DIY Pumpkin Puree

In terms of motivating me to not rely on processed goods, there are definitely benefits to not being able to find the processed things I’ve relied on in the past here in Germany.

Last fall, motivated by a need want for all things pumpkiny and no canned pumpkin puree to be found, I was left with no choice but to figure out how to make it on my own.

Now, I won’t go as far as to say that the canned stuff isn’t good for you because it’s fine. Most of the time it is 100% pumpkin with no additives or preservatives save salt {but even then only in a few cases}. But the taste folks. Oh, the taste. If you’ve ever had a pumpkin pie with the real stuff… I’ll just say that there is a difference. A delicious, delicious difference.

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

Step One
Lob the top off the pumpkin and then cut it in half. {I enlisted the help of the Kiwi. Dull knives make this hard work.}

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

Step Two
Scoop out the seeds and guts. {Once you get the pumpkin in the oven you can go back and pick out all of the seeds for making pepitas!}

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

Step Three
Cut it into quarters and place on a baking sheet. Pop it in the oven on 350°F/175°C for an hour.

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

Step Four
After an hour, take the pumpkin out of the oven and let it cool for a bit until you can touch it comfortably.

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

Step Five
Scoop out the flesh of the pumpkin and put it in a food processor. Add a 1/2 cup of water and pulse, scrapping the sides occasionally, until its pureed to a consistency you’re happy with.

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

Step Six
You can use it immediately, or you can spoon it into a baggie or tupperware container and freeze it. I do about a cup of puree per bag so that I can defrost just one at a time. It will keep in the freezer for about 9 months I hear, but I’ve never tested it. The stuff is gone pretty quickly around here. The Kiwi loves him some pie.

The How-To Series {DIY Pumpkin Puree} | kiwi+peach

There you have it folks–fresh pumpkin puree you can use to get your beta carotene fix in things like hummus, ravioli filling, pancakes, etc. Really, the possibilities are endless, so get to roasting and pureeing while the pumpkin gettin’ is good!

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade

Last week I mentioned making a spiked lemonade to go with the shrimp tacos we had for our Labor Day celebration. Well folks, here it is!

We have loads of rosemary at the moment. It is quite literally taking over our herb garden, so I’ve taken to throwing it in everything: drinks, cakes, even the pumpkin ravioli I’m making tonight. Along with the slightly herby taste that the rosemary gives the simple syrup, I feel like the maple syrup compliments the bourbon beautifully. In my world, lemonade is a very summery drink, but the maple and the bourbon give it just a hint of Fall, making this the perfect accompaniment to a Labor Day feast or really, any feast this time of the year.

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade | kiwi+peach

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade

{makes about 4 drinks}

Rosemary Maple Simple Syrup
2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup maple syrup
5 sprigs of rosemary, washed and leaves striped

The Spike
1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice {about 3 lemons}
1/3 cup bourbon

Boil your jug and start heating up a pot on medium heat. Once the jug boils, measure your water into the pot and then whisk in the maple syrup. Add the sprigs of rosemary {stalk and leaves} and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

While the syrup is simmering, you can be juicing your lemons. Remember to roll them really well before you try to juice them. This will break up all the little membranes, and you will get so much more juice!

After a couple minutes of simmering, strain the syrup to remove all the rosemary bits. In a pitcher, stir together the juice, the bourbon, and the simple syrup. Pop it in the fridge for a few hours to cool.

Serve over ice. Extra rosemary optional but oh so pretty.

Rosemary and Maple Bourbon Lemonade | kiwi+peach

Kickin’ the ’cocks Boneless Buffalo Wings

{Disclaimer: I am aware this title is a bit on the edge. We are playing South Carolina this week and they’re the gamecocks. Come on, you know it’s funny. The twelve year old inside you is laughing right now.}

It’s Friday friends! It’s finally here. This week has been d.r.a.g.g.i.n.g. Why? Because the Kiwi’s parents are coming to town! We love having folks over, but we especially love it when those folks are our folks.

But before I run pick them up at the train station, I wanted to share a quick game day recipe for your tailgate this weekend. Last week was close, but my dawgs didn’t finish the drill. Hopefully they can make it happen this weekend, and hopefully I will be able to convince the crew that what they really want to do on their only Saturday night in Munich is watch an American football game.

Kickin’ the ’cocks Boneless Buffalo Wings

Kickin’ the ’cocks Boneless Buffalo Wings

The Chicken
2 chicken breasts
buttermilk

The Breading
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper

To Cook
1/2 cup canola oil {enough for there to be about 1cm of oil in your pan}
1 cup hot sauce {or for the lightweights, BBQ sauce}

Get started by slicing your chicken breasts into strips. Put the strips in a tupperware container and pour in the buttermilk until the chicken is just covered. Let the it soak in the buttermilk for at least an hour, but if possible, overnight is best.

When you’re ready to eat, start heating the oil in a frying pan on medium heat and preheat your oven to broil {or grill for the Kiwis}.

Mix together all of the breading ingredients in a shallow bowl. When the oil is hot, coat the chicken strips with the breading and pop them in the oil. Shallow fry for about 3-5 minutes on each side. When the breading is crispy, transfer the chicken to a paper towel and let some of that grease drain off. Discard the used cooking oil that’s still in the pan.

Grab a bowl and pour your hot sauce {or BBQ sauce} in it. One by one dip the chicken strips in the sauce and then return to the frying pan. Once all of your chicken is back in the pan, pop it in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. This will finish cooking the chicken and crisp that breading even more. Yum!

Serve it up with some blue cheese dipping sauce and dig in!

Roasted Pumpkin Hummus

I get a stupid amount of the warm and fuzzies when I get to cook for people. There is something about the thought process that goes into creating a meal for someone that is the ultimate display of friendship and caring to me. As we’ve explored the world, I’ve discovered that this communion, which I had always considered inherently Southern, is actually the most universal kind of thing. {duh!}

This weekend one of our close friends here in Munich celebrated the big 3-0. Since food is obviously my love language, I volunteered to do some cooking for her little get together. Since another friend was whipping up dessert, I was got to work on the savories. Wanting to keep it simple and fresh, I made two whole wheat pizza bases and topped one with pesto and roasted heirloom tomatoes and the other with caramelized onions, figs, and gorgonzola cheese. {recipes for both coming soon!}

I also really wanted to whip up something for us to munch on before dinner. I was leaning toward making hummus, and when I spotted pumpkins at the market, it was sold. I love fall!

I’ll go more in depth on how to make your own pumpkin puree next week, but suffice it to say that it is incredibly easy and is so much more flavorful than the canned stuff. {Plus we got pepitas!}

What about you? How do you show people they are loved? What gives you the warm fuzzies?

Roasted Pumpkin Hummus | kiwi+peach

Roasted Pumpkin Hummus with Veggies

The Hummus
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chick peas
1 clove of roasted garlic {non-roasted will work too, it’s just spicier}
1/3 cup olive oil
juice from 1/2 of a lemon {1-2 tbsp}
1 tbsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste

The Presentation
pumpkin seeds
bell peppers of various colors
cucumber

Combine all of the hummus ingredients in your food processor and process the heck out of it. {By that I mean let it go for a couple of minutes until you’re happy with the consistency.}

Prep your veggies for dipping. When you dish it up for serving, sprinkle a few salted pumpkin seeds on top and enjoy!

Naturally Sweetened Coconut Whipped Cream

Want to know something weird about lactose intolerance?

I am absolutely repulsed by some milk products, specifically milk and cream. Even the fresh stuff smells sour to me, like buttermilk. {Which some people, Germans in particular, drink neat, but it’s not my thing. Clearly.} Now I don’t really know what came first the aversion to milk or the lactose intolerance, the chicken or the egg. Theories abound as to why some folks are completely lactose intolerant, some mildly, and some not at all. The disposition is definitely genetic, but it’s my theory that it is exacerbated by avoidance which, in some cases, is caused by this aversion.

Or maybe I’m just weird.

Either way, long story short, I don’t like cream. But I do like coconut. So if I’m going to make whipped cream, I’m probably going to whip coconut cream as opposed to regular cream because then I don’t have to take an enzyme and I like the taste.

Not a coconut fan? Then this isn’t for you. This definitely has a coconut-y flavor, so keep on keeping on with your cream. But if you are a coconut fan-girl like me, then this can be the perfect dairy-free substitution for those desserts that are just begging for a dollop.

Plus its a ton less work. Can’t beat that. {or rather you can. because you beat it. with a whisk. i’m done.}

Coconut Whipped Cream {sweetened naturally} | kiwi+peachSprouted Kitchen’s summer peach tart
with our naturally sweetened coconut whipped cream, blueberries, and granola.

Naturally Sweetened Coconut Whipped Cream

1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup of maple syrup, honey, or agave {more or less depending on your taste and the dish}

Put the can of coconut milk in the fridge over night. All of the water will settle to the bottom and all the lovely cream {read: fat} will solidify at the top.

When you’re ready to make the whipped cream, open the can and scoop that all of that cream into a medium sized mixing bowl leaving the water behind. Whisk on high and gradually add in your sweetener until you’re happy with the taste.

The great thing about this is that you can completely adapt it to the delicious treat you’re going to be putting it on. You can add spices, more or less sweetener, whatever! Go crazy y’all!

Florence Food Guide

While Cinque Terre was my must-see for our tour of Italy, Florence was the place for the Kiwi. He was drawn to the history, the art, and, yes, the food. I can safely say that he was not disappointed and neither was I. Florence was simply amazing–and full of tasty places to grab a bite.

Florence Food Guide | kiwi+peachphoto by the Kiwi

Based on Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy’s glowing recommendation, the first place we headed to upon our arrival in Florence was Trattoria ZaZa. They have an entire truffle menu, folks. An entire menu. In comparison the only thing we get full menus of in Germany is asparagus. {Keep on with your truffles ZaZa.}

It was also just down the street from the apartment we had rented, so since it was so convenient, we ended up eating there more than was strictly necessary. Sure we tried other places, but its hard to beat fried polenta with truffle wild boar sauce or spaghetti carbonara with truffle seasoning. Or pizza with truffle cheese. Or baked herbed rabbit with steamed spinach and garlic. Or truffle french fries. Can you tell we were fans? If you only eat at one place in Florence, eat here. You won’t regret it.

Florence Food Guide: Trattoria Za'Za' | kiwi+peach     Florence Food Guide: Trattoria Za'Za' | kiwi+peach

Somewhere I read about a stand in the Mercato Centrale called Nerbone that we absolutely had to try, and since it was within spiting distance of Trattoria ZaZa, we really had no excuse. This place has been going since 1872, and whatever they have that day, is what they have. It’s the luck of the draw. I love places like that because, let’s be real, folks wouldn’t take the risk if it wasn’t all delicious. The line was long, but totally, totally worth it just for a bite of their shaved pork sandwich, roasted pork {with crackling} and bread skewer, and some delicious fresh pesto pasta.

Florence Food Guide: Nerbone at Mercato Centrale | kiwi+peach     Florence Food Guide: Nerbone at Mercato Centrale | kiwi+peach

This last place we found by accident. We had been trying really hard all week to make it to this place called Zeb by the city wall near Piazza Michelangelo. We went back three different times and they were closed each time. Real bummer too because I heard it was so good. But anyway. Each time we tried to go there we walked by this place, Bevo Vino, that had the best looking Aperol spritzes I had ever seen. It was always busy with Italians sipping and eating this comfy little cafe. On our last day we struck out again at Zeb, so we decided to give this place a go. It was lunch so the place wasn’t as chocka as we had seen it previously in fact we pretty much had it to ourselves, but y’all the food was so good! I had a sandwich on warm focaccia with with cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and capers. The Kiwi ordered the summer parmigiana which consisted of layers of grilled eggplant, thick slices of mozzarella, and juicy tomatoes sprinkled with basil. Yum!

Florence Food Guide: Bevo Vino | kiwi+peach

{other Florence tips}

Get the FirenzeCard. Just do it. It’s good for 72 hours and gets you into pretty much everything, you don’t have to make reservations, and you get to skip the lines in most places. It also gets you free wifi.

Climb all the stairs. We did the Duomo {stairs}, the bell tower, the Palazzo Vecchio tower, and climbed up to the Piazza Michelangelo. The views are stunning, and you’ll work off all that tasty, tasty food you’ve been eating.

Don’t miss the Galileo Museum. Things like the Duomo, the Uffizi, and Palazzo Vecchio are a given, but the Galileo Museum is a gem for science lovers.

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