The Foodie Blogroll

First pumpkin recipe of the season.


Hellooooo Fall!

My favourite season of the year.  
I love the change in the colours of the leaves.  
I love the fresh crisp air early in the morning.
I love bundling up in warmer clothes.
I love the fall harvest.
I love fall spices.
I love that cans of pumpkin are very, very cheap.

Seeing as the last month I have been in Korea, my "to-try" pumpkin recipes folder has went up and up and up.  Fortunately while all of the fall recipes were popping up in cyber space I was still able to pick up some squash and cinnamon, but I didn't have access to a blender (therefore, adios smoothies), I didn't have an oven (therefore, adios cookies, breads, and other baked goods), and well I didn't have access to pumpkin (adios oatmeal, and other non-bake pumpkin goods).

This morning I went to the grocery store to pick up some of the food items I wanted for the week that my mom hadn't thought of to pick up for me; pumpkin being the most important.  When I was in Korea, there was one recipe I saved that I couldn't wait to get my hands onto.

Pumpkin is one of my favourite flavours.  Pumpkin by itself is amazing of course, but what I love about pumpkin is it's usual accompaniment of my favourite flavours ever: cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.  Now my favourite go-to snack is hands down pretzels.  When I found a recipe for pumpkin pretzels I couldn't wait until I would get to make and devour for myself.

Once I unpacked all of my groceries, the can opener quickly came out.  With that, as did my cats.  I forgot what living with cats is like, after seven months you forget their normal habits.  Hearing a can open instinctually means tuna for them.  Well not for me!  Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumkin!  I made my dough, let it sit and rise, and patiently waited in anticipation.  I let my water boil, cut my dough into chunks, then realized that while packing up my kitchen supplies in Montreal I forgot to pack up my baking soda.  Thankfully I learnt something today: if you run out of baking soda, use 2-3x the amount of baking powder as you would baking soda.  At first I was a little hesitant, I was going to get into the car and go to the grocery store (but seeing as I lost my barings this morning I forgot how to get to the grocery store... after seven months can you blame me?  Errr... and didn't feel like having that happen again).  Thankfully it worked like a charm.  I didn't use egg wash of course, and I didn't want to melt any butter on top of the pretzels since there is already more than enough in the dough, so I very generously sprinkled the pretzel bites with more cinnamon!

These are certainly wonderful pretzels.  If you are on a diet, or a huuuuge pretzel fan, or a gigantic fan of pumpkin, even better a feign for pretzels and pumpkin I highly, highly advise you to make a batch and immediately freeze some.  I left mine out for quite some time... and while making my lunch well... about 1/4 of the batch disappeared (and it's a big batch).  After doing so, I quickly got some containers and started dividing the pretzels up.  Freezing 3/4's of the remaining pretzels, and leaving a 1/4 out... probably for tomorrow, oops, I just can't help it.
Pumpkin Soft Pretzel Bites

Recipe adapted from here


Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
    4 tbsp cane sugar
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 5 1/2 - 6 cups all purpose flour (I only need 5 1/2)
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or butter), melted
  • 2/3 cup baking soda (since I ran out of baking soda, I doubled the amount of baking powder)
  • Additional cinnamon to sprinkle on top
Directions:

Combine the warm water and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes.  Add the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and 5 1/2 cups flour and butter and using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. If dough is too wet add, another 1/4-1/2 cup flour.

Change to medium speed and knead about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, and place the dough in a glass bowl oiled with vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 12 inch rope. Using a sharp knife, cut rope into 1 inch pieces.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Using a large sauce pan, fill with water. Bring the water to a boil and add the baking soda.

Place the pretzels into the boiling water for 30 seconds each. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Place pretzels on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat mat.

Garnish with additional cinnamon (or egg wash and perhaps cinnamon sugar mixture?)  Bake until golden brown in color, approximately 6-8 minutes.

Mushrooms and Tofu en Papillote with Rosemary and Thyme

Recipe slightly dapted form here
 
/cough, so as I mentioned I ate about 1/4 of the pretzels while preparing my lunch!  Yes, I ate dessert before my meal (which happens more than it should).  Sort of a bad idea since I didn't eat my whole lunch, however, I'm still feeling the jet lag and fell asleep for a couple of hours this afternoon.  When I awoke my bowl from lunch was still there, so I gobbled up the rest of it!  It worked out great in the end ;)

The ugh... process for wrapping the tofu/mushroom mixture in parchment paper didn't work out so well.  With my lack of sleep, definite hunger I was getting a little frustrated, so I ended up taking out a huuuge other piece and just wrapping everything together.  The smell coming from the oven was fantastic, oh how I love rosemary and balsamic vinegar together.  This meal was amazing.  By the time I was separating the meal into bowls for my mom and I, I had already gobbled up a lot of it.  I just couldn't stop.  The mix of the fresh spices, delicious Shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and balsamic vinegar it was marvelous.  This was a perfect meal on a cold fall day.  It was incredibly filling, warmed me up and was just very comforting.  I loved it and will certainly be making it again.


Ingredients:
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I used Shiitake)
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, diced into small cubes 
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp EVOO 
  • Sea salt and pepper 
  • 5 sprigs of thyme 
Directions:


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the parchment paper: Take one sheet of parchment (about the size of a full sheet tray), fold it in half and cut out the shape of half a heart so that when you unfold the paper, the cut out is heart-shaped (ooooh romantic!). Repeat with the other piece(s).

Combine the sliced mushrooms, tofu, garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss until mushrooms and tofu are evenly coated in the vinegar and oil.

Place one side of the heart-shaped paper on a baking sheet. Place half of the mushroom and tofu mixture onto the paper, towards the crease and trying to keep it as compact as possible. Place a thyme sprig on top if using. Fold the edge of the paper toward you tightly, starting at the top curve of the heart. After the first fold, take the next inch or so and fold it towards you again, overlapping the previous fold a little bit. Continue this process until you’ve sealed up the whole pocket. 

Repeat the sealing process with remaining pockets/mushroom and tofu mixture. Place pockets on a baking sheet and put into the oven for 20 minutes. The packets should be quite puffed up. Snip them open with scissors carefully and serve.


What kind of pumpkin recipes have you tried this season?

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