Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle

The Mission:
To make a smashingly fantastic dessert to take to Mark's parents house since they had graciously invited us over for Thanksgiving lunch. I wanted to make something a little bit fancier than a traditional pumpkin pie (though I love pumpkin pie dearly!), so when I came across this recipe listed in the Taste of Home Thanksgiving 2009 booklet, I knew it would be perfect.

The Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract

The Instructions:
In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with water, beating well after each addition. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut gingerbread into 1/2-in. to 1-in. cubes; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon; stir into pudding. In another bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and extract; beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside 1/4 cup gingerbread cubes. In a 4-qt. trifle bowl or glass serving bowl, layer a third of the remaining gingerbread cubes; top with a third of the pumpkin mixture and whipped cream. Repeat layers twice. Crumble reserved gingerbread; sprinkle over top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

The Result:
Oh wow! It was fantastic. I loved it.... though I think that I might use a little less rum extract in the whipping cream next time. Though everyone else thought it was delicious just the way it was. It turned out really pretty, too. Which is always a plus when I'm taking a dessert somewhere for a special occasion.

The Reviews:
This dessert got RAVE reviews. Everyone who tried it told me how amazing it was. I am so pleased with myself :) It was definitely worth the effort to make all of this from scratch. This will be a dessert I make every year for sure!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stir Fried Rice

The Mission:
To make stir fried rice for my husband since he's never had it homemade before. I had to head over to Mom's to copy down her recipe since I apparently didn't have it. Though her recipe is more of a guide line than an actual set-in-stone procedure, it's good to have the basics. For the veggies, I like to use frozen peas, carrots, and corn, though any veggie choice is fine. Fresh grated ginger is preferred, but powdered is fine if that's all you have on hand. Oh - and serving it with egg rolls or spring rolls is quite nice ;)

The Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked, chilled rice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 lb deli sliced ham, cut into strips
  • 2 cups veggies - your choice
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil - I use peanut
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce - add more if needed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger OR 3 Tbsp powdered
  • 2 - 3 dashes ground red pepper (optional and to taste)
The Instructions:
Spray a medium sized skillet with cooking spray and set on medium heat. Pour in the beaten eggs and tilt the pan until it forms a thin layer. Cook for a few minutes or until the egg is set. Invert the skillet over a cutting board to remove egg; cut egg into short narrow strips and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the oils. Stir-fry the veggies for 2-3 minutes or until warm. Add the rice, ginger, soy sauce and red pepper. Stir-fry for 3-5 minutes or until heated through. Stir in the egg strips and ham. Serve hot.
The Results:
It didn't turn out quite as good as Mom's.... probably because I had to use powdered ground ginger instead of fresh. Oh well. I will be sure to add ginger to my grocery list next week! I think I might've added a bit too much ground pepper, since the rice had quite a kick to it. But it was delicious regardless. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, considering I've never made it before.

The Reviews:
My husband LOVED it. Thank goodness! It's never a fun night at our house when he doesn't like my cooking.... no one ends up happy. I have a feeling I'll be making this quite often for the next little while. That's what usually happens when he likes a new recipe ;)