from scratch

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins by Nate Everett

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Autumn would be incomplete without feasting on my favorite baked good of the season: pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Warm dollops of sugary goodness.

A note, when the muffins have finished baking, check for doneness by plunging a toothpick into one of the muffins. There is a very good chance that your toothpick will pierce a melty chocolate chip instead of the batter, thus you will likely need to test several areas of a muffin to check if the batter has baked completely. If the toothpick comes out clean, then they are done baking; if the toothpick is coated with batter, then bake the muffins for a few minutes more.

Yields two dozen muffins. Feeds four.

recipe

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 tbsp ground ginger

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp allspice

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 pound plain pumpkin puree

  • 2 sticks butter, melted & cooled to room temperature

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Place an oven rack in the middle part of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Line two muffin pans with baking cups.

  2. Measure out the dry ingredients and put them in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together until combined.

  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan or the microwave. Allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.

  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs until homogenized.

  5. Add the butter, eggs, and pumpkin puree to the dry ingredients. Stir together thoroughly until the ingredients are well-combined, then fold in the chocolate chips.

  6. Scoop the batter into the baking cups. Fill each cup to the brim. 

  7. Put the muffin pans in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes at 375°F. See note above about checking for doneness. When the muffins have finished baking, allow them to cool for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a baking rack.

If you make this recipe, hashtag a pic to #spiceandhutch and post to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to see your culinary creations!

potato leek soup by Nate Everett

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Potato leek soup, or vichyssoise in French, is traditionally served cold, but serving it hot makes it an essential dish for your cold weather arsenal. As temperatures drop, our cravings rise for hearty food. Creamy, earthy potato leek soup is one of my favorite first courses to serve at a wintertime supper because it tastes amazing and it's ridiculously quick and easy to prepare. You can also enjoy a hot bowl of this soup as a standalone dish for a light dinner; just be sure to have toasted chive garlic bread on the side to fill up that tummy. 

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A note, leeks usually contain a bit of residual soil. Be sure to wash them thoroughly in a colander after you have chopped/prepared them to rinse out that grit. Also, when you're ready to puree the soup in Step 4, I recommend filling your blender to no more than the halfway mark; this is to avoid having piping hot soup splash over the sides when you turn on the machine. I've never done that :) 

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recipe

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, and sliced lengthwise & roughly chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 4 cups good vegetable stock or broth**
  1. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottom saucepan. Once it has melted, add the onions and sauté on medium-high heat until translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Do not allow the ingredients to brown.
  2. Add the potatoes, leeks, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to the pot. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir the mixture several times to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium or medium-low so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook for 30 minutes. 
  3. After the 30-minute mark, remove the soup from heat and puree until smooth using a blender or vegetable mill or other method of choice. Return the soup to the Dutch oven, stir in the cream, and season to taste. Garnish with chives and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche and serve. 

If you make this recipe, hashtag a pic to #spiceandhutch and post to Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter. I'd love to see your culinary creations!

*You may substitute sour cream for heavy cream.

**You may also use chicken stock or chicken broth. If you're making vichyssoise in the winter, use stock to produce a heartier soup, and broth in a summer for a lighter soup. 

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