Pumpkin Quesadillas

pumpkin-quesadillas

The veil is thin, the pumpkins are spicy, and Witchy Kitchen is two years old!

I have been crazy about Halloween ever since I was a little girl, so much so my parents painted my room orange. I’ve always loved this spooky time of year, the stories, the ghosties, the ghoulies, but this year I am seeing it with new eyes.


Witchy Zoeya and her familiar, Quentin.

I took my little witchy Zoeya trick-or-treating for the first time tonight. She was stinky cute. At the first house she knocked on the door, and when they opened it she walked right in. After a couple of houses she got the hang of it. “I have a candy collection!” she exclaimed (at school they’ve been “collecting” leaves and acorns). “Let’s go to that house and collect some more candy!” We trick-or-treated all the way to the crazy creepy neighborhood haunted house that had every exposed inch of yard covered in gore, and then scurried home in the cold with our goodies. Zoeya savored a pack of grape Nerds one by one for 15 long minutes.


Ooh, I think I caught a couple of ghosts in this pic!

Two years ago today I started blogging, and I made Pumpkin Quesadillas. I made them again today, but with my own recipe. I must say they were pretty bewitching.

Pumpkin Quesadillas

1 1/2 cup colby jack, grated
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 clove garlic, grated
heaping tsp garam masala
heaping tsp paprika
pinch salt
10 small corn tortillas

Combine cheese, pumpkin, garlic, garam masala, paprika, and salt. Heat a skillet and warm a tortilla. Spread with cheese mixture and top with another tortilla. Cook a few minutes, flipping once, until the cheese is melty and the tortilla is crunchy.

Served with my Go-To Chili.

Halloween – or Samhain, rather – is the witches’ New Year, and it’s also a new year for Witchy Kitchen. I have lots of ideas for this year: cooking from (fiction) books and movies, our family’s continual green transformations, more kitchen to bath recipes, making all kinds of things from scratch, goofing around in the kitchen with Zoeya, and of course lots more delicious recipes.


Sometimes a witch, sometimes a princess.

Paki Tacos…Remixed

paki-quesadillas

My Paki Tacos are now my Award Winning Paki Tacos! I brought them for a work potluck and won Best Entree. Check out my fabulous prize:

Microwave Pasta Boat! Woohoo! Don’t worry, it’s not for cooking, only for looking at and laughing. It was one of the many as-seen-on-TV prizes. I’m only sorry I didn’t win the Snuggie.

Anyway, I got a little excited and made a double batch for the potluck, which left me with lots of leftovers. I love to have a head start on a meal, but I hate, HATE to eat the same thing over and over. No worries – Paki taco leftovers make for delicious Paki quesadillas. Actually, these might be even better since I’m pretty sure just about everything gets taken up a notch with cheese.

Dinner took about 10 minutes to make, including a simple green salad with grapefruit and a dijon vinaigrette. And that is how you eat leftovers.

Harvest Wraps

harvest-wrap

Years ago when I was in school at College of Charleston, we had students from Johnson and Wales interning at our cafeteria at a salad and wrap station. There was one wrap in particular I remember that was turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. I don’t remember if it was called the Thanksgiving wrap, but I’m pretty sure I was channeling it when I threw this together.

This cheesily named dinner came about from my needing to use up a bunch of produce that had been hanging out in the fridge, but I must say it came out nicer than I had imagined – the squash, beets and spinach were bright and colorful and cheery and the beef flavored with rosemary made it very satisfying. Zoeya will snarf up anything wrapped in a tortilla and Shan will tolerate plentiful veggies if they come with a side of beef, so I would call this a success.

Harvest Wrap

For roasted veggies:
one bunch (3-4) beets, peeled and cubed
one butternut squash, peeled, seeds cleaned and cubed
olive oil, salt & pepper

Toss veggies with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 400° until tender. Roast separately – the squash will roast a lot faster than the beets.

For the beef:
one onion, diced
olive oil, salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped

Saute onion in olive oil with salt and pepper. Add garlic, paprika and cumin and cook, stirring. Add ground beef and brown. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, and rosemary and simmer.

For the rice:
2 ears white corn, cut off the cob
2 cups jasmine rice, rinsed
4 cups water
olive oil, salt & pepper

Add everything to the pot, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover and lower heat to medium low, cooking until rice is done, 15-20 minutes.

For wraps:
Assemble everything in warm tortillas lined with spinach leaves, roll, cut in half, and enjoy!

Note: I know I went on about not cubing raw squash when you can just roast it in the skin, but what happens when you need cubes, like for butternut squash and shrimp curry (recipe coming soon!)? Somewhat hypocritically, I just learned a great trick for peeling butternut squash that makes it pretty painless. Just boil the whole squash in a big pot of water for five minutes, cool, and the skin will be soft enough to peel with a regular vegetable peeler.

This made a great lunch the next day, sans tortilla.

Inspiration for the Brain-fried: Two Snacks and a Dessert.

goat-cheese-ball

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel burnt out, brain-fried, and instead of figuring out what to cook you prefer to lay in bed eating smashed avocado on toast and catching up on episodes of Project Runway?

So that’s me. I don’t feel too bad about it; after all, everything waxes and wanes. While I may have nothing to say, the rest of the internet remains gloriously alive with interesting and delicious-looking recipes. Here’s a few I’ve managed to whip up while I wait to perk back up.

Goat Cheese Ball with Sour Cherries and Pistachios

When I saw the gorgeous photo on 6 Bittersweets I knew I wanted to make this for last weekend, when we had friends over for dinner. This is one of those recipes with an absurdly good payoff – a snap to make, but delicious with a fantastic presentation. Also, for me it’s a balance of the fresh, somewhat exotic flavors I love combined with the food of my heritage (southern, waspy). I went the lazy route and made one big ball instead of a bunch of little ones, but one good tip I can give is to lightly coat your hands with oil before rolling the ball so the goat cheese won’t stick to your hands.

Cucumber, Yogurt, and Walnut Dip

The snacking continues with this yummy Persian dip I saw on The Spice Spoon, a blog I continuously come back to for inspiration. I make cucumber and yogurt raita to accompany dishes all the time, but the addition of walnuts adds a richness which is perfect for a dip. I threw some pistachios in just for fun, as I had some leftover from the dish above. Note: I took this lame picture of leftovers; the cucumber had lost its color so it looks a little muddy, but made fresh it’s green and lovely.

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Skipping straight to dessert! Shan is generally not a big fan of sweets, but he does love tiramisu so I make him one every year on his birthday. This year I decided to mix it up a little and make cupcakes, and who better to look to for festive inspiration than Martha Stewart. The spongy vanilla cake and espresso marsala syrup was delicious, but the best part was the mascarpone frosting – yum! The only thing I would change would be to poke holes in the cupcakes so the syrup would soak in a little better – which is probably in the directions anyway and I just missed it (I hope Zoeya’s critical reading skills turn out to be better than her mother’s).

Hmm, I’d say that’s enough to hold me over!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cardamom Apple Compote

pumpkin-pancakes

What is essentially Pumpkinfest 2011 continues with a Sunday morning brunch treat I whipped up for my daughter, mom and sisters. I wanted pumpkin pancakes and wasn’t feeling brave enough to tweak my regular pancake recipe, so I Googled one.

The first recipe that popped up was Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes from Pinch My Salt . They were delightful, lightly sweet and warmly spiced. The only changes I made were using demerara sugar mixed with a little molasses for the brown sugar, and I used coconut oil instead of the “oil” which I think meant vegetable oil.

Perfect with a simple creamy cardamom apple compote to go on top, very autumny.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes with
Cardamom Apple Compote

For the pancakes
Yummy recipe on Pinch My Salt.

For the apples
3 apples (I used gala)
3 cardamom pods, cracked
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 tsp honey

Peel and chop apples into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat butter on medium high, adding cardamom. Add apples and just a pinch of salt and saute for a couple of minutes, then add a cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook apples until water evaporates. Repeat until apples are soft but still retain their shape. Remove from heat.

Mix sour cream and honey and stir into warm apples.

Drizzle pancakes with a little maple syrup, spoon apples on top and serve.

Season of the Witch vol 2 – an(other) October Mix

sotw-vol2

October is here, the best time of year! Last year I posted a mix called Season of the Witch. This year I’ve added a volume that’s just as witchy, maybe a little darker, and that actually contains an amazing cover of the song it’s named for. Also this year you can download it…I recommend putting it on in the kitchen while you’re cooking up a brew soup.

Lovely images from Diana Pinto’s and ell brown’s flickr pages.

Season of The Witch vol 2

  1. Season of the Witch Karen Elson (feat. Donovan)
  2. Half Asleep School of Seven Bells
  3. Love Song Niyaz
  4. Angry Johnny Poe
  5. Youth Knows No Pain Lykke Li
  6. Paints Peeling Rilo Kiley
  7. Witches Paperfangs
  8. Wandering Star Portishead
  9. The Lantern Beats Antique
  10. Spark Tori Amos
  11. Half Awake Widowspeak
  12. Grow Grow Grow PJ Harvey
  13. Mimoso Lentejitas
  14. Linger The Cranberries
  15. Rocking Horse Kelli Ali
  16. The Piano Duet Danny Elfman
  17. And He Slayed Her Liz Phair