Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkin, and more pumpkin

Since I was home feeling cruddy yesterday, I threw a little something in the oven for breakfast to cheer myself up -- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal:

Mmmmmmm . . . a warm and comforting breakfast on a gross, rainy sick day. Here's the recipe:

Whisk together:
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
1 egg

Stir in:
2 cups regular rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
few grates fresh nutmeg
pinch each: cloves, cardamom, allspice, salt

Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch baking dish. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown. Serve warm, with a splash of milk and a dash of cinnamon.

I also thought it would be a good day to set some pumpkin butter bubbling away in the Crock Pot! Result:

Not that I need more sweet spreads in my freezer, but I couldn't help it! I had two butternut squash from the apple orchard that were aching to get in the slow cooker and become tasty, creamy, spicy goodness! Here's the recipe, to yield about 6 cups:

Combine in a 4- or 5- quart slow cooker:
2 butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into large chunks (about 4 lbs. total)
1 cup water
1 cup agave nectar
4 tsp cinnamon (I might use 2 tsp next time -- my finished product was slightly bitter)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
pinch salt

Cover the pumpkin butter and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours. Reduce the temperature to low, and continue cooking, for about 4 more hours. When the squash is tender, puree the butter with a stick blender. (I guess you could also mash by hand -- it would just take longer.) Continue cooking, with the lid ajar, until the pumpkin butter is thick. Pour into jars, cool, and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

I really should invest in some canning supplies . . . my freezer is jam-packed with jam! Ha, ha.

After a long day of resting, I felt like making something easy, but special for dinner:

"Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers. Like every other recipe we've tried from this book, this was fast, simple, and unbelievably tasty. Dan and I both agreed we preferred this pasta dish over traditional mac and cheese -- the contrast of the sweet onions and the sharp blue cheese was out of this world! Plus, the blue cheese combined with a splash of pasta water to become the creamiest, richest cheese sauce EVER, no bechamel required! MMMMMMMMMMMMMM! Side of garlic and chili roasted broccoli, to lighten and liven things up a bit.

What a challenge I face this morning . . . leftover baked oatmeal or leftover pasta for breakfast? How will I ever decide??????

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