My Texas Kitchen

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

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Hey pumpkin lovers, it’s Elena again. This recipe for pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese filling is by far my favorite recipe this season. Chris and I are a little whoopie pie crazy right now, so after I made all of that homemade pumpkin puree, I decided to make these bad boys for a fun holiday party with our some of our good friends. Needless to say, they were a big hit.

Whenever I bake anything, I always set out the refrigerated items (such as eggs, butter and cream cheese) for an hour or two in advance to allow them to come to room temperature. Also, this project takes up the better part of an afternoon, so it’s a good recipe to do with family or friends. I suggest drinking a nice apple (hard) cider while you bake, just double check all your measurements!

Ingredients for the pumpkin cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled (click for recipe)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cream cheese filling
3 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 8oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

In another large bowl mix the brown sugar and oil until combined, then add the pumpkin. I like this step because the colors from the dark brown sugar and the bright orange pumpkin seem especially festive! Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk them all together until they are thoroughly combined.

Add the flour mixture into the bowl with the pumpkin in batches, mixing completely each time.

If you have an ice cream scoop with a release on it, you can use that to drop even amounts (about 1/4 cup) of the dough onto your prepared cookie sheets. If you don’t have one of those, like me, you can use the 1/4 dry measuring cup from your kitchen. I sprayed mine with cooking spray first so that it would be easier to work with. Place the cake cookies about one inch apart and bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the tops start to crack a little bit. Remove cake cookies & parchment from the baking pan and place onto a cooling rack.

For the filling
While you bake the cookies, you can start the filling. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl and set aside. In another bowl, with your electric mixer, blend together the butter and the cream cheese. Add the sugar in batches, mixing each time. Add the vanilla and you have just made the most heavenly homemade cream cheese filling/icing. Transfer the filling into a gallon sized zip loc bag. Snip the corner on one side for an easy way to make a pastry bag.

After the whoopie pies have cooled completely, it’s time to assemble them. It’s important to be patient, because if you fill them too early, the filling will melt, which is a total bummer.

For assembly, I recommend lining the baking sheets with new parchment paper. Place half of the cookies face up and pipe a generous amount of filling onto one side of the cookies. Sandwich the other half, on top. Press down gently and give them a little 1/4 twist to distribute the filling to the edges.

Serve and enjoy! These are best when fresh.


Local ingredients used

Homemade pumpkin puree made with a Sugar Pie pumpkin from the Dallas Farmer’s Market.

Written by mytexaskitchen

November 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

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Howdy everyone, this is Elena, and I’m going to share with you a very simple way to make pureed pumpkin. The best cooking pumpkin is a Sugar Pie pumpkin which is different from the type you carve into a Jack-o’-latern at Halloween. Smaller and sweeter, these pumpkins are also easier to manage. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A and fiber and it’s great to put into soups, pies and pancakes for a special seasonal treat.

Don’t be intimidated; the process is relatively simple and when you’re done you can brag to all your friends that you pureed it all by your self – I did!

Ingredients
1 Sugar Pie Pumpkin
Little bit of vegetable oil or cooking spray

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pumpkin in half, lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds (and save them for roasted pumpkin seeds). Cover a 13 x 9 baking dish with foil and give a quick spritz of non stick spray and place the pumpkin halves face down on the foil.

Roast, uncovered in the oven for 45-55 minutes. When the pumpkin is pierced easily with a fork, it’s done. Let the pumpkin cool for a bit and then carefully peel off the skin. This is pretty easy to do with a paring knife and your hands. Chop the pumpkin into chunks and put into your food processor. Puree the pumpkin for about 30 seconds, or until it becomes smooth. Transfer it to a clean jar and keep in the refrigerator. It will stay good until it starts to smell funny or gets fuzzy, about 1-2 weeks.

Makes about 4-6 cups of puree, depending on the size of your pumpkin.

Local ingredients used
Sugar Pie Pumpkin from the Dallas Farmer’s Market, this farmer is great and he has a ton of them.

Written by mytexaskitchen

November 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Texas Style Haluski

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This is a new favorite in my house. This combo is so magic. The flavors are so freaking cozy and warming, it is like a big polish woman hugging your tummy. The perfect winter dish for the middle of the week because this goes together fast and there is little clean-up. The origin of this dish in America is Pittsburgh, where traditionally it is scratch made egg noodles and cabbage. My version is a little easier, cheesier and little bacon-ier. Try it you’ll like it. If you are a vegetarian or vegan then just leave the stuff out that thou dost protest.

Ingredients
1/2 head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
1/2 a yellow onion, sliced thin
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 strips of bacon (I recommend a good nitrate free bacon)
1/3 to 1/2 package of wide egg noodles
Garlic Powder (no measurements just have your bottle handy)
Black Pepper
Kosher Salt
Unsalted Butter
Canola Oil

Directions
Get water heating up to cook the egg noodles. Cook the egg noodles as directed on package. When done, drain the noodles. But go ahead and follow the directions below while they are cooking.

Use the largest skillet you have because your are going to cook everything in here. I used a 13 inch nonstick. Cook bacon until crispy and set aside on a paper towel.

Wipe the bacon grease from the pan. Heat pan on a medium high heat and add a little sliver of butter and a little canola oil when oil is hot add the sliced onions and season with some garlic powder salt and pepper. After the onions have started to caramelize add the cabbage and a little dab of butter, and season again with garlic powder. salt and pepper. Make sure not to over do it with the salt and also add a little oil or butter if the skillet gets dry. Add a 1/4 cup of water and stir. When water has evaporated check the texture of the cabbage, it should be tender but not mush. If it is still hard then cook longer in the skillet, add a little more water if you want. When cabbage is done and the water has evaporated add in the egg noodles, and more garlic powder and black pepper and stir and let the egg noodles crisp just a little. Stir in the cheddar and crumble the bacon on top and stir in until melted. Adjust the salt and pepper before you serve. Eat it and love it.

Tip: Don’t over do it with the oil in this dish.

Written by mytexaskitchen

November 18, 2010 at 7:31 am

Pork Carnitas

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I am a taco monster. Corn tortilla filled with shredded crispy well seasoned pork Carnitas, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, chopped onions, cilantro, lime, hot sauce. Or a flour tortilla filled with Carnitas with re-fried beans, chopped onions, and hot sauce. These are flavors I crave and I let the fate of the universe or at least the price of the pork determine whether I cook this or not. I cook this dish whenever boneless pork ribs or pork shoulder roast go on sale. This is a great dish to fix on a Saturday morning so you can spend the rest of the day eating these tacos and rocking out. It is a ton healthier and more flavorful than Carnitas that you buy in a restaurant, which are usually slow fried in pork fat. I keep my pork frozen, and I thaw out in the fridge the night ahead in a bowl filled with some salt and water to cover. This makes it super tender.

Ingredients

  • Mix these Spices together:
    • 1 teaspoon cumin, preferably fresh toasted whole cumin crushed in a mortar & pestle
    • 1 tsp Dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1-3 pounds of Boneless Pork Ribs or a Pork Shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced into 1/2 inch half moons
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved with the germ removed.
  • 1 orange , halved
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 1-3 cups water

Directions
Adjust oven rack so that your dutch oven will fit in there without touching the top. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add into dutch oven: pork, spice mix, citrus juice, onion. Add enough water to almost cover the pork. Mix around until seasoning and onions are well distributed. Place the left over citrus halves on top of the pork mixture and press down but not to the bottom of the pan. Cover dutch over and bring mixture to a boil on top of the stove. Then move it into your 350 degree oven. Cook for about 45 minutes. Take dutch oven out of the oven and turn the meat, and discard the citrus peel. Place back into oven for 45 more minutes or until pork is completely tender to a prick of a fork.

With a slotted spoon drain and remove just the meat from the pot, and place on to a foil lined baking sheet. Move the rack to the middle top and set oven to broil. When hot, place the meat on the cookie sheet under the broiler and cook until it starts getting golden and crispy, flip the pork and do it again. Remove and shred the pork with 2 forks.

If the liquid left over in the pot has not already reduced into a gravy like consistency then pour into another pot and reduce until thick like gravy. Mix onions and liquid into the shredded pork and serve.

No local ingredients used, but I did drink some local beer in the making of this food. Still enjoying that Amber by Rahr & Sons out of Fort Worth.

Written by mytexaskitchen

November 16, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Posted in Pork, Tex-Mex

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Butternut Squash Beer & Cheese Soup

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Winter means new crops and Butternut squash is one of my favorites to experiment with. Here is a recipe I came up with one day when an empty fridge was staring me in the face. I love cooking with very limited ingredients some of my favorite meals come from those times. The squash makes this so velvety and smooth without any cream. It is the perfect winter warmer.

Special Tools
An immersion blender really makes this better (this one was rated #1 by Cooks Illustrated).

Ingredients
1 small Butternut squash (you could use an Acorn squash or a Sugar Pie pumpkin but a Butternut is a little creamier), peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 medium Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
1 stalk Celery, chopped
2 cups shredded cheese (I used some cheap yellow cheddar, I am sure fancy cheese would taste fancier)
1 Tbls flour
2 cups chicken stock (I used low sodium)
1 Beer, something you like (I used a local amber lager Rahr & Sons Buffalo Butt)
A big pinch of dried thyme
A big pinch of my Cajun seasoning
A regular pinch of mustard powder
A few dashes of Cajun Hot Sauce like Crystals, Franks, Tabasco ( I used my own Cajun Hot Sauce)
Salt & Pepper
Butter or Canola Oil

Topper
I like air popped popcorn but homemade croutons would be good.

Directions
In a dutch oven heat a little canola oil or butter (I used a small mix of both). On a medium heat saute veggies until the onion starts to become translucent, stir frequently to prevent burning. Add flour and spices and stir to incorporate, cook for a minute don’t let anything burn. Add chicken stock and beer, salt, pepper. Don’t over salt you can always adjust later. Turn heat on high and bring to a boil, stir, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 20-30 minutes.

Test veggies to make sure they are very tender, if they are not then cook some more. If they are done, add the hot sauce, then taste and adjust salt and spice.

Remove from heat. Use immersion blender to blend the soup completely smooth, while the blender is going add the cheese a handful at a time. Blend until completely smooth. Top with popcorn or croutons. Enjoy.

Local Ingredients Used:
Butternut Squash from the Dallas Farmers Market
Rahr & Son’s Beer

Written by mytexaskitchen

November 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

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Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie

Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie


The star of this dessert is the peanut butter whipped cream, it is crazy good! It would be great on a chocolate pie, or a banana pudding.

Filling and Crust Ingredients:
Gram cracker or Nilla waffer crust, home made or store bought
Vanilla Pudding mix, use the pie filling directions
2 Ripe Bananas
1/2 small Lemon Juiced (keeps the bananas from turning brown)

Topping Ingredients
1 Pint Whipping Cream
1/3 a normal old-school box of cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, I use Jiff

Peanut butter whipped cream!

Peanut butter whipped cream!


Directions
Add Lemon juice to pie filling. Peel and slice bananas, add into pie filling and mix gently. Using a spatula gently mix and press together powder sugar and cream cheese. Then use an electric mixer (I have an electric hand mixer) to cream that mixture together until it looks like a thick icing. Now add in peanut butter and use the electric mixer to combine very well. Clean your mixer blades so you can whip the cream.

In a separate bowl add the cream and using the electric mixer whip the cream to stiff peaks, just takes a minute or two. Now take about 1/3 of the whipped cream and using a spatula fold it into the peanut butter mixture. Keep doing this 1/3 at a time until you get the peanut butter top the desired flavor and texture (I used about 3/4’s of my wipped cream). Taste it. HOLY MOLY, WHOAAAAA!

Now top your pie, and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Then eat it dude.

Note: If you have left overs store in the fridge. The next day the bananas will have produce some funky looking liquid, don’t worry just use a paper towel to remove it.

Written by mytexaskitchen

September 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Huevos Rancheros

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This is the king of all breakfasts. Ranchero sauce, crunchy tostada, refried beans, over easy egg, more ranchero and cheese. It is freaking AWESOME. A perfect Sunday morning 11:00am breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tostada shell per person, I like El Milagro
  • Ranchero Sauce (recipe below)
  • Refried Beans (click for recipe)
  • 1 Egg per person, cooked over easy (If you want scrambled you can do it that way I guess, geeez)
  • 1/4 cup of cheese per person( I don’t measure I just grab a small handful of the Mexican cheese blend that is in the bag)

Directions
Get everything warm at the same time, cook you egg and heat your tostada last. Heat the tostadas in the toaster for about 20 seconds. MAKE SURE IT DOES NOT BURN. Put a small spoon of the ranchero sauce on your plate, top with the tostada. Then just cover the top of the tostada with refried beans. Then lay the egg on top, don’t worry if your yolk breaks that is going to happen anyways. Then another spoon of ranchero sauce, make sure it’s temp is super hot so it can melt the cheese. Top with the cheese.

Ranchero Sauce (enough for 1 meal)

  • 1 large or 2 medium Tomato chopped
  • 1/2 small or 1/4 medium onion chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 green chili fillet chopped
  • 1 table spoon olive oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • Salt to taste

In a skillet on medium high heat oil then add all the veggies. Cook until it starts to brown then add chicken stock and reduce temp to medium and boil down till it is the consistency has thickened to a nice sauce texture. Using a potato masher to break down the veggies works great to thicken sauce.

Written by mytexaskitchen

September 8, 2010 at 10:31 am

Posted in Uncategorized