Tag Archives: pumpkin recipes

Pumpkin Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream

30 Oct

Hallowe’en is almost here and I find myself in a contemplative mood. I’m thinking about Samhain, and the ancient roots of this end-of-harvest celebration.

Random bits of myth and legend float to mind, swirling like deeply coloured leaves in the low-ground wind of a crisp late fall afternoon.

Following my workout at the gym, I overhear the yoga teacher’s closing meditation encouraging us to acknowledge our dark or shadow side. I pause. I’m listening.

I have fond memories of trick-or-treating as a kid. Funny what’s happened to some of my memories over time…there’s a magical, meaning-making haze surrounding special occasions like Hallowee’en and Christmas. A type of perfection, frozen in time, that makes me nostalgic for the good old days. Wow, can I be getting that old already!? 😉

I have to admit that somehow it doesn’t seem as perfect taking Jax to the nearby mall to trick-or-treat. But, as always, I know it’s what I make of it that counts.

In the spirit of the season, last night I whipped up Colin Cowie’s Pumpkin Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream. (See page 258 of the cookbook.) These are essentially pumpkin-flavoured mini donuts! (Yes, I know there are a lot of mini donut lovers out there.) Little dollops of dough made with 100% pure pumpkin, quickly pan fried in veggie oil, topped with tasty cinnamon sugar and served alongside vanilla ice cream.

Great tasting, very quick and easy to make, and a delightfully uncomplicated ingredient list. Assuming you have canned pumpkin on hand, you probably have everything else you’ll need.

Happy Hallowe’en. I hope your festivities are magical and memorable. Some day today will be the good old days. Enjoy!

Family Friendly Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

11 Oct

Since it’s Thanksgiving long weekend, I figured yesterday was a good time to try Nina Simonds’ Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins. Full of healthy things like mashed pumpkin, applesauce, apple juice, and raisins, these muffins are good for the whole family.

I can testify to their goodness because I’m contentedly munching on one right now as I’m lounging in bed. To make things even sweeter, Chad just brought me a fresh coffee in my favourite cup, and I can hear Jax happily playing with fun, noisy things like metallic bowls. With my lounge fest soon to be followed by a family walk on Burnaby Mountain, this holiday morning is nothing but bliss! 🙂

Here’s the skinny on these muffins. According to Chad, Mom & me, they’re:

1. nice & moist, probably courtesy of the raisins;
2. a good size;
3. sweet & savoury at the same time;
4. easy to make–I followed the recipe exactly, baking them for 25 minutes; and
5. substantial. On page 230 of The Oprah Magazine Cookbook it says this recipe makes 12 muffins, but the version posted online here says it makes 21 muffins, which is more realistic. I was lucky and got 24.

The only other thing is that the recipe doesn’t explicitly say to use muffin tin/cupcake liners, but the muffin pictured in the book has a liner, and some artful raffia tied around it!

I tried my first batch with liners and the second one without. It may have been because my adorable Halloween-themed cupcake liners were too flimsy, but the muffins sans liners were easier to work with, easier to eat, and prettier to admire.

Well, once again, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that you’re enjoying a long weekend full of all the people, experiences & things that you’re most thankful for. 🙂

The Pumpkin Appeared but Wasn’t So Great

8 Oct

Tonight we had the first of the pumpkin recipes from The Oprah Magazine Cookbook–Michel Nischan’s Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves. (See page 62 or click here for the recipe.) Even though I love soup and I love pumpkin, this dish was unfortunately not a winner. As Chad said, “Let’s never have that again.”

To be fair, it’s possible it might have been quite good had it been differently prepared. There are 2 things I would change.

First, less chili spice. The recipe called for 1 small Thai or jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and chopped. As luck would have it, we had a sizeable bag of lovely homegrown dried chili peppers in the cupboard, given to us by our friends Jan & Chuck. Well, I should have been listening more closely to Chuck’s instructions as I greedily ferried my peppers out their front door, because WOW, are they hot! Handling them and then inadvertently (oops!) touching my face actually left 2 temporary burn marks on my chin. (Don’t worry, I only used one pepper in the recipe.)

Second, the recipe called for either 3 green cardamom pods or 3 tsp. ground cardamom. That seems like an awful lot of ground cardamom. I put in slightly less than 3 tsp. but still found the flavour overpowering.

All in all, this soup was a disappointment. It was laborious and time consuming, and then, at the end of it all, the soup that had promised to “taste like the holidays” didn’t spread much cheer around here.

In closing, to counter this negativity I do have a wonderful pumpkin soup recipe to share with you; Country Living magazine’s Pumpkin Chicken Chowder, which I’ve made every Halloween for the past 7 years. Treat! 🙂

Halloween, Baby!

4 Oct

Now that October’s here, I’m starting to get excited about Halloween. I’d actually really been hoping for a Halloween baby last year. Naturally, however, Jax was on his own agenda, and he decided to hold out until November 7. It’s hard to believe our wonderful little guy’s almost a year old, but that’s another story…

Growing up, I still vividly recall the excitement of October 31. I loved the thrill of planning my costume (I usually favoured vampires and witches) and checking out other kids’ costumes too. I remember my childhood friend, Alistair, had an amazingly realistic Yoda costume one year. I think I took one look at him at him and quickly ran to hide under the rosebush on the front lawn. Or maybe I did that because I had a crush on him. 😉

I also remember our neighbour, Paula Zoubek, who offered us the only homemade Halloween treats we were allowed to eat. She made beautiful Smartie cookies in different shapes–choosing the special one that would be mine was definitely part of the magic. We always went to her house first.

The absolute best part of the night, though, was coming home with my sister, Sarah, quickly dumping all of our loot out on the floor, and proudly taking stock of our inevitably impressive collection of treats. We’d even engage in some highly heated trades. Mini chocolate bar? Score! Mini box of raisins? Not so much.

Although my favourite Halloween-inspired recipes have tended to come from Country Living magazine, and Martha Stewart, I look forward to trying the following festive dishes from The Oprah Magazine Cookbook: Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins, Pumpkin and Blueberry Tart, Pumpkin Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream, Pumpkin and Maple Syrup Upside-Down Cake, and Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Sage Leaves.

Right now I have a decidedly un-pumpkin recipe on the go–Gail Monaghan’s Rosemary-Parmesan Biscuits, which I’ll tell you about later. The dough’s just chilling in the fridge right now.

In the meantime, if you have a favourite Halloween or pumpkin recipe to share, please do! I’m also still trying to decide what Jax should go as for Halloween this year…Chad’s suggested a Jax-o’-lantern. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: