You know fall is on the way when pumpkin spice latte — the most popular seasonal flavor — is back at Starbucks and pumpkin flavors creep into restaurant menus. Olive Garden’s pumpkin cheesecake with caramel and ginger cookie crumbles returns this week, as does LongHorn Steakhouse’s pumpkin spice lava cake.
McCormick timed its introduction of Pure Pumpkin Pie Spice Extract to ride the wave. I’m not a fan of frou-frou flavors in my coffee, but the easy-to-use liquid extract is a quick way to DIY your own “tastes like fall” concoction.
I do like the extract in baked goods, or you can easily add it to whipped cream, as in the recipe here, to pumpkinize your drinks or piece of pie. The extract should be in stores beginning this week; about $4 for a 1-ounce bottle.
Yes heat, no meat
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Tabasco asked five chefs across the country, including Cesar Zapata of The Federal in Miami, to create dishes highlighting the iconic Louisiana brand’s hot sauces.
Zapata whipped up a many-peppered meatless burger, perfect for tailgating season. I particularly like his corn relish — so easy to make and a good contrast for burgers, meatless or not. The recipe is here for you to try.
Besides The Federal (5132 Biscayne Blvd.), you can also try Zapata’s food at Phuc Yea, his new Vietnamese-Cajun restaurant opening this month at 7100 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami.
Reader Joe asked if there were old timers who could tell him how his grandfather made burgers out of mullet “many years ago” after a day of fishing while camping on an island.
Lee Rook, who has been fishing out of Everglades City “for the last half-century,” said he bets Joe’s grandfather took him camping on Chokoloskee Island in Collier County, before there was a causeway to the mainland.
“The fishing was so fine back then, and no one minded people camping on the beach,” Rook said.
To make mullet burgers, he said you simply throw your mullet catch into a big pot and simmer it for a while, preferably in fresh sea water, then let it cool. Pull the fish from the skin and the many bones, then mix with an equal amount of mashed potatoes.
“Add salt and pepper and lots of Tabasco, maybe some Old Sour, and fry till nice and crispy. Great for breakfast or dinner or any time.”
He warns, though, that while you can make this at home with any fish, “it will never taste as good as you remember it tasting back then.”
Donna was looking for a savory strudel made with chicken, wild rice, currants and cashews that she remembered clipping and making in the 1990s. Lani Kaskel comes to the rescue — not the first time she’s found a lost recipe for Cook’s Corner.
“Perhaps I should have had that Herald job of clipping and filing recipes by topic and byline, because it seems that I have been doing that on my own for many years,” Kaskel writes. “In any event, I had clipped and saved an article from Gourmet magazine in 1993, entitled ‘Sweet and Savory Strudels.’ Sure enough, Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Strudel was among the three that I photocopied, saved ... and made.”
Donna still thinks the recipe she’s missing was from the Miami Herald but was really pleased when I told her a reader had found this one.
“Wow! That is close but there are some differences. Instead of the 1/2 cup wild rice, the Herald recipe called for 1 box of Uncle Ben’s wild rice mix. The rest looks very similar,” she said.
I was inspired by this recipe and came up with a shortcut that does away with the fuss: Prepare a box of wild rice mix as the package directs and simply mix in leftover chicken, the chutney, cashews and raisins for a no-work meal.
Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172.
Smoky Black Bean Burger
For the burger:
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
4 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, chopped
1 medium shallot, chopped
6 pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon ancho powder or chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup oats
1/3 cup cooked white long-grain rice
1 large egg white
Freshly ground pepper
For the rajas:
1 pound poblano peppers
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the corn relish:
1/4 cup roasted corn, shucked
1 tablespoon chives, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for cooking burgers
Black pepper, to taste
4-6 brioche or potato buns
8 slices pepper jack cheese
Prepare the burger: Set aside 1/2 cup of the black beans. In a food processor, pulse remaining black beans, mushrooms, shallots, jalapeño peppers, barbecue sauce, Tabasco Chipotle Sauce, ancho or chile powder and cumin until a chunky puree forms.
Transfer puree to a medium bowl and mix in oats, rice, egg white and reserved beans; season with salt and pepper. Form mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick, cover and chill for one hour.
Make the rajas: Preheat oven broiler to 450 degrees or heat a charcoal grill to medium-high or gas grill to high.
For the broiler, mix peppers, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; place on a rimmed baking sheet. For a grill, oil grill grate and place peppers directly on top. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and charred. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 15 minutes. Peel peppers, slice in half discard seeds and slice crosswise into 1/4 inch strips.
For the corn relish: In a bowl, combine all ingredients and season with black pepper.
To finish: Toast buns on the grill or oven. Heat a pan to medium-high; add a touch of oil and sear patties on both sides until crisp. Place patty on bun and top with cheese, roasted rajas and corn relish. Serve with extra barbecue sauce. Makes six servings.
Per serving: 662 calories (38 percent from fat), 27.8 g fat (8.2 g saturated, 13 g monounsaturated), 25.2 mg cholesterol, 24.5 g protein, 78.8 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 767 mg sodium.
Source: Chef Cesar Zapata of The Federal Food, Drink & Provisions in Miami.
Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice extract
Beat the cream to the soft peak stage, then add the remaining ingredients and beat on high until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated. Makes 2 cups whipped cream.
Per tablespoon: 30 calories (84 percent from fat), 2.8 g fat (1.7 g saturated, 0.8 g monounsaturated), 10 mg cholesterol, 0 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 3 mg sodium.
Curried Chicken and Wild Rice Strudel
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded 1/2 inch thick
2 tablespoons dry white wine or water
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Major Grey’s chutney, solids chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, to taste
1/2 cup dry-roasted cashews, chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins, plumped in hot water
6 (18-inch-by-14-inch) sheets of phyllo
10 teaspoons fine dry bread crumbs
In a large saucepan, cook the wild rice in 8 cups boiling salted water for five minutes, remove the pan form the heat and let the rice stand for one hour. Drain and cook in 6 cups boiling salted water for 25 to 30 minutes, or until rice is tender. Drain and cool.
In a small skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder over moderately high heat until the foam subsides and saute the chicken for 30 seconds on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine or water and cook, covered over moderately low heat for five minutes or until it is just cooked through. Remove from skillet and let cool.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, chutney, remaining curry powder, lemon juice and pan juices from the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1/2-inch dice, stir well into the rice with the cashews, raisins, the sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Let cool. The filling may be made one day in advance and kept covered in refrigerator.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the remaining butter with the remaining teaspoon curry powder. Arrange two 20-inch-long sheets of waxed paper with the long sides overlapping slightly and facing you. Put one sheet of the phyllo on the wax paper, brush with some of the curry butter, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the bread crumbs. Layer four more sheets in the same manner and top with the sixth sheet.
Spread the filling in a 3-inch-wide strip, on the phyllo, leaving a 4-inch border on the bottom and a 2-inch border on the other sides. Pull the 4 inches over the mounded filling, tuck in the ends, and roll tightly. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden. May be made one day in advance and kept covered loosely and chilled. Reheat in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve warm, cut into 1-inch slices with a serrated knife. Makes six servings.
Per serving: 414 calories (55 percent from fat), 25.8 g fat (9.8 g saturated, 7.5 g monounsaturated), 63 mg cholesterol, 13.7 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 1.8 g fiber, 258 mg sodium.
Source: Gourmet Magazine, December 1993.