Fall Harvest

Here it is, October already, it was just August the other day, and now the leaves are turning pretty colors and falling off the trees and the walnuts are dropping with irregular “thuds” and the squirrels are racing up and down the fence trying to grab as many as their fat cheeks will carry.

Mom and Jack decided to become snowbirds and moved to Arizona, yesterday I stopped in at their place to check up on the state of things and managed to pick an entire bucket of tomatoes.  Would you look at these?

Insane, I know.  I will be roasting these and putting them up in the freezer for future use.

Since the price of bread is reaching up to 5 dollars per loaf, Jeff and I have been getting together on Wednesdays and baking breads, trying different recipes in a search for a good sandwich loaf.  I read up on all the different methods used to make and rise dough and decided to try mixing up the dough in my food processor when I made pizza dough last nite.  It took about 1 minute to make/mix bread up in the processor, and then, instead of bothering with a bowl, I just left it on my flour-dusted counter to rise, which it did, beautifully.  So, I will definitely be trying the food processor method next Wednesday.

My favorite part of Fall is the Hood River Apple Harvest, Fresh pressed apple cider and, well, pumpkins.  First, I made Apple Cider Pie with Gala and Jonagold apples.

after you cut, core, peel and dice the apples, you cook them a bit in the apple cider, this has the benefit of making a full pie, because it doesn’t slump down in the pie baking phase.

and then you top it with a crumb crust, its really delicious!

In addition to knitting a pumpkin, stuffing and lightly felting it, I also oven roasted one, (quartered, scooped out, placed on cookie sheet and baked at 300 degrees for an hour or more, until I could easily slide a knife in it) let it cool, scooped it out into the food processor, pureed it and baked a pumpkin cake with caramel frosting, as per Fannie Farmer.

Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven at 375 degrees, grease and flour a 9X13 pan.

Cream shortening and sugar, add eggs and mix.  Add baking powder, soda, salt and spices and mix.  Add pumpkin puree and mix, alternate milk and flour, stir until just combined, adding walnuts if you choose.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for aprox 30 minutes. Cake should spring back when you touch it.

This recipe is from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.  One of the reasons I like Fannie Farmer is that it started out as an update of the original Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Over the years Marion has gone on to collect some of the best old-school recipes and updated them for our generation.

Caramel Frosting

In a microwave proof bowl, melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, add 1 cup packed brown sugar and cook on high for 1-2 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup milk and microwave another minute.  Whisk in 2 cups powdered sugar until smooth and creamy, add 1 tsp vanilla and let it set while the cake cools.  Whisk again when cake is cooled and pour over the top, spreading with a spatula.

This recipe is modified from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

Aside from Fannie Farmer, I would never do without America’s Test Kitchen’s Cookbooks and James Beard’s Cookbooks.  Those are my Go-To Cookbooks, although I have an embarrassing amount of cookbooks really.

Thunk!  I hear more walnuts hitting the ground, I’d better go get them before the squirrels beat me to it!

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