Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake, Baked Potatoes and a post-Thanksgiving review

Weep. Weep. Sniffle. Sniffle. I thought I was going to be able to prep, cook and post my holiday recipes as I was making them. But that just didn't happen. I was lucky to get everything into the oven!  It's possible that I over-extended myself (you know, since there's a toddler and infant in tow), but I'm happy to report that I was able to make everything I set out to make.* I also tried new recipes.  That caused some trepidation; it's much more comforting to present dishes that you've made a million times because you can vouch for their deliciousness.  But I really wanted to emerge from my comfort zone and try a new dessert and a new side dish.  
So, I started cooking the night before Thanksgiving after the kids went to sleep. I decided to make a pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap and hazelnut crust. Hello! I'd seen it in Saveur magazine in a feature on vegetarian Thanksgivings (!).  The cake took a while to make, but it was worth it.  It's decadent and rich (and definitely not for the lactose intolerant).  It felt much more holiday appropriate than the standard Upstate Cheesecake I typically make.  Going with the pumpkin version was the right thing to do. 
Thanksgiving Day was warm with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees here in Denver.  Crazy, right? We went over to our friend's new home (in historic Washington Park) to celebrate.  We were really happy to be included because our families are back in New York (having their get-together which includes 'Turkey Parts'- but that's a story for another time).  Our hosts were taking care of the bird.
Since I don't eat turkey and I wasn't sure how well a giant Tofurkey (with gravy on the side!) would go over with the crowd, I settled on Heidi Swanson's Wild Rice Casserole.  It's easy to make and it's a real crowd pleaser.  I also adapted a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for Baked Potatoes with Bread Crumbs and Parmesan Crust.  I liked the potatoes and would definitely make them again.  (Note: you must add a lot of salt to the dish or else it will be bland and flat).  Of course since this is the holiday season, a few tablespoons of cream seemed like an appropriate addition too!
Our friends made some great food: a wonderful-tart cranberry dish, a very yummy spinach casserole, stuffing (vegetarian and from the bird) and a pumpkin pie.  We all had a great time and Otis loved playing with his friends.  Otis also went nuts over the electric Thomas the Train track set that was in the house...which he's been talking about ever since...
Hope you all had a great holiday! 

* Well, almost everything made it.  I did suffer two altitude-related causalities: curried deviled eggs never boiled right and the caramel in my tart got a little scorched (still very edible) because the boiling point here is something I'm still getting used too.  That said, I am getting the hang of it! 
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap and Hazelnut Crust 
Serves 12-14
Ingredients for the Crust: 
1¼ cups (about 8 oz.) finely ground gingersnap cookie crumbs
¾ cup finely ground hazelnuts
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
For the topping: 
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 16-oz. container sour cream
For the filling:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground allspice
¼ tsp. ground ginger
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
4 eggs
½ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree

Instructions

1. Make the crust: Heat oven to 325°. Wrap the outside of a 9" springform pan with foil and set aside. Combine gingersnap crumbs, hazelnuts, butter, and brown sugar in a food processor, and process until evenly combined. Transfer to pan and press evenly into bottom and halfway up side; bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool and set aside.
2. Make the topping: Whisk together sugar, vanilla, and sour cream in a medium bowl until smooth; set aside.
3. Make the filling: Set a kettle of water to boil. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until evenly incorporated. Add cream, syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin, and mix until smooth. Pour filling over crust and place springform pan into a large roasting pan; pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come halfway up side of spring-form pan. Bake until filling jiggles slightly in the center when the pan is tapped on the side, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
4. Pour sour cream topping over filling and gently smooth top; continue baking for 5 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath and let cool completely to room temperature. Chill until set, at least 4 hours or overnight, before serving.

* * *
Baked Potatoes with Bread Crumb-Parmesan Crust (Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)
6 to 8 servings
Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (You really have to add a lot of salt and pepper. There are the only 2 spices in this recipe, so don't be shy. Taste as you go.)
3 tablespoons seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoon heavy cream
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish (I used a large circular pan) with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.
Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt (a lot) and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Add two tablespoons of heavy cream.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  If it doesn't have flavor now, it's not going to have it when it's finished baking!  Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.
Bake, covered for 10 minutes. Then bake an additional 10 minutes, until the topping is golden brown.
And the Wild Rice Casserole.  Click here for recipe. 
And the ever popular and very fabulous Chocolate Caramel Tart from Marlow & Sons. Click here for recipe.  (Note: I took this picture in Brooklyn- the first time I made this pie.  The caramel was runny and gooey.  Not so when I made the same tart in Denver.  It suffered from an altitude sickness and the caramel got a bit burnt and the crust was a bit dry. Not to worry. I will correct my mistakes and make it again in the Mile-High City!) 
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Heidi's Farro Soup with Curry Powder, Black Lentils and Salted Lemon Yogurt


I consider myself a soup aficionado and a connoisseur. I love it chilled, hot, spicy, thick and stew-like and yes, even consommé. For a long time my favorite soup was Black Bean, heavy on the cumin. I made it several times a month and even large batches seemed to disappear within a day or two of being made. Then Heidi Swanson's Summer Squash with Thai Curry Paste and Tofu Croutons got into the mix. Only to be followed by a Cauliflower Soup with Mustard Croutons and my perennial favorite, Pesto-Minestrone.
Now I've got a new soup in my rotation...
It's another Heidi Swanson recipe, this one for Farro Soup with Curry Powder, Lentils and Salted Lemon Yogurt. It's delicious, so don't let my photograph fool you (I don't think it does the soup justice). 
I've got good soup recipes, and very good ones too. This one, however, falls into the excellent category. And will be a heavy hitter this winter.  
It's incredible easy to make and it took me under 20 minutes to prepare. The soup simmers for 45-50 minutes, but that's hands-off time. And when it's done simmering, you'll probably agree that nothing is nicer on a chilly night than this soup...and a glass of wine.  
On a totally unrelated note, I read an interesting piece in the New York Times last week. The article questioned whether cookbooks would survive the rising popularity of digital media like e-books and recipe apps (applications, not appetizers). Would cookbooks go obsolete? I don't have the answer and only time will tell. But I can tell you that I am getting that seasonal-itch. You know the one that kind of surfaces right around the holidays and compels you to buy another 10 cookbooks because, well, who doesn't need more cookbooks? 
I love looking through great cookbooks--the ones with gorgeous photographs and tantalizing recipes. The ones with dog-eared pages, scribbles in the margin and sauce pocks on the page. Know what I mean? You just don't get that from a digital cookbook. 
But back to Heidi's soup, which comes from one of my favorite cookbooks...
Farro Soup with Curry Powder, Lentils and Salted Lemon Yogurt (Courtesy of Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day)
Serves 8
Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 cup peeled, diced sweet potato or winter squash
Fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Indian curry powder
2/3 cup semi-pearled farro
1 1/4 cups green or black lentils, picked over and rinsed
6 cups vegetable broth or water (I went with low-sodium broth)
1 cup plain yogurt of Greek-style yogurt or creme fraiche (I've used both)
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
Directions

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and sweet potato. Add a big pinch of salt and saute until the onions soften a bit, a couple of minutes.
Add the curry powder; stir until onions and sweet potatoes are coated and the curry is fragrant, a minute or so.
Add the farro, lentils and 6 cups of the broth broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. (I used semi-pearled farro and it took me 45 minutes for the soup to cook.  Then I let it sit in the dutch oven, covered, and off-heat for another 15 minutes.)
Taste and season with more salt, if needed. (Don't under-salt or the soup will taste flat.) While the soup is cooking, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Serve each bowl of soup topped with a dollop of lemon yogurt and a drizzle of olive oil.

* * *
Happy Thanksgiving! 
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ottolenghi's Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

I've been slowly cooking my way through Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London's Ottolenghi. I posted his garlic harissa soup and chard and saffron omelette.  And I'm a really big fan of his cauliflower-cumin fritters with lime yogurt, which comes from the eponymous Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.  
This recipe for Green Pancakes with Lime Butter (from Plenty)  was another recipe I really liked. It's perfect for an adult brunch (the flavor is a bit too strong for the kids-- or at least mine).  
Now, that being said, I can't imagine how you could possibly use 2 green chiles in these pancakes without burning out your taste buds. I admire those who can take on some heat, but since I was serving this in the morning I didn't want my friends to get such an intense wake-up call. So I used 1 chile instead of 2. 
The recipe didn't specify what type of 'green chiles' to use, so I went with serrano since I've used it in cooking before. (I vacillated between serrano and jalapeño.) It's possible that you could use 2 chiles that are more mild, but since I'm not an expert on peppers, I went with something I know.
The lime butter is delicious and it has a wonderful flavor that cooled the pancake's heat. Scrumptious! I had A LOT of leftover butter, so I guess you can make less to start. Or you smother your vegetables in the leftover lime butter. It's pretty darn delicious. 
Oh Yotam, I do like your dishes. Any chance you'll open up an eatery state-side?  
Green Pancakes with Lime Butter (Courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi, Plenty
Serves 3-4
Ingredients
Lime butter
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chile flakes
Pancake
1/2 lb (about 8 cups) spinach, washed
3/4 cup self-rising flour 
1 tbsp baking powder
1 egg
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup milk
6 medium green onions, finely sliced
2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced (I went with 1)
1 egg white
Olive oil for frying
Directions
To make the lime butter. Put the butter in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it turns soft and creamy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Tip onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends of the wrap to seal the flavored butter. Chill until firm.
Wilt the spinach in a pan with a splash of water. Drain in a sieve and, when cool, squeeze hard with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and put aside.
Put the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the green onions, chiles and spinach and mix with a fork. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold it into the batter.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently. You should get smallish pancakes, about 3 inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until you get a good golden-green color. Transfer to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding oil to the pan as needed, until the batter is used up.
To serve, pile up three warm pancakes per person and place a slice of flavored butter on top to melt.
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Locomotives and Roasted Beets with Chiles, Ginger, Yogurt and Indian Spices

Eight months ago I didn't have a clue who Thomas the Tank Engine was. Well, that's not true.  We got a fabulous Thomas Starter Set when our first son was born, but we hadn't used it yet.  I didn't realize the mania surrounding the little blue engine who adorns hundreds of books and DVD covers.  Now I hear about Thomas all the time.  Our eldest son (Otis) is Thomas obsessed.  
That's not necessarily a bad thing.  He has a few Thomas-themed items and I think they have had a very positive impact on his daily activities.  Otis can assemble semi-sophisticated train tracks with a quickness and he's learned many letters of the alphabet thanks, in part, to one of his Thomas books.  We decided it was time to go to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden so he could see some real engines. We saw all sorts of engines that were part of the state's railroad history, spanning many decades.  There were also tender cars, box cars, gondola cars and hopper cars.  I think you get the picture...While Otis spent his first year and a half of life riding the NYC subway, since our move West he hasn't been on any trains.  You can imagine then, how unbelievably excited he was to learn that we were going to be riding the Georgetown Loop Railroad in historic Georgetown, Colorado during Big Horn Sheep Festival.  The train ride, which was just over an hour in duration, took us up the rail line that used to transport silver from the local mining towns.  We were given a good deal of historic information on the ride, but Otis was oblivious.  He couldn't stop staring out the window and waiting for the sound of the train whistle to blow.  "Chew-chewy," he would say. Here are a few shots taken from the window of the train car... (and yes, that is Otis's favorite Thomas book in hand.) As for Baby Theodore?  He slept through the whole ride.  


* * * 
And now for roasted beets...
I've often salivated while reading Melissa Clark's recipes in The New York Times.  I've heard her talk on the radio about food, cooking and baking.  She's my kinda girl.  She cooks food that really appeals to me and I like what she has to say about time spent in the kitchen.  Other people like what she has to say too-- she has published several books and has a regular feature (A Good Appetite) in the paper.  How is it then that I've never actually made any of her dishes?  I'm not sure.
Anyway, this is the first recipe of hers that I've actually made.  It has some unusual combinations and I like the texture of the pomegranates here, which are 'optional' and really shouldn't be. I thought the use of jalapeno was nice too.  Usually I tend to pair beets with flavors that are more mild.  It's nice to change things up a bit! 
One caveat:  it took me A LOT longer than 30 minutes to roast the beets.  It was more like 1 hour.  And the beets really need to be quite tender for this dish to be successful.   
This vibrant, colorful, spicy little beet salad is a great addition to any meal.  
Roasted Beets With Chiles, Ginger, Yogurt and Indian Spices (Courtesy of Melissa Clark, New York Times)
Yields 2-3 servings
Ingredients
1 3/4 pounds beets; a mix of red, yellow and chiogga is nice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon lime juice, more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Pomegranate seeds for garnish, optional.
Directions
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Peel the beets and cut into 1-inch chunks. Toss with the oil and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, (took me over an hour) tossing occasionally, then sprinkle with mustard seeds, coriander and cumin and roast until the beets are tender, about 15 minutes more.
2. While the beets roast, prepare the dressing: using the side of a knife or mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with a pinch of salt until it forms a paste. Place yogurt in a bowl; whisk in garlic paste, jalapeño, ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt and lime juice. Whisk in the cilantro.
3. Scrape the warm beets into a large bowl. Stir in the dressing and pomegranate seeds, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tarry Lodge Inspired Pizza: Goat Cheese, Pistachio and Truffled Honey

Most of the time I follow the recipes from my favorite cookbooks or food blogs.  On occasion I adapt them to better suit my taste preferences (or those of the more discerning Señor Otis).  Here, however, I tried to recreate the pizza I ate a few months back at Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's (yes, son of Lidia) Port Chester eatery, Tarry Lodge.  
The pie is pretty much adaptable once you have the following ingredients: good quality pizza dough (home made or store bought), olive oil, red onion, chopped pistachio nuts, goat cheese, salt, and honey (admittedly truffled honey is the way to go, but I used the store-bought kind...you know, the one in the little plastic bear with yellow top).  
I pre-heated the oven to 475 degrees and put the pizza stone in the oven.  It took about 1/2 hour for the stone to get hot.  Then I divided the dough so that I had enough dough for 2 small pies (each the size of a traditional pizza stone) and sprinkled it with a generous amount of flour.  After flattening the dough and stretching it onto an oiled mesh disk, I drizzled it with olive oil and honey.  I brushed the edges of the pie with additional olive oil. 
Then I put the red onion (very thinly sliced) and pistachios on the pie and sprinkled it with some salt.  
Into the oven it went on my pizza stone...
After about 7 minutes, I took it out of the oven and drizzled it with a bit more olive oil and honey.  Then I put the goat cheese on top of the pie.  I cooked it for about 3-4 more minutes and then dinner was served. (Pie should be slightly golden.)
Thanks for the inspiration, Tarry Lodge!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Ottolenghi's Chard and Saffron Omelette

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I have a wee-little-celebrity-chef crush on Yotam Ottolenghi.  I love his Guardian column, his blog, cookbook(s) and the next time I'm in London I hope to dine in at least one of his four restaurants.  I was really happy when Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi was published for an American audience.  This meant that I no longer had to tinker with British cooking conversions.  And for that I was thankful 
While Yotam is a devout omnivore, he has seemingly become the voice of vegetarian cooking across the pond.  His recipes use imaginative combinations, pull from a nice range of cultural influences and they are super tasty too!  Okay, love fest over.
I've posted his garlic soup with harissa and cauliflower-cumin fritters with lime yogurt.  This recipe for a chard and saffron omelette is delicious.  It takes a bit more time to make than say, scrambling an egg.  But it's worth it. 
The key to making this dish successful is to mind the flame (making the heat too high will burn the eggs which have an almost crepe-like quality) and be generous with salt and pepper.  Ottolenghi presents the omelette in a fan shape by folding it two times, but when I did this it caused some of the filling to fall out.  So either fan-it or serve it in a traditional omelette shape.  
I also removed the chard from the stalk, opting not to use it.  The original recipe uses the stalk because this particular dish cooks for a while, letting the tough stalk cook through.  I guess both ways work.  Other than that, I just followed the recipe as is.
Okay, my appetite is sated and now I'm off to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad in the historic (former) mining town.  I love Historic Colorado!
{Note: I do my grocery shopping by making recipes that use overlapping ingredients.  This way it's not too expensive because nothing goes to waste and every ingredient purchased is used in multiple dishes.  So, for example, the left-over creme fraîche will be used in a carrot-fennel soup this week. The left-over parsley and dill will go into an Ina Garten French Potato Salad.  I try to do this every time I shop to keep costs down.} 

Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people) 
Ingredients
1/2 lb (1 medium) waxy potato, peeled and cut into 3/8 inch dice
1 cup water
pinch of saffron threads
3/4 lb Swiss Chard stalks and leaves (I omitted the stalks), shredded
salt and pepper to taste (season this dish well)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2/3 cup chopped herbs (tarragon, dill, parsley)
vegetable oil
1/2 cup creme fraîche, cold
Directions
Put the potatoes, water and saffron in a large pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 4 minutes, then add the chard and some salt and pepper.  Continue cooking, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potato is soft.  Drain out any excess liquid that is left in the pan.  Off heat, add the lemon juice and garlic.  Leave to cool.
Whisk together well the eggs, milk, herbs and some salt and pepper.  Pour 1 teaspoon of oil into a hot, 9-inch nonstick frying pan, then use one-quarter of the egg mixture to make a thin round omelette.  Transfer to a paper towel.  Make three more omelettes in the same way.  Leave to cool down. 
Divide the cold creme fraîche among the omelettes, spreading it over half of each.  Taste the chard mixture and adjust the seasoning, then spread generously over the creme fraîche. Fold each omelette over in half, then fold again to get a fan shape.  
Allow the chard mix to show at the open side.  Arrange the omelettes in a lightly oiled ovenproof baking sheet.  (Keep in the fridge if making ahead.) When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Place the omelettes in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until hot.  Serve at once. 
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Happy Cakes

I've had a sweet tooth for as long as I can remember.  I love good quality sweets.  I never really nosh on over-the-counter candy like candy corns, skittles, Twix bars or Peeps. I go for super decadent desserts like rich Italian pastries, speciality cupcakes, freshly made ice cream and chocolate molten cakes.  Lucky for me I live right in between two of Denver's best bakeries-- Happy Cakes and My Sweet Bakery.  
The other day I found myself walking down 32nd Street in Historic Highland Square.  I decided to pop into Happy Cakes and try out one of their weekly specials-- a Mexican Chocolate cupcake.  It was so fantastic that I went right home and searched (somewhat unsuccessfully) for a recipe that was similar to the cupcake I had just consumed.  The cupcake had a spicy chocolate butter cream and got great heat from the use of cayenne pepper.  It really was fantastic.
I found myself back at Happy Cakes on Friday to pick up dessert for a "Thank You" dinner party we were having for our friends Mizzy and Teo (Mizzy was instrumental in finding us our rental house.  We absolutely could not have done it without her help).  I had a full menu planned and I really wasn't sure if I'd have time to whip up my own dessert.  I *knew* that Happy Cakes would make a cupcake worthy of our dinner guests.  And they did...
I'll be back at the bakeshop this week for I've got to try their Colorado Bulldog and Chocolate Pumpkin.  Oh cupcakes, you are good to me!
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Country Living's Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

Last weekend I went back home to NYC for a wedding. It was beautiful. The beaming bride was gorgeous, the groom looked great (love the look of tux-n-sneakers) and the food was traditional Korean.  I ate my body weight in kimchi. (Fermented cabbage, I love you!)
In addition to the wedding, I wanted to see some Northeast fall foliage, check out Occupy Wall Street and catching up with a few friends. I made it down to the protests, I saw some family and friends, but the foliage didn't really happen. That's because the strangest weather pattern ever to hit the eastern seaboard at the end of October, made its way through the New York City-Tri-state area. Wind gusts were toppling trees, and the hail and falling snow didn't seem to stop. I should have checked the weather channel before packing my bags, because I was totally unprepared and less-than weather appropriate for the wedding (read: sleeveless dress and open toe shoes). Nevertheless, I had a fabulous time.  
Now I'm back in Colorado and Halloween preparations are in full swing. Otis will be donning a cow costume (moo) and baby Theo will be trick-or-treating as a pumpkin, hat included.  
I'm kinda going nutty for all things pumpkin these days. I've put them in pancakes, muffins, chili, soup, and cupcakes. Pumpkins are on almost every door step in my neighborhood... and while I was on a morning walk I started craving pumpkin waffles. We have a really great waffle maker and it was time to bust it out.
I did a google search for 'spiced pumpkin waffles' and a recipe post from Smitten Kitchen came up, as did another one from Country Living (which is where I think SK got at least part of her inspiration, given the similarity of the ingredients). 
I decided to go with the Country Living recipe, adapting it only slightly. It's so autumnal and so delicious. Top the waffles with a pat of butter and some good maple syrup.  Maybe even some roasted pecans or some powdered sugar? It's a great way to start off your day!  
{Note: You can refrigerate the leftover batter for use the next day.}  
Spiced Pumpkin Waffles (Adapted slightly from Country Living)
Serves 8-10
Ingredients
2 1/2 cup(s) All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon(s) Baking Powder
2 1/4 teaspoon(s) Cinnamon
1 teaspoon(s) Ginger
1/2 teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) Salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) Fresh-Ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon(s) Cloves
4 Large Eggs
2 cup(s) Buttermilk
1 cup(s) Pumpkin Purée
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon(s) Pure Vanilla Extract
Directions
Preheat a waffle iron. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, pumpkin purée, sugar, butter, and vanilla in another large bowl until smooth. While whisking, add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.
Generously coat the waffle iron with vegetable oil (I used a pastry brush and lightly coated the iron) and cook the batter in the waffle iron as recommended in the manufacturer's instructions. Repeat with remaining batter.
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