Don’t sweat it, it’s cucumber soup!

After that long, brutal winter here on the East coast, summer is almost, almost, upon us, friends. As much as I hate the cold, I love winter foods. There’s simply nothing as soothing as stewed meats, and soups. Heck, I’d have a big bowl of beef noodle soup in the middle of August in DC, with or without air conditioning. But. There’s really no need to sweat it. (Sorry,)

Several years ago I discovered cold cucumber soups. There’s several varieties with more or less the same ingredients of cucumber, herbs and plain Greek yogurt. It’s one of the few things I make that takes almost no time at all, and tastes like I’ve spent hours preparing. The flavors are refreshing yet complex, especially if you add a few pepper flakes.

I’ve served it at dinner parties. Eaten it as a stand-alone meal. Recently, I even brought it out during a baby shower, and a barbeque. Yes! Cold soup can be served even at a larger gathering.

I’ve served it at dinner parties. Eaten it as a stand-alone meal. Recently, I even brought it out during a baby shower, and a barbeque. Yes! Cold soup can be served even at a larger gathering.

Ingredients:

4 cups of diced cucumbers, seed removed

1.5 cups plain Greek yogurt. (For the keto-conscious I recommend Fage’s 5%)

⅓ cup fresh dill

⅓ cup parsley or cilantro

A pinch of thyme

3-4 cloves of garlic

A few red pepper flakes (optional)

⅓ cup olive oil

Enough truffle oil to drizzle on later

Salt and pepper

Equipment:

1 large mixing bowl

1 immersion blender

Instructions:

Take all your ingredients, except truffle oil, salt and pepper. Blend in large mixing bowl until smooth. Then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a tiny drizzle of truffle oil on top. Use whatever leftover herbs as a garnish.

That’s it. Promise.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin pie this Fall

When a good friend asked me to bake a few desserts for her bridal shower, I had in mind something pretty but also delicious.  Luckily, she made it easy by selecting gold and white as her colors.  Pumpkin pie, apple rose pastries, and homemade marshmallows immediately jumped into my mind.  (Had she selected silver and white, I would have torn my hair out one strand at a time.)

That’s what I ended up making.  I left the homemade whipped cream on the side, but visually it would have been better had I spooned a dollop on each pie.
Let’s talk about pumpkin pie.

I did a taste test a few years ago. I tried evaporated milk, coconut milk, and heavy cream.  Hands down, the heavy cream pie tasted far better to me.

Ingredients:

2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin*

1 1/2 cup heavy cream


1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar.


1/3 cup white sugar


2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg


2 teaspoons of cinnamon


1 teaspoon ground ginger


1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon


1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest


1 good crust (I’ll post a pie crust recipe soon)

* To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard (save the seeds, of course). Cut the pumpkin in half and lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with Silpat or aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F until fork tender, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp. I’ll immersion blend the pulp to make it as smooth as possible.If you plan to make whipped cream, then put a large stainless steel bowl, and whisk or whisk attachments in the freezer. Trust me, you want to do that.

Preheat oven to 425°F.2 Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. 

Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.  

Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  If you’re making mini pies, then 30 minutes at 350 degrees would work.  Cool on a cooling rack for 2 hours.

Now pour 1 cup of heavy cream in the stainless steel bowl left in the freezer. Whip it with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Don’t overbeat. Serve on the pie.

    Enjoy!