Is it nerdy to put a hashtag in the title? It’s functional anyway, it’s what I’m using to tweet out…
What is essentially Pumpkinfest 2011 continues with a Sunday morning brunch treat I whipped up for my daughter, mom and…
One of my favorite snacks, or even part of a light, snacky dinner when I’m alone, are crackers spread with…
Pumpkins (or as little Z says, “punkins,”) represent all my favorite things – fall, Halloween, and Zoeya who is my little pumpkin head. We’ve even been working on Daddy to let us get a little orange kitty named Pumpkin. As soon as October hit I brought home my first sugar pumpkin and I was happy to try these pumpkin muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance. They really are “The Best Pumpkin Muffins.” I baked one batch last week, and we gobbled them up. I made another batch this beautiful, sunny morning and Zoeya and I enjoyed ours out on the patio.
These are delicious, with lots of spices and molasses. Since this recipe is not mine, I will link to the recipe here where it was reprinted with the author’s permission.
If you’ve not cooked with fresh pumpkin before, let me tell you that if you do it the right way it could not be easier. Years ago when I did it the first time (baking pumpkin pies with Gloria!) we cut the pumpkins up into pieces and boiled them. This is a huge pain, they are difficult to cut and you have to use two or three big pots of water. I have found that it’s much, much easier to roast the pumpkin. This time I was super lazy and didn’t even bother to gut it like a jack-o-lantern. I just wrapped the whole thing in aluminum foil and baked it at 350° for a couple of hours until it was soft. After it cooled it was nice and easy to slice. I spooned off the seeds and stringy part (you can dry the seeds, toss them with oil and salt, and roast) then scooped out the flesh. You’ll get 3 cups or so, so you can do a few things with one pumpkin.
I love brunch. Love it. Here are a couple guidelines to brunch by: for a little of everything, in general I make 1. an egg dish (for what is a brunch without eggs? Unless it’s a vegan brunch…) 2. something baked (muffins, coffee cake) and 3. something fresh and fruity. The other guideline is that dishes should be either easy or make-ahead, because you want to be relaxed, not running around at the last minute. And who knows when someone is going to give themselves a hummus facial and bodywrap right before people get there. (See imp on right).
So here’s what I did for Zoeya’s play group (which turned out to be small, so it lived again the next morning for brunch with a girlfriend):
I am still on a major Pakistani food kick, so I made these spicy baked eggs that I saw on a blog I like, The Spice Spoon which features Pakistani and Afghan recipes. This isn’t make-ahead, but it’s quick assembly to cook the onions/tomatoes, crack the eggs, and pop it in the oven. Just make sure to check on your 2-year-old while you’re doing this to make sure she’s not up to no good. I over-baked them on purpose (I was thinking the kids would not like the runny yokes) but that turned out to be a mistake as they were a little rubbery. They still looked beautiful and the tomato mixture was really tasty. I will definitely make this again, just shortening the oven-time. Eat with warm naan.
So instead of doing coffee cake or muffins, I just went for all-out cake. I do not mind eating cake for breakfast one bit, it goes great with coffee so what’s the problem? This is the almond cake from Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte, and it has became one of my standby’s. It’s always delicious and it makes a lovely dessert for all kinds of food. You can find the recipe for this awesome almond cake here. (Note: I used a 9″ spring form pan, and baked it at 350° for a total of 55 minutes – at around 45 min I covered it with foil to keep it from browning too quickly). As you can see, my husband could not wait to sneak a piece:
Though it’s hard to beat simple, fresh fruit, I love to dress up a fruit salad with a little something unexpected. For this, I just tossed 4 chopped white nectarines with a pint of blueberries and some chopped mint leaves. I made a light simple syrup from 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp water boiled with a few mint leaves. I strained the mint , added a splash of rose water (I love this delicate, floral touch), and poured it over the fruit.
With coffee and orange juice, this was an easy, tasty brunch!