Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pantry-Friendly Pie: Vegan Acorn Squash Pie with Crust

Since I made my first vegan acorn squash pie two years ago, I have been experimenting with different recipes and different squashes. I haven't posted any of them because they didn't turn out in taste or looks or both. This whole vegan baking thing is tricky.

My latest attempt at vegan pie even looks like a pie!
Today, I thought I would share my most recent experiment, my attempt at creating a pantry-friendly acorn squash pie. My biggest accomplishment was making a pie crust. I have an unreasonable aversion to making pie crust. I make the biggest mess when trying to roll out a pie crust and have a tendency to crack the crust. I found a tip: roll the crust between two sheets of wax paper. As long as both sheets of the wax paper are floured, this worked much better for me. I could easily move the crust around or flip it over. When the time came to place the crust in the pie pan, I used the invert method (see step 6) from the Pie Maven. I made sure to blind bake the crust before adding the filling.

Here is the recipe I used for the crust. Very simple and Grandma would approve.

I used my original vegan acorn squash pie recipe as the base of my recipe. After making several failed squash pies, one important lesson I have learned is to blend all the ingredients in the blender, especially if using fresh winter squash. My ingredients for this pie were:
I omitted the apples since I had a crust and I wanted to see what would happen without the cornstarch. Turns out, these kinds of pies need at least a bit of cornstarch or arrowroot powder to form the proper texture. I also made sure not to overcook the pie! Do you have a favorite recipe I should try? What are your suggestions???

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Blend

With all the ideas I have for upcoming recipes, finally making my own pumpkin pie spice blend seemed like a good idea. I've been pulling cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg out of the cupboard every time I make a fall desert. In all the pumpkin pie recipes I have read there are always a bit of clove. I wondered if I was missing out on something. 

I don't particularly like cloves unless they are used to scent rice. Turns out, when combined with other spices, clove really does bring something to the party. If you're like me and have no intention of using clove again, I bought just enough for this recipe from the spice section.

I borrowed the Old Farmer's Almanac recipe (I left out the all spice for no other reason than I forgot to get some). I plan on adding the nutmeg when I use the spice blend so I can grate it fresh.

Why make your own pumpkin spice blend? The cheapest jar at the supermarket would have cost $2.99. We all have cinnamon in the cupboard. The ginger came from a jar that I bought at 40% off. Ground ginger can be used both in desserts and savory dishes so I thought that was a worthwhile investment. The cloves I bought a small amount from the bulk for about $0.50. Not such a bad deal!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ensalada de Repollo: Latin Cabbage Salad

I know next to nothing about Latin food and have been trying to change this. My journey started with ensalada de remolacha. A bright, refreshing salad of tender beets dressed with a citrus dressing. Then I moved on to piccadillo, which Z. and I have enjoyed over pasta and I have used the leftovers in several creative ways. The next recipe on my Latin food adventure was my take on migas.

Now I am on to ensalada de repollo. What do I like so much about this recipe?
  • It's cheap. Cabbage is the cheap/poor person's best friend.
  • All the vegetables are what I consider year-round veggies. Of course, this time of year, the cabbage is going to be particularly sweet and flavorful. 
  • There is room for variation. I added many different veggies but if you just want cabbage, carrots, and cilantro, then go for it. Just make sure you invite me over for dinner. Jalapeno vinaigrette doesn't sound appealing to you? Leave it out or use 1/2 jalapeno. The sharpness and spiciness from a spicy chile pepper isn't for everyone.

Latin Cabbage Salad

by Ace Nation
Keywords: raw gluten-free vegan Cuban
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
    For the dressing
    • 1/2 cup vinegar, such as white vinegar
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2-1 whole jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
    • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt, more or less depending on taste
    For the salad
    • 3/4 small head green cabbage, finely diced
    • 1/4 head purple cabbage, finely diced
    • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
    • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 cup diced red pepper, such as red bell pepper, Italian sweet pepper, or New Mexico chile
    • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
    Combine all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
    Try to cut the vegetables all the same size. Combine the vegetables and dressing in a large mixing bowl. Taste and add more salt if needed.
    May be served immediately but is best when refrigerated for at least 1 hour. This salad gets better and better with time.
    Serve as a side dish or as a condiment to a variety of meals, such as tacos or sandwiches.
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    Wednesday, October 16, 2013

    Delicata Squash Idea

    I do love my involved, time-consuming recipes. There are times, when the best way to enjoy an ingredient is as simply as possible. I feel very silly. It's taken me three years of cooking with delicata squash to even try it simply roasted. Oven-roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper is my favorite way to enjoy this seasonal favorite!

    To make:

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a mixing bowl, combine squash with enough olive oil to coat. Season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast about 10 minutes, then mix, turning the squash. Roast an additional 7-10 minutes, until the squash is tender. Enjoy!

    Sunday, October 13, 2013

    Quick Remake of Acorn Squash with Chickpeas

    Winter squash are beginning to appear in the markets! What's that mean for Cheap not Frugal Eats? Winter squash obsession begins! 

    I used my recipe Acorn Squash with Chickpeas and Adobo as inspiration for a quick dinner. I sauteed delicata squash that I then simmered in a spicy, peppery tomato sauce (Z.'s red sauce he made with New Mexico chilies) with chickpeas and a few spices. I served my squash and chickpeas over couscous. If you can measure and boil water, you can make couscous. 

    I sauteed 1 cup of delicata squash about 5 minutes in a large, high-sided pan. I then toasted 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika for 30 seconds then added 1 cup tomato sauce and about 1/2 can of rinsed and drained chickpeas. I put a lid on the pan and let simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash was tender. Meanwhile, I prepared my couscous. This meal was spicy, flavorful, and just right for a dark, overcast evening. 

    What are your favorite leftover quick meal ideas?

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    Dessert for One: Pumpkin Pie for One

    I am genuinely proud of my pumpkin pie for one. What's so special about this pie?
    • Delicious! I love pumpkin pie of any variety, make, or model. There is truly something special about a homemade pie. 
    • Simple! People take their pie crusts seriously, for good reason. For most of us mortals, pie crusts are a pain. My solution anymore: pie without the crust!
    • This is a real pumpkin pie. Don't get me wrong, try my vegan acorn squash pie if you are avoiding eggs or dairy. It's delicious, too! This pie was creamy and custardy. In other words, just right.
    Here's a glimpse of the second! pie I made turned out of the pan.

    Why, yes, I did take one of the most traditional pie recipes in America and cut it in half. Enjoy!

    Pumpkin Pie for One

    by Ace Nation
    Keywords: bake dessert winter squash
    Ingredients (1 small pie)
    • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (depending on your taste)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • Non-stick cooking spray
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Spray a small pie pan or a 2-cup casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
    In a mixing bowl, stir all ingredients until well combined. Batter will be very thin.
    Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake 35-45 minutes longer, until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
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    Sunday, October 6, 2013

    Dessert for One: Traditional Pumpkin Pie Teaser

    Warning: The following statement just might be hipster-overload. Please don't leave me.

    I have had a package of pumpkin puree sitting in the freezer that I made myself from roasting an heirloom pumpkin which came from my local farmer's market.

    Look, it's so cute!

    I used the buttercup on the left for my pie. The pumpkin on the right is called a baby bear.

    I wanted to do something special for myself. What's more special than pie! I was craving a creamy, custardy, traditional pie but knew I would be the only person enjoying this pie. Boyfriend only enjoys pumpkin in beer form. So, I kept it simple. Come back later in the week for the recipe!