Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hello? Autumn, are you out there?

I've been ready for apple cider, chunky sweaters, wood fires and an excuse to bake pies and make soups for over a month.  A few days ago there was a little chill in the air, and a few leaves on the trees are starting to turn color, but that hot, still air that was smothering me today sure didn't feel anything like fall!  Regardless, I've been cooking away and experimenting with all kinds of new ingredients.

Don't try this at home
Trader Joe's is now selling peanut flour, which has a lot of protein and very little fat.  Mr. JP wanted to try some since he's boycotting any commercial protein powders due to their heavy metal content.  Knowing it wouldn't act like regular flour, I wondered how I could incorporate it into the bread I bake each week.  I added about a cup of peanut flour to the regular recipe, and cut the regular flour down a bit.  I knew I was in trouble when the bread machine was hacking away at trying to knead it.  When the loaf came out, it was so deformed I just had to laugh.  Mr. JP, who will eat anything, said he would still use it for sandwiches, even though it had a sour flavor and was hard as a brick.  Questioning his judgment, I kept the loaf, and he reported the next day that he wouldn't be able to eat it, afterall!  I've tossed it in the freezer in the hopes that I might be able to pulverize it and use it for bread crumbs or as a stuffing. 

Kasha breakfast cereal with Boreal blueberries and cream
Meanwhile, being tired of the same old breakfast of oatmeal with bananas day after day, I decided to cook up the kasha (toasted buckwheat) that I got from the bulk bins at the co-op.  It has such a nutty aroma as it is cooking!  I tried it as a breakfast cereal, and while it was flavorful, it won't become a staple.  I had a lot left over which I used to make a chicken broccoli "rice" casserole, and it was perfect for that!
How to cook kasha:
1 c. kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
2 c. water
Rinse the kasha and slowly add to boiling water while stirring.  Turn the heat to medium-low and cover.  Let the kasha cook for 10-15 minutes.  Don't overcook it.  I have the feeling it would turn out mushy.

I have to say, these little wild Boreal blueberries from Trader Joe's have a really nice flavor!  They look like the huckleberries that I used to pick on Blue Mountain in Missoula, MT.  I'm sure they would work as a huckleberry substitute in a cheesecake or muffins.  Disclaimer: there is no real substitute for fresh huckleberries picked off the side of a mountain, and cooked up into a rich, sweet sauce the same day, but if you live anywhere else you are just going to have to make do.

Jack Be Little miniature pumpkins
Bad Dog has been helping me out with finding a use for all the mini pumpkins I planted.  I had read that mini pumpkins were edible, and I was very excited to grow the cute little white and orange varieties I see in the supermarket every fall.  I cooked up a bunch of them several weeks ago, and while they are technically edible, they are very fibrous.  The work it takes to cut them open and scoop out the seeds is not really worth it when all you get in return is a fibrous pulp that doesn't really have much flavor.  Mr. JP insists that we can't waste them, so I will cook them all up, scoop out the flesh, chop it in the food processor and freeze it.  But if Bad Dog wants to help whittle away at the pile, this is one crop I am more than willing to share with her.


  1. I miss autum. There any seasons here in Phuket and my body is telling me it is time for fall. I keep expecting to walk out into progressively cooler air every time I walk out the door, but nope. It's as hot as ever. Reading blog posts about autum's steady approach by everyone back in the states isn't helping. Oh well.

    I didn't even know regular pumpkins were edible until last year. I learned when my girlfriend's sister (a real character, she eats only vegan raw food) showed up to visit during the fall and insisted on buying, processing and freezing a couple of pumpkins for us. We made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin casserole, and pumpkin smoothies. When she left we still had two big bags of it in our freezer.

    Unfortunately, she also left me with the realization that I don't actually like pumpkins that much. The bags went to waste. But it was still fun to learn that those big orange things we carve up every year can actually be eaten! I'd always assumed they couldn't be. Probably because taking out the seeds and the guts was always so gross. How could anyone eat that?

    Anyway, the reason for this overlong drawn out story is to say that it then comes as no surprise to me that the mini-pumpkins are also edible. It is, also, not surprising that there's a good reason most people don't eat them all the same.

    Have followed and look forward to future posts!

  2. Daniel, I completely understand the longing for seasons. I've lived in a few places where seasons are just a phenomenon. Thanks for sharing your pumpkin story. I happen to love all things pumpkin, so I hope you don't give up on the blog when I post my favorite pumpkin recipes! :) Thanks for following!