"Piehole" in Midwestern means "mouth," as in "Shut your piehole." Preferably we shut it on some tasty home cooking. We love to grow, market, buy, cook, bake and grill so we can feed our faces, chow down, pig out, scarf & whatnot. I'm a born Midwestern home cook posting foods and recipes that show up in front of me, because like all Midwesterners I eat what's put in front of me. Pull up a chair. What can I get you?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Southwestern Cream of Pumpkin Soup Recipe

I substitute evaporated milk for the cream; fewer calories and tastes just as good.

Southwestern Cream of Pumpkin Soup (6 servings)

3 cups cooked pumpkin, fresh or canned
4 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups minced onion
1 large red bell pepper, minced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of salt
1 Tablespoon of mild chile powder (do NOT use hot chile powder.)
2 to 3 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
freshly ground black pepper
1 12-oz. can of evaporated milk

1. Combine the pumpkin and water in a soup pot. Stir until uniform. Partially cover and heat gently, stirring often.
2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and chile powder; stir and cover. Cook over low heat for about 10 more minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the saute and lime juice to the soup. Stir well, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with black pepper and salt to taste.
4. Pour in the evaporated milk and heat gently until ready to serve.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Szechuan Green Beans in the Microwave

No deep-frying is necessary.

Szechuan-Style Green Beans in the Microwave (Makes 2 cups)

3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 quarter-sized slices of fresh ginger, peeled
1 scallion, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 pound of green beans, ends trimmed off

1. Chop or place garlic, ginger and scallions in a chopper until chopped finely. Remove to 1-1/2- or 2-quart casserole dish. Add oil and pepper flakes. Cook, uncovered, at high power for 2 minutes.
2. Remove dish from oven. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook uncovered on high for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring a few times.
3. Remove from oven. Stir and serve hot or cold.

Recipe from The Microwave Gourmet, a brilliant 1987 cookbook by Barbara Kafka, reprinted in 1998. 44 cents on Amazon.com. Try the Fudgy Brownies.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Persimmon and Black Walnut Bread: Ozark Recipe

Classic Ozark recipe. To get pulp, press whole, very ripe persimmons through a colander. Retail persimmon puree is very, very hard to find.

Persimmon and Black Walnut Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1 cup chopped black walnuts

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large bowl, combine the persimmon, sugar, milk and eggs, then add the flour mixture and the softened butter and mix until the dough is well blended. Stir in the nuts. Spread the batter in a well-greased loaf pan and bake it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.

Recipe from Mother Earth News, September/October 1974.

Friday, November 8, 2013

How to Microwave a Whole Pumpkin

Stab. Microwave. Scoop. Puree. This fast technique also works for hard squashes.

1. Select a pumpkin a maximum of about six inches in diameter or weight about two pounds.

2. Stab the raw pumpkin through to its core with a long knife, in several places. This prevents explosions.

3. Microwave on high until the skin begins to brown or "tan", between 6 and 10 minutes. When it is cooked the stem will pull off very easily.

4. Remove from microwave and allow to cool. It will stay warm a long time. Now the pumpkin can easily be cut in half with a long knife, and the seeds and their strings scooped out with an ordinary spoon.

5. Using the same spoon, scoop and scrape out the cooked flesh, leaving the peel behind. Place pumpkin flesh in blender with about half a cup of water and puree. Use or freeze the puree. It's delicious all by itself, unseasoned.