Tag Archives: Cooking

Pumpkin Donuts

For a brief moment we had a breathe of fresh, crisp fall air here in San Diego. I got all bundled up on the couch with my kindle, a cup of tea and a cozy blanket. Sure enough the next day it was 80˚F again with not a cloud in the sky. During that momentary teaser of fall weather, I made some homemade cinnamon sugar and glaze covered pumpkin donuts with the help and recommendation of my madre. There is nothing quite like fresh donuts, even in the evening.

This was my first time making donuts so I was pretty skeptical how they would turn out (anything deep fried usually doesn’t go well for me). But no worries, they are not as difficult as they seem. If you plan to venture on and make these delectable treats, make sure you watch the temperature of the oil when you are frying and know that the dough has to sit for at least 3 hours before cooking. With that said, it may be better to make it the night before if you plan on eating these donuts fresh in the morning.  Also, if you don’t have cookie cutters to make the donut shape, you can use a round drinking glass and a shot glass. Those work just fine.

Pumpkin Donuts Recipe – from Epicurious.com

INGREDIENTS:

Spiced sugar

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

Doughnuts

  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Canola oil (for deep-frying)

Powdered Sugar Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Whipping cream

PREPARATION:

For spiced sugar:
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend.

For doughnuts:
Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin in 4 additions. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.

Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.

Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F. Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.

For powdered sugar glaze:
Whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Add doughnut holes to bowl of spiced sugar and toss to coat. Spread doughnuts on 1 side with Powdered Sugar Glaze. Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.

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Summer Squash Couscous

I have fallen in love with my new cookbook Sprouted Kitchen, a whole foods recipe book  with incredible illustrations and a focus on healthy, seasonal produce. As a last dash to hold on to summer, I made this summer squash couscous with a green herb grilled shrimp. Absolutely scrumptious! It was even better knowing that the herbs used for the sauce came straight out of the garden.

Now if you live in a warm place like Southern California, the produce for this recipe will stay in season a bit longer. Since most people actually experience seasons, the produce has probably already switched over to fall.  But don’t you worry; you can transform this dish simply by substituting zucchini for eggplant. I am not going to post this recipe in hopes that you get this book. I found that Amazon is one of the best and cheapest places to buy it. However if you are not willing to do so, just send me a message under my contact tab and I will be happy to pass it along.

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Grow Your Own Herb Garden

Recently I have switched to a whole foods, no preservatives diet (well, as much as possible). This means  more fresh ingredients, a lot of cooking and a ton of new recipes. To be honest, it is not that difficult of a switch; however I have found a huge contributor to my success has been because of my newly planted herb garden. Since the majority of these recipes need an abundance of herbs, I found it easier to keep various pots right at home rather than running to the market every time I need something. Let me tell you, that extra punch of flavor and beautiful garnish really makes a difference in a meal. In the long run it ends up saving money and gives you a bit of pride as well.

Now if you aren’t a green-thumb type person, don’t completely turn away from this idea. I have found an inexpensive way for you to test out this gardening experience. The Home Depot has a one year guarantee on almost all their plants.* If your plant dies within one year of its purchase, you can go back to the store and they will refund your money. No questions asked. Just make sure you save your receipt. I may or may not have had to do this already (oops!).  So whether you live in a large house with a plot of land or in a small apartment in the city; an herb garden is within your reach.

{Herbs pictured above: onion chives, sweet basil, cilantro, italian parsley, rosemary, greek oregano, and dill}

*(there may be other home improvement stores that do this as well, as their nursery department)

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Orange Walnut Scones

Scones are known to be a dry and crumbly breakfast. But don´t let that swade you away from these marvelous treats. The best of the best are actually far from dry at all. A great pairing with tea, homemade scones are perfect as a mini breakfast or an afternoon tea time snack. These orange walnut scones went perfect with a citrus glaze and a hot cup of rooibus tea (a similar recipe can be found here). A relatively easy recipe with a generous helping of butter, these scones can be made a day ahead of time if you are pressed on time. However like most baked goods, the fresh out of the oven taste is usually the best.

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Breakfast Pizza

Since I haven’t been traveling much, I have been on a “cooking kick”. Here is one of the most simple yet impressive breakfast dishes to make for guests. For a quick fix, keep pre-made dough in the freezer and add whatever you have in the fridge. Grated cheese and eggs are the minimum. You can use this recipe as a reference if you need. This time I added ham, red bell peppers, a bit of onion, cheese, eggs, and a sprinkle of parsley and pepper. No sauce is needed. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes until the eggs are just cooked (adjust accordingly if you would like over-easy or over-hard eggs). Cut it up and serve. Expect people to want more than one piece. It is hard to resist.

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Sunday brunch with friends is one of the best ways to finalize a weekend no matter where you are in the world. One of my favorite breakfast treats are pancakes. This week´s treat: lemon ricotta pancakes with a lemon honey glaze (you can find the recipe here). The freshness of the lemon and the moisture from the ricotta cheese makes this pancake recipe ideal for a low key but scrumptious breakfast. Pair it with a glass of orange juice or a nice mimosa and you have a lovely meal to keep you smiling for the rest of the day.

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Sweet and Savory

“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” – Mark Kurlansky

A big part of any culture is food. One of the great things about travel is being able to try any little morsel you can along the way. Be daring. Try something you have never eaten; it might be your new favorite. Worst case scenario, you will have a great story to tell, “Remember that time I tried ____.” Adding variety to your palette and everyday cuisine is one of the best parts of trying new foods from areas around the world. You will probably reminisce with past travel partners saying, “Remember those amazing tapas in Spain or that savory rice dish in Morocco or that crunchy shnizel in Germany.” Our memories are sparked by sensors, so why not capitalize on them. Think about one of your most favorite meals, it could be from past travel or something you made at home. Are you thinking about it? I bet your mouth is salivating now. Mine is just writing this. Taste and smell are important parts of our daily lives; so don’t neglect them. Share your new knowledge of delectable foods with your friends back home by trying to recreate these tasty cuisines (there are examples of Spanish recipes I have learned here and here). It is always a fun challenge.

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