Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

As soon as the calendar turns to September, pumpkin season officially begins. Coffee shops immediately add pumpkin lattes back onto the menu. (I believe there was even a little controversy this year, when a few chain coffee brewers began offering the autumn treat at the end of August!) While most people only ever use pumpkins for decorating, this gourd really is capable of so much more. It can be used for everything from acting as a decorative vase and holding a floral display to filling the role of a serving bowl for dips or even soups. Making a batch of puree is as simple as cutting the gourd in half, roasting it, and then scooping out the flesh and pureeing it. A four pound pumpkin will yield about 1 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree which can be used in an endless number of delicious recipes.  One such recipe is Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.  These delicious treats with their streusel topping are sure to impress, whether you serve them up for Brunch or as a dessert or snack for the family.

Ingredients

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners.
  2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside.
  3. For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.
  4. For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.
  5. Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F (195 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
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Blueberry Coffee Cake (AKA Blueberry Boy Bait)

Blueberry Coffee Cake (AKA Blueberry Boy Bait)

Well here is a delicious coffee cake that is sure to get accolades from family friends and friends. Its alias name of Boy Bait comes from a 15-year-old girl from Chicago named Renny Powell who, in 1954, submitted a blueberry coffee cake recipe to the Pillsbury $100,000 Recipe & Baking Contest (the precursor to today’s Pillsbury Bake-Off). Renny took second place in the junior division for her recipe, cleverly named “Boy Bait” for its habit-forming effect on young men. Try making this cake for your next Sunday Brunch get together or any Sunday morning, for that matter.
Ingredients

For the Streusel Topping

  • 6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon packed lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen may be used but do not defrost)

Instructions

  1. Make the Streusel topping: Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers, mix until no lumps of brown sugar remain. Rub in the butter with your fingertips or cut it in with two knives or a pastry cutter until it reaches a crumbly state. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch square pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, beating on low speed to combine. Add the berries to the batter and fold gently with a spatula until evenly distributed. Do not over-mix.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden brown around the edges and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 20 minutes, then serve right from the pan.
  7. This cake is best served on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep well for a few days wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature.
No Bake Peach Pie

No Bake Peach Pie

We are so excited that Colchester Neighborhood Farm is selling freshly harvested peaches from Kimball Farm in Pepperell this week. While the fruit is delicious eaten just as is, it’s also yummy in a pie. But with the hazy, hot, and humid days of August upon us, we like this No Bake Peach Pie from Allrecipes–it’s simple and easy, and doesn’t require using the oven. We suggest serving this with a little whipped cream on top.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup white sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon butter

6 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced

1 (9 inch) graham cracker pie crust
Instructions
  1. Stir together the water, sugar, cornstarch, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the mixture has come to a boil, add a few slices of the peaches, then lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes until thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely.
  2. Place the remaining peach slices into the pie crust, and spread the sauce all over them, covering completely. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until firm before serving.
Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Take your grilled cheese sandwich to the next level with this wonderful variation of a traditional favorite. We like this recipe  from Amanda k. by the Bay because it uses fresh in-season blueberries and mozzarella (or even goat cheese), along with argula–all of which can be purchased at Colchester Neighborhood Farm.  Use the leftover blueberry syrup to make a blueberry lemonade, to round out the perfect summer lunch.

Balsamic Blueberry Grilled Cheese Sandwich
2 slices of bread (I used sourdough)
Plenty of white cheese (I used Havarti, but lots of different  cheeses would be good! Mozzarella, Monterey, Swiss, or Sharp White Cheddar would be yummy. I have been meaning to try goat cheese!)
Fresh spinach or arugala
1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbs. brown sugar
1. In a small saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and vinegar. Turn on medium heat and let come to a slow boil. Use a utensil to crush berries as you stir. After boiling for about 5 minutes, pour mixture into a mesh strainer and let the juice syrup separate from the solid berries. Save the syrup for cocktails, pancakes or both!
2. Spread blueberries onto a piece of bread, top with cheese, some spinach, then more cheese! Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Top with your other slice of bread and toast. Enjoy!
Easy and Cool Summer Salad

Easy and Cool Summer Salad

With temperatures hovering well into the 80s and the dew point inching toward the 70s, nobody wants to cook on the grill or the stove, for that matter.  These are the days when cool summer salads really hit the spot and nothing tastes better than a salad made with veggies picked right from the garden. Fortunately, all of the main ingredients in this salad from Allrecipes can be purchased at Colchester Neighborhood Farm, which has plenty of freshly harvested zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers for sale.

Cucumber Tomato Salad with Zucchini and Black Olives in Lemon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients

 

Roasted Hakurei Turnips and Radishes

Roasted Hakurei Turnips and Radishes

Here’s a recipe that offers you the opportunity to cook up some freshly harvested turnips and radishes.  From the website just a little bit of bacon, please feel free to add a little bit of bacon to the roasted turnips and radishes.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch Hakurei turnips, or other mild salad turnips
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Move the rack in the oven to the lower middle position. Place the roasting pan in the oven. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Slice the greens off the turnips and radishes. Scrub the turnips and radishes well to remove all the dirt and grit from the vegetables, and rinse the greens repeatedly until they are grit free. If you left a little bit of the stem on the radishes and turnips, make sure you clean around it well since dirt collects there. I find scraping around the stem as I wash cleans it up nicely.
  3. Cut the turnips and radishes into wedges. Halve the small ones, and quarter or sixth the larger ones. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp of salt. Pour the vegetables into the roasting pan, arranging them so most have a flat side down in the pan. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring and turning the vegetables at 7 minutes.
  4. Dry the washed greens to remove most of the water. Roughly chop the greens into bite-sized pieces, then toss them in the large bowl with the rest of the olive oil and the salt. Pull the roasting pan out of the oven, turn and stir the vegetables again and then make a space for the greens. Spread out the greens in the space and return the pan to the oven. Roast for 5 minutes more.
Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad

Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad

If you are searching for a wonderful summer salad to serve that uses freshly harvested produce such as Fennel and Kohlrabi, then you have to check out this recipe. The spicy flavors of the kohlrabi and greens combined with tart apples and sweet roasted pecans make this a dish that is sure to delight the taste buds. We found this recipe at wildgreensandsardines and it is, by far, one of the best ways to serve up kohlrabi and fennel on a warm summer night.

Apple, Fennel, & Kohlrabi Salad with Maple-Roasted Pecans

serves 4 
1 tart apple
1 medium fennel bulb
1 small kohlrabi
2 medium-sized carrots
Bunch of of mizuna leaves or other spicy greens (such as arugula, watercress)
White wine caraway vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Maple Roasted Pecans (recipe to follow)

Thinly slice the apple, fennel, kohlrabi (with a mandolin or sharp knife).  Julienne or thinly slice the carrots.  Chop the mizuna.  Add all the vegetables to a large bowl.  Toss with dressing.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Top with maple roasted pecans.

White Wine Caraway Vinaigrette

1/4 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon *toasted and ground caraway seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon ground dried mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl.  Whisk until well combined.

*To toast the caraway seeds: Heat a small skillet over high heat.  When hot, add the whole caraway seeds to the dry skillet.  Shake the pan to keep the seeds moving around until they darken slightly and give off an earthy aroma, about 1 minute.  Transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle or spice/coffee grinder.  Grind to a powder.

Maple-Roasted Pecans

2 cups pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown and toasty.

Heat the maple syrup in a small pot or pan until warmed through, 2-3 minutes.  Drizzle the warm maple syrup over the pecans.  Season with salt and pepper, and cayenne to taste.  Stir to combine.

Spread out with a spatula so the pecans are in a single layer.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let sit until the maple syrup hardens.