We’ve been playing with our food again. Specifically, we’ve been painting pumpkins, – it’s the fall canvas of choice in Wisconsin. Rick Kringle of Wisconsinmade.com and his elf accomplice made a midnight delivery of miniature painted pumpkins to kick-off the holiday season. We take this as a good sign that he’ll be back delivering kringles in December.
At the 4-H club meeting last night, members painted pumpkins and decorated them with glitter, felt, and stickers. It was a grand mess. All had a good time. Other Wisconsin pumpkin games include loading pumpkins into catapults and casting them into lakes and fields. A surprising amount of joy comes from watching overgrown squash fly through the air. Not sure I can explain its mesmerization, but we Wisconsinites line up to watch. Definitely a good time.
Meanwhile, others of us have been cooking with pumpkin and sharing our results. Rick Kringle’s elf brought pumpkin fudge into the office. Cheers for pumpkin fudge were mixed. I liked it! Our resident chocoholic didn’t, -some of us are purists. It all comes down to how much one likes pumpkin. I do!!
The other morning I made my first pumpkin dish of the season. I baked pumpkin bread, -(me and everyone else, I suppose). Sure, pumpkin bread is a standard fall comfort food, but that’s because it tastes great. I don’t understand why most of us don’t make it year round, (probably because we’re still trying to eat up all that zucchini bread we made and froze). This time I used Helen Myhre’s recipe. She makes my favorite zucchini bread, so I turned to her for pumpkin bread. Click on “Continue reading…” for Helen’s pumpkin bread recipe. You’ll also find it in her cookbook, Farm Recipes and Food Secrets from the Norske Nook: The Midwest’s #1 Roadside Cafe.
Helen Myhre’s recipe for Pumpkin Bread
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup soft butter
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/3 cup raisins (if desired)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves together in a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin, and add the eggs.
In a small bowl, mix together the milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in the nuts and raisins (if using). Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
I admit, as I age so do my taste-buds. They have assumed a middle-age jadedness. To wake the geezers up I have to load on the spices. So when I made this bread yesterday, I increased the ground cinnamon proportion to a very generous 1 teaspoon and added nearly a full teaspoon of ground cloves. I also used an overly generous teaspoon of vanilla extract. The cup of pumpkin I added was generous too, – likely 1 1/3 cups (who measures when they’re fudging?). And of course, my conscience made me reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup. And my result? I loved it! The clove flavor was INTENSE! The bread has a super-rich, spiced pumpkin smell and flavor. These recipe modifications are not for wimps. I may not make them when I make the bread for company, but family? – LOOK OUT!