Friday, November 27, 2009

Colvin Thanksgiving 2009

Nutmeg Maple Cream Pie
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
Every year we try to do something different for Thanksgiving. Since we are vegetarians, there is no meat to put at the center. One year we had mushroom crepes, another year was Moroccan filo crescents. This year Nathaniel suggested Native American food.

Quite a few things Americans typically eat for Thanksgiving are inspired by that original meal shared by the locals and the pilgrims, but I tried to dig a little deeper. I got a bunch of cookbooks from the library and looked online. The best two were Foods of the Americas by Fernando and Marlene Divina and Spirit of the Harvest by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs.

Guatemalan Potato and Fresh Green Bean Salad
I never really nailed down a "main dish" per se, but we had a fun meal of posole, Creek corn pudding, Guatemalan Green Bean and Potato Salad (pictured), fry bread with local honey and cinnamon apple butter, and iced herbal tea.

I had planned to make another pudding for dessert - the traditional Native American kind with corn and milk and molasses, but ran out of steam. Besides that, I've had this recipe for Nutmeg-Maple Cream Pie bookmarked for years, and decided this was the time. I can justify it - maple, cream, nutmeg - surely these are native ingredients. :) It was light, creamy, and subtly sweet. Delicious, and probably my favorite part of the meal (the potato green bean salad would be a close second). The only change I made in the recipe was to use Julia Child's shortcrust, since it is my new staple crust recipe.

Carrot Blueberry Cornbread
Earlier that day, I made a bread for breakfast that was more of a cornbread, from the Spirit of the Harvest cookbook. We ate it with honey and hot Sweet Potato Tea from Adagio.

Categories: Bread, Carrot, Corn, Maple, Pie

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular

Pumpkin Pie Spectacular
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
Every year I try at least one new pumpkin pie recipe, hoping to stumble across the perfect one. The truth is, I'm not so sure I even like pumpkin pie all that much. I keep trying.

This recipe is from the November 2009 issue of Southern Living, so please follow the link to access the recipe.

I did make a few changes in the recipe - I made Julia Child's short crust instead of using a refrigerated piecrust (oh please!). I didn't put all of the gingersnap/pecan mixture inside the crust because I was worried about having enough room for the pumpkin pie part, and still ended up with enough to fill one ramekin.

I didn't make the streusel topping, mainly because of the cost of pecans - this could become a very expensive pie if you used all the nuts called for! I also only used 1/2 cup of pecans for the gingersnap layer rather than the full cup. They tell you to make a ginger-spice topping with whipped topping and spices, but I elected to whip up a little heavy cream and powdered sugar, and sprinkle it with cinnamon.

I think it looks pretty with that extra layer, but I wish the pumpkin layer was a little more heavily spiced. It was an interesting touch to use condensed milk instead of evaporated milk + sugar, and that probably helped make it the creamy texture that it was.

Categories: Ginger Snaps, Pastry, Pie, Pumpkin

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Bakery Review - Village Baker - Pendleton, SC

Village Baker
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
In a recent issue of G - The Magazine of Greenville (SC), I read about the Village Baker in Pendleton, SC. The article was very complimentary, the pictures made it look like a serious bakery, so on a day off, we headed there to sample the baked goods.

Google Maps said it would be almost an hour drive but it took me about 30 minutes. Pendleton, SC, is a tiny town with a very tiny downtown - hardly a town square with a few shops and restaurants. It is incredibly close to Clemson and Easley, so there are a lot of people in proximity, and the bakery was quite busy when we were there. I am always thrilled to come across small town bakeries and candy shops.

The picture shows the general idea of what is available at the Village Baker - multiple kinds of breads, muffins, pastries, pies, cakes, and cookies. Their web site says, "We are committed to creating Artisan Breads without additives and preservatives, using unbleached and un-bromated flour. We use no trans-fats, artificial flavors or preservatives." So you know what that means - actual butter. I know, it seems obvious, baked goods should have butter; anymore so many bakeries rely heavily on Crisco!

You can taste the difference here, from the homemade Nutella-type chocolate inside the pain au chocolate, to the dense and hearty rye bread, to the most perfect almond cookie I've ever had. We'll be back!

Categories: Bakery Review