Thursday, October 13, 2011

Adventures in Orange

The smells of Autumn!
The continuing story of my pumpkins! But first I must share with you my latest non-food related project: I'm selling raffle tickets. I make dolls and sell them here, and I am participating in a Christmas Bazaar at church this year. In the past, when I've done craft fairs, I've always had a raffle to go with it. The prizes this year are a Nativity Scene, a Priest and an Angel. Tickets are $1.00 a piece, and I will have a button up soon so you can buy them. Or you can buy a doll from my shop, that will come with a handful of tickets also.  

Back to my love of orange; with the first pumpkin I made pumpkin bread. I didn't have a proper recipe for it, but it was simple; I took my recipe for Banana Bread and substituted pumpkin for the bananas, and added the standard blend of spices for a pumpkin pie (cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg--I don't have cloves yet). It was good, and very moist. If we'd had cream cheese or whipped cream it would have been perfect. It was good enough to eat plain and cold, too.

I promised Mary-Kate I would say something about the pumpkin seeds; so here goes:

PUMPKIN SEEDS!


Just kidding! But really, if you haven't tried them yet I have to ask, What are you waiting for? They are so easy, and such a fun snack. The first time Thing One had some, he laughed each time he bit one and heard it crack in his mouth. When you are cleaning out the pumpkin to carve a face, just put the seeds in a bowl of water and clean them off. The first time I did it, I let them dry out on a baking sheet in the oven overnight; this time I didn't. I do think the drying out helps, but I'd have to try it a few more times to be sure. Once dry, lightly coat the seeds in oil and salt, and whatever other spices you like. My mom always used a packet of ranch seasoning. I've used garlic and sage, and plain sea salt.

We've promised him a face this year.
The key to roasting them properly is to watch them. I did mine at 350degrees, but I took the sheet out and stirred the seeds several times, until they were done. Some of mine got burnt; but what can I say, I didn't watch them like I should have. I don't think it matters what kind of pan you roast them in, so long as they are in one flat layer. I've stored them for a week in an airtight bag on the counter (there is never enough to see if they'd last longer), the current batch is sitting in an open bowl on the microwave—they haven't dried out yet.

And finally. . . the one I've wanted to tell you about all along—I made pumpkin flavored coffee creamer!

It's the second time I've made my own flavored coffee creamer. The first was a peppermint, and was good. What I did this time was simmer 2/3 cup of milk with about ¼ cup of the pumpkin puree. I added between 3 and 4 tbsp sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice; I'm not sure how much of each spice, though, I just sprinkled until it smelled right. I let the whole thing scald over a very low heat for a while—the important thing was to cook it without letting it form a skin on the top! And I stirred often. I stored it in a glass jar, and at the end of a week it seemed to be going bad. I used milk because cream is very expensive and is something that we will only buy for special occasions.

And now I have to start dinner; I'm making fish cakes!

Arrivederci!
--Zizi








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