Thursday, November 12, 2015

Two Recipes from Magazines

I generally do not make things directly from a magazine, but alter them in some way - sometimes a lot. I had guests for a couple of weeks, and it seemed just easier to revisit some old tried and true recipes, or ones that were requested. Our friend Rich was visiting when pheasant hunting season started, and when he came home with 3 pheasants the first evening, he specifically requested the Pheasant Alfredo we thought up last year. To pair with it, I also made the Fall Fruit Compote, although this year I could not find quinces, so I substituted slightly green pears instead.

Pumpkin Caramel Tart
As I said, I usually do not make a recipe straight from a magazine, but I did receive my latest Bon Appetit magazine, the November / Thanksgiving issue. In general, Bon Appetit is my least favorite of all the cooking magazines out there. I am not dissing the magazine per se, but everyone has a cooking style of some sort, and some things they prefer or not. This November issue however, just had one recipe after another jump out at me. I rarely find really interesting recipes in the Thanksgiving issue, because we have a menu, and my husband prefers not to deviate from that menu. When he finds something he likes - that's it! Most times I flip through the November issues of any cooking magazine, note all the strange ways to prepare a turkey, remark on all the side dishes my husband would never touch, and set the magazine aside.

Pumpkin Caramel Tart sliced
This time, there were so many recipes I wanted to try I was all agog. Now, with Rich - our all-things-pumpkin-but-particularly-pumpkin-pie fanatic - visiting, I especially took note of a recipe for a Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Toasted Hazelnut Crust (find the recipe online here). The tart called my attention because of the fact that it used very little liquid, so instead of a custardy pumpkin pie, it looked denser and richer. Granted, it called for making your own caramel first, but I was game. The hazelnuts in the crust did not call my attention at all, and because the recipe also called for roasting, then caramelizing extra hazelnuts to strew over top, I would really need to love hazelnuts. As they are just not my favorite nut by a long shot, I switched the nuts used to pecans. 

Outside of that, I made no changes at all. To me, it was heavenly. The crust was okay. I might tweak that part next time. Despite the fact that the only spice in this tart was cinnamon, and not even all that much cinnamon, the spice seemed extra concentrated. My guys were divided on it. My husband loved it and preferred it over pumpkin pie. Rich loved it, but preferred pumpkin pie when push came to shove. For me, the filling was marvelous, and on a special occasion I would make it again, in a different crust. But the real reason I would only make it for a special occasion is that it took so many gadgets and utensils to accomplish. I had my sink piled precariously high with pots, food processor pieces, bowls, baking sheets, spatulas, spoons and you-name-it that I just don't want to do it often, despite the wonderful flavors. I would still recommend it!

The other recipe I made a few days ago came from a brand-new publication called "Bake from Scratch" (check it out here). It apparently is a quarterly magazine, with no ads. It is absolutely stunning in its look and feel, with smooth, heavy pages and gorgeous photography. The recipes sound scrumptious, too. It is pricey, but it caught my eye while looking for something else entirely in the grocery store, so I bought it on a whim. Many recipes are calling to me, but it has been a while since I made scones, and this magazine had recipes for EIGHT kinds of scones. Scone heaven, for sure. Most of the recipes absolutely call me to make them, and I started off this little journey with Cranberry Pistachio Scones. By the way, I am not affiliated in any way with this magazine, not being paid for promoting it. It is just too gorgeous a windfall not to share!
Cranberry Pistachio Scones

As for the scone recipes, I have made scones lots of times, and my go-to method is using at least 1 whole stick of butter and then buttermilk as the liquid. I like my old scone recipes just fine. But the scones in this magazine all called for less butter and a cup of heavy cream instead of buttermilk. I must say that for scones made without any egg (which I prefer, as it seems most authentic), these scones came out quite moist - much more than mine! I generally do not use icing or glaze on scones. I did make a quick glaze out of some leftover browned butter icing with orange juice added to thin it down to pouring consistency. This was for my husband, as he selected this particular recipe for me to try first, based solely on the fact that it showed the most frosting in the magazine photo! What a great criteria!

If you can still get your hands on this magazine, while it is expensive, is one of those "you-get-what-you-pay-for" things. And I highly recommend the scones! Next up are the Cheddar and Black Pepper - or maybe the Fig, Thyme and Goat Cheese, or maybe . . . . 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.