Pumpkin Spice Waffes

20151228_082645Waffles are always a special treat at our house. These Belgian waffles were even more special since they were made with pureed pumpkin and fragrant winter spices.  Since I served these on the morning of our 52nd wedding anniversary, I dressed them with some whipped cream and berries, but the ones we made by finishing up the batter and freezing them were just as tasty later when eaten with some melted butter and maple syrup!  This is a good way to use leftover canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

  • 1 1cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 2/3 cup milk 
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl. In a second bowl, add eggs, sugar, pumpkin, milk, and butter; beat well. Fold in the flour mixture and bake in preheated waffle iron..

Leftover batter is best used by baking the rest and freezing those waffles.  I cool the waffles and put them in a stack separated by a square of wax paper, then place them into a large Zip Loc bag before putting them in the freezer.  When ready to use, waffles may be placed single layer on a baking sheet and reheated in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes. I like to get them crispy again.

5 Spice Candied Pecans

20151223_154126

This is one more recipe I cooked during the holidays that makes a treat welcome anytime!  In fact, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and  these spiced nuts make a nice thinking of you surprise. I filled some glass star dishes with these for small gifts for friends before Christmas. .  There are many ways to make candied nuts but this one is different because of an ingredient called Five Spice Powder.  5 Spice is a blend of wonderful flavors and fragrances –  Chinese cinnamon, cloves,sichuan pepper, ground fennel seeds, and star anise.

Five spice is used in Chinese cuisine, but is also found in other Asian food and Arabic cookery.  It may be used with fatty meats such as pork, duck or goose. It is used as a rub for chicken, duck, pork and seafood, or added to the breading for fried foods.is used in recipes for It is used in recipes for beef stew as well as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken.  In Hawaii, some restaurants place a shaker of the spice on each table.

I like having a small bag of these in the freezer to use as a topping for salads.An extra bonus for us is the fact we are able to buy locally grown pecans.

Five Spice Candied Pecans
Yields 2 cups, or four 1/2 cup gifts

4 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder
2 cups pecan halves
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a medium saucepan, warm 4 teaspoons vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar, 4 teaspoons water, 1 1/2 teaspoons five-spice powder; stir until sugar dissolves and mixture bubbles. Add 2 cups pecan halves; cook, stirring until pecans are thickly coated, about 3 minutes. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake 5-8 minutes,or until fragrant and crisp. Cool completely.

Store in an airtight container, or place 1/2 cup portions in four cellophane bags and tie with festive ribbon.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Cranberry Breakfast Pie

20151229_08595020151229_091311

I had never heard of a Cranberry Breakfast Pie, much less baked one until I decided to try one more cranberry recipe to use the rest of my batch of fresh cranberries. Now, it has become one of my favorite cranberry dishes. This pie was delicious for breakfast, but would make a wonderful dessert with a bit of vanilla ice cream, or a welcome offering to serve with coffee anytime. Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used, but fresh is always best. I discovered the recipe on The Texas HIll Country website, which reports it is served at  The Seasons Bed and Breakfast in Tyler, Texas, which is the area where I was born and grew up.

Cranberry Breakfast Pie

3 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed, sorted, and drained dry

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 tablespoon orange flavored liqueur

1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 cup flour

Instructions:

Butter and flour a deep 10-inch pie plate. Place cranberries in the bottom of prepared dish. Sprinkle with pecans and ½ cup sugar.

In mixing bowl, combine melted butter, eggs, liqueur or juice, orange zest, sugar, and flour. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over cranberries. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until a pick comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool pie on a wire rack.

Greek Beef Stew

20151228_113153

Continuing to post ways I used lovely leftovers during the holidays! We had a family favorite on our table for Christmas – Pancetta and Rosemary wrapped Beef Tenderloin. The pieces of leftover beef  and roasted potatoes were perfect in this pot of Greek Beef Stew, and fed a bunch of us again!  The spices keep holiday fragrances and flavors too!

Do not let the long list of ingredients keep you from trying this!  The many layers of flavor are so worth a little measuring!

2-3 cups cubed beef (I used leftover beef tenderloin.  If using uncooked beef, brown meat in olive oil)

1 onion,chopped

3 cloves of garllic, minced

1/2 cup red wine

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

several grinds of freshly cracked black pepper

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves

1 Tablespoon brown sugarr

1 (28 ounce) can roasted diced tomatoes (do not drain)

1/2 cup water (add more if stew is too thick

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces or equivalent of leftober roasted potatoes

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

salt to taste

In stew pot, heat several Tablespoons olive oil, add beef, onion, then  garlic. Pour in the red wine, red wine vinegar, and beef broth; stir in the tomato paste and mix well..Mix spices and add along with bay leaves and brown sugar..Pour in tomatoes and their juice; rinse the can with 1/2 cup water and add. Stir in potatoes and carrots.  Cover the pot and simmer until vegetables ae desired tenderness. Serve with crusty hot bread.

Black Eye Pea Fritters

20160102_175542

We always have a traditional East Texas New Year’s Day meal that includes Black Eye Peas, Greens (cabbage this year), ham, and cornbread. And we always have leftovers. I had both black eyes and purple hulls in the freezer, so I mixed them this year, simmering them until tender with some bacon, onion, red sweet pepper, and a jalapeno.  The mix was tasty, but we had more leftover than we ate.  I tried mashing the peas and making them into fritters and we gobbled them up!  We like mideastern food like falafel and these were even better! If you choose to use canned peas, be sure to add some extra veggies and seasoning to the mix before mashing. This is messy, but oh, so worth the cleanup!

Black Eye Pea Fritters

about 4 cups drained, cooked peas, or equivalent in canned peas

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

4 large green onions, green part chopped, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt1 teaspoon your choice other seasoned salt, or more to taste

1 teaspoon your choice other seasoned salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

1 heaping cup fresh breadcrumbs

coconut oil for frying

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out baking sheet coated with cooking spray

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Heat peas briefly in skillet, then mash with potato masher until about 2/3 of peas are mashed, leaving some whole.

Add the flour, egg, green onion, oregano, lemon zest, cayenne, and  breadcrumbs to the pea mixture. Fold in the cheese. Add seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 1/2 cup breadcrumbs at a time in a shallow bowl.  With table spoon scoop mixture and roll into balls,  Press into flat 1/2-inch-thick discs and coat in breadcrumbs. Will make about 16 patties.

Wipe out the skillet. Heat additional coconut oil in batches, a few at a time, sear the fritters until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.