You’d have to live under a rock (or a one-blink town in the Southwest) not to know its Pumpkin Spice Latte time again. Even I, who spend most days under said rock, know its #PSL season. I’m not a Starbucks fan; I have my reasons, but I AM a fan of pumpkin and spice. So, I’m jumping on the pumpkin spice bandwagon with these autumnal pancakes.
If you don’t have time to make the apples, these pancakes are just as good smothered with honey butter. You can substitute 1 ½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for the various spices.
2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
1 ¼ cup milk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 ½ cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon allspice
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla
APPLES: In a pan, melt butter, sugar, and cinnamon in water. Add apple slices and cook for 5 minutes covered until softened. Remove lid and continued cooking until sauce is reduced by half. Sauce should be the consistency of watered-down maple syrup. Remove from heat, cover again and set aside.
PANCAKES: In a measuring cup, add vinegar to milk and set aside (This makes a faux buttermilk). In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and allspice. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree, egg, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and milk mixture. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently whisk them together. Don’t over-mix.
Use a 1/3 cup to pour batter onto a griddle over medium-low heat. Cook until each pancake is spotted with bubbles and edges appear dry. Flip over and continue cooking until bottom is lightly brown.
I’m heading to the Southwest next week to look at a potential Inn to purchase. A small adventure contained within a frighteningly large adventure. I haven’t shared much about possibly becoming an Innkeeper, partially because musing on it for hours gives me heartburn and insomnia but also because others’ unhelpful comments and opinions usually make me want to strangle them.
My sister offered to accompany me, but I declined. This is a trip I need to take on my own; a humongous life-changing decision I need to make on my own. To get me in the Southwest spirit for next week’s trip, I baked these vegetarian enchiladas in a creamy pasilla chili sauce.
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano or oregano, crushed
5 pasilla chilies, roasted, skinned, seeded and roughly chopped
1 ½ heavy cream
12 corn tortillas
1 – 2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese (or mozzarella)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ½ chopped onion and sauté until the onion softens and is translucent. Add ½ minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and sauté until all liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Add corn and sauté until corn and mushrooms are beginning to brown and no liquid remains. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely.
Stir ricotta and oregano into mushroom mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add remaining ½ chopped onion and sauté until the onion softens and is translucent. Add remaining ½ minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the pasilla chilies and heavy cream, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and cool.
Purée chile sauce mixture in a blender until smooth. If sauce is too thick, thin with a bit of water. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Spread a thin layer of sauce over bottom of a 9×12” baking dish. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, heat a tortilla until it’s pliable about 20-30 seconds. Fill with about 3 Tablespoons of the filling and roll up. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Lentils, with a shape somewhat resembling coins, are symbols of riches and prosperity in Italy. After eight long years, we have finally sold my childhood home this week. What better way to celebrate this little boon than with these symbols of financial good fortune?
Rather than the golden-egg-laying goose the house was expected to be, it morphed into an albatross that created unanticipated familial stress over the last eight years. My oldest sibling wanted to sell immediately, during the real estate collapse, while another mentioned keeping it for 45 years. I managed, surprisingly, to remain neutral over most of the years (caught up in my own personal turmoil, I suppose) until last year – then my exasperation bubbled up, boiled over. Get me out of here – I want to take my share and run! Trouble with the tenants, damage to the property, lawsuits and disagreements between us brought me to the verge of walking away. This house and all its complications was my last fetter to my siblings. Now, no longer financially shackled, I can, should I chose to, slip away never to be found again. Not that I want to, but there’s something liberating in realizing that I could.
Tonight, before I celebrate with my lentil salad, I say thank you to my mom and dad for making this financial provision. I am grateful for this good fortune and I hope to use my portion in a manner that will make them proud.
1 large or two small carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
⅓ cup onion, chopped
¼ head cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
½ cup Feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, thyme, garlic, sugar and Dijon. Add olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly. Set dressing aside.
Cook lentils according to package directions.
While lentils are cooking, in a medium size skillet over high heat, sauté corn, red pepper, carrot and onion until softened and onions are translucent. Do not brown.
Place cabbage in a large bowl. Drain lentils. Cover cabbage with warm lentils and sautéed vegetables to help soften cabbage. While salad is still warm, fold in dressing and feta cheese. Cover salad and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature to allow flavors to meld. Before serving, season with salt and pepper.
I’ve been practicing my staring technique. Staring at a blinking cursor on a blank screen; staring at a cooling mug of coffee; staring at raindrops traveling down the kitchen window; staring at the television.
“I should bake,” I think, but can’t even manage that.
I’m lingering before a crossroads, staring at divergent paths mere steps ahead. I cannot walk towards any one direction, on a road to any outcome. I’m weary. I want to rest a while, here in the center of the road, and just stare towards an unknown.
In a large pot, saute onion, carrots and celery until beginning to soften. Add green beans and saute 5 minutes longer. Add garlic, oregano and sage and sauce for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and broth, and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 45-60 minutes until beans are almost tender.
Add zucchini, cabbage and beans and cook another 15 minutes or until cabbage has softened and green beans are tender. Add peas and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
My second CSA basket arrived today – and now I’m receiving fresh eggs (yay!). For dinner, I sauteed kale* in olive oil, covered it with basil*-walnut pesto, topped with one of these lovely eggs*, sunny-side up, and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper. For dessert, I baked plums* in a ramekin topped with a phyllo crust. Fresh and delicious.