Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

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I am being positively spoiled with visitors this month. First my dad came, and then a mere week and a half ago I got an email from my friend Siret (of London and cupcakes fame) saying she’d be coming to Tallinn for a few days with her mother and mother’s fiance! What a lovely surprise, especially when I didn’t think I’d see her again before next summer.

Last night Siret and I had a girls’ night, catching up and enjoying dinner and a bottle of Riesling at African Kitchen (which has plenty of yummy choices for vegetarians like Siret). After dinner I accompanied her back to the rental apartment since she had “a whole pile” of stuff to give me. Man, she wasn’t kidding! I had asked her to maybe bring us a few bags of flavored coffee from the States, and this is what she actually brought:

Christmas pretzel M&M’s and Oreos

British Christmas treats from London

Lärabars! (she faithfully reads the blog so she knew I’d failed to obtain any during the summer)

Strawberry preserves with champagne (cannot wait to try this!)

Trader Joe’s tea and pumpkin butter

Bridal magazines and some British candies

…and of course, the requested flavored coffees (hazelnut, maple vanilla, and pumpkin spice!). Now we have to decide which one to open this weekend…

She is so sweet! I’m already happy that I get to see my oldest friend and her mother (whose flat J and I stayed in when we visited London last year), so getting fun food gifts from the USA and England is like the decadent icing on an already wonderful cake. Thank you Siret!!

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My first scones

If anybody was wondering what those ugly golden-brown lumps in yesterday’s post were, here’s your answer: they’re pumpkin scones, made with this recipe (without the glaze).

Food styling fail– the nicer ones are in the back and the ugliest one is closest to the camera.

This was my first time ever making scones. I don’t know what took me so long, because I adore them. Since I have a good amount of pumpkin puree in my freezer waiting to be used, pumpkin scones seemed liked a good idea.

The dough came out really sticky, and since scones are all about texture I didn’t want to do anything that could mess them up, such as add more flour or handle them too much. So I just cut the dough into rough triangles and plopped them on the baking sheet just as they were, not even attempting to smooth out their tops or anything.

Apparently I did something right, because the scones were wonderful! The firm, crusty exterior gives way to the soft and crumbly insides and releases the lovely scent of pumpkin pie spice. I wonder whether the people sitting next to me at the Harry Potter movie last night noticed when I pulled one out of my purse and started nibbling on it. (Scones make delightful movie snacks, by the way. You should try it!)

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Oats in an almost-empty peanut butter jar

J thought the pic of my running shoes needed to have food in it too

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The weekend of pumpkin

I swear I intended to blog about something else today, but seeing as it’s almost 11:30 pm and that post isn’t written yet, it’ll have to wait for another day. Luckily, I did do some cooking today, most of it related to the 12-lb pumpkin I roasted and pureed yesterday. After allowing the seeds to dry overnight, I tossed them in olive oil, salt, and cumin and roasted them for an hour in low heat, once again following the instructions of Pioneer Woman.

They are so good! Crispy and light as air but with an earthy, almost bitter taste in the center. We may have to find a use for another pumpkin just so we can roast more seeds.

I also decided to bake something, since today was Father’s Day in Estonia and I wanted to have something to bring to my dad when we went to make pizza at his place in the evening. I wanted an easy-to-make pumpkin muffin, and I think this recipe was the third or fourth that came up when I typed “easy pumpkin muffin” into Google. I followed the recipe and added a dash of vanilla extract as well. I have to admit that by the time the muffins came out of the oven I didn’t even feel like eating one because I was full from one too many samples of the batter. Am I the only one who could eat raw dough or batter with a spoon? Bad habit, I know.

A little bit later (after a 3-mile jog) I did sample one of the cooled muffins, and it was great. The flavor of pumpkin is recognizable but not overwhelming, complemented by the warm spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger). More pumpkin-based baking will definitely be happening in the near future… and in that case, maybe I will need to get a whole new pumpkin soon.

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Woman of my word

Since I declared my intention to purchase and roast a pumpkin this weekend, and my readers promised to keep me accountable, guess what? I actually went out and did it!

I was following the Pioneer Woman‘s directions. She says to choose a smaller pumpkin over a bigger one, but this was honestly the smallest one they had in the store (5.5 kilos, or 12 lbs). I was surprised by how easy it was to scrape out the seeds and stingy parts. I cut the pumpkin into chunks and while I roasted the first pan-full at 180-200 C, I sorted through the insides and picked out the pumpkin seeds. My hands cramped up from pinching the seeds and trying to extract them from the slimy, sticky innards.

I’ll let the seeds dry out overnight, and tomorrow I’ll roast them. After about 45 minutes in the oven, the pumpkin chunks were fork-tender. I let them cool a bit before separating the flesh from the skin, and then I tossed the pumpkin pieces into my little food processor.

The pumpkin puree came out quite watery, so I’m draining it a few cups at a time in a colander lined with a paper towel.

It’s been a year since I tasted canned pumpkin puree so it’s hard to say how this stacks up. The taste is quite squashy, but I guess that’s normal, right? I think the true test will be when I use it to make something, like pumpkin muffins or pumpkin pie. I’m hoping I’ll have time to bake something tomorrow– if I do, I’ll definitely let you know!

Edited to add: In case anybody’s wondering, after draining the excess liquid out, I got about 8 cups of pumpkin puree from the 12-lb pumpkin.

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