As the days count down to Samhain/Halloween, I want to make sure you have some fun recipes to consider to enhance your celebrations. Here are a few mentioned on Episode 22:
Pumpkins are a popular symbol of the Samhain season, and in October, you can find them just about everywhere. For this recipe, you could use a fresh baking sized pumpkin and scoop out the innards, but if you're in a hurry (or you just don't want to dig out pumpkin guts), you'll notice a heck of a bargain price on all of that canned pumpkin at the grocery store. If you're someone who loves the taste of pumpkin, try making a pumpkin cheesecake to add to your Samhain feast!
Preheat your oven to 375.
• 1 box graham crackers
• 1/2 stick butter, melted
• 1/2 C sugar
• 1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 C Ricotta cheese
• 1/2 can pumpkin
• 1 C sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 1/2 tsp pie spice blend (equal parts nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon)
For the crust, run the graham crackers through your blender or food processor until they're finely chopped crumbs. Combine crumbs with the melted butter and the sugar, and mix thoroughly. Press into a lightly greased pie plate, covering both the bottom and the sides.
Next, in a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, Ricotta cheese, pumpkin, sugar, egg, vanilla, and 1 tsp of the pie spice blend. Use a mixer to make it nice and fluffy, and then fold it into the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle that last 1/2 tsp of pie spice blend onto the top.
You'll want to bake your cheesecake at 375 for a good 45 minutes to cook it all the way through - here's a tip I've found helpful. Cover the top with a tented piece of aluminum foil to keep the crust from burning. Be sure to let your cheesecake cool completely before serving - you may even want to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to chill. Enjoy at your Samhain dinner festivities, and celebrate the season!
Spiced Mulled Wine
Oven-drying orange slices gives them a longer shelf life, which is ideal for gift-giving. For a sweet homespun touch, hand-write the recipe on an old-fashioned recipe card.
• 1 large orange, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices • Cooking spray • 10 black peppercorns • 5 whole cloves • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed • 3 whole allspice • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise • 1/3 cup sugar • 1/3 cup orange juice • 2 (750-milliliter) bottles zinfandel or other fruity dry red wine
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 200°.
Arrange orange slices on a wire rack coated with cooking spray; place rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 200° for 3 hours or until dried.
Combine peppercorns and next 5 ingredients on a double layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of cheesecloth together; tie securely.
Combine orange slices, spice sachet, sugar, orange juice, and wine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat just to a simmer (do not boil). Reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes. Discard sachet.
Traditional Irish Barmbrack Bread Recipe
Delicious when served buttered and will keep for around 10 days.
2oz/50g mixed candied peel
1 cup strong black tea
3 tbsp Irish Whiskey (optional)
1lb/450g plain flour
¼oz/7g dried yeast
1 cup/250ml milk (lukewarm)
1 level tspn ground cinnamon
1 level tspn ground nutmeg
3oz/75g softened butter
3oz/75g castor sugar
1 egg – beaten
• On the previous evening, place the raisins, sultanas, currents, mixed candied peel, the strong black tea and, if you wish, the Whiskey, which will give a fuller flavour, into a bowl and leave to soak overnight. • When you are ready to make the brack, grease a 9inch/23cm round cake tin. • Sift the flour into a ‘warm’ bowl. Then stir in the yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Make a well and pour the lukewarm milk into it. Make sure the milk is not too hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast. Add the beaten egg and mix into a consistent dough. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for at least an hour for the mixture to rise to about twice its size. • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gradually work in the butter followed by the soaked fruit. • Now is a good time to add any trinkets to it such as a ring, making sure they are wrapped in greaseproof paper and evenly distributed in the dough. • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas Mark 6. • Leave the dough for a further 20 minutes to continue rising. • Place the dough into the baking tin and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. • If you wish to glaze it then mix 1 tbsp sugar with 3 tbsp of hot water and brush this over the top of the brack and bake for a further few minutes. • Remove it from the tin onto a rack and allow to cool.
1 lb. of cabbage or kale, cooked
1 lb. potatoes, cubed and boiled until tender
2 leeks, cleaned well and chopped, or green onions
1 C. whole milk or light cream
1/2 C. butter, melted
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch of ground mace (optional)
Bring milk or cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add leeks and cook until soft.
Drain potatoes, add salt and pepper to taste (and optional mace). Beat until fluffy.
Return potatoes to pot over a low flame.
Add milk with leeks.
Beat in cooked kale or cabbage until green and fluffy.
Remove from heat and serve.
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
About 1 teaspoon cloves, mace, nutmeg and saffron
Splash of sherry
About a handful of dried apricots, currants and raisins
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix butter and spices then add a splash of sherry to release the aroma of the spices. Add the butter mixture to the flour, then stir in dried fruits. Form the dough into several balls and flatten with a rolling pin. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Gwyn's Dinner in a Pumpkin
This is a recipe I found about 20 years ago in the Grand Rapids Press Halloween Edition. I've tweaked it a bit and served it for Halloween and Samhain for many years. The original recipe also had a version using a small pie pumpkin with an apple walnut filling. I made that one a time or two but the dinner has always been a favorite of mine. If you are having a nice sit down dinner, this can make for a delicious and fun presentation.
1 pumpkin (small or medium) (hollowed out, saving seeds for roasting later if desired. Save the top of the pumpkin)
1 LB ground turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
2-4 cups cooked brown rice (prepared ahead of time)
1 TB olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 -2 tsp Lite Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Additional seasonings optional and to taste (I like to use Thyme, Basil, Parsley)
Oven temp: 350 degrees.
Roast the pumpkin on a foil lined cookie sheet or roasting pan until just tender inside (about 30 minutes). While pumpkin is in the oven and using a small pan cook the onions, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil until softened/golden. Set aside. In a larger skillet, cook turkey meat until browned then add the cream of mushroom soup. Slowly stir in the milk into the soup/meat mixture and then add the vegetables. Stir in soy sauce, white pepper and any additional seasoning. Add the rice to the meat mixture until incorporated. Set aside.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven. Scoop the meat/rice mixture into the pumpking and replace the top (set some of the filling aside if you will be serving people who prefer not to have the taste of pumpkin in the casserole). Bake in oven for another 15-20 minutes. Remove the pumpkin from the oven, set aside to cool. Place pumpkin on a nice serving tray or dish to adorn your holiday feast table.
Serve the casserole from the pumpkin.