Posts tagged pumpkin
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

quinoa with brussels sprouts and pumpkin

quinoa with brussels sprouts and pumpkin

Hello, friends! It’s been while.

Sorry for the long silence. I’ve been meaning to write for quite some time. I had plans to post a week ago, in fact, while I was in LA for the IFBC Santa Monica conference. But that was the day I felt like the death was coming over me and I wound up sleeping all day in the hotel.

Continue reading quinoa with brussels sprouts and pumpkin.

Monday, November 8, 2010

brown butter maple pumpkin bread

brown butter pumpkin bread

I am in dire need of a weekend morning butler. Specifically for the duties of coffee and coffee cake. It would greatly improve my mornings. Andrew, I hope you’re reading this, in case, um, you need Hannukah gift ideas, a morning butler would be amazing!

A typical weekend morning in our household goes a little like this. Around seven o’clock, my body decides that it no longer wants to be asleep. Nevermind that I very much want to be asleep and my brain is quite content being in close contact with a pillow. But my body, well, it has other plans. My body decides that it wants to be up and about, getting ahead with the day, going to the farmer’s market, picking up groceries, figuring out the Sunday supper menu.

pumpkin puree

But what my body doesn’t realize fully is that until it ingests about 2 cups of coffee, it, along with my brain, is amazingly, utterly useless. The tricky part is actually making coffee before you’ve fully woken up. This rather simple task of measuring out water, coffee, pouring the water into the machine, and pressing the “brew” button – is challenging for my uncaffeinated brain. I should do like Andrew does and just force myself to sleep a little longer, but I just wind up tossing and turning. And so I get up early and run errands before Andrew wakes up.

Continue reading brown butter maple pumpkin bread.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

Consider this a lesson in scale. Something no cookbook will really tell you. You won’t see in the notes something like “If multiplying batches, strongly suggesting NOT trying to mix them all in one batch as your kitchen equipment is designed for home-sized batches, not bakery-sized ones”. Pretty obvious, right? And yet it wasn’t to me, until a few days ago. But now I know – when scaling things in multiples, you might want to do a few batches, to save your sanity and your equipment. In any case, this is a cautionary tale, just for you.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frostingpumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

As a total aside, I often wonder how various people cook under pressure. Like when you realize that what you’re doing might not work out, or that you missed a crucial step in the process (not that it’s ever happened to me; goodness, no!) and are trying to add this step later, and you get all focused and tense, or maybe you just remain completely cool as a cucumber, or maybe you hum? Me, I become sullen, focused, quiet. I want to be left alone; I don’t want to converse. I just want to get through the bump in the road and get beyond it. I tend to scrunch up my nose and purse my lips and squint a lot. Did you envision that lovely visage? Yes, that’s me, trying to focus. Stunning, I know.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

So, back to scaling and home kitchens and fun with all that. If you’re ever asked to do a larger-scale baking job, you should consider a thing or two. Like, the fact that you have a kitchen for home use. Or the concept of batches. Or the fact that perhaps even though you have a “Professional” strength mixer, your 5 quart bowl is anything but a professional size. Because you know, if you were um, say, a bakery, you’d be making dozens of cupcakes, not a mere dozen. And perhaps, you, dear readers, would have the foresight to consider all that, but lately, I’ve been in a whirl of work and travel I think my brain is full. I ought to sit down and think for a minute, but I don’t have that minute. Sigh.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

The other thing you want to make sure you’re good at, if you’re scaling a project like this, is multiplication and fractions. Now, fractions – I got this. In fact, I’m all over fractions, being that I work in finance. But if fractions ain’t your bag, get some help from a math-inclined friend, because when you are looking at 5/8 of a teaspoon measure of something and have to multiply it by three, that’s when you wish you really did pay attention in your math class.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

So how did I get to baking four dozen cupcakes in one sitting? Well, last weekend my friends Bill and Josey tied the knot, and I think my friends and I set some kind of a record for non-stop dancing at a wedding because that is pretty much all we did. And a few weeks prior to the wedding itself, Josey and Bill sheepishly asked me if I would make cupcakes for their rehearsal dinner. In response, I enthusiastically started to jump up and down. They took that as a yes.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

Because fall is full of amazing flavors and smells, I wanted to make cupcakes that would celebrate the season. And when I think of fall, I first think of pumpkin. I can’t go a block without seeing them displayed in stores, at farmers’ markets, on steps of brownstones (albeit the decorative pumpkins aren’t the ones you eat). I decided that I wanted to do a spiced pumpkin cupcake with a cream cheese frosting sweetened with some maple syrup, and thought (what naivete!) that I was being original and genius at creating something new. But when I excitedly wrote a friend about my new baking project, she responded, sounding a bit been-there-done-that “Oh like the cake David Leite made and Smitten refashioned into cupcakes?”

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

A few google searches later, I realized that my ideas were hardly original. And not only did Deb go ahead and make cupcakes, she piped the most beautiful roses on them as well. I’ve never piped any flower onto any cake or cupcake, so I watched the “how to” videos on YouTube ad infinitum. Please note: watching how to pipe roses and making them are two very different things. Which would explain for why my roses look out of shape and so, um, deconstructionist looking. I found that the cream cheese frosting was soft and was difficult to pipe, and my hand wasn’t used to making rose petals. If anyone can think of any tips as to perfect the matter (other than “practice, practice, practice”) I am all ears. But I do fear that I may just have to beg a bakery to take me under their wing for a week where all I do is play with frosting.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

A word or two about batches. They are (or seem to me) key in home baking where you are working with smaller bowls and containers. If you were to take this particular recipes, I recommend the following: take the ingredients below, multiply them by 3 and then divide by 2 to get your 2 batches. That way you measure everything out exactly, and not eyeball it (like, ahem, some people here) which then necessitates a few Hail-Marys in hopes that your eyeballing was good enough not to wreck a batch of cupcakes. You can also weigh your ingredients and do batches that way, as Lisa brilliantly suggested to me last night.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

Also, for cookware, I seriously recommend having 2 muffin trays. I think 2 is not an unreasonable number to have and you will certainly need it at one point or another, so stock up accordingly. The ones I like you can buy either here or here. I generally shy away from dark colored non-stick bake ware and find this non-descript light metal work best.

pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cinnamon frosting

In the end, this is all non-tricky stuff. The cake batter isn’t finicky. The frosting comes together like a dream. It’s sort of an easy process, but if you do wind up making four dozen cupcakes, be sure to give yourself a day to do it. Piping flowers takes time and is much trickier than it looks. But if you know what you’re going in for, you are prepared, you remain calm and you emerge triumphant, with boxes of cupcakes whisked away to a rehearsal dinner or whatever event you’re making them for. Your forehead will remain uncreased; your nose – unscrunched; and instead of pursing your lips, you might even be smiling to yourself as you lick the frosting off your fingers.

Continue reading pumpkin spice cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

roasted pumpkin soup

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

My goodness where did the week go? I feel as if long weekends make for hectic weeks, which are short, but so packed with activities, I wind up being more exhausted. I know I shouldn’t complain about getting Monday off. Who complains about that? Surely, my mind is not in the right place. Having Monday off allowed me to have a lovely morning, coffee with a friend and I was able to cook dinner for two wonderful friends, Paul and Sharon, who recently got engaged. But more on that later. That’s a whole separate post right there.

i heart pumpkin!

Paul happens to be one of those poor souls who had to work on Monday and so were he to read my lamentations above, would not take too kindly to such sentiment. I’m sure he would have traded my day for his, culinary adventures and all.

golden brown

This dinner was really a way to rescue some of my produce that started to look droopy and sad. This happens a lot in Sassy Radish kitchen. I get very excited about the beautiful fruits and vegetables I see at my neighborhood grocer, stock up, and then… life sort of happens and before you know it, it’s been five whole days and my turnips are looking mushy, herbs are turning that brownish green and carrots going limp. In this case, it was a pumpkin I had bought a few weeks before, excited that fresh pumpkin was still lying around, even though Halloween was long gone and forgotten.

scoop out the flesh with a spoonfleshy pumpkin - it's AIN'T pretty

I brought this pumpkin home, and even named him Stanley (a perfectly respectable name for a pumpkin, no?), but I failed to have a plan for it. For awhile it served as a lovely fall-nostalgic centerpiece, but then I put it in the refrigerator fearing it might go rancid. And so, the time to make this pumpkin had come. And while I entertained many a recipe for Stanley to shine in, nothing truly stuck out.

mire poix

That is until I saw this recipe just browsing and immediately everything clicked in its place. And let me tell you, this soup is both comforting and sexy. It’s fuzzy slippers and sleek stilettos wrapped in one, and I’m not trying to tell you that this soup looks like a shoe and feels like a sneaker. It simply has qualities of both. The cooked down pumpkin is soft, comforting and nourishing. The kind of thing you’d want after a long day in the office. But the spices give it the kind of sophistication that elevate this soup from every day to something special. And look, with only half a cup of cream used in the whole batch, it’s still a healthy meal. See how good I am to you? Now, go ahead, get that dessert you know you really want – the soup more than makes up for it.

Continue reading roasted pumpkin soup.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

pumpkin ricotta pancakes

pumpkin ricotta pancakes

Where did we leave off? Oh, that’s right, I was telling you about my love affair with ricotta. I wasn’t kidding you know because I was in this predicament, you see. I was craving pumpkins, but not just regular buttermilk pancakes, no sir. Regular pancakes were not going to do. I wanted lighter, fluffier, delicate pancakes. Pancakes that would almost dissolve upon hitting my tongue. Which, of course, meant adding some ricotta. See, how clever I am in making sure my current obsession makes an appearance.

pumpkin ricotta pancakes

Of course, I had to make it more complicated, or what fun would it be? When I think of ricotta pancakes, I usually think of lemon ricotta pancakes. And the ones I wrote about awhile back were stunning and decadent. And yet, in the middle of November, days before Thanksgiving, I had pumpkin on my mind. Pumpkin ricotta pancakes – why not? But that meant I had to create a recipe from various sources because I searched far and wide and while I found pumpkin pancakes and lemon ricotta pancakes, there were no pumpkin ricotta ones anywhere.

grade b, baby!!

Plus, I think this is all very à propos, because something tells me that after this Thursday some of you might have some leftover pumpkin and you might want to figure out a way to use it. And besides, who doesn’t love pancakes the day after Thanksgiving?

pumpkin ricotta pancakes

If you can spend the day in your pajamas lounging around, what better way to start it than with a plate of these?

Continue reading pumpkin ricotta pancakes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

pumpkin bread with cranberries

i could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting...

If I told you I’ve been waiting half a year to bake pumpkin bread, would you think me pathetic? Entire two seasons passed and not a week went by that I didn’t think of pumpkin bread and how delicious the house will smell when it’s baking in the oven. Of course, pumpkin/cinnamon/clove scents aren’t quite summery, so I had to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Until the days got shorter, nights grew longer and there was a distinct chill in the air. I would eat my berry crumbles and they would make me weak in my knees, but I was committing baked-good adultery – and thinking, longingly of the pumpkin bread.

The can of pumpkin puree that has found itself in our cupboards somehow (don’t look at me, I didn’t buy it) had to be used for something glorious and celebratory of my favorite season. I had a few ideas for it, but pumpkin bread was the first and foremost project. I’ll be making KS’s favorite pumpkin treat soon enough – this time, I just had to be selfish.

that spatula had the time of her life

If you haven’t figured this out by now, I’m a huge fan of something tart in my otherwise sweet baked goods. A little bright pop of cranberry, in my opinion, brightens up pumpkin or banana bread and punches up their smoky, caramel flavors. And if you are wondering how on earth I managed to find cranberries before Thanksgiving season, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I buy a few bags of fresh cranberries every November and then I stick them in the freezer – and believe it or not, those bags last for months and months – allowing me always to have fresh cranberries on hand. I’ve even managed to make fresh cranberry sauce in April once!

i couldn't resist with the frozen cranberries again so perfectly warm and fragrant

As with many types of baked bread like this, you can pretty much add a combination or all of the spices listed below. I didn’t have allspice on hand this time, so I skipped it and the results weren’t too shabby. And some people dislike cloves so they skip it altogether. When I make this next time, I’ll most likely omit the walnuts – I decided to try them this time, but I am just not a nuts-in-my-banana-or-pumpkin-bread kinda girl. The recipe was inspired by Elise, yet again, who posted her pumpkin muffin recipe and since I was lacking those little paper cup things you pour muffin batter in, I decided to do a solid loaf instead.

green egg, no ham

Oh and before I forget, this has nothing to do with pumpkin bread, but everything to do with green eggs. Apparently, there is such a thing as a green egg and no, it’s not rotten and it’s perfectly good for consumption! At last Saturday’s farmer’s market, the young man who sells me eggs, as well as pasture-raised meat (and the most heavenly chorizo I’ve had to date!), opened up an egg carton to check for cracks and breaks and informed me with glee that there was a green egg in my carton. A green egg, I asked? Can I eat it? Is it rotten? Was Dr. Seuss onto something? Yes, no, and yes, were the farmer’s responses, after which he explained to me that a green egg is produced by some special hens and the egg doesn’t look white, per se, it looks rather a bit blue-green. Some folks even think them more nutritious and so request only green eggs from the farmer. I couldn’t wait to try our first green egg so we soft-boiled it and shared it that very morning. It was delicious – and unless I’m imagining things, tasted a bit more eggy – the yolk seemed a bit more orange and almost buttery in flavor. And so you have it, green egg sans ham – delicious and something new! And while I’m sorry to have rambled thus about something that has nothing to do with pumpkin bread (unless you count the two eggs that went into the batter) – I wanted to tell you about it nonetheless and if you know anything about green eggs, let me know – I’d love to learn!

Continue reading pumpkin bread with cranberries.