Friday, October 19, 2007
It's that time of year again! The time of year when we all don creepy costumes, lurk around squash gardens in the dim light, sharpen our knives, then plunge them mercilessly into the innocent visages of pumpkins everywhere. HALLOWEEN!
And that means Jack O' Lanterns. (Which, if you're food-obsessed, means...PUMPKINS!) So what more timely topic than this for my little foodie blog?
Lately, I have been consumed (pun intended) with the idea of making a pumpkin pound cake. I'm not a baker, it's true, but with the purchase of a few provisions (namely, a Bundt pan and some measuring spoons), I could be. My vision is to take the recipe below, and make it using exclusively organic ingredients, as well as whole wheat flour. It won't be "healthier," per se - organic butter and regular butter have the same amount of yummy fat - but it may me feel incrementally less guilty about eating a big slice of cake (most likely topped with Reddi Wip, considering my roommate is currently in LA - again - editing Reddi Wip's new, hilarious TV spots, and therefore has access to large reserves of the stuff). I'll probably omit the pecans, since I'm not a fan of nuts in my desserts.
PUMPKIN POUND CAKE (from allrecipes.com)
1 1/4 cups shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/3 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, allspice and ginger; add to the creamed mixture just until combined. Stir in pecans.
Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
In a sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and extract. Serve warm with cake.
Look at this awesome Tiki-style jack o' lantern:
I've been getting more and more interested in Tiki-related decor. I bought a Tiki vase from World Market the other day, and I'm obsessed with it.
Check out the history of Jack O' Lanterns, from pumpkinnook.com:
The Irish brought the tradition of the Jack O'Lantern to America. But, the original Jack O'Lantern was not a pumpkin.The Jack O'Lantern legend goes back hundreds of years in Irish History. As the story goes, Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who liked to play tricks on everyone: family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up the apple tree, Stingy Jack hurriedly placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. The Devil was then unable to get down the tree. Stingy Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died. Once the devil promised not to take his soul, Stingy Jack removed the crosses and let the Devil down.
Many years later, when Jack finally died, he went to the pearly gates of Heaven and was told by Saint Peter that he was too mean and too cruel and had led a miserable and worthless life on earth. He was not allowed to enter heaven. He then went down to Hell and the Devil. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. Now Jack was scared and had nowhere to go but to wander about forever in the darkness between heaven and hell. He asked the Devil how he could leave as there was no light. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell to help him light his way. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed out Turnip, one of his favorite foods which he always carried around with him whenever he could steal one. For that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his "Jack O'Lantern".
On all Hallow's eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O'Lanterns. In the 1800's a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O'Lanterns.
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS (also from allrecipes.com)
1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 pinch sal
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally
PUMPKIN NUTRITION FACTS (from pumpkinnook.com)
In one cup of pumpkin puree:
Carbohydrates: 19 gram
Fat: less than 1 gram
Potassium: 588 milligrams
Protein: 2.4 grams
Vitamin A: 310% of RDA
Vitamin C: 20% of RDA
Thanks for reading guys! Good luck getting those costumes in order...