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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sausage Pizza Lumpia

With apologies to the FilAm community...

We did something kind of crazy this Thanksgiving. We realized that we didn't have to do anything that we didn't feel like doing, as far as food goes, and decided to get away from the social constructs of what you have to cook. Instead, I made a big list of every food I'm truly thankful for, had my husband do the same, and we cross-referenced it. 

Among many dishes, we both had "pizza" in some form on our lists, but I didn't want to make a whole pizza. We were both grateful for dumplings in every way, shape, and form, so of course, my mind jumped to this: what if we made lumpia...only filled with PIZZA???

Note: a lumpia is a cigar-like roll that's deep-fried and full of meat and seasonings, with almost no vegetables other than aromatics. I love lumpias! I love eating them much more than I love making them, as making them is a bit of a process. You can find a traditional recipe here, from an AWESOME writer! If you'd like to know how I made this abomination, please read on...

Sausage Pizza Lumpia

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (pork or beef is just fine!)
  • 3 oz carrots, shredded fine
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella (I used the vegan version by VioLife!) 
  • 3 Tbsp shredded parmesan(still the vegan kind!) or nutritional yeast
  • 1 oz mushrooms, minced
  • 2 sprigs each thyme, rosemary, and sage, chopped fine
  • 1 egg
  • Pizza sauce, as needed
  • Egg roll or lumpia wrappers, as needed
  • Shortening or oil for deep-frying, as needed
This could not be easier to pull together. Simply combine the sausage with all ingredients except the sauce, wrappers, and shortening and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. While this step isn't exactly necessary, it's going to help everything mesh. You can also use this time to set up your rolling station. I recommend doing this with a beloved partner, a friend you've been plodding with, or your children, like how my mom did it with me.

I set up this station with my husband. This is:
  • Wrappers
  • A small bowl of water
  • A personal paper towel (for wiping fingers)
  • The pizza sauce
  • A plate to put the finished lumpia on
  • (Unseen) The bowl of filling
Simply smear the pizza sauce on the wrapper, spoon some filling on (about 2 oz) in a log-shape, and roll up, using a wet finger to seal like an envelope. Immediately get these into the freezer, once all finished, and let hang out until you're ready to deep-fry. It is much better to fry these from a frozen state if you can at all help it. I've noticed that you can get crispier skin without darkening while cooking everything all the way through this way, but I don't exactly know why.

I like to use shortening for deep-frying purposes. Hydrogenated lard will do just fine in almost any purpose, and will last you several deep-frying sessions before you need to get rid of it. I also prefer it because it solidifies at room temperature, which means cleanup is a little easier than if it were a liquid. All you do is scoop it into the trash bag instead of having to find a vessel to pour oil in! 

Heat your oil to 350 degrees F and be sure to use a candy thermometer! I like the glass kind that sticks straight in the pot with clear lines. They're quite easy to clean and durable to boot! All you do now is deep fry the lumpia in batches of 3 or 4 until cooked through and golden-brown, which takes about five minutes. Be sure to not add too many to the hot oil all at once, otherwise, the temperature of the oil will go down too drastically and the lumpia will get greasy as a result.

Serve with a warmed marinara sauce for dipping, and you've got a winner!

The taste is so similar to a sausage-filled pizza! I invite you to try it with your own favorite pizza toppings, like bell peppers, anchovies, fresh basil leaves, chicken, chopped pepperoni, or more! The best part about this, like pizza, is that it's so easy to personalize. I do recommend making a lot all at once and freezing ahead, if you can at all help it.

Thanks so much for coming on this journey with me! I hope you all had a fun and safe Thanksgiving that was quiet and happy. I know I enjoyed the quiet celebration that I had with just my husband. There was no stress, no family fighting, no awful kale and corn salad that some body bought at the grocery store just before the feast... Just him, me, and more food than we'll ever eat in one go.

Happy cooking, and happy eating!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Maple Rosedale Pumpkin Pie


Maple Rosedale Pumpkin Pie

yields 1 9" pie

  • 15 oz roasted squash puree
    • Mine was from my special Rosedale pumpkin!
  • 4 oz (a generous half cup) granulated sugar
  • 3 oz (about 1/3 cup) grade A maple syrup
  • 3 eggs, ideally organic
  • 1/2 c almond milk
  • 10 coriander seeds or 1/2 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 spicebush berries, dried
    • If you can't find these, use 2 allspice berries plus 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 Chinese long peppercorn 
  • 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
    • Check out my Partners page for good resources!
  • A fat pinch of kosher salt
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and prepare a sheet pan lined with either aluminum foil or a Silpat mat. Roll out your favorite pie crust into a glass pie dish (I prefer glass because I can see the bottom and make sure it's all cooked) and decorate as you like. I have these adorable cookie cutters that resemble leaves, and one of them looks like a pine cone. Since I tragically couldn't find my maple leaf cutter, this was the perfect alternative! All I did was let them hang out on the cool marble slab until I was ready to use them. I didn't feel the need to refrigerate the pie piece cut-outs since this pie is so quick to put together. 

Combine your hard spices into a spice grinder and blitz until wholly powdered. You can also use a coffee grinder, in a pinch! I much prefer to use whole spices in this way, as they store much better.  Then add about 2 Tbsp of the sugar and blitz together with the spices. This really helps perfume the sugar with the spices and lends more flavor to your pie!

Whisk together the squash puree with the sugars, maple syrup, and spices until well-combined. Next, mix in the eggs, one at a time, until completely combined. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and taste. If it needs a bit more cinnamon or you'd like to add a dash of cardamom or clove, that's perfectly fine. This is your pie, after all!

Once everything is combined and well-mixed, pour your mixture into your prepared crust. If you've chosen to decorate your pie with leaf or pinecone cutouts, like me, now is the time to attach them with egg wash to the sides and let the other half float along the custard top. Please remember that this is, in fact, a custard pie so I don't recommend a lattice top to finish. Go and have some fun with the outer crust, instead!

Bake at 325 for 3(three) twenty-minute intervals in which the pie is rotated gently in the oven. The pie sets up beautifully when baked low-and-slow, so be sure to not try to rush it! Now that I have your attention, and while the pie bakes and cools, let's talk a bit about the brand new Rosedale Pumpkin and the complicated world of cross-pollination. 

Everyone, meet the Rosedale Pumpkin Squash!

When you grow your own produce, either in a small Victory garden or a decent-sized homestead, there's always the possibility of cross-pollination. While there are many ways to avoid it, there is a not-insignificant amount of us gardeners that simply allow the thing to happen and see what comes of it. I noticed this strange thing growing on one of my squash plants. I got several small butternut squashes from my vines this year, but nothing was quite as big as this weird little monster. It was clear that the butternut and acorn squash had cross-pollinated, and while I could have simply cut it off and let the plant continue to make more...I was frankly too curious to not let it grow. I began taking pictures of it and telling my friends about it. We racked our brains trying to come up with a name for the squash, and it never came...I settled on 'Rosedale" squash since I live in Rosedale and that's where it grew. When I harvested it on the morning of Halloween eve and told my husband about the mysterious squash, he groggily looked at the green monstrosity and said: "So, what, it's like a ... buttercorn?"


Oh, come on! We've been trying so hard to come up with a cool name and you just pull that out of the air?! Jerk. 

I actually did a live opening of this thing on Instagram. 

I've decided to call it a pumpkin because of the stem, which is woody and quite stiff once it was dried! I was so curious as to what this tasted like. I documented everything about its cooking. It had a gorgeous bright-orange flesh when cut into that quickly beaded up with drops of diamond-like dew. I roasted it slowly at 300 degrees for about 4 hours with some canola oil so it wouldn't dry out. I didn't add salt or sugar, since I wanted to taste the real thing. Sadly? It didn't taste like buttered corn, so I chose to not name it 'buttercorn.' It tasted incredibly mild, and had a texture almost akin to spaghetti squash. It had plenty of moisture in it, still, so I don't know if this wall of text is masking my disappointment well enough at the lack of distinct flavor of my little green monster. 

Oh well. I still stand by my decision to save all of the seeds for next year's planting! Who knows if the seed will be viable or not? I simply know that I'll be starting them all in seed trays and letting them hang out in the garage by the window to keep them warm and safe until they're ready to be transplanted outdoors. Maybe the second generation will be better? 

This method can be used to roast any winter squash for the sake of preserving the puree over the long winter. I highly recommend doing this, if you don't have access to a cellar (or basement) that's pest-free and is relatively climate-controlled. My deep freezer will likely see a good portion of many bags of winter squash puree this season, even though I have a good cellar that will keep all of my produce fresh over winter. These are the things you really need to think about with a global pandemic going on, and the numbers getting worse. 

I know we're all sick of hearing about Covid-19, but with everything escalating and with hospitals getting overwhelmed again, it would be irresponsible to ignore it and not talk about it. I encourage all of you to contact local farms and see what kind of winter squash they're growing and if they're willing to sell you any or do a trade for them for whatever you may be able and willing to give. I'm fortunate to have partnerships with awesome farmers here in Kansas City that have paid me in produce for doing PR work for them. There are also many farmers markets out there that are participating in a Covid relief program to get good seasonal produce to families that really need them. 


Squash - winter squash particularly - are incredibly nutrient-dense. Usually, quite high in fiber, they're a great source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Pumpkin and squash are oddly acidic, so that means they're great at encouraging white blood cells to get amped up and protect you against disease this fall and winter. Who doesn't need that? 

Most eastern medicine - seen specifically in Chinese and Ayurvedic principles - have what are known as warming and cooling foods. There's a lot that could be said about this, but all you need to know right this moment is that a "warming food" is based on the internal nature of the food product. You should have nothing but warming foods if you are recovering from an illness or surgery. Foods like chicken, chestnuts, fresh ginger, and - you guessed it - pumpkin or squash are quite warming. It's no wonder we like it in our baked goods, the most-warming kind of food you can usually have! So, really, eating a whole pumpkin pie could be good for you...

When your pie is set to room temperature, you can cut and serve immediately, but I think it's better to chill it for a couple of hours first, just to help set the custard. After that, I do suggest letting the pie come up to room temperature to serve it. This is because the squash and spices are quite fragrant, and cold temperature dulls the beautiful aromas. This is also because eating cold foods can suppress your immune system so it's better to just let stuff be at least room temperature before you eat it. 

If you're curious about more warming and cooling foods, I invite you to have some fun researching it on your own and making informed decisions on it, all with a grain of salt! My mom, a Filipinx woman, always made sure to put extra ginger in her chicken soup whenever I got sick, and I will say it seemed to kick whatever crud I was experiencing out of my lungs. 

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe! Happy cooking and happy eating!