Category: Pumpkin

Pie 101 – Pumpkin

Pie 101 – Pumpkin

         
Pumpkin Pie should quiver, shiver, and shimmer. 


If your pie is solid and unmoving–like old jello-it’s overdone or old.  If  the filling is pulling away from the crust, it was made too many days ago.  Is it cracked?   Well, that just happens once in a while (probably overbaked)–but next time bake it for less time and see if you can avoid that. Continue reading “Pie 101 – Pumpkin”

Curried Pumpkin Soup or Julie Used to Live Here

Curried Pumpkin Soup or Julie Used to Live Here

 

I adore pumpkin in nearly any form.  I think I love pumpkins because they appear during my birthday month.  Maybe not, though.  Because, truly:  I love to eat them.  Almost any way.  While I’m sure pumpkin soup has been around a long time (A quick peek at my historical cookbooks, however makes no mention of it.  American Cookery 1796 has a recipe for Pumpkin Pudding.  Fanny Farmer, 1896, lists only pumpkin pie.  The  Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1931, has listings for canning pumpkin, making pumpkin custard, jam, and pie with cheese crust–but no soup,) I had never tasted it until 1985 when we went to live in Spokane, Washington, and my God’s gift of a neighbor, Joyce Smith, made pumpkin soup in the pumpkins for a holiday meal.  Ten years later, I traveled right here to St. Paul, and good cook Lani Jordan whipped up a pumpkin-peanut butter soup for Sue’s birthday lunch.

My own soup was years later coming.  Late 90’s maybe.  By now, it comes in several guises.  I sometimes blend cooked, ripe pears and apples into the mix.. or other batches contain a touch of vanilla and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top.  One memorable pot was ladled into bowls with my sweet-crunch  “Go Nuts” as garnish.  I’ve also been known to use a mix of squashes and vegetables (also cooked dried beans) with the soup and up the heat factor, as well.

While, according to an old Craig Claiborne book, you can steam unpeeled pieces of pumpkin and later peel and mash them, I’m by now definitely attached to opening a can.  As are many women.  And…
Pumpkin anything is pretty simple if you’re willing to used canned pumpkin.  I also adore butternut squash soup, but if you want to make butternut squash anything,  you have to peel and cook the rock-hard thing.  Which takes a lot of effort.  I buy a new peeler every year because the winter squash wreaks havoc with them.  Even Paula Deen gets one of her boys to peel her squash.   (My children don’t seem to be waiting in the wings to peel my squash.  Where are you?)   Your other option is to pay through the nose for already cut-up butternut squash.  I’m not doing that.   But pumpkin!  Well, that’s why God made Libby’s, right?  (Or go ahead and roast or microwave a whole one if you have to, but after trying it once,  you’ll head to the grocery store canned aisle.)  I seem to be on a pumpkin jag lately–both in this blog and in Dinner Place.    So!  Go ahead and make pumpkin soup.  Did I say it’s quick?  (Doubles or triples easily for a larger group.)

CURRIED PUMPKIN SOUP

serves 4  (or 6 small first course servings)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup each chopped onion and celery
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-2 inch pieces (don’t peel)
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (more if your curry powder is mild)
  • 1 quart (4 cups, 32 ounces) low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil in a 4-6 quart small stockpot over medium heat and add onions, celery, and carrots.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper and cook five minutes or so until somewhat softened.  Add parsley and garlic during last minute of cooking.
  2. Pour in chicken stock and stir in pumpkin and applesauce.  Add curry and ginger.  Stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir again.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer until the vegetables are quite tender.
  4. Puree using immersion blender in pot or pour soup into food processor or blender and puree in small batches.  Whichever method you choose, be quite careful; the soup is hot.  If using blender, hold down a doubled up dish towel over the lid to keep it tightly in place.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls, top with a sprig or two of parsley and drizzle  with a bit of heavy cream to create an attractive pattern.

*I keep a variety of small jars of curry powder, but like Penzey’s Maharajah curry powder as the spices are the ones I enjoy and the heat is moderate.  If you use a hotter powder, use a bit less.  If you use a milder one, you might want to add a few drops of hot sauce.  You can also make your own curry powder from ground tumeric, coriander, cumin, cardomom, fenugreek, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, etc.  Or you can read The Surly Vegetarian and get a great recipe for curry.

{printable recipe}

Two-Dog Kitchen and Life in the ‘Hood

Cooks just want to have fun:  Making pie crust cookies.

 

The last of Wendy’s heirloom tomatoes that ripened on the windowsill in my dining room for two weeks.

 

Under 5 minutes in the microwave:  great acorn squash.

 

Rustica Bakery, Minneapolis:  on BA’s list of ten best bakeries in the U.S.   Yep.

 

Rustica Bakery’s almond croissant.

 

Rustica Bakery:  a bit more elegant garnish, eh?  This is their latte.

 

58 years in the neighborhood, Troos comes to check Dave’s work on the vegetable garden.

 

Under the bushes he dug out, an old glass jar appears.

 

Appears to have been buried by Julie in 1965.  Troos doesn’t remember Julie.

 

One of the thousands of crazy, crazy squirrels in Tangletown this year.

 

This is a tiny bush with precious blooms in my south garden.

 

This chickadee cracks her seeds between her toes.

 

 

All cleaned up for Opus and Olives Sunday night downtown with 850 other Friends of the St. Paul Library supporters.

 

Lani and Jeanne after dinner having fun.

 It’s been a warm week.  Two days we even had the AC on to cook and sleep.  Weird October.
We have guests for dinner two nights coming up,a trip south with a friend to pick up a new puppy, Book Club here Tuesday, rehearsal on Wednesday and also Taize service in conjuction with Cabrini Catholic Church in Minneapolis.  Come worship@ 6:30 (Wed, 10/14) at Prospect Park United Methodist.  Take an hour bite out of your life to unplug, sit quietly, and reflect.  It’d do ya good.  Sounds like we’ll need it too.

Sing a new song of fall…leaves and pumpkins and wind and cooler temperatures,
Alyce

Pumpkin-Ginger Bread–or Alyce Tweaks the Pumpkin Bread One More Time

Pumpkin-Ginger Bread–or Alyce Tweaks the Pumpkin Bread One More Time

Muffin version in front of my winter herb window

PREVIEW:  DROP IN AND DECORATE IS MONDAY, DECEMBER 20 4-8PM

COME BY ALYCE’S TO DECORATE A FEW COOKIES, SHARE A MEAL OF SOUP AND BREAD, OR TO JUST ENJOY THE SEASON.  COOKIES WILL BE HAND-DELIVERED TO THE BRIDGE, ASSISTED LIVING CENTER THE FOLLOWING DAY.  PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR.  SEE YOU THEN!!!! 

One or two things I make during the holiday season go from September-January.  Pumpkin bread is one of them.  If you know me well, you’ve eaten my pumpkin bread.  I have several versions and every one is different and unique and yummy and… special.  I kind of work of it from year to year.  My choirs eat it; my husband lathers cream cheese on it.  I make it into muffins; my friends husbands say to their wives, “Why don’t you make anything like this?”  (Mostly because they’re eating cake at dinner.) 

This year, I had sweet ideas. Whoa:  Candied ginger.  Black pepper.  Cayenne.  Pumpkin seeds.  I tried it out.  Twice. Increased the ginger the second time.  Passed it around at home and elsewhere.  I took some to St. Paul, where we visited for Thanksgiving, froze our butts off, made it through a job interview (me-whewgladitzovah), 13 houses,  and came home drop-in-bed sick from.  We ate it there for breakfast.  Every day. Ah.  Thanksgiving time!  So I’m keeping this version.  It seemed to go over well, even with Sue’s friend Gladys, a top-notch cook and baker at 91.  She did say, however,

“WHAT is in this?  I don’t like eating stuff when I don’t know what’s in it.” 

I think it was the candied ginger and the cranberries.  Of course the black pepper might have done it, too.  Or the cayenne.  Well.   I like pepper in bread; sue me.  And I’m gonna go right on making it. Like that. It does make super gifts and can be made as tiny loaves, muffins or big loaves.  Maybe even T-tiny muffins for a buffet.  Try it; you’ll like it.  Everyone else did.  Better make a bunch.  (Provenance:  I think the original recipe for this came from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK.)  Freezes well.  (No longer than 2-3 weeks, though)

Pumpkin seeds.  Use some in the bread.  Eat the rest.  Good for you.  Great in bread!

Alyce’s Newest Pumpkin Bread Featuring Candied Ginger and Black Pepper.  OH, and Cayenne, too.

  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 2/3 c butter, soft (to cut fat, use half apple-sauce–no more than that)
  • 2 c pumpkin ( a can is 15 oz now; add applesauce to complete the  2 c)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c candied ginger, minced
  • 2/3 c evaporated milk, low-fat or fat-free  (can use regular milk instead)
  • 3 1/3 c unbleached white flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 1/2 t salt  (sorry, left out of original post–corrected  11/18/11)
  • 2t Chinese or Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1/2 t freshly-ground nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1/2 t black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4-1/3 c salted or unsalted pumpkin seeds (I like salted)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F for bread or 400 for muffins. Grease and flour pans.  For muffins pans, grease only.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together cranberries and boiling water.  Set aside.
  3. With hand-held electric or standing electric mixer, beat together in a large bowl butter, pumpkin, applesauce, eggs, sugar and candied ginger until light and fluffy.  Beat in milk until well-mixed.
  4. On top of the wet ingredients, measure dry ingredients:  flour, soda, baking powder, spices.  Carefully mix just the dry ingredients with a spoon or rubber spatula, trying to avoid mixing the dry ingredients into the wet.  Using electric mixer, beat wet and dry ingredients together until just incorporated.  Don’t over beat.  Drain cranberries well and stir into batter gently.
  5. If desired, sprinkle pumpkin seeds into bottom of prepared pans (9×5) or baby loaf pans (3×5 or similar) or muffin tins.  Use ice cream scoop for muffins. 
  6. For loaves or baby loaf pans, bake at 350 for about an hour or half-hour, respectively.  Test for doneness with a toothpick or skewer; it will come out almost clean when the bread is done.  Leave in pans 5 minutes.  Bang bottoms of pans on board, floor or counter before turning out on to racks carefully to cool completely.   If sticking, use thin, sharp knife to go around edges.  When absolutely cool, wrap well in foil.  Store on counter 1-2 days, in frig for 2-3 days, and in freezer up to 2-3 weeks.
  7. If in muffin tins, bake at 400 F for maybe 15 minutes or until nicely browned and firm to the touch.  Turn out immediately onto metal cooling racks.  Follow storage instructions above, though muffins store well in large plastic containers that are freezer safe.

This is a great pumpkin bread pan loaf.  Pan available at Williams-Sonoma.  (Design changes year to year.)

Just thought you’d like to see the options….

Bake now while it’s quiet one night.  Wrap up your treasures carefully in shiny foil. You can even put ribbons on them before you put them in the freezer.  Be ready as you move through Advent into Christmas.  Or as you hit the second day of Hanukkah.  Breathe and study.  Live and love.  Don’t get crazy over what you’re supposed to do.   Or as you live through another day…
Don’t let the light go out (see and hear song, LIGHT ONE CANDLE)  and, while you’re at it, pray that I see the the path where God is undoubtedly shining it if I just could only be aware enough…
 
Alyce

Pumpkin Soup–Making up for Thanksgiving Weekend or Moving from Thanksgiving to Advent

Pumpkin Soup–Making up for Thanksgiving Weekend or Moving from Thanksgiving to Advent

There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie…
Unless, of course, they passed around the coffee and the pumpkin pie once too often. I still have some pumpkin and pecan pie left in my refrigerator. Also one slice of the Italian Chocolate-Hazelnut torte; I promised the last slice to my son… Luckily, the rest of the leftovers are gone, G-O-N-E. Except for the extra pan of Cauliflower Gratinee that’s in the freezer. (Somewhat like gold in Ft. Knox in our house.)…and the two or three homemade crescent rolls that I couldn’t throw away. Could you?
This week marks the week half the people in the United States say, “The diet starts today; I don’t care about the holidays.” Maybe you won’t stick to that after all, even if you are still full. But perhaps you’d like something light, delicious, healthy and capable of using up a bit more of the canned pumpkin you stockpiled because you heard (here) there’d be a shortage. You’re in luck.
I’ve got a scrumptious, somewhat unusual pumpkin soup that will serve for a super week-after-Thanksgiving dinner or as a first course for some December meal. You can double it and use it for both; it freezes beautifully. It’s done in under a half an hour, but can simmer longer if you want to smell that incredible aroma a bit longer. You certainly could throw it in the crock-pot and have it wafting all day long while you decorate, clean (I clean now, not in the spring) or go off to work or the stores. It’s great if you’ve decided, against all odds, to switch three rooms in your house right now, as I have…. What was I thinking???? What possesses us to totally create havoc in our lives during Advent? Answers welcome.
( Cook’s Note: If you choose the crock-pot route, add the milk right before serving and let heat a bit longer.)
I know, I know. You almost made pumpkin soup for Thanksgiving and it’s in a lot of restaurants. I’m guessing chances are you DIDN’T make the soup for Thanksgiving and, if you had it in a restaurant, why not try this recipe? I think you might like it better if you make it yourself. I did. Leave out the peanut butter if doesn’t sound good to you.
Sides: Cranberry Muffins, of course
Wine: Off-dry or halb-trocken Riesling
PUMPKIN SOUP
serves 6 for a 1 c first course; served 3-4 for main course
1/2 large onion, halved again
2 stalks of celery, cut into thirds
2 large carrots, unpeeled, cut into large chunks
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 c fresh parsley
1 apple, peeled and cut into 1/4’s (reserve peel)
6 sage leaves (1/2 t dry)
2 sprigs thyme (or 1 t dry)
1T olive oil
15 oz can pumpkin
2 t peanut butter
1 qt chicken broth, low sodium
1/2 c evaporated non-fat milk
1 t salt; 1/2 t pepper
3-4 drops Tabasco, to taste
Garnish: 4T freshly grated parmesan
2T chopped peanuts
Pulverize first eight ingredients (onions-thyme) in food processor until almost pureed. In stockpot, pour olive oil; heat over medium heat. Add pureed vegetable mixture and apple peel; saute 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add pumpkin, broth and peanut butter. Bring to boil, stirring. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove apple peel. Add evaporated milk and season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco. Heat through and serve in warmed bowls. Top with either parmesan or chopped peanuts or both.
Our hearts are light as we travel from giving thanks to preparing to welcome a much-needed savior into our hearts…
Starting the walk to the stable and singing a new song,
Alyce
Thanksgiving-An Intimate View

Thanksgiving-An Intimate View

Thanksgiving by Walt Waldo Emerson

For each morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.

Visiting my friend Sue last month, we talked a little about Thanksgiving.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I don’t know; I haven’t decided. I would so like something really simple,” said she.

“I know exactly what you should make,” said I.

Well, of course, I had the idea and, truthfully, had done something like it before, but I had to flesh out the menu and, naturally, try it all out. And, while I adore Thanksgiving, I know it can get out of hand. You don’t know it’s gotten out of hand until you start the dishes and are still washing glasses the next day. Mostly, it’s worth it. Occasionally, though, you want a holiday to BE a holiday for everyone, including you. Well, you and one other person, a special one.

This menu is for that Thanksgiving. I include directions for a Thanksgiving for two, which is delectable. To be two, I mean–and, yes, the food, is, too. I’d say it’s more for two with plenty of leftovers, so perhaps I’d say there’s enough for four people. The whole thing easily doubles to serve eight and so on. I began cooking this meal at 6pm and we sat down (after taking boocoo pics) at 8:15. I had time in there to have a glass of wine and a couple of teensy starters, though I did have to set the table earlier in the day. I think it could have been done more quickly if I had had the recipes worked out ahead; I was improvising and writing as I went. If you try it, let me know the time!

I had so much fun doing this meal. Isn’t that what it’s about? Hope you do, too.

MENU

  • Starters:Olives and Pistachios–set out in small bowls with wine
  • First course: Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Soup (bought from deli)
  • Main course: Turkey Roulade, stuffed W/ Proscuitto/Sage/Onions/Garlic
  • Sides: Oven-Roasted Root Vegetables with Fresh Rosemary
  • Brussel Sprouts (pan-roasted) w/ Parmesan & Pumpkin Seeds
  • Home-made Spicy Cranberry Sauce w/ Apples and Lemon
  • Bread: Corn Muffins from the bakery
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Ice Cream, purchased from grocery OR Pumpkin Custards baked the day before and refrigerated (Use any pumpkin pie filling recipe and bake custards in pammed ramekins about 30 min. at 350—No crust)
  • Drinks: Wine: A to Z Riesling and Sineann Pinot Noir- Have both! Coffee: French Roast, laced with Cognac and Whipped Cream

Cook’s Hint: Get the turkey and root vegetables in the oven and then make the brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce. Set the coffee up to be ready to push the button as soon as the meal is done. If you had no time to set the table, get your friend to do it while you cook! He or she is in charge of the wine, too. Why not?

RECIPES——

OVEN-ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES W/ ROSEMARY

2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 medium onion, cut into eighths
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
5 new potatoes, cut into fourths (don’t peel)
2T olive oil
1t Kosher salt
1/2 t freshly-ground pepper
3T fresh rosemary, minced

Place all vegetables on a large, rimmed baking sheet, mixing them well. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and rosemary. Using your hands, toss. Bake about 40 minutes until tender. You can cook these at the same time you roast the turkey; times are similar. Put these in the top oven rack and put the turkey in the bottom of the oven.

TURKEY ROULADE, STUFFED WITH PROSCUITTO/SAGE/ONIONS
1 boneless turkey breast 3-4 pounds
6 slices proscuitto
3T olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T fresh sage leaves, sliced very finely
Kosher Salt
Freshly-ground Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 F.
In a small skillet, cook onion for five minutes in 1T olive oil. Add garlic and sage and saute until onion is limp. Set aside.

Lay turkey breast out flat and roll with a rolling pin until breast flattens out a little. You might need to pound it lightly. Salt and pepper the turkey well. Lay the proscuitto on breast, one piece at a time to cover, and top with the onion-sage-garlic mix. Using both hands, roll breast up gently to form a roll @5 ” thick, placing seam at bottom. Cut four 15″ pieces of kitchen twine. Slip each piece of twine under the turkey roll and tie roll together gently in four places, spacing the ties out evenly. Salt and pepper well.
Place other 2T olive oil in roasting pan and warm over medium heat on stovetop. Gently remove turkey roll to the pan and brown for 4-5 minutes, searing meat. Turn over and salt and pepper that side as well. Brown again for 4-5 minutes.

Place in bottom third of 400F oven and bake another 35-40 minutes until thermometer registers 160. (Your root vegetables are in the top of this oven) Remove from oven and let rest five minutes or so. Slice into about eight slices or as you desire.

If vegetables are done, you can still leave them in to keep very warm while the turkey rests.

PAN-ROASTED BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH PARMESAN AND PUMPKIN SEEDS

12 fresh brussel sprouts, cleaned and trimmed (Take l layer of leaves off and
cut off bottom tiny core) and cut in half
2T olive oil
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, “grated” in long pieces with a potato peeler
1/4 c pumpkin seeds
Kosher Salt and freshly-ground pepper

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add brussel sprouts. Stirring frequently to avoid burning, but still to brown nicely, cook brussel sprouts for about 10 minutes. Add parmesan and pumpkin seeds. Turn down heat to medium-low and cook until sprouts are fairly well-done, but still somewhat crispy. Take care to not burn the parmesan; it should be quite brown. Salt and pepper well.

Homemade Spicy Cranberry Sauce with Lemon and Apple

1 package fresh cranberries
Water
1/2 c brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 lemon, cut into fourths
1/2 large apple, diced, leaving peel on
1/8-1/4 t red pepper flakes to taste

In large, deep skillet, place cranberries. Add water to cover well only. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Let boil 2-3 minutes and lower heat to simmer. Cover and simmer until fruit is tender and liquid is syrupy, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room-temperature. Also good cold.

–Cook’s Note:

Easy to serve the meat and all the vegetables on one big platter:

Very easy!!! Here are my pumpkin custards…. Pie without crust.

“There’s a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy:
When they pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie.”
(well, almost!)
Some Thanksgiving Books You Might Enjoy (in no order):
CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING, by Wende and Harry Devlin. (New York:
Simon and Schuster, 1971; also Aladdin Paperbacks, 1990)
This book contains a great cranberry bread recipe….
GIVING THANKS: THANKSGIVING RECIPES AND HISTORY, FROM PILGRIMS TO PUMPKIN PIE, by Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver and Plimoth Plantation. (New York: Clarkson Potter, 2005)
THANKSGIVING 101, by Rick Rodgers. (New York: William Morrow, 2007; also in 1998 by Broadway Books)
HAPPILY GRATEFUL, compiled by Dan Zedra and Kristel Wills (Seattle: Compendium, 2009)
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING by Jean Craighead George; illus. by Thomas Locker. (New York, Putnam, 1993)
Some random thoughts about Thanksgiving——
Thanksgiving as a spiritual discipline or as a way of life is something quite interesting and lovely on which to meditate. Try it; I’d love to know what comes up.
Here are a couple of my thoughts:
I think thanksgiving is a way of living responsibly…
As a faithful person, I know I am healthier when I have a grateful heart. To not be grateful in all circumstances introduces the possibility of becoming a victim– to which there is no solution or cure.
When I live thankfully, I then live in a better place in all ways.
We all just keep working on it!
Thanksgiving, it’s not just for dinner anymore.
Sing a new song as you give thanks,
Alyce
Pumpkin Bread-Fall Storm

Pumpkin Bread-Fall Storm

I don’t know where you live. In the foothills of Colorado, fall and spring bring the worst (best?) weather. Right now, we’re getting ready for Halloween

just like the rest of the country. But we’re also in the middle of a snow storm. Luckily, I live up on this beautiful mesa just west of downtown Colorado Springs and, usually, we are somehow protected from the very worst (and deepest) of the snows. We’ve lived somewhat north of here in two different woman-killer houses (when we needed 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms– you see what could kill the woman about that) and the snows have been DEEEEEp. Here, the winds do other things and just about blow Gabby and I away some dark nights. (She barked for HOURS last night. Of course, we have a bear, too… daily clean-ups of that mess.)

Never mind, it’s still time for pumpkin bread and… all things pumpkin. More on that later. I have a soup to share that has some pumpkin. Maybe closer to Thanksgiving would be a good time for that. Meantime, check out the pumpkin cookies made from Ina Garten’s “Shortbread Cookies…” that originally came from Eli Zabar:

I made these for Halloween Night dinner, when my six-year-old grandson was coming to trick-or-treat in the ‘hood. Right now, he needs your prayers because he’s not coming for Halloween; he’s home with H1N1. (Boo-hoo)

Freezing cookies and chili for when he CAN come!

Is there anyone who doesn’t like pumpkin bread? Usually people say, “Oh, I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuv pumpkin bread.” I can’t remember a time when I didn’t make it, but, surely that time existed. I will tell you one thing:
Just use canned pumpkin.
Don’t kill a pumpkin to make this bread because the bread is no better and you might as well carve the pumpkin.
Same is true for pumpkin soup.
Same is true for pumpkin pie.
I hate to take you away from all that cutting and hand-sliming opportunity, but I tell you the truth. I’ve done it both ways and I know.

There are people whose incomes depend on canning pumpkin. Let them do it.

 –

Now, this year (2009), you just might have to do something really weird in order to get your canned pumpkin. I got mine early and I paid a fortune for it at Whole Foods because there was no pumpkin on the shelves anywhere else. My husband happens to have someone who works for him somewhere (it could be anywhere in North or South America) who also owns an organic pumpkin farm, so I had the heads-up early on. If you didn’t, you could still be sliming that big squash pretty soon despite my advice against it.
Is a pumpkin a squash or a gourd? I seem to remember it might be a berry? Anyway, you might be getting your hands into something deep. (Sorry.)Whatever you have to do, get the pumpkin and make this bread.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Coffee Cup Muffins–same recipe

 Lots of folks like it with cream cheese. I like it with butter… or plain. You choose. I’ve tweaked it over the years from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK, which is one of my very favorite baking books of all time. Might be out of print (I think it is), but you can probably get a copy from Amazon.com used. If so, get it. Original recipe calls for dates and walnuts; I still do that, too. Have some in the freezer like that right now.

Alyce’s Pumpkin Bread
makes 2 9×5″ loaves
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl, mix
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c raisins
1 c hot water (You’ll drain them in a minute.)
Set aside.
In another bowl, mix 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 t all-purpose flour; Set aside.
Grease and flour your pans. In electric mixer, or in large bowl using hand mixer, beat together
2/3 c butter, softened
2 c canned pumpkin
4 eggs
2 1/2 c sugar
2/3 c milk (I like low-fat evaporated)
Drain and add the 1/2 c ea cranberries and raisins (see above)
Stir in: 1/2 c chopped walnuts
On top of liquid ingredients add:
3 1/3 c flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
3/4 ground cloves
Mix the dry ingredients together on top of the wet and then gently mix together until flour is just barely incorporated.
Add floured chocolate chips (from the start of the recipe) and mix well.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake about 60 minutes (test at 50).
Test by inserting skewer or toothpick into middle of bread. Bread is done when skewer comes out almost clean. Let sit on rack in pans five minutes before turning out onto rack to cool completely. When very cool, wrap well in aluminum foil. Store in frig up to one week and in freezer for up to two months.
Makes nice muffins, too. Bake at 400 in greased tins for 15-17 min.
Great for Thanksgiving on the cheese tray before dinner.
Nice holiday gift in small pans. Bake 20-30 min. 350 F.

Happy Halloween, my friends. It’s wonderful whatever the weather.
This blog is dedicated to my friend, ‘Lena, who adores this bread.
I LOVE FALL—————————————————————–
Sing a new song–pull out the Peanuts Pumpkin Carols…great Halloween lyrics to traditional Christmas tunes.
Alyce
p.s. I’ve included a video of some of today’s weather and it’s sideways. I’ll try and upload it again and see if it rights itself. You’ll get the idea anyway!

  photos added 9/2012