Pumpkins and spice: So much more than a latte flavor
Last week I wrote about apples, one of two fall food mainstays, with a brief mention of the other, pumpkins. The weather turning cooler brings the buzz and excitement around all things pumpkin with pumpkin and pumpkin spice taking center stage in so many recipes and food products. Pumpkin bread and muffins, pumpkin spice lattes, and of course the quintessential pumpkin pie are common treats this time of year. But, what about pumpkin pie soda, pumpkin spice peanut butter, pumpkin wine, pumpkin spice latte deodorant, dish soap, and yes, puppy pumpkin flavor teething ring and dog food with pumpkin? Has it gone too far? I began to see pumpkin and pumpkin spice products on the shelves in late August. Too soon for me. Yet, whether it be on a restaurant’s menu or a store shelf, pumpkin and pumpkin spice seems to be the ingredient and scent of autumn.
Like curry, pumpkin pie spice is a blend of spices; cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and allspice. Wonderful on their own, these spices mixed perfectly in the right proportion create a symphony of flavor and aroma; comforting and evoking the holiday season spirit. Pumpkin, with its mellow flavor is a blank canvas for so many recipes.
From the lattes we can’t wait to sip, to the roasted seeds from Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns to a favorite pumpkin pie, there is a recipe you probably savor every fall season. If you are like me, you are looking for new ideas using the winter squash.
For my cooking with pumpkin inspiration, I was drawn to a book on my shelf, “Purely Pumpkin: More than 100 Seasonal Recipes to Share, Savor, and Warm Your Kitchen,” by Allison Day (2016, Skyhorse Publishing, $24.99) With savory and sweet recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, beverages, and of course, a mouthwatering pumpkin dessert chapter, it is a cookbook you will want to have on your kitchen counter, especially during fall and winter months.
With homemade pumpkin spice latte variations and beverages, meals ideal for holidays and everyday using pumpkin flesh, puree, seeds, oil, pumpkins spice, there’s a recipe for every craving, festivity, time constraint and cooking expertise.
Recently, I enjoyed flipping through the book cosied up on a rainy day picking out the recipes to savor the pumpkin harvest this season. The heirloom pumpkin guide provides useful information to each one’s best use. The pumpkin’s health benefits the author writes, “are as varied as this kitchen chameleon’s culinary uses.” You will find recipes for firecracker stir-fried pumpkin, bok choy and cashews; silky pumpkin ginger soup with clementine and vanilla; wild mushroom and pumpkin barley risotto; and pumpkin cardamom doughnuts with chai glaze and the recipes below inspiring. For the recipes for fudgy pumpkin coffee brownies, visit https://bit.ly/2CKnIw0.
For pick your own pumpkin locations, visit https://bit.ly/2P9vw06
The headnote says, “ this base is the key to a spicy, warming, homemade pumpkin spice latte just like the coffee shops make —hold the hefty price tag, artificial flavors, and colors.”
There are several beverage recipes in the book using the base recipe.
In a medium saucepan, warm the sugar and water over medium heat until sugar is dissolved (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar. Seal jar and refrigerate for up to one month. Shake or stir before use.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in remaining ingredients until well combined. Rest batter for 5 minutes.
To cook pancakes, heat a large nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet to medium; coat with a thin layer of oil or butter. Scoop ⅓ to ½ cup portions of batter on pan, smoothing into a ½-inch high round. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, carefully flip, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer
to prepared baking sheet and keep warm in oven until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter, adding a thin layer of oil or butter with each batch for cooking. Serve hot with additional coconut oil or butter and maple syrup.
Notes: To cook wild rice, in a medium saucepan, bring 4 cups water and 1 cup wild rice to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, partially cover, and cook for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender and grains are burst. Drain into a ne mesh sieve and measure out amount as per recipe instructions. Use leftover wild rice in salads, oatmeal, burgers, quick breads, muffins, or as a fast side dish with a touch of butter and salt. Makes 5—6 pancakes
The headnote says, “To enhance pumpkin’s inherent vanilla essence, vanilla extract is added (which doesn’t make this taste like dessert, I promise), teasing out those gorgeous, heady floral notes. If you’re using a pumpkin with small, tender seeds, they can be roasted along with the pumpkin flesh, adding a bit of rustic charm and meatiness.”
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large-rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper, combine all ingredients including reserved pumpkin seeds, if using. Roast for 40 to 50 minutes, until tender and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm. Serves 4—6
Millet couscous with roasted parsnips, pumpkin, and mint
Preheat oven to 425degrees. On a large-rimmed baking sheet, toss pumpkin, parsnips, oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until tender and beginning to brown. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. While vegetables are roasting, bring millet and stock or water to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and steam, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add to bowl with roasted vegetables along with mint, lemon juice, and cumin; toss to combine, season with additional salt, if desired, and serve warm or room temperature. Serves 4—6
What chef would you like me to interview? Which restaurant recipes or other recipes would you like to have? Which food products do you have difficulty finding? Do you have cooking questions? Send them to me: Stephen Fries, professor and coordinator of the Hospitality Management Programs at Gateway Community College, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dept. FC, Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven, 06510. Include your full name, address and phone number. (Due to volume, I might not be able to publish every request. For more, go to stephenfries.com.)