Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Apples, Pumpkins, and Devolution

I spent this weekend processing a pumpkin we bought from the farmer's market. Actually, Biscuit and I brought home two—one for me to cook with, and one to carve. We also bought a peck of apples, because she loves apples. She loves to eat them, she loves to talk about them ("Apple!" is her favorite word), and she loves to bang them together while eating them and talking about them.

We have yet to carve the big pumpkin. It has been sitting on the dining room table, all shiny and orange. Biscuit, who just turned two, is still convinced that it is one REALLY big apple. "Apple!" she exclaims proudly, as she sneaks onto the table to get at the bowl of fruit. Against better judgment I ignore that she isn't supposed to be on the table. Just this once. Again. "Apple," she says, as she points at the bowl of shiny red orbs. I encourage her, yes, they are apples. "Apple," she says, kissing the big orange pumpkin. No, I have to say, my heart melting, that is a pumpkin. She laughs and pats the pumpkin, as if she is patting my addlepated noggin. Of course it's an apple. Silly mommy. All the world's an apple to eat and bang together.

I haven't ever tried to make pumpkin puree before. I read several how-to guides on the Internet, but it still took me about two hours to cook the two halves to a desired consistency. I finally gave up and microwaved them. I won't be doing that again.

It also took me forever to puree the pumpkin flesh. I finally gave up and added water to make the puree smooth enough to actually mix in the food processor. Nowhere have I read that it is OK to add water, so I think I flunked that part of "Fall Homemaking 101." However, I did emerge with about 12 cups of pumpkin puree, which is delightful.

My first attempt at baking with the puree was to make pumpkin bread. I was happy to read that one can make pumpkin pie spice easily using ingredients already at hand. At least, I thought they were at hand. I had ginger, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, all good stuff, from the Baker's Catalog. Well, all have gone MIA since the move. However, I am pleased to report that I substituted Chinese Five Spice and cinnamon and the result was quite nice. My husband, who is quite picky, proclaimed it edible. Huzzah!

Next, I made muffins, using the same recipe. I was able to locate the turbinado sugar for the muffin tops, and the results were gorgeous! I still have about 6 cups of puree left (in the fridge, natch—what, me freeze?). I am now looking for a recipe that will use pumpkin puree and apple sauce (from all the banged up apples).

While I was slaving over the hot food processor, Biscuit and I listened to The Proclaimer's 1988 album, Sunshine on Leith:

What do you do
Wnen democracy fails you
What do you do
When the rest can't see it's true?

Pat votes the Scots away
Just like her mother
But South always takes all
Just like her brother
The next time she might vote
So might the others
But time's running out pal
Cause they're giving up in numbers

What do you do
When democracy fails you
What do you do
When minority means you?
--"What Do You Do?"

This weekend I hope we can go apple picking. The critter will be in Heaven, and I will have more baking materials. I am really fond of baking right now because it keeps the house warm and it has been FREEZING. We have been putting plastic up on the windows and weather stripping the doors, but there is only so much you can do when it is 30 degrees outside. Brrr…

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