Posts Tagged ‘Pumpkin’

Saturday, I had farmer’s market despair. I got there after noon and except for a few freezer burned scraps, there was no lettuce to be found. It felt foreboding — like a chilly wind on an autumn night that reminds you that pretty soon, winter’s going to barrel in like a freight train.

“No salad?” the babysitter asked when I wrote out instructions for the kids’ dinner on Monday morning. “No.” I answered. “I couldn’t buy it this weekend. I’ll buy some this week.”

She cocked her head at me and thought about what I was saying. Her English is still rough, so I’m sure everything gets processed in slow motion. Finally, a puzzled look settled on her face and she nodded politely as if she understood.

Last night we watched The Walking Dead. In the story, the last human survivors are in their camp in the mountains talked about shooting squirrels, foraging for wild mushrooms and worrying what will happen when the run out of that the last can of beans.  I thought, why am I simulating this crazy post apocalyptic experience in my head?  Ok, I know I have to bring up this Apocalypse is coming fear in therapy.  But on the other hand, why should not having lettuce be such a travesty. I was really in a panic until as I was writing this post I remembered that when I was a kid, in the winter, we used to eat coleslaw. Cabbages won’t go away for a while.  Again, I just need to shift how I think about what we eat and when. (And teach my kids to eat coleslaw!)

I have gotten into the habit of the farmer’s market on Saturday with a shot of veg from the CSA on Tuesday. Now that the CSA is over, I knew I had to do something differently.

This morning, John and I went to that Fort Washington Greenmarket on 168th street on the way to work.  Although there were under 10 vendors, there were a lot of farmers who weren’t in Inwood and the selection and quality was  amazing.  I was sad to learn the market closes for the season next week.

I was particularly impressed by the variety of apples.   One orchard from Goshen had lots of heirloom varieties that I’d never seen before.
“Russet apples?” John asked as I picked out an armful of decidedly not read apples. “Russet’s not just for potatoes?”

I never thought about it, but the word russet actually means yellowish brown or reddish-brown. And as John pointed out, it’s a Crayola crayon color.  In terms of taste, the Golden Russet apples are delicious. They’re honey sweet and firm with a nice hint of tartness. I really love them!

My most exciting find was a cheese pumpkin.

I made my first pumpkin pie from scratch last week. (The recipe came from my friend Cathy — it should be on her blog soon. ) I used a regular looking pumpkin I got from the Inwood market. It wasn’t a sugar pumpkin, but the farmer said it would work. And it wasn’t bad. The flavor was actually very similar to butternut squash. I also baked a plain old Jack O Lantern pumpkin they were selling for 99 cents by B’s school. Yes, it was a supermarket buy, but my sustainable rational was that if I didn’t buy it, it was going to get trashed. It was not delicious. The flesh was much paler, almost white, and when I sliced it into sections the pumpkin was as thin as a shell. It wasn’t inedible but it was bland. Mixed in with the other pumpkin it was fine.

The pumpkin that everyone on the blogs talk about as being the best for pies is the cheese pumpkin. And I found one today.

One  farmer , who said she used to make 8 pies every thanksgiving, said that my 8 lb pumpkin would make about 4 pies. It only cost me 6 bucks.

“More pumpkin?” John asked as I eyed the big yellow nut of a squash. Last week, in addition to the pie, I’d made cranberry pumpkin bread, which B has been eating every morning for breakfast! I told the kids it was muffin bread. B knew it was a mom trick, but he bought it. Z, couldn’t get past the tartness of the cranberries.

We were already laden down with bags by the time I spotted this prize.  Actually, John was laden down. The farmers laughed as I loaded him down even.

“Where’s he going to put it?” they chided.

“He’s the one who really love pumpkin pie,” I said.

“It’s true,” he said and carried it happily home.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
(based on my friend Emily’s recipe)

2.5 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups fresh pumpkin
1 cup oatmeal flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.

Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Add cinnamon.

Stir into wet mixture.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.

Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

Note: We ate one loaf and stuck the other in the freezer. It freezes beautifully! This morning we took out one, cut a slice and dropped it in the toaster for a great, quick, not a pop tart breakfast treat.

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