Pumpkin. Plus Pumpkin.

IMG_5324Thanksgiving is on the horizon so today I did a little prep for it. I baked up and then pureed the two pie pumpkins that have been waiting on the counter for just this holiday. My plan is to bake a pumpkin pie (natch) as well as a pumpkin cheesecake. The pie will be light and delicate. I like it like that, different than the denser pumpkin pies I admit to also readily enjoying. The cheesecake will be heavier, a thick creamy cylinder of deliciousness.

Once the pumpkins were out of the oven and cooled and pureed, I tossed the pumpkin seeds with a little oil and a little salt and roasted them up in the hot oven for a pre-dinner snack. They made a fine pre-dinner snack. While I turned those seeds in the oven, and while I whipped up dinner itself, I sipped my latest beer–a pumpkin ale, light on the spice.

I like a decent pumpkin ale but most of the ones I have tried are pumpkin spice ales, heavy on the cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and hardly tasting of pumpkin. I created this beer to have an ale worthy of the squash moniker. It has a zip to it that makes me say Hmm as well as Mmm. Good stuff.

On another note, I finally (finally) planted the dang garlic. The last week has been crazy cold and things have begun to freeze up. Today, however, offered a warm enough window. I dug up one garden bed and popped in some bulbs saved from this year’s harvest. Hopefully they will appear as green shoots in the spring.

While I will have to wait many months for the garlic, next week I will get to enjoy a pumpkin pie, a pumpkin cheesecake and a fine pumpkin ale, all in one day. In the meantime, there are these toasted pumpkin seeds to polish off. You know, before they get stale.

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Snow on the Ground

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A couple of days ago we got our first snow. It covered the ground and the snowplow even passed to spread sand. It stuck around for a day. We still have some snow remnants in the shadows. We have been getting snow showers on and off these past few days.

I still haven’t planted garlic. I just looked at the weather and it looks to stay close to or below freezing all week. I think I might have blown it. Once the ground really freezes up it will be too late. I might get a chance, but the pace I have been working on getting things done these days might mean that task stays undone.

Winter has made itself known. Bring in an armload of wood and stoke the fire. It’s cold out. And it isn’t heating up any time soon.

 

A Second Go at Making Bagels

I decided to make bagels again this weekend. Friday I found some malt syrup at our local health food store. I still was out of luck with the high gluten flour but bread flour would have to do. It worked well enough last time. I quickly whipped up the dough yesterday afternoon and molded it into rings to sit overnight. In the morning I boiled them to poof them up.

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Boiled bagels draining and ready to be baked

Again they only took about 15 minutes to bake. It took me maybe 45 minutes last night to get the dough into the fridge. I took another hour this morning, but only because our stove is not the greatest for boiling a large pot of water. If the water hadn’t taken so long to boil the time this morning would have been maybe another 45 minutes. An hour and a half for fresh bagels? Not too shabby.

I will do this again. Homemade hot bagels taste pretty dang good. I’ll have to branch out and work on some flavors in the future. Sesame seed? Onion? Maybe even pumpernickel? If I remember to pick up some ingredients, I’m in.

Bagels hot out of the oven

Bagels hot out of the oven

Gray Days

IMG_2175These days are gray. Clouds, rain, drizzle. Driving home from a visit to Connecticut we encountered snow higher up. No snow by the time we got home. The sun shone this morning waiting for the bus. So it isn’t all gray. That sky was as blue as the bluebirds that are still hanging around.

This week we will have some showers, some clouds, some cold nights. I cleaned the bird feeders yesterday. I’ll hang them this week with the seed I bought last week. Winter isn’t far off. November is a teaser month–too cold to lounge outside, no snow to play in. It is a good month to make soup and  to bake bread.

I love the gray clouds on a chilly November day–wood smoke drifting in the air, the smell of dampness and old leaves, the muted light. It is a month of transition, of waiting for winter and for the holidays, but it is a good month to slow down. It is a good month to appreciate clouds.