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LOLcat - ur foods - give me them

Cheers, Kibitzers! It's getting to be cooler weather, at least around here, and shorter days -- cooking weather! There's great produce in the summer, but it's not the best time to heat up the kitchen with the oven or with big cauldrons of simmering deliciousness. No, that time is now!

I already scored a fine slow-cooker apple butter recipe from Dr. Erich Bloodaxe RN the other day, but I am greedy and want more cool-weather recipes. I want YOURS!

So I thought maybe if I shared a few of mine, you might add a few of yours in the comments. Join me below the orange autumn leaf for more.

100 pies pi pie

Ratatouille
1 fist-size onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, 1 green, 1 red, cut in strips
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 small or 2 baby eggplants, cubed
4 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
2-3 medium tomatoes, chopped
5½-oz can low-sodium V-8 juice
3 tablespoons dry red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
½ teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy lidded pot. Saute the garlic, onion, and bay leaf briefly to flavor the oil. Then add the peppers, zucchini, and eggplant. Saute, stirring, about 5 minutes, until the peppers and zucchini don’t look raw any more. Add the wine, V-8 juice, and herbs, mix thoroughly, cover, and simmer about 20 minutes, until the eggplant is tender.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste.  Mix well and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes are cooked, the vegetables are tender, and the liquid is reduced to the thickness you like. It's okay to add more wine if it seems too dry while cooking, but be cautious – the eggplant absorbs a lot of liquid at first, but releases it again later.

Serve over your favorite starch if you like; brown rice is good. Adapted from the original Moosewood Cookbook.

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Spicy Chicken Ragu

2 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed (I have been known to use boneless ones)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
3 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
28-oz can crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
12 oz uncooked pasta; orecchiette is suggested
optional:
1 cup raw coarsely chopped arugula or baby spinach
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pot and saute until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plate. Add basil, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and crushed red pepper to pot; saute 3 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Transfer chicken to work surface. Pull meat from bones and shred into strips. Return meat to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over cooked pasta tossed after cooking with arugula/spinach; top with grated cheese.

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Brandied Pumpkin Pie

1 unbaked pie crust
1 cup puréed pumpkin or similar winter squash
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3 tablespoons brandy/cognac
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon mace

This filling is likely to overflow a standard pie pan, so choose a deeper dish or do not fill to the tippy-top.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Combine ingredients in large bowl and beat with whisk until smooth and well blended. Pour into crust. Bake 10 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 300°F and bake 60-75 minutes more, or until filling is firm and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

If not serving immediately, refrigerate after cooling. Serve with whipped cream.

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Junior's Cheesecake

Yes, yes, you could just order from Junior's in Brooklyn, but they want $35 plus shipping, and this is very good.

Requires an 8-inch springform pan.

butter for the pan
¼ cup graham cracker crumbs
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sifted cornstarch
30 ounces cream cheese, softened (that's 3 8-oz and 2 3-oz!)
1 large egg
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with the graham cracker crumbs and refrigerate the pan.

In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Beat in the cream cheese, then the egg. Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and stir well.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3 hours before unmolding.

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of their evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, interesting videos, and so forth. We would also appreciate links—including quotations—to diaries, news stories, and books that you think this community would appreciate.

Please note that pie fights will be unwelcome in this community, just as in most other series at DKos.

Finally, readers may notice that most who are posting diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but that definitely does not mean that newcomers will be excluded or unwelcome. We're happy to welcome guests to our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.

KTK posts nightly at 5:00 Pacific, 6:00 Mountain, 7:00 Central, 8:00 Eastern.

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