October, 2011

Pumpkin thing #9: PANCAKES

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Holy crap you guys, these are so good they’ll make you weep.

I did change a few things. I used whole wheat flour, I used two cups of half and half instead of 1.5 cups of milk, and I tossed in some nutmeg. As written, the batter is really really thick, so if you use milk, you may want to use more than indicated as well.

In order to enjoy these to their fullest potential, you MUST use REAL maple syrup with them. It took all of my willpower to not eat all of them at once.

Pumpkin Thing #8: Cider and a Sweater

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

I got these from my brother-in-law, who just remembered he doesn’t like pumpkin things.

This was pretty good, but I will say I prefer regular cider.

On a side note, look what I finished!

Normally as I approach the end of a knitting project, I begin to get bored with it. I try the pieces on, and there’s always one or two more painful inches to go when really, I want to be done with it and move on. Joyfully, when I tried this sweater on right before the hem, it was the perfect length and the perfect fit!

This pattern is from Knitscene Fall 2008, called the Opulent Raglan. The changes I made:
~Twisted stitches on either side of center cable were mirrored (left twist on left, right twist on right.)
~Twisted stitches on each sleeve were mirrored (one sleeve is left twist, one sleeve is right twist.)
~Increased number of collar ribbing rows to 5 plus bindoff.
~k1p1 ribbing at bottom hem instead of folded hem.
~The biggest change I made was doubling the number of waist shaping decreases and increases. I have a much smaller, higher waist compared to my hips and bust, so I did 8 sets of each instead of 4.

Pumpkin thing #7: Yogurt, and a bento!

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Thank you, Target brand Archer Farms, for making dessert yogurt appropriately themed for fall.

On a side note, I’ve been craving BLTs like crazy. Really, it has all the necessary food groups. You could probably survive only on BLTs if necessary. The other day I packed myself a pretty cute BLT bento for work.

The corn was just for filler, and I like corn. Maybe next time I’ll slice my bread up into quarters so they fit in the box and replace the corn.

Pumpkin Things #5 and #6: Fritters! And Soup! With CURRY!!!

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

I made these one morning when I had some extra time before work:

Obviously, these are much better fresh. They are very slightly curry flavoured, but I bet they’d be good if you did sweet seasonings (a little sugar, cinnamon, etc.) as a dessert fritter with some ice cream or something.

Sometimes though, the sweet pumpkin stuff can be a little overwhelming, which is why I always make a curry soup with my pumpkin.

I follow this recipe exactly, and every time it’s delicious. DOUBLE PUMPKIN CURRY POWER in this meal right here.

Pumpkin thing #4: Frozen Yogurt!

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

A trip to the MOA revealed one surprise for which I was hoping, and one completely unexpected and slightly surreal surprise.

First, Pumpkin Thing #4: Frozen Yogurt!

This was really, really good. I topped it with graham cracker crumbs.

Also, who knew that Santa really liked to eat at Tony Roma’s in the off season?

Seriously, there were a dozen or more Santas all in the same place. It was weird and hilarious. Can you imagine being a 5-year old walking with Mom or Dad through MOA and all of a sudden, dozens of Santas? Or being drunk/high and seeing that? We were explaining this to some stoner guy working at Superdry and his eyes got really big and he was all “WHOA.”

Pumpkin Thing #3: Pumpkin Cheesecake and Dessertstravaganza!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

I made A LOT of dessert last weekend. I started out wanting to make mini pumpkin cheesecakes, so I took some Biscoff (the same cookies you get on Delta flights) and graham crackers and butter and made some crusts in the bottom of 12 cupcake liners. When I made my cheesecake filling, I was too lazy to open a new package of cream cheese, so I just used the half-package and adjusted.

Here’s where things went a little wonky.

Turns out that only makes enough filling for 8 cheese-cup-cakes (though I should have made 6, really, they should have been filled all the way to the top.) which left me with 4 crusts with no filling. At this point, I decided the best course of action was to make an apple pie. I could just put some of the apple filling in the remaining cups, and since I was using a crumb topping and not a pie crust topping, I’d put that on the little pies too! It would work perfectly!

Except, of course, that the filling I had was barely enough for the pie I was making since the only pie pan I have is DEEP. I managed to eke out two minipies, but there were still two crumb crusts left. Well crap. I just chopped up some apples, mixed them with brown sugar, flour, and craisins and said to hell with it.

I am pleased to announce that not only was my pie the best fucking apple pie EVER…

All three of my mini desserts turned out pretty good as well. So good, even when I dropped a bunch of them they all held their shape!

The pumpkin cheesecakes were a real accomplishment for me though. I don’t bake very often, I’m more of a “make dinner” person than I am a “make dessert” person, so I’d never made cheesecake before. And I was convinced I was doing it completely wrong because they took SO LONG to finish baking, almost triple the time for every recipe I checked.

They are for reals delicious. Better than plain cheesecake. It’s going on my “make every fall” list.

Apple Picking!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Every fall, I go to an orchard to pick a buttload of apples and pumpkins. I start looking forward to doing this around July, like an antsy kid waiting for Halloween. It was unreasonably warm when we went picking, so it felt a bit strange and un-autumnlike. However, I get to see some of my favourite kids around and spend the morning wandering through the orchard and acting nonsense on a playground.

The bright sunny day made for better pictures than it would have if it was overcast, and since the leaves were changing already, despite the temperature (something in the 80s!) the whole place felt warm and happy.

I got a big bag (maybe a little less than 1/2 bushel) each of Haralsons, Honey Golds, and Honey Crisps. I’ve been eating all of them pretty much every day, but there has been one FANTASTIC pie made so far, and I may try to find a way to make and freeze another pie.

I got two pumpkins too, but the pumpkin patches weren’t as photogenic as the orchards. I had a difficult time finding two pumpkins suitable for my purposes, but I did manage at the end. Many many pumpkin things await!

Pumpkin Thing #2: Seeds two ways!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

I did my apple and pumpkin picking about a week ago (I’ll do a post on that later) and did my pumpkin roasting the next day. Along with pumpkin roasting comes pumpkin SEED roasting. The first pumpkin only gave me about 1.5 cups of seeds, so I had to improvise a little bit with the roasting, and decided to spice things up a bit this go round. I used 1 tsp of olive oil and one tsp of butter for each 0.5 cups of seeds, then added seasoning to suit.

In the back, we have parmesan roasted seeds. These were super tasty and a good little savoury snack. Easy peasy, as much grated parmesan cheese as you want (I think I used 2tbsp per half cup of seeds, but I didn’t really measure).
In the front, cinnamon sugar roasted seeds. If, like me, you have an incorrigible sweet tooth, these are your jammy. Per half cup of seeds and fats as above, 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more, again kinda eyeballed it) and a pinch or two of nutmeg.
Tray was roasted pretty low temp, probably 300 or 325, for maybe 40 minutes. I watched them to make sure they didn’t burn) the cinnamon sugar ones are especially susceptible to this) but I think the temps were low enough that they dried and roasted nicely. They were so tasty I wish I had more seeds!

Pumpkin thing #1: BEER

Monday, October 17th, 2011

I’m starting my pumpkination celebration with a libation. See that label? It says “Ale Brewed With Pumpkins”

Okay, the label is hard to read, but there’s a bigass pumpkin right on it, so trust me, it says it has pumpkin in it. I think I read somewhere that a number of places had run out of this particular pumpkin beer (made by Southern Tier brewery?) so I guess a gold star for me for getting one. It was, I suppose, as pumpkiny as you could expect a beer to be, but it was almost overwhelmed by the hoppiness and spiciness. All told, a decent way to start my pumpkin-flavoured journey.

Pumpkin Things!

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I am one of those people who spends the entire month of October eating as many pumpkin-based foodstuffs on which I can get my hands. If I recall correctly, last year I had 16, so that’s the goal for this year. I do, however have some very important rules and all pumpkin-based foodstuffs must meet the following criteria:

1. All items must be actually pumpkin flavoured. I like pumpkin spice as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t count. It should have actual pumpkin in it.
1a. The SINGLE SOLITARY EXCEPTION to this rule is pumpkin seeds. I pick pumpkins and roast both the pumpkin and the seeds from my bounty, so I feel like I earn that one. I’m not sure that I’d count it if I just bought them, but because I saw them come out of a pumpkin with my own eyes, they count.
2. Homemade pumpkin items can count, but you have to be reasonable about it. Pumpkin quick bread and muffins ARE THE SAME THING. Pumpkin cake and cupcakes ARE THE SAME THING. Making five variations of pumpkin bread doesn’t mean you can count five things. Variety is the point!
2a. Similar things can count separately if there is a markedly discernible difference between the two. For example, I have two different pumpkin beers this year. One is brewed only with pumpkins, one is brewed with pumpkins, cranberries, and other stuff. I suspect they will taste completely different. This makes them different enough to count as separate entities.
3. Like rule 2, purchased pumpkin things count, but buying different brands does not count as separate pumpkin-based foodstuffs. Once I have pumpkin pie yogurt from one brand, no other brand of pumpkin pie yogurt counts.

Now that we’ve established the rules, I’ll be posting my pumpkin-based foodstuff adventures for the rest of the month! Hooray!