Fall is here! If you are looking for an impressive dish for a dinner party or an interesting starter for Thanksgiving dinner, try the Curried Pumpkin Bisque from The Junior League’s Savor the Seasons cookbook (page 50). Start to finish, it only took 30 minutes, so it would work great during the week, too. The combination of flavors was great and the rich, creamy taste would be wonderful on a cool fall night (although we enjoyed it on a warm fall night, it is Florida after all).
I wanted to keep things festive so I served it in a gourd, as was suggested in the cookbook. It is really easy (I promise!) and looks quite fancy. If you choose to serve the soup in a gourd, there are a ton of colorful and interesting choices available in stores right now- all types and colors of pumpkins, as well as squash of different colors and shapes, so get creative! You basically just need something with enough space to hold a couple ladles of soup and the ability to flatten the bottom so it sits evenly. I went with the standard acorn squash, which is generally available all year. I thought the green skin was a nice contrast to the orange soup.
After scooping out the seeds, I thought the “bowl” should be a bit larger, so I used a pairing knife to carve out a larger and more symmetrical space. The uncooked squash provides tons of carving possibilities. If you are more creative and crafty, you could even carve out a shape (this was not in my skill set)! And don’t forget some crusty bread for dipping! We had a side salad with blueberries and almonds for some additional greens. It was husband approved!
Curried Pumpkin Bisque
8oz cream cheese, softened
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 (24 count) package small dinner rolls
1 to 2 pounds deli-sliced cajun roast beef
12 slices swiss cheese (or cheese of your choice)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Combine the cream cheese, ranch dressing mix and green onions in a small bowl and mix well. Remove rolls from the package. Slice the rolls horizontally; remove the top of the rolls in on piece. Spread the mixture on the cut side of both layers. Layer the roast beef and cheese you selected on the bottom layer. Cover with the top layer of rolls; brush with melted butter. Arrange on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Slice into 24 small rolls. Serve warm.
I like to think I inherited many of my characteristics and genes from my grandmother (Abuela), but I am certain she gave me her sweet tooth. Abuela turned 89 on the first of the month, and I knew the best way to her heart was a sugary path right through her stomach. As I was spinning my wheels brainstorming what to bake her, I looked to my kitchen counter and Capture the Coast was staring right back at me. I grabbed the beloved cookbook and flipped to the desserts section, and as soon as I saw IT, I knew it was the one. Hummingbird Cake. If I’m being completely honest, Abuela is a sucker for ALL confections and sweet treats. But if you make her a dessert that has pineapple or coconut in it, she is truly defenseless. You will win her heart upon the first scrumptious bite.
The Hummingbird Cake recipe featured in JLT’s Capture the Coast cookbook is a mouth-watering combination of pineapple and banana, topped with a velvety cream cheese icing, and finished off with crunchy crumbled pecans.
Here is what you’ll need to concoct this southern dessert staple:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups mashed bananas
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (2-pound) package confectioners’ sugar
Pecan Pieces (if desired)
For the cake… Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until combined. [side note: the recipe says to sift the aforementioned ingredients 3 times. However, I didn’t have a sifter, and mixing worked out well for me.]
Add the eggs and oil to your dry ingredients, and stir the mixture until moistened. Next, add in the vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and mix thoroughly. Finally, add in the mashed banana and brown sugar, and mix one last time.
Divide your batter evenly between three greased or floured 8- or 9-inch round cake pans [I used disposable aluminum cake pans to cut back on excessive dish-washing… I love to bake but I hate to clean up after!]
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, and remove from oven. To ensure the cake is baked through, insert a wooden toothpick into the center and check that it comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for 15 minutes, and then place cakes on wire racks to cool completely.
For the frosting… Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract, and sift in the confectioners’ sugar, 2 cups at a time. Beat well after each addition, and continue beating the frosting until it is completely blended.
To assemble… After allowing the cakes to cool completely, spread your icing between the layers and over the top and sides of the cake.
Next, top with pecans, if you choose. Now the most important part of all, ENJOY!
Alex, of our cookbook committee, tried a new recipe for an event she was assigned dessert. It didn’t work out exactly as planned from the start, but was so easy to fix that she got great reviews! Thank you for sharing, Alex!
I was looking for a nice and simple dessert option. The One Bowl Pound Cake from Everyday Feasts sounded simple enough seeing as it says “one bowl” in the title of the recipe.
Most, if not all, of the ingredients are items that everyone keeps in the cabinet so there may not be any special trips to the grocery store. The Bundt pan I used was a stone pan. I placed all my ingredients in my one bowl and mixed everything together. The recipe says you can use vanilla or lemon yogurt and I opted to use vanilla in my recipe. I greased the pan very well and then poured the mixed ingredients into the pan and then into the oven. When trying out a new recipe, I always set the time to the lower end of the suggested time. The pound cake was done at 60 minutes, however, the recipe does not suggest how long to let the cake cool before trying to remove from the pan. I have to admit that I had to make this twice because I did not pay attention to the time the cake was out of the oven before trying to remove so it did not come out of the pan very well. On the second go around, I let the cake cool for 15 minutes while sitting on a cooling rack. I then let the cake sit flipped over on the cooling rake for a few hours. I then used a spatula to gently slide down the sides of the pan to loosen from the sides so that it would come out of the pan. Success! Overall, the cake got great reviews!
One Bowl Pound Cake
2 ½ cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) container lemon or vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 60-70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Grilled Scallops in Coconut Curry Sauce
It’s that time of year again when some of us are looking for dinner options for meatless Fridays. I knew I would find just the right option in one of my Junior League cookbooks. I came across this dinner option in Every Day Feasts and it didn’t disappoint. This is a wonderfully flavorful recipe without being too complicated…my kind of recipe! I paired my kabobs with Jasmine rice as an entree but this recipe can easily be used as an appetizer as well!
Grilled Scallops from Every Day Feasts
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 pound sea scallops
Coconut Curry Sauce
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dried crush red pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
For the scallops, combine the orange juice and basil in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the scallops and turn to coat. Chill in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning once. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning. Remove the scallops and discard the marinade. Thread the scallops onto the skewers and grill over medium to high heat until firm and opaque, turning once.
For the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté until softened. Add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute or until the aroma from the curry is released, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the basil, salt and red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
Yield: 4 main-dish servings or 8 appetizer servings
The Junior League of Tampa Publishes First-Ever E-book
Women leading change, move popular cookbooks to a new digital platform.
It was more than 50 years ago when The Junior League of Tampa, Inc. published its first cookbook as means to fund their programs and projects. Now, advancing with new technology, The League has released its first-ever e-book—The Life of the Party.
The Life of the Party cookbook, originally published in 2003, is Volume I in a series from The Junior League of Tampa’s Culinary Collection. This colorfully unique body of delicious recipes, embraces the attitude that less is more; less time spent in the kitchen and more time with your guests. It’s with that same theme, that the evolution of Life of the Party to an e-book came about.
“We are very proud to be the first Junior League to publish an e-book cookbook,” said Ashley Hoff, Cookbook Co-Chair. “We’ve done the research and realize that to keep up with the busy nature of people’s daily lives, we need to offer our books in a fresh, new way that makes it easy to access and appeals to all audiences.”
This e-book cookbook is a welcomed addition to the award-winning cookbook series, which also includes The Gasparilla Cookbook, EveryDay Feasts and Savor the Seasons.
For 88 years, the Junior League of Tampa has been committed to community service and volunteerism. In that time, The League has leveraged cookbooks, as a fundraiser and a way to spread awareness throughout the community. Since its humble beginning, with 22 women, The League has grown and transitioned to more than 700 active members and devotes more than 60,000 hours of service to the community each year, while spending more than $250,000 annually on projects.
The e-book is available for download on more than 50 digital stores including the Amazon Kindle Store, iBooks, Kobo and the Barnes & Noble NOOK Bookstore. It retails for $10.99. Proceeds from the sale of this cookbook will be reinvested in the Tampa community through The League’s projects and programs.