Hooray pumpkin season! Every year I make at least a few loaves of sweet, spicy pumpkin bread, but this year I got wild and added a handful of raisins and cinnamon chips to the quick-bread batter, and the result was my favorite pumpkin bread yet.
Every year my work hosts a potluck luncheon in November. I love a good potluck, so this is right up my alley.
My first year I made pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and handmade chocolate leaves for garnish. Last year I made a pumpkin trifle with layers of spice cake, pumpkin pudding, toffee pieces, and whipped cream.
In keeping with the pumpkin tradition, for this year my mind immediately went to the Pumpkin Pie Bites I saw on Bakerella’s site last fall.
Beyond cute, and autumn in your mouth.
There were some other very tasty desserts, too. Homemade submissions included Ulla’s artisan bread, Laura’s pumpkin bars, Sam’s carrot cake, Chuck’s raspberry blondies, and Marilyn’s frosted brownies.
And in particular, Matt knocked my socks off with his homemade filled donuts – in raspberry or prune. They were actually a Polish pastry called “paczki”, but Matt was kind enough to just let us call them “donuts”.
After filling my plate with Sarah’s lasagna, Holli’s baked beans, Jenn’s macaroni and cheese, Sam’s lo mein, and Tracy’s sweet potatoes with apples…I still had room for a selection of these. Now you know why I went into an immediate food coma yesterday.
SO WORTH IT.
Do you have a potluck staple? Do you have a potluck enemy? Mine is pretty much anything with mayo. Mayo and I are not friends.
My mom and I share a love for scones. Knowing this, she gave me the Nordic Ware Scone Pan for my birthday last month, and I have been just waiting for the chance to use it. That ended up being this weekend, and because I knew I would be seeing my mom, I made apricot scones…her current favorite.
I also got to use my (ahem) new KitchenAid 7-cup Food Processor. It was on sale at Target last week and I just gave in. I have no regrets, just better pie and pastry dough.
Turkish apricots, cut and ready.
Cold butter, ready to pulse.
Circle of dough.
Brushed and generously sugared.
Leftover dough leaves.
I also made a few “munchkin” scones with dough scraps, but I ate them all. Remarkably fast.
They were very good.
I’d share the recipe, but when my mom gave me the pan she also gave me a scone mix from a local fruit farm, so that’s where the dry ingredients came from. Next time there will be no shortcuts!
I did some thirfting today and picked up some cookbooks…surprise surprise. One that I wanted to buy, but didn’t because I knew it would almost be as useless as a microwave cookbook was this one (I know I need a better camera phone):
Unless it’s 100% cocktails, the point of a blender cookbook is lost on me.
Did you cook anything special this weekend?
Pumpkin spice cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, with handmade chocolate leaves for garnish. One of my favorite cupcake projects from last year.
Vintage Pyrex Autumn Harvest Mixing Bowl Set from BlueHouseVintage on Etsy. I don’t need any more bowls. I can only look.
From my vintage Mom Magazine collection. I guess women in the 60’s loved olive-green and the feeling of a whole lotta linoleum under their feet.
From the same collection, a 1964 goldenrod textured coat. I want this, but I also want the matching gloves, and maybe even the hat.
John Derian for Target Feathers Serving Tray. For under $15 I can easily talk myself into this.
A Dozen Eggs Fall Foliage cookie collection. Their cookies are charming and delicious. Of course, I am also partial to those acorns.
New Hampshire Plyboo Cutting Board from AHeirloom on Etsy. It’s not Massachusetts, but NH is my birth state. Cutting boards hold warm, crusty loaves of bread…preferably next to hot pots of soup.
Nothing smells or tastes like fall like pumpkin. One-Pie canning company is based in West Paris, Maine, and they are so amazing they don’t even have a website. I couldn’t find any information on them at all on the internet other than their address and phone number. What year is this? Despite being unable to report on their history, this makes me love One-Pie more than ever. I bet the photo of that pie on the label was taken before WWII.
It also looks like there is another shortage of canned pumpkin this year, so stock up when you see it!
I have an unusual concoction cooling in my kitchen right now, and Fluff Fest is this weekend, so I promise there will be some on-point entries coming up.
Happy first day of Fall!
This weekend I truly welcomed autumn in the following ways:
1. Candy Corn
2. Apple Pie
Take one look at that ragged crust and you will know this pie wasn’t store-bought, but it tasted good and I was delighted with my flakiest crust to date. I visited my mom and Arthur in Lowell, where I got to make my latest pate sucree with the assistance of my mom’s beautiful 12-cup KitchenAid food processor. It really did make a difference keeping the butter cold, since it does the job of mixing it into the dry ingredients in a few quick pulses. Needless to say, the volume of my “I do not need a food processor” mental chant has been turned up to 11.
Visiting Lowell also means visiting my mom’s cats, Fenian, Napoleon, and Sullivan. These cats blow just about every other cat I have ever met out of the water (sorry, but it’s totally true). They fetch. They eat fruitcake in the middle of the night. They understand “Who wants a treat?” and will sit intertwined licking and grooming each other for hours. I love spending time with them, but it makes me miss having a pet.
Allow me to introduce you.
Fenian, aka Fen-Man. Chocolate Point. Fenian is always nervous and chews on his tail til the end looks like a wet paintbrush, but is the loviest and most polite of the bunch.
Napoleon, aka Poly-Boy. Seal Point. Poly-Boy is fat and a little slow in the head. He eats anything and everything and is basically the cat version of Baby Huey. It helps to hide a vacant look in your eyes if your eyes are sparkling blue.
Sullivan, aka Sully or Blue-Boy. Blue Point. Sullivan loves Arthur more than my mom, which irritates her since she cleans his litter box and feeds him. Sully’s meow can politely be described as “demanding”. He hones in on your popsicles. He has to wear a warning collar to distinguish him from the other 2 because he will leap up onto the shoulders of men he finds interesting without warning. He did this once to a repair man in the basement, spooking the man so bad he cried out. Yes, we still laugh about this.
These 3 are very dear to me.
I hope to continue celebrating fall by baking more pies, breaking out the pumpkin puree and cranberries, and really diving into soups and breads.
Apple picking, pumpkin carving, Somerville’s Fluff Fest, and the 20th Annual Keene Pumpkin Festival should also keep things decidedly autumnal. How will you be welcoming and celebrating the most lovely of seasons?