If you made anything besides the standard pumpkin pie last week, which neatly uses exactly one can of pumpkin puree, chances are good you opened your refrigerator this weekend to find a half full can of pumpkin. You probably unearthed it as you removed containers, dishes, bags and bowls of Thanksgiving leftovers and wondered “what the hell am I supposed to do with that?” If you’re like me, you probably shoved it right back in with an instantly forgotten mental note to deal with it later. Well, if you haven’t already tossed it, now is the time.
Every Thanksgiving growing up started the same way: warm Pillsbury whack-a-tube caramel rolls and Swiss Miss hot chocolate with extra marshmallows in front of the TV watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in our PJs. We’d sing along with whatever popstar was floating down 5th Avenue, ooh and aah at the balloons, wait eagerly for the Broadway numbers, wonder why the Rockettes weren’t freezing and freely judge the Santa was based on very important factors like beard length (Was it real? Incredibly important) and costume authenticity. Then we usually snacked on the turkey livers, squirted some Reddi-Whip in our mouths when our mom wasn’t looking and waited out the long, endless afternoon until Thanksgiving dinner and a few football games.
Like most, I grew up on the pumpkin pie from the back of the Libby’s label. The crust may have been homemade or may have been a Pillsbury crust, I don’t really recall, but the pumpkin came from a can. Mixed with fresh eggs, various seasonal spices and a can of evaporated milk it was the holiday standard. When I was old enough to assume pie responsibilities, I follwed the recipe religiously and produced two beautiful pies. There was never deviation from this plan. Don’t mess with tradition; there are dire consequences. The pie was always, always, served with Reddi-Whip right out of the can. In fact, squirting copious amounts of Reddi-Whip directly into our mouths while hiding behind the refrigerator door was an important part of my sisters’ and my holiday tradition. Our mother was on watch as soon as the groceries were unpacked and would listen for that telltale sound. With ears like a hawk, we never quite pulled it off.
I have a difficult time getting excited about fall vegetables. After the flashiness of those late September tomatoes has passed, the garden basil has gone brown and the multi-hued peppers have started to wane, what’s left? Squash? Wheeee. Root vegetables? Exciting for about 1 minute. I had a conversation with a Twitter friend recently about how boring roasted root vegetbles can be – uninspired, plain, typically underseasoned and snooze worthy. Roast them with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and maybe a drizzle of balsamic vinegar but then, what’s next? How can you take something simple, hearty and abundant and add some life? Some excitement? Well, I’ll tell you. High heat and simple but delicious flavors: butter, of course, but also maple, that classic flavor of cold weather. And bourbon. Everything is simply better with bourbon. It’s a fact.
Posted in seasonal, side dishes, vegetables | Tagged carrot recipes, maple bourbon roasted carrots, roasted root vegetables, Thanksgiving side dishes, Thanksgiving vegetable dishes, vegetable recipes with bourbon | Leave a Comment »
2012 was a crap year for Michigan fruit, particularly tree fruits, particularly apples. An unseasonably warm spring coupled with a late frost dealt a crippling blow, knocking out by some estimates up to 80% of Michigan’s apple harvest for the year. It was devastating and maybe you didn’t notice, satisfied with Washington apples or imported fruit, but those of us who frequent Midwest farmers markets noticed.
Posted in adventures/field trips, breakfast items, fruit desserts, seasonal | Tagged apple cider compote, apple compote, apple farms, apple pancake topping, apple picking, michigan apples, Seedling Orchard | 4 Comments »
Earlier this week, quickly in the waning sunlight and cold wind, I made the final call on my little community garden plot. There was a frost advisory and I wasn’t sure what remained would survive so I dug up and loaded my herb plants into a shopping bag, cut down all my chard and kale and stripped my glorious and hyper productive tomato plants of the last little orbs. It was downright cold and I wasn’t too sure what I was going to do with all this late season abundance, but I hurried home with my heavy bags knowing I’d figure it out.
Posted in condiments, garden project, seasonal, vegetables | Tagged cleaning out the garden, end of season, green tomatoes, peterson garden project, pickled green cherry tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes | Leave a Comment »