Spiced Pumpkin Ravioli with Creme Fraiche and Chili Oil

One can only imagine the amount of canned pumpkin sold during October and November.  It’s a bit of a pumpkin craze when it comes to this time of year.  And let’s not even get started on all things pumpkin spice.  While pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread might take the lead in ways to use up that orange purée, pumpkin ravioli isn’t far behind.  Most recipes feature sage, or thyme, and lots of brown butter for spooning over the warm pasta.  But we’re going a different direction with ours.  Smoked paprika, cumin and sharp cheddar compliment all those sweet earthy pumpkin flavors in the filling, and the freshly made ravioli gets an easy but delicious topping of crème fraîche and spicy chili oil.

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Sourdough Discard Cornbread

Last year we tackled sourdough on the blog with a post all about how to make and take care of a starter, as well as a basic sourdough loaf.  Now the thing about sourdough starter is that you have to deal with something called discard.  Basically, in order for a wild yeast starter to stay active and at peak leavening capability, it needs to be fed consistently.  Since I don’t bake with my starter all the time, it is usually being stored in the fridge, which slows it down and requires less frequent feedings.  However, when I am ready to bake with it, there is a 2-4 four day process of feeding it several times a day to get it back to being active enough to leaven loaves of bread.  Each of those feedings requires me to dump off a portion so I don’t end up with a gallon of starter.  That is why you dump part of it.  Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because if you didn’t, then you’d quickly have way more starter than you could ever need.  But, instead of just throwing away the discard, it can be added to other baked goods.  While it will need help with leaven, it will still impart that wonderfully tangy sourdough flavor.

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Croissants

Who doesn’t love a croissant?  Layers of buttery flaky goodness that are somehow decadent simplicity.  And by simplicity, I mean that a good croissant can stand on its own.  No filling or jam or chicken salad needed.  However, it is one of those recipes that requires time, patience and a bit of skill.  Certainly not something you whip up every week.  A treat, a decadence, a labor of love.  But, there is something very satisfying about making your own.  So if you like a good weekend baking project, perhaps it’s time to tackle croissants.  Also included is how to form chocolate croissants and what to do with those leftover dough scraps.

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