Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guest Blogger: Jayne Pupek

Yesterday, I reviewed a touching new novel called TOMATO GIRL by Jayne Pupek. I asked Ms. Pupek to stop by today and share something special with us. I was positively delighted that she wrote about some of her favorite fall recipes. I love discovering new recipes, and these ones look terrific (and they're just in time for Thanksgiving.)

Folks who know me would characterize me as a CNN junkie, but I also tune into the Food Network when I have the chance. The following recipes are among my fall favorites. The first is a Rachel Ray recipe, "Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage." This dish is so easy to make and tastes amazing. Since I don't eat pork or beef, I use a soy-based "fake" sausage and substitute the chicken stock with vegetable stock. The "Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion" is the perfect accompaniment. I like to serve red wine with this meal.

And for dessert, what could beat Paula Deen's "Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting?" As a girl, I looked forward to Christmas dinner at my Grandma Arbutus' house where the red velvet cake was my favorite. Cupcakes make a nice alternative and are easier to make, I think. Paula Deen is the queen of Southern Cuisine. I gave my mother one of her cookbooks last year for Christmas.

I hope you enjoy these!

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
Pumpernickel or whole grain bread, as an accompaniment

Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion, as an accompaniment, recipe follows

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Serve pumpkin sausage pasta with pumpernickel or whole grain bread and Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion.

Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion

1 pound triple-washed spinach, de-stemmed
1 small Golden Delicious apple, quartered, cored, and sliced
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons (a couple of splashes) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grain mustard
1 tablespoon (a good drizzle) honey
Coarse salt and black pepper

Place spinach, apple, and onion in a salad bowl. Place oil, vinegar, mustard and honey in a small plastic container and fit lid on container. Shake dressing to combine, 1 minute. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Yield: 4 servings

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel, Tomato Girl (Algonquin Books), and a book of poems titled Forms of Intercession (Mayapple Press). She resides near Richmond, Virginia.
Jayne's web site:
Book Trailer for Tomato Girl:


Anonymous said...

Great post! I'm printing this out because all 3 of those recipes sound delicious.

Anonymous said...

Yum! Wednesday is pasta night at our house (ages ago there was an ad that said "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day, and we've adopted that as law in our house!) ... so, I may be serving this one Wednesday.

Thanks for sharing the recipes!

MySharonAnne said...

Awesome! When I first saw the recipe title I thought darn I can't eat that because I don't eat meat. I was thrilled to see that it can made vegetarian.

Serena said...

These recipes remind me of the holidays. Thanks for sharing them Jayne.

I have both her poetry book and tomato girl on the TBR list on good reads.