Posts made in October, 2017

Sunday Quote heeds Henson

Posted by on Oct 22, 2017 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“The most sophisticated people I know – inside they are all children. ”
~ Jim Henson

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Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

Posted by on Oct 18, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, cake, pumpkin | 0 comments

The Great British Bake Off inspired me to finally try making a cake roll of my own, and this is the result: a delicious, successful Pumpkin Roll.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

No lie, these things have intimidated me for a decade. I was certain I’d try to roll it up, and it’d crack and be a total disaster.

In reality, I ended up with only a few minor cracks, and the roll maintained its shape without any issue.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

But let’s talk about the taste. Cream cheese and pumpkin make for the perfect pairing. Both are mild and complement each other, and the amounts here are perfect. The filling doesn’t gush all over the place like some of the disastrous results on Bake Off.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

The most time-consuming part of all of this was beating the whites to stiff peaks… which wasn’t helped by the fact that my hand mixer was dying and could barely beat at all. I like to think it met a noble end in the making of this recipe.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

RIP hand mixer, a well-used wedding gift from the year 2000.

This cake is super-easy to store in the fridge because it’s small and narrow. The original recipe said it could be frozen, too, though I didn’t try that myself.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

Be bold and crazy. Conquer your fear. Make a Pumpkin Roll. And salute the work of your noble hand mixer.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

This Pumpkin Roll is a fall classic, melding pumpkin and cream cheese in a compact, delicious form. Plan ahead when making this, as the rolled sponge must cool, and the whole cake should chill before being sliced. Modified from Chef in Training and Taste of Home.

  • Sponge
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, with separated yolks and whites
  • 1 cup white sugar, divided in half
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not organic)
  • Filling
  • 8 ounces (1 box) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven at 375-degrees.

Cut parchment paper to fit inside a 15x10-inch pan. Grease and flour the pan and the top of the paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until they are thick. Slowly add 1/2 cup white sugar and the pumpkin puree. Beat until the sugar is completely blended in.

In another small bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually pour in the remaining white sugar, and continue beating until stiff peak stage. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mixture, then fold in the dry ingredients; be gentle and do not overmix.

Pour the sponge batter into the pan and use an uneven spatula to spread it to the edges.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched. Lay a cotton kitchen towel out on the counter and sprinkle it all over with confectioners' sugar. After the cake has cooled for 5 minutes, turn it out onto the prepared towel. Peel away the parchment paper. Roll the cake up by the short side. Leave it rolled up and cool it completely on the towel.

To make the filling, in a small bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla, until smooth.

Unroll the cake on the towel again. Spread the filling. Roll it up again.

Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. When ready to serve, cut thin slices off both ends of the cake to make for a pretty presentation. Dust confectioners' sugar all over the top.

OM NOM NOM!

 

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Roll

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Sunday Quote pronounces the month half done

Posted by on Oct 15, 2017 in Blog, Quote | 0 comments

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

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Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Posted by on Oct 11, 2017 in Blog, Bready or Not, breakfast, chocolate, gluten-free, healthier, main dish, muffin, pumpkin | 0 comments

I continue to revisit old favorite pumpkin recipes to incorporate more experience and better photography. This week’s recipe is for Pumpkin Pucks.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

These happen to be gluten-free and paleo, if you follow those diets. More to my needs, they are high-protein, avoid processed flours, and are DELICIOUS.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

They are rather like mini pumpkin pie custards with a slightly nutty taste. Do note that this can be made with whole wheat and/or all-purpose flour, if you don’t care about it being gluten-free… but I by far prefer the taste with almond flour.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

I have also used different nut butters. Almond butter tastes the strongest–in a very good way–though cashew butter was fantastic, too.

Once, I only had 3/4 cup of pumpkin, so I made up for the difference with applesauce. I found no major difference in taste or texture.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

I find that two of these make for a delicious breakfast. The size makes them very kid-friendly. I have kept them in the fridge for upwards of a week. Also, these are fantastic to freeze. Just be sure to remove the muffin cup liners and use waxed paper between layers.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

You can alter the flavor with different toppings, too. Mini chocolate chips are my favorite! Pepitas and dried cranberries work well, too; note that the cranberries are tart but mellow after time in the fridge.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Enjoy this healthy recipe, and be warned that next week takes a decidedly sugary turn with a recipe for Pumpkin Roll!

Modified from Paleo Parents.

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

Bready or Not: Pumpkin Pucks

This delicious recipe makes a kind of gluten free, paleo-friendly dense pumpkin custard in a muffin pan. Store these in the fridge for upward of a week; they can also be frozen, with the muffin liners removed, and kept between waxed paper.

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree [canned, NOT organic]
  • 1 cup almond or other nut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup almond flour [or wheat or all-purpose flour]
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Topping choice: 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, OR chopped nuts or pepitas, or dried cranberries

Place muffin cup liners in pan, then spray the insides with nonstick spray. Preheat oven at 350-degrees.

If your almond butter is very stiff, measure it out, place in a microwave-safe bowl, then zap it for 15 seconds or so to soften it. Mix pumpkin puree and the almond butter together.

Add honey and maple syrup. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients until everything is just combined.

Fill the muffin cups to 3/4 full; a tablespoon scoop makes this easy, as it's almost exactly 2 tablespoons to fill the cups. Top with mini chocolate chips or nuts or cranberries, if desired.

Bake at 350-degrees for about 20 minutes. Pumpkin pucks will not rise much. The tops of some may start to crack. Remove them from pan and allow to cool, then store in fridge.

OM NOM NOM!

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Author David Walton: The Importance of Food When Telling a Story

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in Blog, guest | 0 comments

I’m delighted to have author David Walton as a guest! His new book The Genius Plague came out last week, and as you might guess with a glance at the cover, mushrooms–and other foods– play important roles in the plot…

 

The Importance of Food When Telling a Story

Genius PlagueEveryone eats.  To some people, food is central to their experience of family or national culture, a thing to be cherished and enjoyed.  To others, food is a sterile necessity.  How and what a person eats can tell us a lot about them.  When creating a character in a novel, then, it’s important to get the food right.  In one sense, it’s who they are.

In my newest novel, THE GENIUS PLAGUE, a South American fungus takes center stage.  That means a lot of the novel takes place in Brazil, with main characters who grew up there.  For me, that meant not just researching Brazilian food, but also talking with a native of Brazil to understand what food meant to him, and translating those feelings to my character.  Brazilian flavors include a mix of indigenous and Portuguese influences, mostly involving beans and rice.  In fact, beans and rice is such a common part of everyday life that the phrase “beans and rice” is a Brazilian expression meaning common or ordinary.

When one character goes to his parents’ home and his father cooks shrimp bobó, the delicious flavor means a lot more to him than just a good taste.  It’s comfort food that brings back memories of childhood experiences and better times.  Times when he and his brother weren’t on opposite sides of a bitter argument.  Times when his father wasn’t dying.  When he shovels a third helping onto his plate, it’s more than just food he’s eating: it’s memories and nostalgia and hope.

Another character is a mycologist–someone who studies mushrooms.  When he and a woman he barely knows are stranded deep in the Amazon, food isn’t a matter of taste or culture — it’s only his knowledge of what mushrooms are safe that allows them to survive.  I personally love to eat mushrooms, but I’m the only one in my family who does.  Which means a lot of mushrooms being passed over to my plate!  The mushrooms in the story, however, are not entirely safe, as it turns out…

Food is an essential part of who we are, both to stay alive and to form relationships and cultures.  If you are a writer, be sure to think about the food your characters are eating and what it means to them.  If you’re a reader, a story may not tempt your taste buds or fill your stomach, but I hope you’ll notice how food can enhance the flavor of our books, even as you are devouring them.

Look for THE GENIUS PLAGUE online or at your local bookstore!

Amazon Barnes and Noble | BAM | IndieBound | Powells
David Walton is the author of the international bestseller SUPERPOSITION and its sequel SUPERSYMMETRY. His novel TERMINAL MIND won the 2008 Philip K. Dick Award for the best SF paperback published in the United States for that year. He lives near Philadelphia with his wife and seven children.
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