Monday, October 27, 2008

How My Pumpkin Themed Night Was Squashed


It all started when I was flipping through my copy of Great Food Fast and saw a butternut squash soup recipe with spiced toasted pumpkin seeds about two weeks ago. I had to make it, and it had been a while since I'd cooked dinner for my family. It hit me: make a three-coursed themed dinner.

Which is way too overambitious for me, especially with papers for school and college applications looming over me. But I figured I'd need a release.

I figured wrong. Later that week, my friends and I decided to make shirts for math team, and Saturday night was the only time. So I made plans for that evening - after dinner, that is. Which put dinner on a deadline.

I don't cook so well under pressure. Which is probably why when I first started, I made muffins in the afternoon. Okay, that's baking, but you get the point. There's no pressure.

On Wednesday, I picked up the October Bon Appetit, flipped it open, and it landed on the page with the Pineapple Upside-Down Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake (try saying that three times fast) and was hooked. I had the outer ends of my meal, all that was missing was the main course.

Which was picked out on Saturday once I returned from the last farmer's market of the season, and the grocery store. I had kale, and flipped through Veganomicon for ideas. I found something that used up the kale I'd just bought, and fit with my theme: Kale and Potato Enchiladas.

So, now that there's an insanely and unnecessarily long set-up, I'll sumamarize what went wrong in one word: timing.

I managed to get the soup and cake done no problem, unless you count the shopping for the cake*, but mom got home with the potatoes (and chili powder that I discovered we were out of) a bit later that I'd expected, which pushed things back a bit. At least I realized that it wasn't going to come together before it got too late, and the enchilada sauce and cooked potatoes were set to cool, and the sauteed onions were served with the soup. A loaf of rosemary bread thrown into the mix, and we had a nice light, overly gingered, autumn meal. Though I can't say I'll make the soup again.

And the cake. It lasted less than 24 hours.

*My local supermarket is well-stocked. But frozen pineapple juice concentrate? Nope. I could get Pineapple-Orange or Pineapple-Apple-Orange.

Pineapple Upside-Down Pumpkin Gingerbread
adapted from Bon Appetit October 2008
serves 10

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed (I cou
1 teaspoon mild-flavored (light) molasses
1 ripe pineapple, peeled (I used a peeled and cored pineapple)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup boiling water

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Commotion in the Ocean: Cupcakes for Homecoming


My friends told me that I had to go to the homecoming dance this year. Really go. As in with them. Not just be there, as that presence in a dress running around in her practical heels, awkwardly taking pictures of people doing things that pictures should never be taken of.

Which put me an unknown position. But one that has absolutely nothing to do with food. So I'm moving on. But I will say that the homecoming dance, while the music left something to be desired, was still fun with my friends, before, during, and after. Nothing beats singing I Want In That Way at the top of your lungs at school and then later trying to learn the Soulja Boy dance in the privacy of your friend's room.


But oh, yeah. The cute cupcakes. The theme for homecoming prompted me to try to make the Shark Attack cupcakes from Hello, Cupcake. But they would have been a pain to make, I didn't have time to go get black food coloring at Michael's, and, plus, they probably wouldn't have tasted all that great anyway.


Cute little cupcakes made with my go-to cupcake recipe, and a buttercream that involved butter, powdered sugar, water, and blue food coloring until the desired consistency/color was reached and topped with goldfish: much simpler and tasty.

So I enjoyed the football game, where my school actually won its homecoming game. That hadn't happened since I started high school.