Friday, November 19, 2010

Food For Thought

Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching.  Before we know it, Christmas will be upon us!  I'm not sure how the second half of the year speeds by so quickly, but it seems like these past few weeks have been go, go, go!  Now it's time to press the "pause button" and take a few minutes to enjoy these fleeting fall weeks and the yummy food that fits so well with the season.

Here are a few tasty recipes that fit well with this harvest time.  Of course, it's someone else's harvest!  We decided to carve our pumpkins, not eat them, so these recipes are made with pumpkin out of the can.  Maybe next year, I'll try my hand at cooking a small pumpkin and making these from scratch.  But for now, Libby's Pumpkin Puree will have to do!

Zesty Pumpkin Soup
(This is from my friend Chandra.  She found this recipe on the back of a can of pumpkin a few years ago.  Thanks for sharing!)

Swirling goodness!
1/4 cup butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 t. curry powder (I chose to use 1 T. green curry paste ... just a bit more heat.)
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. coriander
1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
16 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup half-and-half
Sour cream & Chives for garnish

Delicious aroma!
In large pot melt butter.  Saute onions and garlic until soft.  Add curry, salt, coriander and red pepper flakes; cook 1 minute.  Add broth and boil gently uncovered for about 15-20 minutes.  Stir in pumpkin and half-and-half; cook 5 minutes.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool slightly.  Pour this (by 3 batches) into blender container.  Blend until creamy.  Transfer back to pot and heat through.

Garnish sour cream and chopped chives.  Yum!

Perfect with a hunk of homemade bread.

Pumpkin Bread
(This is one of my mom's recipes.  A family favorite during the holidays.)


1 cup sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 can pumpkin
1 cup oil
4 eggs
4 cups flour (I used half wheat and half white.)
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans.)
1/2 cup water

Hearty, wholesome ingredients
In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, pumpkin, oil and eggs; beat until well blended.  In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Add dry mixture to wet ingredients and mix well.  Stir in raisins, nuts and water.   Grease two loaf pans.  Pour mixture evenly into loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool slightly on a baking rack.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  We like to eat our pumpkin bread with a little cream cheese ... almost like pumpkin pie! :)

Perfect mid-morning snack ... or midnight snack!

A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law posted a recipe for pumpkin pancakes.  Delish!  I took her recipe one step further and made them decadent!  Devine!  Go here for the recipe ... and then come back here for the topping.  

Cinnamon Brown Butter
(This is from Taste of Home ~ October & November 2010.)

1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup (We used good ol' Mrs. Butterworth's.)
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted*

In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.  Stir occasionally.  Add the syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Remove from heat and add pecans.  Let cool a bit before ladeling over your pumpkin pancakes.  Warning:  This is pure decadence.  Do not eat this every morning. :)

Mouth-watering indulgence :)

* Toasting nuts brings out more of their flavor.  To toast pecans, 
place them in a small saute pan over medium-high heat.  Shake the pan back and forth as they heat and brown.  When they are a nice dark color, transfer them to a bowl.  Don't leave them in the pan as they will keep cooking.

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