Jeanette - Off The Cuff

My photo
Blogger at: http://offthecuffhome.blogspot.com and http://offthecuffcooking.blogspot.com -- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually studied design and photography. I also was a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines from 1998-2005, and had an in-house PR company for a while. Cooking is in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and their father was a pastry chef, my mom's mother was a caterer, who published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries when she was 92. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, and we're not afraid to experiment. I have a yen for interior design and remodeling.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie

First of all, these photos are a little dark and uninspired, but as is usually the case, I do most of my cooking late at night, and it's currently 11 p.m. Pacific Time.  So I'm a little sleepy, and it's very dark and very rainy out.  In fact, I believe we got nearly 2 inches of rain today.  Now then, I made the promise to try to do my chili-themed blogs this month, but I will admit that I overlooked how fast this month would fly by, and how side-tracked I would be by holiday-related crafting and other projects.  So ... it's still on deck for me to finish up the chili-recipes, and I think I'll get a chance to do so in December, but for now, let me do a last minute Thanksgiving appropriate dessert, which is really yummy.

The recipe came via my mother-in-law, as it was apparently one of my husband's favorite Thanksgiving desserts.  I've modified the spices a little bit, but other than that it's the same as the one she gave me.  It's a very fast, easy and tasty pie; and totally All-American. I mean, it has Jell-O brand vanilla pudding, and you can't get much more All-American than by putting Jell-O brand pudding into a recipe! (Which reminds me of how much I miss Jell-O Pudding Pops, and those ads by Bill Cosby.)  Oh... and HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  May we all find something in our lives we are profoundly thankful for.  If you are reading this, I can already remind you have a computer or smart-phone, electricity and a roof over your head. And that's more than what much of the world has.  We are blessed.


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups vanilla ice cream (softened a bit)
1 3.4 ounce package of Jell-O vanilla instant pudding
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1 dash nutmeg
1 dash all-spice




1 pie crust (I like the graham cracker no-bake crusts, as a great contrast to the pumpkin ice cream, but you could also do a regular pie crust, and bake it first according to directions or make your own from scratch.)

Optional:

Cover top of pie with whipped cream, after it is set up.





Blend all ingredients in a large bowl with electric mixer until fluffy, and fill into the pie-crust.  Chill, at least overnight (you can also freeze it and let it thaw a half hour prior to serving, if you want it more ice-cream like.  Otherwise, it serves up nicely, like a 'cream pie.' And you will clearly not be able to refrain from licking the beaters or possibly licking out the bowl with your tongue.  It can't be done.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Falafel

When I was a young whipper-snapper of a hipster, and I was always hanging out in Seattle, there was a place called Aladdin's on The Ave in the University of Washington District. (Now, if you're not a local, you won't know that The Ave is actually officially called University Way, not University Avenue.   It's anyone's best guess why it's called The Ave.)  Aladdin's had really great Mediterranean food, and my go-to was falafel sandwiches with tzatziki.  So good. Mmmmm.

Going even farther back, into the misty, water-colored memory windmills of my mind, when I was a kid in Sweden, our mom had a recipe which she occasionally made, and at the time we referred to this recipe as "√§rtbullar" (or pea-balls) from an authentic Mediterranean recipe of chickpeas.  I'm not sure if the recipe just called them √§rtbullar or if we just were too ignorant to call it Falafel.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Note About Spices and Seasonings

I wanted to take this opportunity to mention that knowing the proper balance in seasoning your dishes is the difference between simply following a recipe versus cooking with a gut instinct (ha ha!) for a true "off the cuff" cooking experience.  Some recipes you should probably not mess around with too much (for instance, due to the scientific nature of baking, cookies, pastries and breads are left best unaltered.)  But with herbs, spices and seasonings, there is an acquired learning curve that will eventually take a novice chef up to a more instinctual level.  So I'm going to give a few points here to ponder if you are just learning to cook.   It took me a while to master some of these myself, so don't be discouraged if you have to approach these suggestions with some trepidation. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Black Bean Chili with Cilantro

I promised in the last entry that there will be a "Chili" theme on the blog. Quite overly ambitious as I tend to be, I may have even promised a "Chili Week" but then I realized that would involve cooking chili multiple times in *ONE* week, and that led to the sure knowledge that I'd probably quickly tire of both cooking and eating chili.  Thus, to be realistic, I will just make a reasonable attempt to blog all the chili recipes by the end of November.