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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Delicata Creamy Squash Soup

Delicata Creamy Squash Soup

September is here and that means temperatures will start to fall.  Warm soups should be on the menu to combat those cooler temperatures and there is just something so delicious and comforting about squash soup. With Colchester Neighborhood Farm harvesting wonderful delicata winter squash, this recipe for Delicata Creamy Squash Soup is sure to hit the spot on a cool autumn day. Add some grilled cheese sandwiches and you have all the makings of true comfort food!

Ingredients:

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Place the squash, cut sides down, in a baking dish. Add 1/8 inch water in baking dish, cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes or until tender. Cool.

  1. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until onion is softened but not brown.
  2. Scrape the squash out of the flesh and add to onions. Add the stock and heavy cream. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  3. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Best Ever Zucchini Bread

Best Ever Zucchini Bread

This week’s suggested recipe uses up some of the delicious zucchini that has been harvested from Colchester Farm this season. We like this delicious treat from the website Butter With A Side Of Bread.  One of the best things about this recipe, is the option to substitute ingredients to make it a bit a more healthy.  And because the recipe yields two breads, this provides the opportunity to give one to a friend or neighbor. As the cooler fall days approach (and they will), baking up this bread will fill the home with the wonderful aromas of autumn.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar (you can omit this to cut down on the calories)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (you can substitute applesauce for 1/2 the oil)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups grated zucchini you can add a little more, I always do!
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  1. Grease two 8 x 4 inch pans or 6 mini loaf plans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Assemble your ingredients. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, nutmeg and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. {I always sneak in a few spoonfuls of flax!}
  4. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat well.
  5. Grate zucchini. Stir into the mixture along with the nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. My mini-loaf pans take about 35-40 minutes. Large sized loaves take about 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool. Enjoy!
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!
Grilled Eggplant Provolone

Grilled Eggplant Provolone

It may feel a little too warm in the kitchen to be cooking up eggplant parmesan but the weather is just right for grilling this wonderful vegetable. This is probably one of the easiest, but equally delicious, recipes for cooking eggplant. Kudos to RealSimple for coming up with this idea. Feel free to swap out the grilled salsa for marina sauce.

How to Make It

Step 1

Whisk together the vinegar, oil, and oregano and brush on the cut sides of the eggplants. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 2

Preheat a gas grill to high; adjust the heat to medium after 15 minutes. (If cooking over charcoal, allow the coals to burn until they are covered with gray ash.) Grill the eggplants cut-side down until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the eggplants and top each half with a slice of provolone. Grill 3 minutes more or until the cheese is bubbly. Top with some Grilled Salsa.

Rainy-day method: Prepare the eggplants as described above. Heat the broiler and cook the eggplants about 6 inches from the heat, cut-side down, for 5 minutes. Turn and broil cut-side up for about 3 minutes. Add the provolone and broil about 3 minutes more