tuck the
edges of the ball toward the left side of the ball as you rotate it.
You'll end up with a flattened ball, smooth on the top and full of
gathers on the underside.  I think the purpose of this is for easy
rolling.  It probably isn't very important, so skip this step and just
make a bunch of flattened balls however you want.

You can keep these balls (testales in Spanish) in a covered container
in the fridge for about 1 1/2 weeks.  Throw them out when they start

Let the dough rest again for a few minutes to let the gluten relax,
otherwise you will never be able to roll them out.  

Now the rolling and cooking.  If your dough is too soft and a little
too sticky,  sprinkle the working surface (board or counter) liberally
with flour, roll the fattened ball into a this disk, never going off
the edge with the rolling pin but just stopping short of it , and give
the tortilla a quarter turn.  So the action is to roll up to the top
edge, down to the bottom edge, and give the tortilla a quarter turn.
You never turn the disk upside down.  

When the tortilla is about 1/8 inch thick [Kitt: Preeti and I made them
slightly thinner] (don't worry if they aren't round; that will come
with practice), put it on the preheated griddle--the same temperature
as for making pancakes (sprinkle  griddle with water and if the droplets
dance, it's hot enough).   When blisters start to form, flip it.  

Cook this side until it is browned slightly.  Flip again with a pancake
turner, and gently press the bubbles to force the air to spread between
the layers of the tortilla.  Finish browning this side.  Eat as soon as
The lower fat version is made with only 1/3 cup of shortening.  I've
cut it still lower and use olive oil instead of Crisco.


Of course, the other way to get them is to come over to our house
and let me cook them again.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!


Pomegranate-Scented Toasted Barley

Pomegranate-Scented Toasted Barley
Miraval Life in Balance Resort & Spa
Tucson, Arizona
Serves 4

3/4 cups barley
1/2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp diced onion
2 tbsp  diced carrots
1/2 tsp clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or broth
1/4cup pomegranate juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chopped fresh mint
1 tsp fresh chopped parsley

Place barley in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high 
heat and toast, 5 minutes, stirring until lightly browned. 

Add oil, onion, carrots and garlic and sauté 5 minutes. 

Add stock and juice, then season with salt and pepper. 

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 35 minutes until 
barley is soft. Remove from heat and stir in mint. Top 
with parsley and serve.

Endless House Guest Apple Fritter


By popular demand, here is the recipe for the "Endless Houseguest" pancake:

You'll be sauteing and baking in the same pan, so you'll 
need a good 10" or 12" nonstick pan that can also be used 
in the oven. I like Wearever nonstick pans - they cost $20
at Target, and they have a neat little handle on the far 
end of the pan (which makes the flipping part very easy).

4 large eggs
1.5 cups whole milk
1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6-8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 medium tart apples (I use Granny Smiths), peeled, cored,
                      and sliced
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together the eggs, milk, flour, and vanilla. Beat until
there are no lumps. Set aside.

In the pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the apple
slices for a few minutes, until they start to get soft. Mix 
in the brown sugar and the cinnamon.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the batter over the fruit 
mixture in the pan. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 20 

When the pancake is puffy and brown and gooey, remove from 
the oven and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then place 
a large plate over the pan, and "flip" the pancake onto the 
plate (so that the fruit, which was on the bottom of the pan, 
is now on top).


Honey Orange Ricotta Cheesecake


This cheesecake may be made up to 2 days ahead.
Keep it covered in the refrigerator and garnish 1 hour
before serving.

1 cup Grape-Nuts cereal or graham-cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. canola oil

Cheesecake Filling
4 oz. reduced-fat (not nonfat) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 large eggs
3 large egg whites
1 Tbsp. orange-juice concentrate, thawed
2 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
1/4 tsp. salt

2 seedless oranges
2 Tbsp. honey
Mint sprigs

To make crust:
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9-inch
springform pan or coat it with nonstick spray.
2. In a food processor, pulse Grape-Nuts or graham crackers
into fine crumbs. Add honey and oil; pulse until incorporated.
3. Press crumbs evenly into bottom of prepared pan.

To make cheesecake filling and bake cheesecake:
1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer
on medium speed until smooth. Add 1/2 cup honey and beat
until smooth. Add ricotta, yogurt, cornstarch, eggs, egg whites,
orange-juice concentrate, orange zest and salt; beat until
thoroughly blended. (Alternatively, mix ingredients in a food
processor.) Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
2. Bake cheesecake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until edges are
puffed but center still jiggles when pan is tapped. Turn off
oven and let cheesecake cool, with the door closed, for 30 minutes.
Then cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. (The top may crack.)

To Garnish Cheesecake:
1. One hour before serving, remove pan sides and place
cheesecake on a platter.
2. Remove peel and white pith from oranges; cut into very thin
slices. Drain slices on paper towels. Decoratively arrange orange
slices on top of cheesecake.
3. In a small saucepan, heat remaining 2 Tbsp. honey over low heat.
With a pastry brush, brush honey over oranges. Garnish with
mint springs. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until cold.

Makes 12 Servings.

235 calories per serving: 9 g protein, 7 g fat (3.4 grams saturated fat),
35 g carbohydrate; 250 mg sodium; 52 mg cholesterol; 1 g fiber.


This one is from Dom, though I think he received it from Byers

4 pounds pickling cucumbers, cut into 1/2inch thick rounds
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill

4 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
6 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 heaping tbsp pickling spice
2 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp black peppercorns

Combine in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  
Remove from heat and cool for a couple of minutes.  Pour over
other ingredients.

Cool to room temperature, cover, and put in the fridge for a week.

Dom's comments: I find that it makes less brine than is necessary,
so you can increase the brine proportions, decrease the cucumber
amount, or just shake the jar around each morning (which is what i usually do) to make sure all of them are getting pickled