Monthly Archives: October 2009

Pumpkin Spiced Cutout Cookies

Pumpkin Spiced Cutout Cookies

Pumpkin Spiced Cutout Cookies

Day 21 of 31 days of pumpkin and we come to the venerable cutout cookie. These are so much fun to make with your kids. It’s like PlayDo you can really eat. These cookies are not overly sweet, which leaves room for you to utterly coat them with sugar, whether it be with India Tree Sparkling sugar, like I did, or a decadent icing. I just discovered that Amazon.com carries a full line of India Tree Sparkling Sugar, so I’m planning to stock up now for all of the cookie baking that’s going to happen in early December.

The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to roll out and cut out the cookies, is that the dough has to be really cold. In a very short time, the dough warms up and becomes sticky and gooey. It’s impossible to work with when it gets like that, so just wrap it back up in plastic and put it in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

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Pumpkin Yeast Rolls

Pumpkin Yeast Rolls

Pumpkin Yeast Rolls

Day 20 of 31 days of pumpkin and I’m heading into new territory again. I’m really not a bread baker, but I wanted to do a recipe with yeast before the month was over so I hunted around and cherry picked different parts from several existing recipes to make my perfect Pumpkin Yeast Rolls. The result is a slightly sweet, light and airy roll with definite pumpkin flavor. I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me now that I can confidently add bread baking to my repertoire. I know I’m late to the bread making party, but better late than never.

Place dough balls in muffin tin

Place dough balls in muffin tin


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Cheese Fondue in a Pumpkin

Pumpkin Fondue

Pumpkin Fondue

Day 19 of 31 days of pumpkin and it’s time for more cheese. This time, let’s just have it straight up, shall we?

I’ll be honest. I had never made fondue before and this time was not exactly a 5 star success. But if you avoid my mistakes, yours will come out perfectly. The flavor of this fondue was great, but the consistency was not quite creamy enough. Can you tell in the photo? So, I’m going to spend time in this post explaining what can go wrong when making a fondue and how to avoid it.

Are you with me?

My tagline is “We risk disaster, so you don’t have to,” for a reason.

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Pumpkin & Garnet Yam Gratin

Pumpkin - Yam Gratin with Thyme & Gruyére

Pumpkin - Yam Gratin with Thyme & Gruyére

Day 18 of 31 days of pumpkin and I’ve decided to bring one of my favorite potato recipes into the world of pumpkin. The dish? Gratin Dauphinois or Potatoes Gratin. Thinly sliced potatoes baked in cream and Gruyére cheese. Surely pumpkin can adapt, but not on its own and so I’ve paired it with Garnet yams. One of my inspirations cooking this dish with pumpkins and yams comes from the fact that I always add a little nutmeg to dishes with melted Gruyére, like macaroni and cheese. It’s not a far jump from nutmeg to pumpkin, so I thought, maybe pumpkin and yams will stand up to the creamy cheesy sauce that is a gratin. I was right. This dish is great for confronting October’s chill.

Everything I know about Gratin Dauphinois, I learned from Jacques Pépin and his book, Chez Jacques Deluxe Edition: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook Awhile back, I did a blog post called, Gratin Dauphinois of Potatoes, Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes) and Leeks. If you’re going to get serious about making Potatoes Gratin at home, it’s worth investing in a mandoline. I purchased a simple one for under $40 that I like, but it doesn’t do really fancy cuts like waffle cuts. It is available at Amazon.

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Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Lamb Loin Chops

Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Lamb Loin Chops with Mashed Yams

Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Lamb Loin Chops with Mashed Yams

Day 17 of 31 days of pumpkin. We’re on a roll, people. Yesterday, I made these spicy, savory pumpkin seeds and today we get to coat lamb chops with them and fry them up. I have a confession to make. While I coated lamb chops for me, I coated chicken breast strips for my children. They absolutely loved them. So coat and fry whatever you want. Lamb, chicken… I bet eggplant slices would be great fried this way too.

One of the things that I like about doing these recipes every day is the fact that my kitchen tools are really getting a workout. I like that I’m finally making a dent in my cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and mace collection and that my small appliances are making it out on to the counter. Like this one, my Cuisinart mini-prep, which got a workout today chopping and grinding the roasted pumpkin seeds.

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Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Day 16 of 31 days of pumpkin and we arrive at the roasted pumpkin seed. I love how seasonal these are. I mean, on what other day of the year do you roast your own pumpkin seeds but on about October 29? This year, I’ve decided to coat my pumpkin seeds with savory spices, but believe me, pumpkin seeds are divine when roasted with just a little bit of olive oil and a LOT of salt.

Getting the seeds out of the pumpkin wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. If you paw through them while you rinse them, the remaining pieces of pulp come right off.

Rinsing the Seeds

Rinsing the Seeds

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Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake

Pumpkin Mascarpone Cheesecake

It’s day 15 of 31 days of pumpkin. I can’t believe I’m halfway there. Today’s recipe was such a joy to make. I’ve never made cheesecake before and I was nervous at each step, but everything worked beautifully. I followed a recipe in a book that my sister gave me recently. Every once in awhile, she’ll see interesting cookbooks at a used bookstore and send them to me. I love it because there are always surprises. Like this book which is based on the fourth season of a Public Television Series I didn’t even know existed: Cooking Secrets of the CIA. The video doesn’t appear to be available anywhere, but the book is still available on Amazon:

The book was published in 1999 and was sponsored by Cuisinart. There is a set of pages at the back of the book featuring Cuisinart small appliances. The other thing about the book that I find fascinating is that the photography isn’t that great. The recipes are amazing, but with so much incredible food photography around these days, the lack of consistency in this book is a bit jarring.

Recently, I attended two food photography sessions at the BlogHerFood09 conference in San Francisco. Continue reading

Pumpkin Ale Battered Fish & Chips

Pumpkin Ale Battered Fish & Chips

Pumpkin Ale Battered Fish & Chips

I’m seeing the world through pumpkin-tinted glasses these days, so when my eyes settled on the Buffalo Bill Pumpkin Ale display at the market the other day, I just knew I had to cook something with it. You see, it’s day 14 of 31 Days of Pumpkin and time for something completely different.

A beer batter video came across my desk while working on my other project, StreamingGourmet: Where You are the Food TV Star (join today!) and I knew just what to do. I’ve always wanted to master deep frying with batter and today, I think I have. In the past, I’ve struggled with keeping the coating on the food and having it crisp up just right. Well I’m not exactly sure what went right today, whether it was the consistency of the batter, the high temperature of the oil, or the fact the oil was the right depth, but I got perfectly fried fish every time and it was a cinch. I ate the fried calamari too quickly to photograph it. Sorry.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Brownies


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Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Brownies

Day 13 of 31 days of pumpkin and we come to a personal favorite: the brownie. Brownies are the kind of food that inspire strong opinions. People know exactly how they like their brownies. Some people like them cakey, others like them fudgy. Some like the crunchy edges so much that they buy special pans so that every brownie will have a crunchy edge. Others want the slightly undercooked gooey middle. Me? I go for the fudgy, gooey variety, made with chocolate as dark and rich as possible. That’s why I decided to make this recipe using 70% cacao Sharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate and a whole lot o’ butta.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate

Scharffen Berger Chocolate

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Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Day 12 of 31 days of pumpkin and I’ve decided to do a healthy breakfast recipe for this installment. My 19 month-old daughter wolfed this down for breakfast this morning. I just love it when she takes to a new food instantly.

Basically, all I’ve done here is create a mini pumpkin custard (except I’ve left out the eggs) and swirled it into traditional oatmeal. The oats I used are labeled Old Fashioned oats, but the directions say to cook them for 3-5 minutes, which sounds like Quick Cooking oats. Use whatever you’ve got as long as it’s not instant. Just follow the package instructions. For this recipe, you cook the oats and the pumpkin separately anyway and then combine them at the end.

I garnished the oatmeal with an apple slice, but the apple with a little bit of the pumpkin sauce on it tasted so good that next time, I plan to top the bowl with about 1/4 cup of diced apple. Continue reading

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