Friday, October 30, 2009

All voluptuous curves

I could start off by telling you about the molasses cookies...or wait, maybe it's time for my dad's favorite scones on the planet...but no. It's that time of year again, and there's only one recipe that fits the bill.

You see, here in Ann Arbor, fall has arrived. And with it, the gorgeous, luxuriant colors of changing leaves and that crisp feeling in the air that makes you tighten your scarf and pull on some slippers each morning. I remember reading an article my mom sent along years ago, describing fall as the Sophia Loren of seasons, all voluptuous curves and colors. Here in Ann Arbor, the description fits.

Oh, fall, how I have missed you.

Fall means school supplies and football games, tailgating and dark beer, sweaters and apples. But most of all, fall means pumpkins.

My mom has been making pumpkin bread for as long as I can remember. I once bought her a pumpkin-shaped mold, hoping it would entice her to bake up just one more batch before the season was over. I can't count the number of mornings I feasted on the stuff, equally good eaten cold out of the fridge or warmed up with a bit of butter slathered on top.

This recipe is a family treasure, and one I encourage you to make today, tomorrow and as long as you need a bit of fall spice in your life.

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated, preferably)
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger

2/3 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree (you can also use acorn squash here, as I often do)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl.

Combine the water, oil, eggs and roasted pumpkin in the blender and blend to mix well.

Add the wet blender mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Line two large loaf pans with aluminum foil (alternately, butter them well), then divide the batter even between them.

Bake for approximately one hour, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serves at least 1.

Note: This keeps very well wrapped in aluminum foil in the fridge.

Friday, October 2, 2009

At the end of the day

Anyone still out there?

If you are, then let me just take this moment to apologize profusely for my long, unexpected and rather extended absence from this space. I've missed it, and all my free time to do it, come to think of it.

Let's just say law school happened, shall we?

I am now one month in, and I can honestly say that I've never had so much schoolwork to do in my entire life. All I want to do at the end of the day is pop open a beer and fall into my reading chair. I've also never felt guiltier about doing anything other than schoolwork, which is a condition I have to remedy. So last week I threw a cocktail party, and I've got big pumpkin bread/farmer's market plans for this weekend.

I'm slowly working my way back into the normal swing of things. I just need a few more baked goods under my belt, and with the weather acting as it is right now, that shouldn't be a problem. There's nothing like cool, rainy days to make me gravitate towards the warmth of the oven.

I'll see you all back here very soon.