Thursday, January 8, 2009

Roasting Chestnuts

In addition to pomegranates, these are one of my favorite winter snacks. Packed with protein and low in fat, they're resolution friendly too! They taste a little like brown rice, are a satisfying snack and easy to make.

Just pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Place a dish towel over a cutting board (to prevent rolling nuts and missing fingers!) and cut an "x" into each chestnut. This helps with two things. One ... it makes for easy peeling and eating. Two ... it lets out the steam from roasting so they don't pop and explode in your oven. It might sound nice in the holiday song ... "hear the chestnuts POP! ... pop, pop, pop!" But it wouldn't be a pleasant picture.

Bake them for about 30 minutes until the shells have started
to peel and the insides look golden brown.

Let them cool, then enjoy!

Interested in seeing how chestnuts are harvested?
Check out this video ... click here.

Tremain Street Cottages

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Left overs in the pantry ...

Okay, so like a good little baker I stocked up on the essentials over the holidays. And, of course, after the new year with resolutions on my mind I have left over items in my pantry. Now what? Keep the canned items until the end of 2009? How long do canned goods REALLY last?

Well, I decided to bake something new instead. I can push the diet thing off for one more week, right?

A friend of mine gave me a entertaining recipe book for my birthday and one of the more interesting desserts was pumpkin flan. I jazzed it up a bit with bourbon sugar crust. It was the perfect thing to get rid of the left over pumpkin and evaporated milk cans in my cupboard. If you have any other interesting recipes to use up other holiday baked good ingredients ... please let me know!

Here's the Pumpkin Flan ...


1 14 ounce can of pumpkin
1 can of evaporated milk
1 3/4 cups of sugar (divided)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
(**If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, it is 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg)
And for my version ... one shot of bourbon. To cook with.

1) Mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, 1/3 cup of sugar, eggs, vanilla and spices in a deep bowl with an electric mixer until well blended.

2) Set oven at 300 degrees.

3) Over medium heat, place remaining sugar in a saucepan and stir until melted. This process takes awhile, but the sugar will turn a golden brown color and be sticky and VERY hot, so be careful. When the sugar starts to turn color, add the shot of bourbon.

4) Pour the sugar mixture into into a large, shallow baking bowl. You can also use smaller bowls, or ramekins to make individual servings. Next, pour the pumpkin mixture over the sugar.

5) Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes. Test the center with a knife or toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool in the refrigerator for 3 hours (or overnight). When ready to serve, run a knife along the edge, then flip bowl upside down on a plate.

And so now I can move on with my diet ... no more pesky baking ingredients teasing me in the cupboard!


Sunday, January 4, 2009

It doesn't get better than this ...

Is it cold where you are this evening? Snowy? It's 70 here. Sunset over Lake Dora ... aaahhh ... a day in the life of an Innkeeper ...