Tonight’s sides and veg provided by our garden

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Pumpkin Pie, Round 2

After a successful attempt was completed at making pumpkin pie from scratch, I felt the need to improve the end results.

The first pies were great tasting but from a purely aesthetic perspective left much to be desired.  I reviewed the recipes I had used to make the original batch and found what I think will be the biggest potential for improvement.  The pre-making of the pie crusts was not done very well my first go-round. See here: http://norcalwingman.com/2013/11/24/yeah-i-want-pie/

Here are the two sources I have been using for my pies:  These can be found on my (ahem, hate to say I even have one, pinterest pages http://www.pinterest.com/norcalwingman/food-for-thought/)

http://www.momswhothink.com/pie-recipes/homemade-fresh-pumpkin-pie-recipe.html (this is the base pumpkin pie recipe, but I’ve modified it to suite my tastes, see below for mods)

and the crust http://www.momswhothink.com/pie-recipes/pie-crust-recipe.html I’ve used the non-shortening “butter” recipe.  I prepared two crusts following very closely the recipe here.

— Sadly, as the interwebs go, my source links are dead.  I’ll see if I can track down suitable replacements.

 

Looking better this time:

Pie Crusts

I used fresh pureed pumpkin from a cinderella pumpkin we got around Halloween, you can follow the directions for preparation on the pumpkin pie recipe page I mentioned above.

Anyhow, let’s get to the details.  After receiving shining praise from the normally non-pumpkin-pie-eating members of the family and others, I decided to remake the pie as I did the first time, here’s the recipe (based on recipe above, I’ve doubled it for 2 pies):

The makings of pie

Ingredients:

2 pastry crusts
4 large eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of Clover Stornetta Egg Nog
2 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree (instructions below)
4 Tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream, cold (for whip cream topping
1/2 fl oz of your favorite bourbon
or
1 Tsp. Vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat milk, cream and egg nog in saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat.

3. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl until frothy. Add scalded milk, cream and egg nog, stirring constantly.

4. Stir in pumpkin, butter, sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Whisk until thoroughly blended.

5. Pour filling into prepared crust, bake until center is firm, about 45 minutes.  (After 45 minutes I’ve found that at least with my oven I need to keep cooking another 10 minutes, so my recommendation is to go the 45 minutes then keep a close eye on your pies for proper firmness, these went about 52 minutes)

Pies into the oven

6. Cool completely on wire rack.

Cooling rack

7.  Whip cream and bourbon/vanilla extract until firm peaks form, use generously on large slice of pie

8. Eat, enjoy

 

Screen Door Cellars – 2012 Pinot Noir

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If you’re lucky enough to find it, this Russian River Valley pinot should please even the most discerning palate.

Leather, clove and vanilla accentuate the bright red berry fruit. A velvety mouth feel leaves you craving another sip.

As I understand it this wine is limited in production so you may have troubles Finding it.  The winemaker Bobby Donnell is a Texas native and has hooked up his kin back home sip it may be tough to come by around here.

I know Bobby used to run a Texas style BBC, so it’s no surprise this wine pairs perfectly with the baby back ribs I did up tonight.

Byron 2009 Pinot Noir – Santa Maria Valley

We had the good fortune to finally get down to the California Central Coast wine grape growing region this year and spent an awesome day in Los Olivos, tasting through some of the area’s best.  While we were visiting all of the local spots, we asked around with some of the locals as to where were the “must visit” tasting rooms.  Note:  Los Olivos is a quaint little town with what is basically a cross-roads, down each leg of these roads is a multitude of winery tasting rooms (it’s insane how many there are in such a small town).  Anyhow, Byron came up in many of our conversations so we stopped in.  The tasting room staff were great and we took home a few of their offerings.  This one is a great example of the Central Coast Pinot Noirs produced in the area.

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Tonight’s dinner consisted of some grilled pork loin with a Pinot Noir & Cherry reduction/glaze.  Obviously the wine complimented the dish famously.  A supple Pinot with a great ripe red berry fruit character, would have been great on its own but married to pork and blended with cherries made it all the better.

I would suggest that you stop by the Byron Tasting room next time you’re in town, in the meanwhile, here’s a link to their website: http://www.byronwines.com/

Cheers
Norcalwingman

Not Bad – Christmas Redux – Prime Rib

Ah nothing says holidays like drinking yourself silly to accommodate tolerance for extended family.  Well that and huge cuts of meat cooked to perfection.  And I’m an equal opportunist so a little of both makes for even happier holidays.

I had a revelation (no not in the biblical sense — you have to be careful what you say this time of year — ) rather a seasoning one for cooking one of the most glorious meals of the season.  I recall that I saw some cooking show that touted the best seasoning for prime rib was a rather simple one, and I’m a sucker for easy.  Four little ingredients to season up that chunk-o-meat.

1. Salt
2. Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
3. Garlic
4. Thyme

Wow, fortunately I have been thinking about cooking this roast beast for many months and started up a nice little herb garden including that little leaved wonder, thyme.

Additionally I am lucky enough to have a great grocer in town, Oliver’s Market, with whom I placed an order for a five-bone prime rib last week.  I awoke this morning with visions of (no not sugar plums) but juicy, succulent, and mouth-watering beef!  I reread the chapter in “Keys to Good Cooking, A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes” by Harold McGee on Meat.  A very good book, not a recipe book, but a great reference in best practices on cooking in general.  I highly recommend anyone who enjoys cooking pick this up!  Anyhow, back to the beef…

My roast was delivered home by “the wife” at around 10:45 am and I immediately began the preparation.  The butcher is awesome, the bone is already cut nearly through, but still attached and the roast is already tied.  I have milled about 3 tablespoons of black pepper which I rub over the entirety of the roast.  I have also cut a large bunch of fresh thyme from my herb garden and have separated out the leaves from the stems.  I then rub about 5 tablespoons of kosher salt all over the roast.  Now, the revelation…

Last time I prepared one of these I think I just used some oil and rubbed the thyme leaves on the roast with the oil to afix them to the roast.  This time, I thought, why not make some paste with the thyme and garlic.  So I cut up a cube of butter, placed three large cloves of garlic and the thyme into the mixer and blended them all together until it became a smooth paste.  It was almost like icing a meat cake!

Into the oven which was pre-heated to 525F for a quick searing (NOTE:  I wasn’t really thinking and didn’t have the hood fan blowing so the damn smoke detectors started screaming about 5 minutes after starting).  After searing for about 10 minutes, I turned the beast down to 250 and will cook it 30 minutes per pound (11 x 30 = about 5 hours).  I’ll keep tabs on the internal temperature of the meat and pull it out at about 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which should leave me a great medium-rare roast!

Prime Rib slow roasting

I’ll report back on how well this endeavor turned out and update you on the wine pairing (yet to be determined, but I’m thinking Stags Leap Cab for me) let the uninterested drink the cheap plonk.

Merry Christmas to All, and to all a sharp knife!

NorcalWingman

Incoming… Holiday Post

Wow, I can’t recall the last time I felt motivation to get some new content up on this blog.  However, today while sitting around, enjoying winter brews and football, smelling the ribs I have cooking in the oven, I felt a tug at my creative heartstrings.

I got an extra pumpkin this year when we gathered up our annual haul for the “pumpkin hunt.”  It was a Cinderella, which apparently is one of the better cooking gourds.

I am pretty excited to get this thing gutted up and roasted.  I am dying to have a really good, homemade pumpkin pie, amongst other things I’m sure I’ll be making from the puree of pumpkin.  I also took the time to harvest some of the seeds, I’m thinking this pumpkin has some good ass genes and I want a repeat performance next year!

Anyhow, I’ve been absent due to life (school, work, kid, etc… etc… etc…)  School is done for the semester in a week or so and I’ll be graduating this upcoming Spring, so hopefully the time between posts won’t be counted in months, rather in days.

Happy Holidays everyone

NorcalWingman