Maple Pumpkin Brûlée Pie – photo by Andrew Ingalls
Prepping for the big day certainly includes a lot of turkey-talk while stuffing our bellies with cubed bread seasoned with the likes of sage and rosemary then baked to golden perfection (puns definitely intended.) Consider those tidbits merely a primer for the sought after sweet-after’s to follow.
All of you with a well-tuned sweet-tooth know what we’re gabbing about – dessert. The Holidays are our indulgent excuse to imbibe in all things decadent; a land of glorious pies, fanciful gingerbread houses and crisp shortbread cookies adorned with sparkling sugar bits.
Traditional pumpkin pie has the grace notes on most groaning boards, and rightfully so. A creamy purée of pumpkin is luxuriantly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves then tucked into an unimaginably flaky crust. Did we mention that said squash confection is capped with lightly sweetened, whipped cream? But, wait, we can take it one step further on the sublime scale. Saveur Magazine featured a dazzling take on the time-honored pie by adding a maple brûlée topping.
This recipe is just close enough to customary so it won’t upset the apple-cart for those wanting to keep with the standbys, while adding that special pizazz for those who like to stir the culinary ingenuity pot.
Maple Pumpkin Brûlée Pie
Recipe courtesy of Saveur Magazine – serves 8
- Flour, for dusting
- ½ recipe Flaky Butter Pie Dough
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin purée
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2½ tbsp. potato starch
- 2½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1½ tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp. ground clove
- ½ tsp. Kosher salt
- ¼ cup Demerara sugar
- Heat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12″ round. Fit into a 9″ pie plate. Trim edges and crimp; chill 30 minutes.
- Whisk sugars and eggs in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Add pumpkin, cream, syrup, potato starch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and salt; whisk until smooth. Pour filling over dough; using a spatula, spread into an even layer. Bake until just set in the center, 45–50 minutes. Transfer pie to a rack; let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
- Sprinkle Demerara sugar evenly over surface of pie. Guide the flame of a blowtorch back and forth over surface until sugar caramelizes. Serve immediately.
The big question on everyone’s mind is: Turkey or sides? It might not be an earth shattering dilemma, but certainly the inquiry deserves some mouth-watering attention. Are you that “I can’t wait for turkey” kind of person, or “just give me the sides?” The great Thanksgiving debate goes on each year. Not to be one to try to influence your opinion, here’s a terrific sweet-savory recipe that falls in the go-with-the-turkey category.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Dried Cranberries
• 1 lb Brussels sprouts
• ½ lb bacon
• ½ c dried cranberries
• ½ cup thinly sliced onion
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Slice bacon into ¾ inch chunks and add to skillet, along with the garlic and onions. Cook until bacon is crisp and onions are golden brown. Remove from pan and drain excess bacon fat, reserving 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
Wash and halve the Brussels sprouts. Cook sprouts in the reserved bacon fat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until caramelized.
Return bacon mixture and the dried cranberries to the skillet. Mix well, allowing the flavors to mingle for a minute or two. Taste for salt and pepper.
1 bunch asparagus, grilled
2 eggs, hard-boiled
Preheat the oven to 425°. Place the washed and dried asparagus on a half sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. Set the asparagus aside to cool. Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs for 10 minutes, then cool. Peel the eggs and set the yolk aside for another use. Finely chop the whites.To serve the dish, place the room temperature asparagus on the plate. Top with the egg whites. Shave parmigiano reggiano on top. Top with a couple twists of cracked black pepper.
The public looks to chefs and food writers for the next food trend, the next cool thing that everyone will be eating and talking about for the next year (think back to Nouvelle cuisine, molten chocolate cake, or the cupcake fad). The people in the “know” proclaimed that the food trends for 2014 would be all about ancient grains, ramen noodles, nutella, and vegetable based dishes. Rather interesting stuff, right?
I have just returned from a trip to Los Angeles, having flown over California from (essentially) top to bottom. There is little snow covering the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The reservoirs are empty, and there is no green in the Golden State. What does that mean for a food trend? Well, California’s Central Valley is the bread basket of the nation, most of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are grown there. Rather hard to have a food trend of vegetable based dishes when they won’t be growing.
It is as simple as this. Even though there is a storm or two hitting California now, there is no water and no amount of rain between now and the end of the rainy season that will make a difference. California will ration water – to the entire population and to the farmers. So why should we in Oregon or (to my readers elsewhere) care? Because food prices around the country will skyrocket. Period.
So your food trend for 2014 and beyond will be that you won’t be able to afford your favorite fruit, vegetable or nut OR it just might not be available. Growers are pruning back their fruit and nut trees just to get them to survive, so the yields will be low for the next few years. Ranchers are selling off their herds because they can’t afford to feed them.
So what can you do to feed your family and be able to afford it? Here are a few suggestions.
- Plant a vegetable and herb garden. Vegetables and herbs are surprisingly easy to grow. Even I can do it. As I tell people, I am a chef, not a gardener and I can kill a surprising number of things and yet I can still get veggies to grow. Water helps. Do you have minimal space available? Even herbs can be grown in pots. And, herbs are expensive! (Really, $2.99 for a small packet!?) They can add an enormous amount of flavor to your cooking, so plant some thyme, rosemary, sage, and basil, and reap the rewards.
- Save Rainwater. It is free, easy, and very rewarding. Children can do it. Begin to save your “gray” water from showers or other activities. You will be surprised by how much wasted water goes down the drain.
- Join a CSA. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great way to support local farms in your community. You get farm fresh food on a weekly basis (how cool is that!). I belong to a vegetable and a meat CSA; I know exactly where my food comes from and how it is grown and raised. It is also less expensive than in the grocery store.
- Shop at the Farmers Market. While those of us in Central Oregon have to wait until June for our Farmers Market, some places in the country have markets all year long. Shop accordingly.
- Buy Seasonally. I can’t emphasize this idea enough. Winter vegetables are glorious and should be enjoyed at this time of year. Embrace squash, turnips, parsnips, brussel sprouts, and fennel, and learn to cook with them. When you are planting your vegetable garden, make sure you grow some for next winter. Don’t know how? We have classes to show you how.
- Embrace Whole Grains. Ancient or otherwise, trendy or not, whole grains are just down right fabulous. Think barley (you can use it in risotto instead of arborio rice) or wheat berries (wonderful warm or cold in salads), green lentils or buckwheat (a favorite of ours for making gluten-free cookies), millet, or sorghum. The list goes on, and the possibilities are endless.
1 1/2 cups wheat berries
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
2 lemon zest
1 orange zest
6 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup apricots, chopped
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
In a large saucepan, bring water to boil. Add salt to the water when boiling and then add the wheat berries. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 40-45 minutes
Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring water to boil, add salt and when boiling add the pearl barley. Cook the pearl barley for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
Drain the grains and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Add the zests, the green onions, herbs and apricots to the grains. Add the mozzarella and mix well.
Combine the ingredients for the dressing and toss the salad. Allow the salad to marinate and refrigerate prior to serving.
- Cook from Scratch. Consider making a batch of beans on the weekend and then find 3 different ways to use them during the week. Not only will it stretch your food budget, it will add flair and texture to your meals. Not sure what to do with beans? We have a Cooking with Beans class coming up on Wednesday, May 28.
- Fermented Foods. Grow some vegetables or buy them locally and then ferment them, can them, put them up, just like countless generations before us have done. Fermented food are good for the gut…..yes, they add good bacteria to our digestive tract, something we are sorely lacking these days. Want to know more? We have a Fermentation Tour available that highlights fermented foods and beverages in Central Oregon.
- Offal. This is actually a growing trend in food, organ meats are appearing everywhere on restaurant menus, think kidneys, heart, tripe, feet, liver, tongue, ears, and blood. These cuts are very inexpensive and are part of the “nose to tail” food movement. Try it, you may like it. Tripe is the bases of menudo, reported to cure a hangover. Fried pig ears are surprisingly tasty. Blood pudding (a staple of any good Scottish breakfast) is excellent, if prepared correctly. If top chefs around the world are doing it, there is something to it. Try it in a restaurant if you are squeamish, then give it a go at home.
- FLOSS Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal, Sustainable. We talk about this all the time. Remember FLOSS and it will help you eat healthier, save money and support your local food system and farmer.
Water is a resource that has been mismanaged in California for decades and is now going to bite everyone in the bum. The country is going to pay the price for this mismanagement. Grow something, conserve water, eat better. Follow the Fork.
Whether it’s for a Sunday football game, birthday party, holiday soiree, or simply because you’re in the mood for a non-traditional dip, this southwestern style tuna dip is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Taken from Carlos n’ Charlies Restaurant, which used to be located on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles, this famous dip takes a new spin on tuna. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender or hand mash with two forks or potato masher.
1 large can tuna, drained
1 can diced green chiles
3 green onions, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1.5 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
In a food processor, add all the ingredients. Should be very creamy. Add more mayonnaise, if necessary. Best prepared well in advance.
To spice it up!Try adding roasted red peppers and a pinch of cayenne, this gives the dip a great color and adds a little sweetness and spice!
In the fairly new Central Oregon wine industry, Maragas Winery has a lot of history. The first commercial winery in the region, Maragas was established in May 1999. The first bottle of Legal Zin, their flagship red made with grapes grown , was sold ten years ago this November. Because they are a wonderful setting for our larger corporate Farm & Ranch groups, and in celebration of their upcoming 10th Anniversary, we have chosen Maragas Winery as our October Spotlight!
Owner and founder Doug Maragas, who runs the winery with his wife Gina and shares ownership with six other couples, searched all over the country for the perfect setting to build his winery. Having grown up in the wine industry through his vintner parents and grandparents, he settled on central Oregon for several reasons: he wanted to live in the area, there were no other vineyards at the time so land prices weren’t astronomical, and the rocky, sandy volcanic loam would produce great grapes. In fact, the well-drained soil with lots of sun exposure setting reminded him of his family’s winery in Crete, now run by his cousin.
The tasting room at the winery, located on Highway 97 just north of Terrebonne in Culver, is open every day from 11am to 5pm. You can head straight for the samples, trying some of the dozen or so different wines offered in the comfortable barn setting. Or, take a walk around the certified natural and sustainable vineyard first, taking in the majestic views of Smith Rock and the Cascades as you examine central Oregon’s oldest winery. The first grape vines were planted in 2006, and since then, Maragas has expanded their original 2.5 acre test plot to encompass more than 20 acres of about 25 different varieties of grapes. Most of them are Northern French and German varietals like pinot gris, pinot noir, chardonnay, reisling, and muscat. Maragas also contracts with a 3 acre vineyard in nearby Warm Springs, where more Southern European varietals like zinfandel, petit syrah, merlot, cabernet savignon and cabernet franc are grown. The microclimate created by 600 foot tall rock walls allows for these more sensitive grapes to be grown, and this plot will soon expand to 40 acres
Like the other winemakers in the region, Maragas must import many of its grapes from the more productive regions of the state to produce its lineup of wines. Mainly sourced from the Columbia, Applegate, and Willamette Valleys of Oregon and Washington, the regional grapes are then blended with small amounts of Maragas-grown varieties like Muscat and Marechal Foch. Maragas expects to be able to grow every grape they’ll need to make wine in about 10 years, ideally according to biodynamic principles. For now, you can purchase Maragas’ premier estate wine, Tootsie, which is made from Le Crescent and Frontenac grapes crushed by central Oregonians at the Annual Wine Stomp event. To classify as an estate wine, every part of the production process, from growing to bottling, must happen on the winery property.
All of the wine that Maragas produces is sold through their website or their winery (and a handful of local retail outlets). As much as we love drinking Maragas’ offerings with our meals, we also enjoy cooking with their wines! Please check out our accompanying recipe for Italian Pork Ragu, made with Maragas’ Good Earth malbec.
15523 SW Hwy 97, Culver
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients and instructions for this lusty pork ragu. The effort is well worth it, and as the weather gets colder, standing over the stove preparing this dish with a bottle of Maragas Winery’s Good Earth Malbec is a perfect way to keep warm. Owner Doug Maragas recommended this new release wine because “it’s fruit forward and chewy.” The ragu is best made ahead of time so the flavors have plenty of time to blend together. And to keep it more local, there are plenty of options for getting local pork (Great American Egg, Rainshadow Organics, Windflower Farm and Pono Farm to name a few).
6 pounds pork shoulder
2 cups red wine
1 Tablespoon rosemary, chopped
1 Tablespoon sage, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
6 slices bacon or pancetta
3 celery ribs, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound assorted mushrooms, such as chanterelles, porcini and morels
3 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 Tablespoons assorted fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme and sage, chopped
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup milk
chopped parsley, for garnish
Cut the pork shoulder into pieces. You should have about 3 1/2 pounds of trimmed meat. Put the meat into a bowl and add the herbs, the garlic and the wine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Meanwhile, prep the vegetables.
Take the pork out of the marinade and reserve the marinade. Dry the pieces of meat with paper towels; this is critical to brown the meat.
To make the ragu: In a heavy dutch oven, brown the bacon or pancetta over medium heat. When the bacon is crispy, remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Add the celery, carrot and onion to the bacon grease and saute the vegetables for about 10 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and continue to cook.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saute pan, brown the pieces of pork shoulder in a small amount of olive oil. When the pork is browned (NOT cooked through), add the meat to the vegetables. Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine; add this to the sauce.
Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, bacon, salt and pepper and fresh herbs to the ragu. Stir in the tomato paste and the marinade. Bring the ragu to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Cook the ragu for about 2 hours or until the pork is tender. If the ragu becomes too dry, add more chicken stock. Cool slightly and stir in the milk. Serve over polenta, pasta or gnocchi. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
As I tell our fermentation and walking tour guests, there are many reasons we like to begin our culinary tours at Backporch Coffee Roasters. For one, starting our tours with a caffeine boost ensures our guests can handle the jam-packed tour ahead of them. Backporch’s coffee is some of the tastiest and complex in town (voted #1 coffee in town this year), roasted to perfection in small batches (about 15 pounds at a time) in their Iowa-built Diedrich drum coffee roaster. Their Brightwood Mill location offers ample parking at the Century Center, and you can witness the magical transformation of green beans to roasted coffee ready for brewing three days a week here at the roasting headquarters. Plus, did you know that many coffee beans are fermented in order to remove the fleshy pulp of the coffee cherry from the seed?
Dave Beach, who owns Backporch with his wife Majell, started roasting coffee beans in an old air popcorn popper on his backporch while attending the University of Oregon. As the smell of roasting beans wafted through his neighborhood, friends and curious passers-by would stop by to sample that day’s roast, creating the original backporch gathering spot. After working as a roaster on the wholesale level, Dave wanted to take his large-scale roasting skills and open a cafe to have quality control over each and every step, from sourcing to service. With Majell’s business and barista skills learned from working in her family’s business “Cafe Brasil,” the two made a formidable team and opened up Backporch Coffee on Newport Avenue in October of 2006.
Of course, for all the work that goes into roasting, grinding, and brewing for your perfect morning cup, the Beaches recognize that sourcing the highest quality beans from sustainably-minded family farms is the most important step. To that end, Backporch has developed direct-trade relationships with a number of farms in Ecaudor, Costa Rica and Guatemala, many of which the Beaches and their employees have had a chance to visit on their yearly “origin” trips to coffee farms. Indeed, Backporch takes its mission of coffee education seriously, both for employees AND customers. A wide screen in their Brightwood location shows a continuous loop of pictures from these sourcing trips, with shots of each step of the process: coffee tree starts, coffee blossoms, harvesting the bright red cherries, fermenting the cherries to remove the flesh from the bean, washing and drying the beans, and packaging.
Backporch sells their beans, french press or pour-over brewed cups of coffee, cold-brewed iced coffee and a full line of espresso drinks at both of their cafe locations, in addition to a lineup of complementary pastries and snacks from The Sparrow Bakery, The Village Baker, baked. and other local producers. You can also conveniently purchase pounds of coffee for home consumption at many area grocers including Newport Market, Nature’s, Whole Foods, and Ray’s. In addition, Backporch beans supply restaurants like Zydeco, Portello, Kebaba and Brother Jon’s.
Backporch Coffee Roasters
Brightwood Mill Location:
70 SW Century Center Suite 130 (behind US Bank)
1052 NW Newport Avenue Unit 103