Monthly Archives: October 2011

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

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Last night, my co-blogger and I had a dinner party. Not a “oh hey, let’s grab pizza and eat it on paper plates and call it a night” kind of dinner party, but a legitimate, sit-down, sparkling-apple-cider-and-bread-in-an-actual-basket party with more than just the two of us participating. Our guests loved it. They said it was a smashing success, that it was the best meal they have ever eaten in their lives, and that Caty and I should just become queens of the earth already. (This is not verbatim.)

We served butternut squash and apple soup bread and a side salad consisting of apples with Balsamic vinegar, dried cranberries and pecans. We hoped to caramelize the pecans as we did in our grilled peach salad, but chopping squash is more time consuming than you may think. For dessert we feasted on dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate frosting from the Ghirardelli cookbook. (Also, some Panera bread cookies that one of our lovely friends brought.) It was spectacular. Pure classiness. Enjoy.

The recipe for The Barefoot Contessa’s Butternut Squash and Apple Soup can be found here.

Note from Caty: Aside from the produce, we did not measure the ingredients exactly. Soup is one of those foods that shouldn’t be hindered by strict guidelines. So, if you prefer to have some freedom with your soup, follow these guidelines (was that a contradiction?):

– Cook onions until they are soft and fragrant. We didn’t time the cooking, but the onions were definitely cooked longer than 20 minutes. This adds more flavor. The same goes for the apples and butternut squash.

– Be generous with salt. I’m sort of afraid of it, but our friend Sophie helped me out with seasoning the soup to taste by liberally adding salt. You will not, as I told her, “die of salt” if you put 2 teaspoons in.

– Balance the liquid to your desired taste and consistency. This may mean adding a larger ratio of apple cider to water if you want a sweeter soup. We used 2 cups of water but only about 1 cup of apple cider.

– If you’re wondering how much “3 1/2 quarts” of soup serves (as we did), there was more than enough for 7 teenage girls.

Enjoy. Stay classy!

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Pumpkin Ricotta Muffins

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If you have partial containers of pumpkin and ricotta cheese in your refrigerator, make these. Or, you could make some pumpkin ricotta cheesecake. I entertained the thought until I remembered a great recipe for pumpkin muffins from Stonyfield Farm. I substituted ricotta for plain yogurt and added some muesli for some deliciously hearty fall-flavored muffins. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Ricotta Muffins
Adapted from Stonyfield Farm

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup muesli (or rolled oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons ginger

1. Preheat to 350°F. Lightly spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, muelsi, baking soda, cinnamon and salt until combined. In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, pumpkin, ricotta, egg, oil and ginger until frothy, about two minutes.
3. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until just combined.  Do not overmix. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Cook 15-20 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes before removing to finish cooling.

Huevos Rancheros

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Hola, mis amigos. Bienvenido a WrighttimeforaSchnack.com, donde nosotros cocinar comida porque no tenemos nada hacer en nos vidas. (Hello, friends. Welcome to WrighttimeforaSchnack.com, where we cook food because we have nothing else to do with our lives).

Today is Friday, and Caty and I decided it was high time for a post. After avid ransacking of our fridges, we came to the stellar conclusion that the dish we could make with the least amount of preparation/money spent/effort was huevos rancheros. So we promptly put on the “Spanish songs” playlist on the iPod, fried some eggs, and in fifteen minutes had a delicious meal. The brilliant thing about huevos rancheros is that they are not widely accepted as a dish that is eaten at one meal above others. You can have them 24/7, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or a 4:19pm snack, whatever.

Anyway. If you’re looking for a quick, tasty, messy meal with whatever you have in your refrigerator, look no further. Enjoy. Buenas noches.

Huevos Rancheros: Flour tortilla + sour cream + salsa + fried egg + sliced avocado + tomatoes + black beans + onions + lime wedge = spicy Mexican deliciousness.

Grilled Apples with Dessert Granola

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We couldn’t really come up with a creative name for this one because it involves too many tasty components. Grilled (or, panini’d) apples, homemade whipped cream, and dessert granola.

Dessert granola? Like, the breakfast cereal? For dessert?

You bet’cha.

This recipe’s definitely one of our best and least time-consuming collaborations. Within five minutes, we knew almost exactly what we were going to make. I suggested apples. Georgia told me about the cinnamon apples she had grilled on a panini press the night before. I said apple crisp. But not as involved, because we’re lazy. I mean.. it’s Friday. Right. That’s why.

Panini’d apples + whipped cream + dessert granola = fancypants apple dessert deliciousness. It’s like an upscale apple crisp… apple crisp’s cool cousin. Warm, cinnamony apples with tasty homemade whipped cream and a crunchy, almond-y, buttery topping that would make Paula Deen proud. Now that’s what I’m talking about.

Grilled Apples with Dessert Granola

For the topping:
1/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/3 cup crushed almond cookies (we used almond thins, but something similar would be fine)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Mix the first four ingredients together. Melt butter in a skillet over low heat, and cook granola about 5 minutes, or until the sugar is melted. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

For the whipped cream:
In a medium bowl, beat about 1/2 pint heavy cream on medium speed until thickened. Halfway through beating, add 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Chill.

For the apples:
Preheat a panini press. Slice 2 gala apples apples about 1/8 inch thick and place on panini press. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cook a couple minutes until golden.

To assemble the dessert, stack apple slices, then top with whipped cream and dessert granola. Serve while the apples are still warm!

Mini Funfetti Birthday Cake

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Hello all! Our dear friend Jamie had her seventeenth birthday last weekend, so to celebrate we whipped up a little somethin’ somethin’ for her to nibble on. Caty had a marvelous two-person cupcake recipe we thought would be perfect, so we adapted it into a mini two-layer funfetti birthday cake. Awesome, I know. The best part is, it was simple to make and looked adorable! Easy as pie. Er, cake.

Mini Funfetti Birthday Cake
Adapted from How Sweet Eats

1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaping teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1-2 tablespoons mini rainbow sprinkles (nonpareils)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two jumbo muffin tins.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together egg white and sugar. Add vanilla and butter, stir well. Add flour, baking powder and salt, stir until combined. Stir in milk. Divide batter equally between the two muffin tins.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cake is set

For the frosting:
With an electric mixer, cream 2 tablespoons softened butter. Add 1 tablespoon milk and a couple drops of vanilla extract. Beat in 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup powdered sugar, or until you’ve reached your desired consistency.